We are the future of energy

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HE Hage G Geingob

Namibia launched its second Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPPII) in March 2021.

The country is in the process of developing a green and blue economy, as articulated in the economic promotion pillar of the plan.

By electrifying key parts of its economy, the Namibian government will drive unprecedented economic activity and growth for citizens.

In March 2021, as I launched Namibia’s second Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPPII), I reflected on the need to underscore the importance of multilateralism in our efforts to foster a sustainable economic recovery.

Namibia’s policy on international relations and cooperation is rooted in multilateralism because our very independence was the product of international solidarity. We are a nation that has been a midwife by the United Nations. It is for this reason that when we developed our green economic stimulus plan; we knew he had to build a more sustainable future for our children and their children.

Namibia is a small, open economy that is affected by independent intervention variables, including climate change and its disruptive consequences.

Our economy is heavily dependent on the agricultural sector, which employs over 20% of our workforce.

Namibia experiences recurring droughts, the most recent of which was recorded as the worst in history. These droughts may be linked to climate change which, according to the 2021 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is unequivocally a man-made phenomenon. Therefore, Namibians must play a role in shaping solutions to climate change, not only for the good of our citizens, but indeed for the world community as a whole.

As a result, Namibia stands ready to tackle climate change, establishing a green economy that will boost our economic recovery as envisioned for African countries by African heads of state at the launch of the Continental Recovery Action Plan. African Union Green.

In this context, we have ambitious plans to develop green and blue economies, as articulated in the pillar of economic advancement of our HPPII.

The feasibility of these plans is underscored by the abundant availability of sunlight throughout the year and the proximity of billions of cubic meters of seawater and vast marine resources in the Atlantic Ocean.

We have the potential to capture around 10 hours of strong sunlight per day for 300 days per year. As a result, Namibia has one of the highest solar irradiation potentials of any country in Africa, which is sufficient to provide electricity to our people and our neighbors.

It is with this potential in mind that we entered into a partnership with the governments of Botswana and the United States – under the auspices of USAID’s Power Africa – which resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. intention in April 2021.

With the support of the global community, we intend to use the abundance of sunlight to generate solar energy for our own benefit and for our neighbors.

Solar power generation will complement the portfolio of green energy available in Namibia, such as hydropower, which already constitutes more than two-thirds of our installed electric capacity.

Electrifying key parts of our economy and our neighbors will drive unprecedented economic activity and growth for Namibia and southern Africa.

Green hydrogen

It is well known that clean electricity is not available in sufficient quantity to adequately meet global demand.

This challenge was highlighted in the Net Zero by 2050 report released by the International Energy Association (IEA), which noted that sectors that are difficult to reduce – like cement, steel and chemicals, road trucking, container transport and aviation – will need greening. hydrogen if the world is to stay on track to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Namibia is better placed in terms of resources and has the political will to respond to this bugle call.

To produce green hydrogen competitively, a country would need world-class transmission infrastructure, international port facilities, world-class wind and solar resources, access to sustainable sources of water potable (without displacing existing consumers), lots of land and a conducive legislative environment.

These are all ingredients that Namibia has.

Already our country is home to the largest desalination plant in southern Africa, which means the conditions for producing abundant clean water in a desert country are right.

Once Namibia successfully incubates the green hydrogen economy, this will allow the country to become an energy supplier rather than an importer. Judging by the magnitude of the initial proposals submitted to Namibia by interested investors, these renewable projects, relative to the size of the Namibian economy, will greatly transform the Namibian economy.

Currently, at its peak, the economy consumes around 640 megawatts of electricity per year as proposals presented to the government involve investments that could produce 10 times that peak generating capacity over the next 10 years.

But Namibians won’t have to wait until 2030 to start reaping the benefits of our Green Revolution as construction of the pilot plants will begin within the next 12 months.

New frontier

The infrastructure required for electricity trading already exists.

About 40 percent of Namibia’s electricity currently comes from South Africa and is mainly powered by coal-fired power plants. We imagine a reality where Namibia exports clean energy to South Africa, thus helping the southern African region to decarbonize.

Namibia also has world-class port infrastructure in the towns of Luderitz to the south and Walvis Bay to the east.

Renewable electricity and green hydrogen and its derivatives offer Namibia a real opportunity to attract significant foreign direct investment, create well-paying jobs, further diversify its export basket and improve its terms of the exchange.

Therefore, the development of a green and blue economy, as well as a green hydrogen industry, are some of the cornerstones of HPPII.

As Namibia embarks on this new frontier, it is imperative that its vision of shared prosperity at the national, regional and global levels is realized.

This means that we do not neglect those who do not have access to political and economic power today, nor exclude those who currently depend on carbonaceous fuels.

COVID-19 has already widened the existing chasm of inequality, a scourge Namibia knows all too well.

With a Gini coefficient of 59.1, inequality is an enemy we have sworn to fight.

That is why, even in these difficult fiscal times, we have decided to create a sovereign wealth fund, to ensure that current and future generations will enjoy balanced and equal access to Namibia’s wealth for many years to come. years to come.

Namibia also has a sophisticated capital market – the second deepest on the continent – which can absorb project bonds, green bonds and durable bonds.

Namibian citizens’ contractual and collective savings amount to over 100 percent of our GDP and are ready to be deployed alongside funds from interested investors.

In addition to capital, our higher education institutions are in the process of setting up a national green hydrogen research institute, to ensure that the necessary research and development is carried out here at home. This will allow Namibians to take ownership of the value chain as much as possible.

Namibia is uniquely positioned to become the continent’s renewable energy hub and we are determined to play a leading role in illustrating how environmentally friendly business practices can be profitable and transformative businesses.

As glaciers recede, forest fires spread and sea levels rise, climate change is at the forefront of concerns for our world leaders. Sustainable finance can change the structure of economies bold enough to offer a healthy portfolio of investment opportunities, aligned with the global ‘build back better’ agenda.

To this end, we encourage developed countries and multilateral finance hunches to find innovative ways to deploy affordable capital consistent with the scientific urgency of achieving global carbon neutrality goals.

His Excellency Dr Hage G Geingob is the President of the Republic of Namibia

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