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Namibia launches sovereign wealth fund following oil discoveries

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Namibia on Thursday launched a sovereign wealth fund, months after oil discoveries by TotalEnergies and Shell off its coast.

President Hage Geingob said at the launch the Welwitschia Fund would get an initial injection of 262 million Namibian dollars ($16.15 million) and invest 2.5% of its portfolio locally to bridge the country’s infrastructure financing gap.

The fund will collect some of the royalties from all mineral resources sold as well as some tax revenues and money raised by the government divesting from its investment holdings.

“We are looking forward to the prospects and opportunities that will emanate from the recent discoveries of oil and the green hydrogen energy, which have the potential to further boost the fund’s capital,” Geingob said.

Other resource-rich African countries that have sovereign funds include Angola, Botswana, Libya and Nigeria.

TotalEnergies said in February its Venus prospect offshore Namibia had found a good quality reservoir, which one source told Reuters was more than 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent. That find was the second major discovery in a month after Shell also announced a significant find.

Known for its gem-quality diamonds, gold and uranium, Namibia has considered creating a sovereign fund since 2009.

It is aiming to become a green hydrogen player by 2026 and has selected a preferred bidder for a multi-billion dollar project.

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