Geingob courts billions for green hydrogen

President Hage Geingob

President Hage Geingob has asked world leaders to invest billions into Namibia’s efforts to make its green hydrogen initiative a reality, as well as to build the necessary infrastructure.

He was speaking during the global renewables and energy efficiency pledge in Dubai on Saturday on the sidelines of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).

“Significant new infrastructure, such as ports, roads, railways, transmission lines and pipelines for water and hydrogen would have to be built. Together we would need to move billions of dollars to achieve this feat,” the president said.

Geingob said this after explaining Namibia’s green hydrogen activities and the policy decision to close the borders on the export of critical raw materials.

“Today we are exploring ways to use these minerals to manufacture battery precursors within our borders, adding value to our natural endowments, before exporting them and we are aiming to do so by deploying additional renewable energy,” he said.

On the nine green hydrogen projects in the country, Geingob said through these efforts the government is trying to diversify Namibia’s exports.

“To do this, Namibia would need to deploy more than 10 gigawatts of renewables in the next two decades – more than 30 times our existing generation capacity. This is our pledge today,” the president said.

He said Namibia’s ambition is to be positioned as a hub for renewable energy innovation, driving green industrialisation that creates jobs, fosters economic development and ensures energy access for all.

However, he also said last week that the country is unable to industrialise with its current relationship with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).

Not one of the five Sacu economies gets a fair cut of the revenue from the collective pool of trade tax, he said.

South Africa currently gets the largest share of the shared revenue.

All customs and excise duties collected in the common customs area are paid into the South African National Revenue Fund, after which it is shared among Sacu members.

Geingob also asked for advice on Namibia’s green energy ambitions along with its oil discoveries.

“Imagine being in a country that has discovered large quantities of oil. Yet, the same country is making huge investments in green hydrogen as part of its efforts to fight climate change. What would you do?” he asked.

On Friday, the president made it clear to world leaders that Namibia is ready to receive climate financing.

“Namibia has established the world’s first blended finance infrastructure fund that is ready to receive climate financing today to facilitate the necessary action we need,” he said.

Geingob said climate change is a “formidable” challenge for Namibia in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as he invited world leaders to provide the country with climate financing through the SDG Namibia One Fund.

“For a drought-prone country like Namibia, climate change stands as a formidable obstacle in achieving the SDGs,” the president said before mentioning the fund.

Namibia has a blended finance infrastructure fund managed by NH2 fund managers, an infrastructure asset manager to be established between the Namibian and Dutch governments.

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