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Home / Namibia and EU draw up roadmap for sustainability…as upcoming business forum aims to add value to raw materials

Namibia and EU draw up roadmap for sustainability…as upcoming business forum aims to add value to raw materials

2023-05-11  Maihapa Ndjavera

Namibia and EU draw up roadmap for sustainability…as upcoming business forum aims to add value to raw materials

Maihapa Ndjavera

The European Union (EU) and Namibia are devising a strategic plan for the implementation of an agreement the two parties signed to detail a way forward for sustainable raw material value chains and renewable hydrogen. This is according to the EU ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila. 

The agreement was signed by President Hage Geingob and EU President Ursula von den Leyen in November last year. 

Antila made the remarks on Tuesday during Europe Day celebrations in Windhoek. The day is celebrated annually on 9 May. Europeans celebrate peace and unity on the day as it marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman Declaration’, which was presented by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950. Antila hosted her fourth and last Europe Day celebration in Namibia as her contract with the EU external affairs service is ending soon. 

“This partnership will support Namibia in using its mineral resources to underpin sustainable, clean and inclusive economic growth and to add value locally to Namibian mineral raw materials. Similarly, renewable hydrogen can support the decarbonisation of industry, transport, power generation and buildings,” said Antila at an event well-attended by senior government officials, academia and civil society representatives, among others. At the event, international relations and cooperation minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said the signing of the agreement by Geingob and Von der Leyen helped to cement the partnership while focusing on furthering cooperation in the areas of renewable hydrogen and sustainable raw material value chains. In remarks delivered on her behalf by urban and rural development deputy minister, Nathalia /Goagoses, Nandi-Ndaitwah noted the agreement also supports both the EU and Namibia’s climate ambitions and ensures value is added to the local economy.

Antila added there is a need to make this ambition a reality, both in Europe and in Africa. The ambassador said that the Team Europe Initiative on inclusive green growth is bringing together the resources of EU institutions, including those of development finance institutions and EU member states, to implement this partnership that forms a flagship of EU Global Gateway investments in Africa.  Team Europe Initiatives focuses on identifying critical priorities that constrain development in a given country or region, where a coordinated and coherent effort by Europeans would ensure results with a transformative impact.

“Skills development is required to realise the Namibian aspirations of becoming a hub for renewable hydrogen in Africa. Education and skills have remained a prominent part of the EU-Namibia cooperation before and throughout my four years here,” Antila noted.

Listing some of the regional EU programmes Namibia is also benefitting from, Antila said the country is partaking in the strategic development with support to the Walvis Bay/Luderitz-Maputo corridor as well as the integrated conservation and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) for a sustainable blue economy.

Nandi-Ndaitwah also stated the EU has become one of the biggest trading partners of Namibia, with bilateral trade last year of over US$1.39 billion.

“Namibia has positioned itself to become a leading green hydrogen producer as part of its commitment towards achieving significant reductions in emissions by creating renewable energy produced with wind and solar power. The European Union has reconfirmed its support of Namibia and its commitment to helping the country expand its green hydrogen production capacity,” Nandi-Ndaitwah added. 

Business forum

Meanwhile, the EU ambassador was quick to point out that the EU remains an important trade partner for Namibia. Trade and investments, she noted are therefore at the core of work that needs to be done. 

“We are preparing the EU-Namibia business forum in Brussels this year, as a follow-up to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) trade forum that we organised here at the end of October last year. I am calling for EU-Namibia business and investment partnerships to participate in this event to reach jointly sustainable, smart green, inclusive economic growth,” the outgoing ambassador implored.  

Moreover, Nandi-Ndaitwah called on EU and Namibian businesses to take advantage of the upcoming forum and to become part of what she termed “the reimagining for sustainable economic growth in order to build a partnership that responds to the aspirations of young people to be able to build a solid multilateral institution for the benefit of people across the world”.

2023-05-11  Maihapa Ndjavera

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