For many years, residents of Impalila Island were facing various challenges like many other rural communities in the Zambezi region and the country at large. One of these challenges included a lack of electricity.
Some who could afford opted to use solar energy, while others who are less fortunate resorted to firewood for cooking. However, this will be something of the past following the official inauguration of the Impalila rural electrification project by President Hage Geingob yesterday.
The N$23.5 million project connected three villages, namely Mbalasinte, Kasika and Impalila.
The President urged the regional, local and traditional leadership of Impalila Island at the eastern tip of the country to guard the resources provided to them with “pride”.
The construction of the 60-kilometre overhead line, which starts at Ivilivinzi up to Impalila Island, connecting the localities of Mbalasinte and Kasika, has ensured that these communities are
not left behind.
“Electrifying this area will bring about significant growth to local communities. The people of Impalila and surrounding areas will now be able to increase the number of hours in which they can undertake economic
activities,” Geingob said.
“The electrification of this area will benefit businesses and boost the tourism industry that has been negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, the benefits are numerous,” he added.
Government is committed to addressing the needs of all communities in the country, through short-to-medium and long-term plans, a commitment Geingob reiterated is captured in the Harambee Prosperity Plan II and the National Development Plan 5, as a means to ultimately achieve Vision 2030.
“The electrification of all regions and areas within the country will contribute greatly towards meeting the goals we have set ourselves as a nation”.
Namibia’s rural electrification programme is part of the government’s economic development policy to expand the electricity supply infrastructure to rural areas to improve the socio-economic conditions of Namibian citizens, and to create the necessary incentives for economic development in the targeted areas.
As a means of accelerating the country’s economic growth and development, Namibia has decided to venture into the new sector of green hydrogen, and aims to attract private sector investment for this initiative.
Government recently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the feasibility of the Green Hydrogen Project.
Geingob noted that two sites have been identified for the project, and depending on the confirmation of feasibility, the initiative has the potential to attract over N$7 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the coming years.
Furthermore, the initiative will produce over 20 000 jobs during construction phase one.
Hyphen Hydrogen Energy was awarded the bid to conduct a feasibility study for the production of green hydrogen and related products in the country.
“They will focus on providing green hydrogen and green ammonia products to local and global markets,” the President said.
Geingob observed that through this project, they are showing the world that Namibia is serious to decarbonise as it joins the globe to contribute towards minimising carbon emissions and play a part to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This further demonstrates Namibia’s commitment towards the SDGs as the world is steadily making progress towards meeting Goal 7, which is aimed at access to affordable and clean
Meanwhile, Nampower managing director Kahenge Haulofu stated that the project, which was commissioned in September 2019, was supposed to have been completed in November 2020. However, due to flood challenges and Covid-19, it was only completed in September this year.
“The project team had to readjust its plans as the project progressed as they were at the mercy of nature and its extreme conditions,” he explained.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Masubia Ngambela Albius Kamwi said the electrification of the three villages is being embraced with two hands, as it will bring much-needed development to the residents. He also called on government to fast-track the plans to construct the road that will link Impalila Island to the mainland.
Impalila is bound on the north by the waters of the Zambezi River, and on the south by the Chobe River. It is home to between 2 500 to 3 000 people in 25 small villages.