In an era where climate change poses a global challenge, Namibia is emerging as a champion in fighting the discourse, offering innovative solutions in the realm of decarbonisation through green hydrogen. The spokesperson of the Namibian Presidency, Alfredo Hengari, said these efforts could potentially serve as a silver lining in the country’s quest for prosperity, and as a catalyst for mitigating its economic crisis.
What the press secretary sees is a strong foundation for a successful country.
Hengari made these remarks during an interview with New Era during which he gave an update on Namibia’s representation in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which took place last month.
Namibia has grappled with an economic recession since 2015, a crisis compounded by a crippling drought and the disruptive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These challenging years, he noted, have tested the reign of President Hage Geingob.
Amidst adversity, Hengari offers a message of hope, emphasising that while the past may have been marked by difficulties, there is cause for optimism.
“Green hydrogen is now an important engine of growth for our country. Investments are being realised,” he said optimistically.
He furthermore highlighted that Namibia is emerging as a hub for green energy, and a pivotal player in the energy transition. “That is in addition to our country being formally qualified as an important oil and gas frontier. That provides a lot of ground for optimism for Namibians in terms of the growth prospects of the country, and importantly, the impact that these developments are having in terms of opportunities and the fight against poverty.”
As he continued to champion the prospects of prosperity, Hengari expressed, “In fact, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” substantiating this claim with last year’s economic growth rate of 4.6%.
He pointed out that this was achieved against a backdrop of stagnant growth due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and highlighted that this year’s projected growth rate stands at 3.5%, which is a positive indicator of the trajectory Namibia is following.
Furthermore, he predicted that once the country enters the phase of green hydrogen, oil and gas production, the growth rate will substantially increase.
In the update, Hengari also addressed issues surrounding genocide, which the head of state delved into during his deliberations.
During a public lecture at the Paris Institute of Political Studies last month at which reconciliation between Germany and Namibia was discussed, Geingob said, “Reconciliation of Germany and Namibia is there. We have diplomatic relations, we have peace. This genocide happened how many years ago? Over 100 years ago.
“After that, the South Africans took over. They were worse, and then Swapo started to fight to free the country.”
However, these comments sparked significant controversy in the public sphere, leading to disappointment expressed by politicians and traditional leaders.
Clarifying the issue, Hengari said the narrative surrounding Geingob’s purported comparison of the apartheid government to genocide is being exploited to foster division among Namibians.
“There are those who are trying to instrumentalise the genocide to divide Namibians, and that is not the space where President Geingob is”, he asserted.
According to Hengari, Geingob has consistently advocated for the unity of the Namibian people, a theme he also explored in his 2004 dissertation as a scholar.
“The president explicitly condemns the brutality of the German colonial regime. He has been consistent in his condemnation of what he describes as the most brutal form of colonialism”, he noted.
In essence, Hengari underscored Geingob’s message, which is emphasising unity and calling upon the people to remain vigilant against tribalism.
As things stand, Germany has only proffered projects worth 1.1 billion euros (N$18 billion) in seven identified regions as reparations for genocide.
However, Namibia, through its genocide negotiation team, approached Germany to relook the widely-rejected tentative reparations agreement.
However, negotiations still linger.
Asked about the matter, Hengari said conversations on the matter are still ongoing.
“I think it’s also important to remind fellow Namibians that the president has a full agenda. There are so many issues he is dealing with, not only genocide, which is obviously also important” he noted.
Caption: Optimistic…Spokesperson of the presidency, Alfredo Hengari, is optimistic about the future.
Photo: Emmency Nuukala