The Biggest Power Plant Project vs. My Greatest Sorrow and Weakness

The Singapore-based EPCM contractor is now on board and our budget of US$1.2 billion for the development and construction of this power plant is also halfway structured locally in Namibia for the development of the Groot Power Plant, a 900 MW Gas-fired Power Plant.

Also, a negotiation for the Offtake Agreement is also underway with some of the largest national power distribution companies in Southern Africa. So, my recent overseas trip has been the most successful yet, for our power plant development.

It didn’t however come easy; if you only knew! Lots of hard and bitter personal sacrifices have to be made in order to help realize this project the soonest.

Well, in life nothing good comes easy!

One day, as a Namibian-born, I can sit back and say; at least I tried to do my very best for my beloved, Namibia.

I’ve never been involved in a development of any power plant before (well, Mark Zuckerberg had never developed a facebook prior to Facebook), and I never even knew the concept of how it goes to develop a power plant. So, then how do I go out there and have meetings with people to get it done?

Robbie Jena, the genius – he’s basically the one who guides me, with all the technical mambo jumbos. When there’s something technical that I need to know right away, even though he’s more than 10,000 miles away from me at times, he’s always there to answer every question (yes, we are digitally connected, we live in a technology connected era).

But most of the time, I have to do my own homework, research and analysis; put presentations together (with Robbie), and then I go out there and meet with companies and people to discuss whatever in order to make it happen.

But because we’ve been doing this power plant planning since January 2010, I have learned a lot. So, when I go out there to different meetings and do presentations for our power plant, the terms and phrases that I use now actually make some people think that I’m an expert in this field, but I always tell them that I’m not a power plant engineer, I’m just an economist. But at the end of the meeting, they always refer me to as an IPP (IPP = Independent Power Producer), well I had to look that up.

One day, not too long ago, one of my many meetings at a certain company; I walked in this huge board room, and it was full of executives, two of them were lawyers. Then I looked at them and then I looked at myself, I was sitting on one side of this huge table, and all of them, I think they were 8 of them, all wearing suits and or semi-formal, and I was wearing a pair of jean and a dress shirt, and all looked at me like; hmm, what’s this, perhaps something like that.

But less than 2 minutes later of me talking and doing my presentation, I could see their eyes wide open, may be amazed (or may be sleepy), who knows.

This is what I do best, and if I can’t close a deal in less than 5 minutes, then it will likely never work, no matter how hard I may work it.

So, I’m doing this; backed by our awesome team in Namibia, but technically guided by Robbie, the genius. And it makes me look like I’m a genius too when I go to all these different meetings; especially when I’m responsible for selecting the engineering teams, technical companies, site location, financing, and all of these factors make me feel like I have been doing this for a very long time, but the fact is, it’s not me doing this but Robbie, who has several academic degrees in chemical engineering and one in nuclear engineering. Yes, plus many years of working in engineering field including at NASA, ABB, Honeywell, etc.

So, if I didn’t learn anything from doing all of these by now while learning from Robbie, then I must be a real unbreakable numskull.

Now, what I have is knowledge, not wisdom, that I’ve learned and copied from Robbie, and now I want to transfer and share it with the Namibians, whoever wants to learn from me. That’s why I do those free Public Meetup Series in order to share the little I know with those passionate Namibians.

One day – I may write a book – sort of a Diary, regarding my involvement on these fun projects, or may be not, unless I get a Publisher offer may be?


Happy With the Development of Nigeria’s World’s Largest Gas-Fired Power Plant

I’m happy with the process for the development of the Nigerian 4000MW Gas Fired Power Plant. It’s Africa’s largest power plant development, estimated to cost about US$10 billion for its successful development and is expected to power up to 5 million homes.

The development of this project is being embraced by more and more Nigerians living in the US and those back home in Nigeria. And, if you didn’t know, these countries (Nigeria, Ghana, etc) have some of the most educated and successful nationals living overseas (US, UK, etc). Imagine, when they combine their knowledge and resources to help industrialize develop their economies. This project is using that synergy.

The difference between this Nigerian project and the Namibian ecosystem development is that; more and more Nigerians in the US, whom we have met and spoke to at different fair, seminars, and workshops; they are dying to have this project successfully done and completed the soonest. They are embracing it and are doing everything they can to help make it happen; faster.

Whereas in Namibia, some (those who are well-placed) are simply standing on the side line, waiting for us to fail with the development of the Groot ecosystem, so they can laugh at us and say; you see, I told you, it won’t work. But little they know, they are simply standing on the tree-branch while cutting themselves off. Because, if the Groot ecosystem doesn’t live up to its hype, then it’s you, the Namibians, who will still be living like you have been living; living paycheck to paycheck; struggling to pay your bills, at the same time, you must support your entire family who always depend on you for your support, each end of the month, you must divide up your paycheck to help support your parents, siblings, and relatives.

But, if you step up and say, guys, what can I do to help make this Groot project a big success faster, then once we all do it, then we all benefit from it.

Every Namibian will directly benefit from the development of the Groot project. Either you stand on the sideline or you join us and help us make it happen faster, you can only do this for yourself. Because in the end, you will reap the fruits of getting a better paying job opportunity as well have a more industrialized economy, to help realize Vision 2030 faster.

More than 87% of the Namibians are prayfully waiting and hoping for the Groot ecosystem, because they know that this is the ultimate solution to help put them to full employment; more than 54% of Namibians are currently unemployed, and those who are employed, their salaries can nearly meet their cost of living, most of them are living paycheck to paycheck; having a hard time meeting their monthly living expenses; for them as well as for their individual family members and relatives.

As I travel around the world, making connections, getting engineers and financing for the Groot development, I’d appreciate it more, if more and more Namibians are joining forces to help us make this happen fast.

We, at Groot Group, we can’t do this alone; we need each and everyone’s help and support. I’m currently in the US, and next week, I must be in Denmark, then later in Singapore, before I come to South Africa. All, meeting with engineers and contracting companies for the development of the Groot ecosystem.

And, personally, it’s not easy, and it’s certainly not fun at all. To some may sound fun and exciting; traveling and etc., but it’s no fun. It’s tiring, exhaustive, and sickening at times. I’m just looking for more people in Namibia, especially our government, to get more involved, and help make this project happen faster.

How Relevant is Pan-Africanism in Today’s Global Economy?

In today’s globally integrated and competitive market economy, is Pan-Africanism still relevant?

It’s being whispered in and around investment power houses and economic forums that Africa is next after China. But, is Africa really ready?

Africa is the wealthiest continent in terms of natural resources endowment, with an estimated value of more than $65 trillion and it has an amazing rich history; as expressed by the views of the Pan-Africanists, see But what would Africa’s new and young generation do to take this movement to a new height of economic empowerment for all Africans?

Africans know that the primary factors that are hindering their continent from realizing the dream of Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah and Egypt’s second President Gamal Abd El Nasser are; nationalism, tribalism, ethnicism, racism (yes, black people are racist too), religionism, sexism, selfism, and individualism (as opposed to collectivism mostly found in Asia and the Middle-East).

If Africa can overcome these factors, then it can truly realize the unification of Africa as envisioned by Nkrumah and El Nasser.

However, as long as Africans keep promoting these factors, then Africa will always be undervalued, under-developed, under-productive, hence dead poor and separated.

In today’s global economy, China is the next Economic Power House, and Africa is next after China, but Africans need to come together first and abandon those unfavorable and sick ingredient factors that cause awful separation among themselves; these factors are the roots of every ethnic war, corruption, coup de tat, etc. in Africa. They are the primary disease that needs to find a cure.

We are pioneering the helm of finding that cure with our Rapid Industrial Ecosystem Development. Because for Africa to realize the African dream, Africans need to move from Agrarian Political based Economy into Economic market-empowerment; empowering Africans with better and sustainable paying jobs will enable Africans to compete in today’s competitive market and integrated global economy.

However, this can only be achieved when there’s strong Foreign Direct Investment, but only after Africa has realized unity and political stability.

And for those with small brains,  slept through all your history classes, or only tune to BET and MTV channels, Africa is not a country and Nelson Mandela is not the President of Africa.

Research Finds Heartbreaking and Disturbing Stories from Those With No Voices

As a Neuroeconomist, working on our Rapid Industrial Ecosystem, Groot Town Center, in Namibia, I had to and continue to do a complete economic and market analysis and research for the entire Namibian economy, the labor market, operations of most of the companies, etc., in order to better develop our ecosystem. And some of the things I am discovering or finding out are somehow heart-breaking or perhaps disturbing.

Some examples are; some of the companies in Namibia, they recruit workers, and then they employ them for a certain period of time, and once the workers have gained more experience and become skilled in their areas of responsibility, as they start to demand more raises and fringe benefits such as medical insurance, etc., then the companies simply retrench them, they lay them off and then recruit new unskilled workers and pay them the same meager salaries and wages, often times with no benefits. And as they gain more experience and become skilled, when they demand salary increase and benefits, then they too get retrenched.

The process goes on like that for years. However, Namibia is one of the most pro-workers union in the world, but I fail to understand how some of the workers are left out to dry.

Some scary things I discovered through my research is that, and this could be rumor, that; some farmers in Namibia, they employ certain farm workers and some of them literary keep them for life, more like slaves, while paying them little or nothing at all. These are mostly the Damara/Nama farm workers, who mostly have no where else to go in terms of their own personal housing outside their working environments.

In some occasions, if the farm owner gets tired of them or for whatever reason, they may ask the farm worker to dig a hole and then when the hole is deeper, the farm owner may simply sneak behind the worker while busy digging and point-blank shoot him in the head, killing him and then fill up the hole with the sand. I am told that there have been human bones that were discovered at some farms, and they continue to discover more human skeletons buried at some farms.

I am not sure what happens to those farm owners or former farm owners where some of those bones were found. Rumor has it that most farms previously owned by the apartheid sympathizers may have human bones buried within their compounds, which may belong to farm workers. Yes, this is really sad and very disturbing.

Some things are just too scary; sometimes I just wish I didn’t hear these stories. If you really want to know what’s going on in the lives of most people in Namibia, especially those who live in common areas; rural areas or informal settlements, simply take off your tie and suit, dress normal like the people you want to talk to and go to them, talk to them, hear their heartbreaking stories.

My last weekend trip to the North was another eye opener of what’s really happening around our country. But if you are just sitting in your comfort, air-conditioned office and say you are working for the people, representing the people, and you are not going out there and talk to them, hear their stories, then you cannot really do something to help them.

A big problem such as the high rate of unemployment in Namibia needs a bigger solution, such as our Rapid Industrial Ecosystem Development, Groot Town Center. Even sometimes some may refer to it as “too ambitious, too big, too unrealistic”, or it’s just a dream”. Well, the current high rate of unemployment in Namibia is not a dream, it’s real, and it’s affecting thousands of Namibians around the country.

A bigger problem needs a bigger solution; thinking outside the box is the only solution.

Consider Including Southern Africa in Your Investment Portfolio, It’s the Next Best Emerging Market

Africa’s combined population is more than one billion; with a combined GDP (real) of $2.2 trillion and GDP (PPP) per capita is $2,200.

However, Africa’s combined potential wealth value, based on its endowed natural resources, is more than $100 trillion, which is bigger than the aggregate wealth value of South and North America and Europe, but 65% of the African population still lives on less than $2.00 a day, while only about 15% of the population earns decent salaries of more than $100,000 a year.

We are developing Groot Town Center (GTC) in the Tsumeb, Namibia area, which is being developed as an upscale multifarious community with a development budget of $800 million. GTC is being developed to be the next best place to shop, work, live and play in the Tsumeb area.

While we estimate to have a great number of overseas tourists as the prospective patrons for GTC, the majority of GTC customers are expected to come from the SADC region, whose combined population is 257.7 million (2010) with more than $471.1 billion of aggregate GDP and a potential wealth value of more than $65 trillion. While still 45% or 116.0 million of the SADC population lives on less than $2.00 a day, 15% or 21.3 million of them earns annual salaries of more than US$100,000 with a gross buying power of about $2.1 trillion.

According to Namibia Tourism Board, Namibia’s tourist industry is growing at an average rate of 13% annually. In 2008, 981,111 tourists visited Namibia, while in 2009, the number decreased to 980,173, with 73% of them coming from Africa, namely from Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. German tourists also ranked high in number.

Angolan tourists alone spent an average of $417 million in retail outlets in Namibia. Based on the historical inflow of tourists, within three years of the GTC opening, we project more than 55,000 visitors each day at Groot Town Center.

Since GTC will be composed of only retail store outlets and facilities that offer superior quality and luxurious products and services, our targeted customers are generally 15% or 21.3 million of the SADC population plus overseas tourists, which would make up about 55,000 daily visitors to GTC.

The individual annual incomes of the stated number are in the income bracket of $100,000, and their combined annual income is about $2.1 trillion.

Out of that number of visitors, we estimate each visitor to GTC to spend an average of $250 per visit, which comes to about $13.8 million a day or $5.0 billion a year, that’s the estimated total revenue for the GTC tenants.

Some of the wealthiest and highest paid individuals with a combined annual average income of about $2.1 trillion generally travel to foreign countries outside Africa where they own properties.

They generally do not spend their time and money in Africa with the exception of South Africa, where they also own properties. Therefore, the need for the development of GTC as an alternative to the foreign investment destination is paramount. With our global connections, anchor partners, and investors, we plan to develop GTC in order to exceed their selective expectations.

For Africa to realize a robust and sustained economic growth equivalent to that of the US and Europe, it needs to grow at least by 600% annually within the next 10 years.

We are at the forefront of leading to a robust economic revolution with a rapid industrial ecosystem model that will create powerful economic ripple effects to spread throughout Namibia’s and each of the target economies.

Consider setting up your retail shop and or invest at GTC in Namibia. Visit our company at for more information.

Reinstituting a Reformed Welfare-to-Work Program

The current U.S. Welfare system needs to have a complete overhaul, not only to provide better programs for those who really need it, but to help close some of the loopholes currently ravaging the program. Some people, like Stephanie and her friend Maria, who currently work at the Columbus Port International Airport, have a familiar scheme they use to cheat the system.

Stephanie and Maria work as customer service representatives for an airline, where they make $9 an hour. They both work full-time and put in lots of overtime hours, but since each has three kids, according to their household income, they are qualified to receive welfare assistance for as long as they earn a certain salary amount per month which is below the poverty level. Therefore, each month, they report to the welfare office that they only work part-time. They don’t tell the exact number of hours they each have worked, and welfare equates their hours with cash assistance to make up what they didn’t earn at work. In doing so, they keep getting money from the welfare office plus their real monthly earnings.

Other examples of those who might be exploiting the welfare system are the cases of Angela, Jackie, John, and Helen.

Jackie is a 45 year old woman, who has two grown daughters. Her husband passed away when the kids were 19 and 17. She lives in a nice apartment in a Section 8 division where she doesn’t pay any rent. She never graduated from high school and only has had a few odd jobs on and off, in her whole life. If you go in her apartment, you will not think that she is a welfare recipient, because she has a large TV screen, DVDs for almost every movie ever released, and she smokes about two packs of cigarettes every day. Jackie is completely healthy and is capable of finding and having gainful employment, but because she chose not to, she doesn’t have to work because she relies on her welfare benefits.

Helen is a 29 year old young lady and has 6 kids. Her oldest daughter is 13 years old and each child has a different father. Helen doesn’t have to work and she probably never will, because she receives welfare. For each child, she receives a certain amount of money each month, and she too lives in section 8 housing where she doesn’t have to pay rent.

John is 52 years old and has 5 kids. Each of his children live with their different mothers. For years, he has been in and out of jail for selling drugs, and now lives with his girlfriend in a one-bedroom apartment in section 8 housing, where they don’t have to pay rent for as long as they have no income. His girlfriend works, but she gets paid under the table and she doesn’t have to file her federal income tax, because of fear of losing their welfare benefits. John still sells drugs, and they have three different cars, except not one car is in their names, but in his brother’s name and his oldest daughter’s name.

Angela is a 46 year old lady, who has been legally deaf since she was in the 8th grade. She doesn’t have to work, never has, and probably never will, because she is legally disabled and therefore she receives federal welfare, which are housing, food and money each month.

As portrayed in the above examples, the current welfare system does not have the needed tools in place to help forcefully combat welfare fraud. It also handicaps and makes people to become lazy, because the longer they stay on welfare and don’t have to work, then the more they lose the will to ever look for a job. In addition, they may even forget any work they might have done when they were employed. These are the people who could be out there working, helping to contribute to the national economy, but they simply chose not to work and  live off of welfare without having to ever worry about working and paying for rent, utilities and food.

America is the richest country on earth with the largest economy. The American government is well known around the world for taking good care of its own people, in terms of social welfare and socio-economic empowerment.

Most Americans, even those who are on welfare or live below the poverty level are still far better off compared to those in many other countries. However, in continuing to provide unrestricted welfare to some citizens, the government has been handicapping some of the welfare recipients by continuing to provide them with all their necessities without ever trying to help them improve their skills in order to find jobs in the future.

In achieving these goals of caring for its people, the U.S. federal government has instituted many programs designed to implement policies to achieve the highest well-being for every legal resident. The U.S. Welfare system is one of the best social programs in the U.S. designed to provide the necessities for those who are unable to work and have income to support their well-being.

The U.S. Social Welfare system was first introduced after the Great Depression in the 1930’s. The U.S. Social Security Administration website states that beginning in 1932, the Federal Government first made loans, then grants, to States to pay for direct relief and work relief. After that, special Federal emergency relief and public works programs were started. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed to Congress economic security legislation embodying the recommendations of a specially created Committee on Economic Security. There followed the passage of the Social Security Act, signed into law August 14, 1935.

The current Welfare program provides necessary food coupons, known as food stamps, and housing assistance, known as Section 8 programs, for low income families and those who are unable to earn a living because of health related issues, as well as monthly cash stipend to some recipients.

Because of the current welfare system which most observers believe has loopholes, there have been talks about reforming the welfare system for many years. In 1997 President Clinton took the initial step in reforming the welfare system with his initiatives of a Welfare-to-Work program. The Welfare-to-Work program was specifically designed to help provide welfare recipients with the needed recourses, training and skills, so that they may get jobs in the future and not continue to solely rely on the federal welfare system. In doing so, the program will help more welfare recipients to return to the workforce.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Welfare-to-Work program was tasked to encourage states to provide certain logistical support such as funding for transportation, vocational training, child care, and substance abuse treatment assistance for welfare recipients. However, many states have complained that they could not meet some of the requirements such as providing transportation and child care. Due to logistical and political reasons, the program abruptly ended in September 2004.

Some applauded the program while many thought that the program was designed to force people to work. In 2003, O’Neil of the New York Post wrote that politicians from both left and right perceive the Welfare to Work program as a success beyond expectations, but yet the program is nonetheless under political siege that requires it to reauthorize its basic component and it is now a year overdue and seems like it may never pass through Capitol Hill politics. In this article, O’Neil simply characterizes how some politicians from both left and right may say one thing, just to score some political points for future re-election purposes, but fail to fulfill their obligations and do the opposite.

President Clinton’s goal and purpose were to reform the Welfare system in order to better serve its purpose. He reinforced his rigorous commitment to provide welfare recipients with opportunities of attaining educational training and development that further help improve their knowledge and necessary skills in finding better paying jobs in the future and that help rid them from continually receiving welfare assistance.

However, when Bush came in the office in 2000, he had his own agendas such as the No Child Left Behind program, but not to make sure that the Welfare-to-Work program survives the political hurdle. It was also just a few months of him in office when the U.S. was hit by the act of terrorism in September 2001, and thereafter the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq followed in October 2001 and March 2003 respectively.

Thus, maintaining and continuing to fund certain programs such as the Welfare-to-Work program might not have been a priority for the U.S. government during these years of war on terror and the recession. The U.S. economy has been slowing down since the early part of 2000, and up to now, in the year 2008, the economy has really never recovered to the point where the government may want to include certain programs such as the Welfare-to-Work system in its monstrous budget to fight and combat terrorism.

The Welfare-to-Work program was designed to be a solution to the welfare system and to provide constructive benefits to the recipients. However, President Clinton’s plan collapsed because he and his advisors failed to study it more on how to make it work better, given its complex task and States’ requirement. An addition to the cause of its collapse, the House was mostly controlled by the Republican lawmakers who severely opposed and voted against most of President Clinton’s proposals.

Thus not having provided all the needed tools, recourses and funding might have helped to contribute to the collapse of the program. If it was well studied and developed, then it could have lasted for a long time to help provide better incentives to help some people and families from solely relying on the federal government welfare subsidies.

In the article “Welfare-to-Work Transition” by Jacqueline J. Kirby, which appeared in The Ohio State University’s Human Development and Family Life Bulletin, she describes the history and the after effects of the Welfare to Work program and used data and information from various sources to compare her argument such as the concern related to the inadequate federal regulations mandating matches in state funding, the lack of specific eligibility requirement for each state around the country, and no stated guidelines and specific requirements about how or where the money will be spent in each state. She depicts a program, which was implemented for a good intention but lack proper execution.

There are a few federal programs that are well-managed and strictly designed to make it hard or almost impossible for anyone to cheat or take advantages of them. Programs such as the educational Pell grant and some states have programs such as unemployment benefits, which have some of the best controlling programs designed to measure and check qualifications for anyone who may apply for either.

The educational Pell grant has two prominent and strict rules – felony and time cap for completing the first undergraduate degree. Under these rules, when someone applies for the federal financial aid, in order to qualify for the Pell grant, the applicant must not have a drug felony on his or her record and must graduate for the first undergraduate degree within eight years. If one applies for the financial aid and has a drug felony on his or her record, then that applicant will not be qualified to receive Pell grant for his or her education. Also, if the financial aid recipient does not graduate with his or her first undergraduate degree within eight years, then after eight years, he or she will not be eligible to receive a Pell grant.

For unemployment, when someone has been laid off work for any reason other than quitting or resigning, when that person applies to claim unemployment benefits for every week, then he or she must provide complete details of him or her looking for work for each week claimed. If he or she fails to look for a job, then he or she is not eligible to claim unemployment for that week or any other weeks he or she has not looked for a job.

These two programs work fine and they have tools and resources in place that help prevent fraud and make it hard for anyone to continually receive the benefits. They encourage their recipients to make sure that they must follow and abide by their strict rules in order to be eligible for their benefits. However, the current welfare system does not have a limit of how long someone can continue to receive welfare benefits.

In some European countries such as Denmark, the government provides their citizens with government income subsidies, but they have an incentive program that encourages the citizens to work or do anything that may generate income for their households. In the U.S., it is different. For as long as one is unemployed and has a reasonable excuse to convince welfare officials, then he or she can perfectly and safely have access to government sponsored (section eight) housing without ever having to worry about paying rent.

Therefore, if the Welfare-to-Work program is reformed to equally and efficiently serve the needs of both the federal government, the states, and the welfare recipients, then it will help more welfare recipients to find jobs, which in turn will help them to become productive and that will help increase the GDP. A portion of the money spent in the program can be used towards other social programs.

Reforming the Welfare system has been a subject that has been discussed by many pundits over the years, but putting it into action yields little. Even our current presidential candidates, McCain, Clinton, and Obama rarely talk about it. But it is one of many issues that need immediate attention.

It poses no fair compliment to those who get up each morning going to work, just to help fund the welfare system for those who simply chose not to work, because they just do not want to work for as long as the welfare system finances their well-being.

In an article titled “Reforming welfare with work” Gueron decries how our country has been debating the question of how well to redesign the welfare system, especially the federally supported welfare Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which is equipped and is tasked to provide them with cash assistance for single-female-parent households. Gueron questions whether the welfare program should be continued with focus on providing broad assistance or it should simply become a “reciprocal obligations” program, whereby recipients must be required to find work within a given time period.

There are many Jackies, Johns, and Helens in most neighborhoods around the U.S. Let’s reform the Welfare system in order to help rehabilitate and empower them, give them the necessary training and skills and put them to work in order for us to further strengthen our economy.
Work Cited

Welfare-to-Work (1996, June). U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved Wednesday, April 9, 2008, from

O’Neill, J. (2003, April 14). Welfare Reform Works. New York Post, pp.A11, A14.

Kirby, J. J. (1995). Welfare-to-Work Transition. The Ohio State University’s Human  Development and Family Life Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue 4, Winter 1995.  Retrieved Wednesday, April 9, 2008, from

Gueron, J. M. (1987). Reforming welfare with work. New York: Ford Foundation.