European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen and President of Namibia Hage Geingob have endorsed the roadmap for the EU–Namibia strategic partnership on sustainable raw materials value chains and renewable hydrogen, supported by €1 billion in investments by the EU, its member states and European financial institutions.
To remind, In November 2022, Namibia and the EU signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) establishing a strategic partnership on sustainable raw materials value chains and renewable hydrogen.
EC said the endorsed operational roadmap (2023–2025) details the concrete actions in which the partnership will advance its goals, adding that the actions in the roadmap follow the six pillars of the MoU:
- integration of value chains, including by working with the industry to identify, promote and facilitate cooperation in the exploration and commercial development of critical raw material projects;
- cooperation to leverage environmental, social and governance criteria, including by mapping and assessing abandoned mines and supporting Namibia in using ‘Earth Observation’ and remote sensing methods for resource exploration, land use planning and management;
- mobilizing funding for soft and hard infrastructure, including for selected mining, refining and mineral green processing projects (water, rail, renewable energy) and for the upgrade of main transport corridors (port, rail, roads).
- capacity building, training and skills development, including identifying training and skills needs along the raw material and green hydrogen value chains and enhancing the relevant technical and vocational training offer by ‘Team Europe’ in cooperation with the industry;
- cooperation on research and innovation, including facilitating studies and joint research projects and research and business networking along the entire critical raw material value chain; and
- regulatory alignment, including supporting Namibia in developing a national strategy for critical raw materials and enacting a synthetic fuels act to create an enabling environment for hydrogen and synthetic fuels industry, and ensure compatibility with international green fuels, certification and standards.
EC President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Thanks to its abundant renewable energy potential, Namibia is becoming a front-runner in the green hydrogen space. The EU is proud to be a partner in this transformative journey towards green industrialization. Together we can further decarbonize our economies, create jobs and ensure a more prosperous and greener future for our societies.”
President of Namibia Hage Geingob stated: “Namibia recognizes that its world-class renewable energy resources provide a strong foundation upon which we will build a sustainable and impactful green industrial base. Namibia is also cognisant that to fully capture the opportunity at hand, we will have to mobilize fit-for-purpose capital that appropriately prices risk in order to optimize the cost of said capital. This is a key element that will form the cornerstone of this transformative partnership with the EU.”
Additionally, the EU will support an upcoming study for the development of the Port of Walvis Bay into an industrial and logistics hub for the region, contributing to its integration and economic development. To note, the Walvis Bay port is the entry point from the Atlantic side to the Walvis Bay-Maputo Corridor, one of the eleven strategic corridors the EU said it envisages to support as part of the ‘EU-Africa Global Gateway Investment Package.’
EC said its location makes it a natural gateway for international trade to the Southern African development community, adding that with the EU support, the Port of Antwerp and Bruges International will develop a masterplan that covers multimodal infrastructure, spatial planning and market organization for the Port of Walvis Bay to carry out this transformation and become a regional logistics and industrial hub for the green hydrogen and derivatives economy. Additionally, the EU will support the Namibian Ports Authority in achieving operational excellence.
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, commented: “The expansion of the Port of Walvis Bay to cater for the development of the emerging green hydrogen industry is a demonstration of mutually beneficial ‘Global Gateway’ cooperation. We are strengthening sustainable value chains and strategic transport corridors in Africa and delivering on the green and digital transitions in both Namibia and the EU.”