Oil and Gas: An Opportunity for Shared Growth in Namibia

In the oild and gas industry, local content refers to the development of local industries, workforce and resources to support the operations of international oil companies (IOC) within a country. 

For Namibia, fostering ‘Namibian content’ can significantly enhance economic growth, social development and technological advancement.
Local content policies can be a catalyst for growth by ensuring that a significant portion of the industry’s value chain is retained in the country. 

Promoting the use of local goods, services and labour can create a myriad of job opportunities for Namibians. 

This not only stimulates employment but also the development of ancillary industries such as manufacturing, logistics and services, which support the oil and gas sector. 

Local content can also contribute to the diversification of Namibia’s economy. By developing industries related to the oil and gas sector, the country can reduce its reliance on oil revenue and build a more resilient economy.


Further, local content promotes the development of skills and the transfer of knowledge to the local workforce. 

From exploration to production, Namibians gain valuable expertise and experience. 

Relevant policies also promote increased local participation and ownership in the oil and gas industry, while driving social development through mandated investments in community infrastructure, education, healthcare and other social programmes.

This will improve the quality of life for Namibians. 

Local content policies can also spur technological advancement and innovation. When local firms are part of the industry’s supply chain, they are often required to meet international standards, which drives them to improve their technologies and processes. 

This can lead to a broader technological base in Namibia, benefiting other sectors of the economy.


Successfully implementing local content policies requires proactive measures. 

These include capacity building and investing in developing a skilled local workforce and capable local companies; streamlining regulatory processes to enhance compliance and boost investor confidence; and addressing bureaucratic challenges to ensure smoother operations for both international and local companies. 

Additionally, by providing financial incentives and investment opportunities that empower local firms; adapting to market dynamics to encourage local companies to embrace the global nature of the oil and gas industry; and ensuring high quality and standards across the market. 

Continuous improvement and training programmes can also help local products and services achieve the high standards required, boosting their reputation and competitiveness on the global stage. 

Local content policies can be successfully implemented by concentrating on these key areas, leading to sustainable growth, innovation and a thriving local industry.


Lessons learnt from resource-rich nations worldwide can strengthen Namibia’s local content implementation. 

Norway provides a prime example of how local content can lead to substantial skills development. 

The country’s regulations required IOCs to partner with Norwegian firms and train local employees. 

As a result, Norway developed a highly skilled workforce and a robust oil services industry, which now competes globally. 

The country has consistently maintained a high employment rate within the oil and gas sector, which supports approximately 250 000 jobs.
In Angola, local content regulations have contributed to social development through initiatives like the Angolanisation policy, which prioritises hiring and training local citizens. 

Oil companies operating in Angola are required to invest in community projects, leading to improved healthcare facilities, schools and infrastructure in oil- producing regions. 

For example, investments in the health sector resulted in the construction of more than 100 health centres. 

In Ghana, local content policies resulted in more than 7 000 direct jobs created since the inception of the policies, and the establishment of new businesses to service the industry.

In Nigeria, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has overseen the growth of indigenous oil companies and service providers, ensuring that a significant portion of the industry’s value is retained in Nigeria. 

In the past decade, the NCDMB’s efforts have resulted in an increase in local participation from 5% to more than 30%. 

In Brazil, local content requirements led to the growth of the domestic shipbuilding industry, creating more than 30 000 jobs and a reduced dependency on foreign vessels. 


Malaysia’s approach facilitated economic diversification. 

The country’s Petronas-led initiatives ensured that local companies were integrated into the oil and gas supply chain, leading to the growth of the engineering and construction sectors. 

Today, these sectors contribute significantly to the national economy, with the industry supporting more than 200 000 jobs.

Qatar implemented a Qatarisation policy which aims to increase the number of nationals employed in the energy sector to 50%. 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also seen success with its initiatives. 

The In-Country Value programme, launched by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, aims to support local businesses and create jobs for UAE nationals. The programme has driven more than US$20 billion back into the UAE economy and created thousands of jobs.
The benefits of local content in Namibia’s oil and gas sector are manifold.  

Namibia has the potential to ensure these resources are a blessing for its three million people by focusing on economic growth, skills development, economic diversification, increased local participation, social development and technological advancement.

– Ndapwilapo Selma Shimutwikeni, chief executive officer and founder of Rich Africa Consulting

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