A marathon Cabinet meeting yesterday directed Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to assess the impending drought situation in the country, with a view to proactively address it.
This is despite already having directed Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to extend the drought relief programme to the tune of N$121 million to Kunene, as well as parts of Erongo and Omusati.
The programme runs until May 2024, according to existing criteria.
The latest development was revealed by President Hage Geingob, who was fresh from a Cabinet meeting, before meeting British high commissioner to Namibia, Charles Moore at State House.
“It (the drought situation) is serious. We were just discussing it now. The prime minister must start to assess (the situation),” Geingob told the diplomat before rhetorically stating if it was up to them, they would only allow it to rain when it is needed as most rainwater goes to waste.
Geingob was seemingly referring to floods that engulfed certain parts of northern Namibia earlier this year.
On his part, Moore said he is fully aware of the impending crisis facing Namibia, adding there is not much countries can do to prevent certain climatic changes.
“It’s hard because you can’t control the climate. You can’t control the weather. You can only react,” Moore said, sympathising with his host nation.
Namibia, particularly the northern communal areas, face an impending drought, so much so that some farmers and unions have called for a State of Emergency to be declared.
Even Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu recently requested Geingob to declare the State of Emergency over the devastating situation that has gripped northern parts of the country.
“We have a food security crisis. So, can we look at maybe declaring drought in the country,” Sampofu proposed to Geingob.
Yesterday Moore also delivered an invitation to Geingob for the UK-Africa Investment Summit slated for April 2024.
The British high commissioner told Geingob it is Namibia’s time to shine and that the summit will present a multitude of investment opportunities for Namibia, particularly in the much-hyped green hydrogen space.
He also informed the head of State that the invitation is evidence that his concerted efforts to market the Namibian brand are in fact paying off.
He also credited the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) and green hydrogen commissioner James Mnyupe, for their roles in putting Namibia on the global map.
According to Moore, British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, is “personally keen to invite Namibia” to the investment indaba.
“I spent a lot of time trying to promote Namibia. There are a lot of promotion opportunities… I’ve made a contribution from my side. There will be a focus on all investment opportunities in Namibia, but specifically on green hydrogen… I see this as Namibia’s time to shine. You are one of the most credible countries with green hydrogen plants,” Moore said.
This, he added, would “kickstart trade and investment relationships” between Namibia and the UK.
He also hastened to add most investment opportunities are tailored in such a way that they are beneficial to Namibia, in an 80:20 ratio, with the latter going to the investor, which is the UK in this case.
Geingob, who has managed crises since ascending to the presidency, ranging from commodity prices meltdown, persistent droughts and Covid-19, agreed with the diplomat, saying he looks into the future with optimism.