Due to its strategic location, the capital of the Zambezi region, Katima Mulilo, is emerging as a catalyst for reducing greenhouse emissions and contributing to targets of the recently ended United Nations climate conference, COP26.
Katima is pretty much at the centre of an integrated transport system emanating from the port of Walvis Bay that provides landlocked SADC countries access to transatlantic markets.
As such, these trade corridors link Namibia with Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
As these corridors are perfectly positioned to service two-way trade between the SADC region and Europe, North and South America, and emerging markets in the East, it can also provide a crucial link for SADC countries to transition from coal and other fossil fuels to burning less harmful natural gas and other renewable options.
According to Silinda Mubonenwa from the economic development department of the Katima Mulilo Town Council, the town has ample land available for investment in creating a trade hub for the region.
“The idea is to establish a depot at Katima Mulilo to distribute goods, including all types of fuel, to neighbouring countries,” Mubonenwa told New Era yesterday.
Now, Katima Mulilo is being touted by emerging business people as well as Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) member Lynnette Malipa as a logistics hub.
Malipa, a full-time transport inspector, also recently pledged to turn the Katima Mulilo Urban constituency into a logistics and tourism hub, since it is a gateway to landlocked SADC countries.
As of 2018, the total consumption from natural gas in Africa amounted to roughly 5 258 billion cubic feet, with north Africa consuming most of this.
However, as sub-Saharan African nations transition from fossil fuels to renewables, many opt for gas – a less harmful option.
This is particularly more relevant, as the outcome of COP26 calls on countries to report their progress towards more climate ambition next year at COP27.
The United Nations reports that the outcome also firms up the global agreement to accelerate action on climate this decade.
By other terms of the wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that make up the outcome of COP26, governments were, among other things, asked to provide tighter deadlines for updating their plans to reduce emissions such as from diesel and coal.
UN estimates show that currently, 789 million people in Africa do not have access to clean cooking fuel – and more than 535 million have no access to electrification.
“These grim figures diminish the progress made on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and certainly the SDG7 of ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’. And the pressure on African countries is mounting to curtail investment in natural gas as part of the energy transition.
This is despite the fact that when it comes to CO2 emissions, sub-Saharan Africa is collectively responsible for barely half a per cent of all global emissions,” said Yury Sentyurin, secretary general of the Gas Exporting Countries (GECF) Forum.
Speaking at the recent African Energy Week, the representative of the 18-nation association of the world’s largest gas producers emphasised that communities in Africa deserve access to sustainable modern energy, such as natural gas, and become an integral part of the global movement to eradicate energy poverty.
The latest data indicates Africa is bestowed with numerous natural resources, including vast reserves of natural gas.
Countries in Africa account for 8% of global gas reserves, 6% of global marketed production, and 7% of global gas exports.
However, they account only for 4% of global gas consumption.
It is forecasted that Africa is to witness the highest growth rate in natural gas among all regions of the world at nearly 150% up to 2050.