Cover Stories


By staff writer

The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) has undergone an evolution over the last 30 years after starting off as an advisory entity to the Ministry of Mines and Energy in matters regarding exploration and production matters.

Since Managing Director Immanuel Mulunga took charge, the corporation has undergone significant changes, including a complete rebrand and a push towards a more competitive and commercial edge. In 2020, Mulunga’s contract was extended for another five years. The Founder caught up with the MD to get an insight into his strategic vision and to assess how Namcor performed last year.

TF: In 2020 your contract was extended for another five years. Can you give us an overview of Namcor’s strategic plan for the next four years?

Immanuel Mulunga: My contract was extended for another 5 years running from 1 October 2020 to 31 September 2025. This period is coinciding with a new Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP) for Namcor with the following themes:

• Ensuring Supply for Namibia

• Harnessing the Potential of E&P

• Digital Enablement

• Operational & Organisational Excellence

Our focus is to continue building the Namcor brand by expanding our retail footprint and operationalizing the National Oil Storage Facility (NOSF) on the downstream side while on the upstream side we continue with our upstream agenda of commercializing our E&P opportunities both in Namibia and Internationally.

TF: What were the major influences in setting your strategic focus for 2021?

IM: What influenced our strategy is the need to secure our future financial sustainability by weaning ourselves from any governmental support and capturing a significant market share in the petroleum downstream sector. The NOSF that we now have the pleasure to maintain and operate enables us to achieve this objective. On the upstream side our strategy hinged on the procurement of international producing assets to diversify our sources of revenue and to continue facilitating and working towards a petroleum discovery in Namibia.

TF: Can you give us an overview of some of your achievements at the helm of NAMCOR over the last six years?

IM: We managed to rebrand the entity with a new vibrant and more recognizable brand; we managed to grow the balance sheet and revenues of Namcor by approximately 400%. We had a successful entry into the retail sector, thereby increasing our downstream market share to double figures. We recruited knowledgeable and experienced staff into the company and reorganized the entity into an organization that can get us closer to our vision of becoming a world class petroleum organization. We successfully took over the operatorship of the National Oil Storage Facility and started importing our own petroleum products into the country, plus we successfully farmed out some of our upstream assets to supermajors like ExxonMobil and worked very hard towards that elusive petroleum discovery in Namibia.

TF: What were the major influences in setting your strategic focus for 2021?

IM: The Exploration and Production Act which established Namcor in 1991 gave it a mandate to also venture into the downstream part of the petroleum business. This necessitated Namcor to enter the fuel importation business when it was awarded the mandate to import 50% of the country’s fuel requirements and established a commercial business unit to also directly sell to the market. In 2014 it made a decision to enter the retail business segment but it was only in 2019 when it constructed its first 3 service stations. Today not only is Namcor importing its own petroleum products into the country, it has access to storage facilities that allows it to compete in the commercial business segment, retail business segment (11 service stations) and the export market to countries such as Botswana and Zambia.

TF: Namcor officially took charge of the billion-dollar National Oil Storage Facility in Walvis Bay. What does this mean for Namcor and the country as a whole?

IM: This increases the security of supply of the country by making sure there is an increased amount of fuel in the country at any one time. The NOSF can also be used commercially for Namcor’s own trading activities but also to host international marketing companies to import their petroleum products into the country. These facilities have increased Namcor’s competitiveness in the market as it can now dictate the pricing of its own fuel and in so doing capture more market share from its competitors. The country is in a better position because it has its own storage facilities operated by its own national oil company, so that in the event any of the international majors exit the country, Namcor will still be here to serve the nation.

TF: In December 2020 the storage facility took in its first intake of oil at full capacity. What were some of the lessons learned in that endeavour?

IM: It is a complex business but nothing that we were unable to handle. We’ve managed to employ more than 40 Namibians, mostly from our competitors to run such a state-of-the-art facility and we as Namcor are proud to have managed to achieve this feat. Obviously, a facility of that size doesn’t come up without challenges. They have been numerous but we have overcome most of them and we are set to completely take it over on 1 March 2022 when the 12-month warranty period comes to an end. The biggest lesson learned is that one can do anything that you apply your mind to.

TF: How has the market reacted to this procurement and new option and can you break down for us its commercial viability in the long run?

IM: Firstly, it is important to mention that Namcor has played a major role in preventing this facility from becoming a white elephant. We are still busy ramping up the operations of the terminal and jetty and we believe we will utilize the facility optimally in the near future. We believe the facility will eventually make a return on the investment, especially when government regulates it to be used as the only entry point for petroleum products into the country.

TF: Namcor, last year, announced its intentions to open up more fuel stations countrywide. Can you break down for us how those that are already operational have fared thus far?

IM: So far there are 11 service stations in the country under the Namcor banner and we have another 10 on our books during the next financial year that starts on 1 April 2022. By the end of this calendar year, we expect to have 20 retail sites making us finally a significant player in this business segment. We are proud to be in this position as many people such as banks and previous board members had largely written us off because of our past weak financial position.

TF: The fuel station sector is of course quite competitive with already established brands. Can you give us an overview of how you intend to set Namcor apart from the competition?

IM: We intend to do this by offering a superior and vibrant brand and to leverage on our position as a national oil company and local brand. The placement of our retail sites in strategic positions around the country will ensure our competitiveness. Fortunately, we have already been received enthusiastically by the market.

TF: What were some of the biggest challenges thus far in your time at Namcor, and how has your acumen helped navigate these situations?

IM: Leading a national oil company in Africa is no mean feat and my time here at Namcor has not been an easy one but I have managed to weather the storms and displayed great leadership to transform Namcor into one of the leading and recognizable Public Entities.

TF: Can you give us a summary of Immanuel Mulunga, outside your role as NAMCOR’s Managing Director. What are some of your hobbies?

IM: I am a proud father, a scholar of life with great love for my fellow human. I’m an avid reader and enjoy my alone time from time to time.


Emma Theofelus Nominated One Young World Politician of the Year Award

Namibia’s deputy minister of information and communication technology, Emma Theofelus, has been nominated for the One Young World Politician of the Year Award 2022.

This is the second year in a row that she has been shortlisted for the award. The award was created to help counter low levels of political engagement and increased disillusionment with political processes that young people are experiencing across the world, this award celebrates the world’s leading young politicians who have infiltrated the old guard of politics.

According to reports, under 2% of young people under the age of 35 are represented in the various parliaments around the world.

Theofelus has been shortlisted alongside a dynamic group of 15 young politicians from across the globe, including Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Iceland’s minister of science, industry, and innovation, and former minister of justice.

One Young World says that these 15 young politicians have all been shortlisted because of the considerable impact they have made to politics.

“The One Young World Politician of the Year Award recognises five of the world’s most outstanding politicians between the ages of 18 – 35, who are using their positions to have a positive impact on young people in their communities and countries. Through their important work, these candidates highlight the benefit of including young people in politics,” the organisation says.

The shortlisted nominees are currently being reviewed by One Young World’s expert judging panel, which will decide the final five winners.

The winners will be announced in mid-March and will be presented with this award at the One Young World 2022 Summit.

“To be nominated and selected two years in a row is surreal! I am grateful for the opportunity to serve at this level of public service and grateful for the faith entrusted in me by President Hage Geingob,” Theofelus said.

“Congratulations to all the other incredible young politicians that have been nominated from across the world!”

The nomination comes just a few months after she was recognised in 2021’s BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women.


Namibia At Dubai Expo 2020

Namibia’s team has been at Expo 2020, being hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for five months. The goal has been to attract investors and mark the country as a premier tourism and investment destination on a global scale.

Namibia’s pavilion, under the custodianship of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), is located in the ‘Opportunity’ district of the Expo. It has been highlighting priority sectors such as renewable energy, marine diamonds & mining, tourism and conversation, and cultural heritage.

This year, for the first time in World Expo history, every participating country will have its own pavilion.

Thus far, since officially opening its doors on 1 October 2021, the Namibian pavilion has recorded a steadily increasing number that has surpassed 146,000. This is, on average 37,000 visitors per month.

According to Catherine Shipushu, NIPDB’s Marketing and Communications manager, the pavilion has generated 23 investment leads thus far. She says this is well above the targeted 10 leads a month.

Catherine Shipushu, NIPDB’s Marketing and Communications manager

“Most investor interest is in the area of Green Hydrogen. Recorded leads indicate investor interest in other key industries such as agriculture, education, tourism, and various trade activities. In terms of country of origin, over 50% of potential investors emanate from the United Arab Emirates, with less than 10% of African origin,” she says.

According to the team, the highlight of the Expo so far has been the Namibia Renewable Energy Summit in November 2021. It was attended by participants from all over the globe, including potential investors from China, India, Zimbabwe, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

The summit was organised to showcase investment opportunities in the renewable energy space and to provide insight into the legal framework that governs investments in the Namibian energy sector.

Although there is only a month left before the World Expo concludes, Namibia’s pavilion has a packed schedule that will carry right until the final week, with promises of a strong finish.

“In March, Namibia is expected to celebrate its biggest month yet at the Expo. The Namibian Pavilion has put together a schedule packed with events to coincide with the Expo’s thematic weeks and aligned to the country’s own strategic agenda,” says Shipushu.

Namibia, where the ocean meets the desert

There is a Namibia Investment Conference slated for 23 March. This conference is envisaged to be the climax event of the country’s Expo 2020 Dubai journey and will be one of the final pitches on investment opportunities, brand awareness, and export promotion.

A day later, Namibia National Day will be on full display. All participating countries are accorded an opportunity to celebrate their National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Namibia’s National Day will be celebrated on 24 March 2022. Part of the celebrations will include a tour of the Namibian and UAE Pavilions, respectively, a parade and performances to showcase Namibia’s unique culture,” says Shipushu.

This National Day celebration is also when the Namibian Braai in Dubai will take place, featuring Namibian cuisine, beverages, and music. This multi-sensory event will be a vibrant showcase of Namibia’s cultural heritage on the global stage.

“The Expo has also put together key events in March where high-ranking Namibian officials are expected to participate. More information on these and the above-mentioned events will be shared at a later stage.”

The journey has not been without its challenges. Travel restrictions imposed on Namibia and other African countries, particularly during the height of the Omicron variant in December 2021, stifled some of the Namibian team’s plans.

Despite this, Shipushu says, “We have found a solution to this challenge by leveraging technology to ensure that all investment promotion activities continue as planned. The NIPDB has the mammoth responsibility to ensure a return on the government’s investment into this Expo.

As such the Board remains committed to carrying out this assignment to ensure that the outcomes of the country’s participation at the Expo positively contribute towards ensuring economic prosperity for all Namibians.”

Women In Business

Avoid the holiday blues in January

By Bank Windhoek’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Hayley Allen.

With the Festive Season around the corner, it is advisable to spend money wisely and plan. Customers should not fall into the trap of spending more money than they can afford during the holidays. This overspending can put them under financial stress during the first couple of months of the New Year. 

Customers should use their funds to cover the beginning of the year’s educational expenses: school fees, new uniforms, and stationery. They are also advised to keep in mind that although they are on holiday and relaxing, they cannot let down their guard regarding financial discipline.  The following few tips can help customers save some money during the Festive Season:

Stick to a budget: It is easy to overspend during the Festive Season due to the hype of activities and joyous mood. Since this is the time for gift-giving and spending time with family and friends, customers should draw up a budget and stick to it for their holiday period. They should not overspend on the budget. 

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash: It seems easier to spend more when one has a large amount of physical cash at hand. Carrying large amounts of money is also a dangerous habit as one might become a robber’s target.

Use the money wisely: For those who are fortunate enough to get a 13th cheque, they should first set aside some of it to honour their financial commitments at the beginning of the year. The same goes for those that take out a loan or overdraft to fund their holidays. The holiday might be long gone, but they will still be paying for it for a long time. 

Do not fall for the discount trap: As much as one would hunt for bargains during the Festive Season, customers should not buy more than they need. Retailers will shout out their discounts, but is it a need? Customers should examine every purchase they make during the Festive Season.

Plan the holiday: Planning for a holiday in advance is always a great idea since it saves money and reduces pressure on personal finances. Next year, customers can perhaps start saving money for their holidays and Christmas gifts six months in advance. Bank Windhoek has several convenient savings products tailored to suit the individual’s or a group’s saving needs.

Check the shopping list: Customers are reminded to check that their gifts’ shopping list is not necessarily long and unrealistic. If the list is too long, they can cut it down on the number of people on their current list. They can then bake some cookies to give to the people they snipped from their original gift list. This will ensure they spread the holiday cheer.

Be Alert: This season is also synonymous with theft, especially cyberfraud. Customers must not share their personal bank information with anyone claiming to be calling from the bank. Fraudsters will use this to authenticate transactions on a customer’s behalf. Finally, customers should avoid withdrawing large amounts of money and keep their personal belongings safe.​

The Festive Season is a time to spend with loved ones and not impress others with expensive gifts. Customers should clearly distinguish between their needs and wants and look after them instead of buying what they want. The essential rule is to always stick to the budget and cultivate a culture of saving instead of satisfying immediate wants. The Festive Season can be more exciting and memorable with a clear budget plan.