European Union commissioner for internal market, Thierry Breton, has confirmed the willingness of the EU to support Namibia in further developing a home-grown extractive, refining and recycling industry for raw materials. The EU is also ready to assist Namibia in expanding its green hydrogen production capacity.
Breton made these remarks in Windhoek last week during a roundtable discussion on the recently-established EU-Namibia partnership on sustainable critical raw materials’ value chains and renewable hydrogen.
“Namibia is an important partner for the EU, and we want to work together on solutions to global challenges. Our new strategic partnership on raw materials and green hydrogen is a crucial part of our cooperation. This will encourage Namibia’s sustainable growth and development, while bringing added value for the local economy by creating new jobs, infrastructure and other opportunities,” he added.
The EU-Namibia partnership was agreed on at COP27 in Egypt on 8 November 2022 by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Namibian President Hage Geingob.
The roundtable discussion focused on the opportunities and challenges of this new EU-Namibia partnership, and identified key elements in the roadmap.
It aims to ensure the development of a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, refined materials and renewable hydrogen to support the green and digital transformation of both Namibia and the European Union.
At the same occasion, EU commissioner for international partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “This new partnership is embedded in a global gateway, the EU’s strategy for trusted and sustainable connections with our partner countries, and will fast-track the EU and Namibia’s joint green and energy transition. The development of the green hydrogen and critical raw materials’ value chains will be truly transformative for our societies. In Namibia, one of its principal aims is to promote local value- addition: creating stable and skilled jobs, as well as sparking investments in infrastructure and transport”.
Local value-addition remains a challenge for Namibia, where the majority of its natural resources are still being exported in raw or minimally processed forms. This, the pundits argue, continues to create valuable jobs in other countries.
Meanwhile, mines minister Tom Alweendo noted that this is a welcome partnership in which the EU will significantly help Namibia in alleviating unemployment and persistent poverty.
International news agency Reuters last year reported on Namibia’s possible hydrogen deal with the EU.
“Hydrogen has long been touted as a less emissions-heavy alternative to fossil fuels. But while it has seen some uptake in the EU, chiefly in heavy industry and transportation, high costs and a lack of infrastructure have limited consumption, and the fuel covers just 2% of the bloc’s energy needs,” Reuters stated at the