EU-Namibia Business Forum Focuses on Green Hydrogen

European Union and Namibian officials are convening in Brussels this week to hold a business forum centered on the development of Namibia’s emerging “green hydrogen” sector.

Green hydrogen is being promoted as a clean alternative to carbon-based fuels such as coal and oil, which are associated with contributing to global warming and ozone layer depletion.

Namibia currently lacks the infrastructure to establish a green hydrogen market, but it has received grants from the European Union, including its member nation Germany, to lay the foundation for meeting EU demand for this clean fuel.

However, some critics view this green energy plan as a form of “colonialism” in which Africa supplies Europe with its best resources while the continent remains underdeveloped. The concern is that resources extracted from Africa would be used in Europe’s industrialization, perpetuating a historical pattern of resource exploitation.

Ndumba Kamwanya, a political analyst, expressed these concerns, particularly regarding Namibia’s plans to supply Europe with green hydrogen and critical rare earth metals like lithium, which are essential for the global energy transition. Kamwanya argues that Namibia has its own energy needs that should be addressed.

He stated, “It is concerning that Namibia does not have expertise and technology; all these can be used to influence the process but also to extract resources to European countries at the expense of Namibians, in particular local people, yah! We have to guard against green colonization, which is a new form of colonizing Africans.”

Nangula Uauandja, CEO of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), which is involved in organizing the forum, emphasized Namibia’s strategy for local production and utilization of green hydrogen byproducts, including excess water, ammonia, and brine. She highlighted the need to industrialize Namibia using the green economy, reduce resource transportation, and process resources where the energy is located.

Namibian government officials stated that they are working on legislation to ensure that resources primarily benefit the local economy before considering exports. They also cited Zimbabwe’s recent decision to ban the export of raw lithium as an example of prioritizing local needs.

The EU-Namibia business forum is part of the European Union Global Gateway Forum being held in Brussels. The EU is Namibia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 26% of Namibia’s exports. This economic bloc also serves as a major market for Namibia’s fish, meat, and grapes. According to 2021 figures released by the Namibia Statistics Agency, Namibian exports were valued at one billion dollars, while imports from the EU to Namibia were estimated at 600 million dollars. [Your News Platform] will continue to monitor developments related to this forum.

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