Wednesday , February 28 2024

Oil Emerges as Key Focus of Cuban President’s Visit to Namibia

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s recent visit to Namibia is capturing attention, with experts suggesting that Cuba is eyeing the African nation’s significant oil and natural gas potential. Namibia, which is expected to start oil production around 2029, has already attracted substantial investments from major multinationals such as Shell, Total, GALP, Qatar, Chevron, and Exxon. These companies have discovered reserves of at least 11 billion barrels of light oil and up to 13 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the Orange Basin along Namibia’s coast.

The infrastructure for oil production is developing rapidly, and Namibia could become one of the top 15 oil exporters by 2035. This growth could also lead to a significant increase in GDP per capita within a decade.

Cuba’s interest in Namibia extends beyond oil. The two countries have had a strong political relationship for over 40 years, marked by cooperation in various sectors, including healthcare. Cuba has sent doctors on international missions to Namibia since 1990, with 1,194 Cuban healthcare workers having served in the country.

Jorge Piñón, an expert in the oil sector at the University of Texas, suggests that Cuba may consider increasing the number of medical aid workers in Namibia in exchange for access to oil, a practice the Cuban regime has employed in the past. Havana’s desperate need for oil and resources to support its economy makes such exchanges appealing.

Before visiting Namibia, Díaz-Canel also travelled to Angola, one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading oil producers, and Mozambique, a significant natural gas exporter. These visits highlight Cuba’s quest to secure reliable energy resources from various parts of the world, a crucial endeavour for the Cuban economy.

While Cuba explores oil partnerships abroad, it continues to face challenges at home, including tropical storms that disrupt the power supply and exacerbate its energy woes.

As Cuba navigates these challenges, its efforts to establish strategic partnerships and secure access to natural resources worldwide will likely continue to shape its foreign policy and economic strategy.

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