Namibia signs green deal with EU

Jemima Beukes
Namibia and the European Union (EU) signed a strategic partnership at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt.

The agreement - for the development of a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials, refined materials and renewable hydrogen – is set to support the green and digital transformation of the partners' economies.

EU president Ursula von der Leyen said this heralds a new era and will not only create jobs for Namibia, but will benefit all parties involved.

“You have the resources in abundance and if we team up and find the right team to develop and invest in the infrastructure, this would be a big win-win situation for all of us.

“We want to reach our climate goals; we want to preserve nature; we want to fight climate change and have clean energy, and you have the resources all year round,” she said.

The EU and Namibia have further committed to develop an operational road map for 2023-2024 for the realisation of concrete joint actions within six months of signing the agreement.

According to an EU statement, these actions are to be carried out in close cooperation with relevant industrial and financial stakeholders from its member states and Namibia.

Billion-dollar loan

Meanwhile, Namibia has also signed a joint declaration with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to deepen cooperation in support of renewable energy, including renewable hydrogen.

“The EIB and Namibia will work towards the implementation of a loan by EIB Global to the government of Namibia of up to €500 million [N$9 billion]. The loan will allow for long-term sustainable projects and investments,” a statement read.

It also highlighted that the EU needs to secure a sustainable supply of raw materials, especially critical raw materials, as an essential prerequisite for delivering on its green and clean energy objectives, and has already started working to build partnerships with resource-rich third countries.

Last Friday in Windhoek, Namibia launched its green hydrogen strategy, which aims to set the stage to build the country into a world-class green hydrogen exporter hub. It would look at overland transmission lines to supply electricity to the port and processing facilities at Angra and the Namibian grid, with the option of supplying the South African grid.

Other distribution options include water infrastructure, desalination units and pipelines to source water for electrolysis as well as hydrogen pipelines to pump hydrogen produced at any location in the Southern Corridor Development Initiative (SCDI) to the port of Lüderitz for export.

Thousands of jobs

An estimated 85 000 direct jobs are expected to be created by 2030 and 185 000 by 2040, largely in the construction, business services, transportation and durable manufacturing industries, while an additional 60 000 indirect jobs are expected from additional spending in the economy by 2030, rising to 130 000 in 2040.

Notably, the strategy stipulated that policies and laws would have to be relaxed to allow for the entry of immigration workers, regarded an important source of highly skilled labour to capacitate locals during the start-up of the country’s green hydrogen project.

It is believed an at-scale hydrogen industry could grow Namibia’s economy with an estimated N$73.8 billion by 2030, 32% more than the estimated gross domestic product (GDP) without a hydrogen industry, while N$109.8 billion growth is expected by 2040.

Namibia’s ambitious green hydrogen project will be driven by Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, which obtained a 40-year concession for more than 4 000 square-kilometres of land to develop the N$169.2 billion project in the south of the country.

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