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The Green Hydrogen Commissioner states that discussions surrounding green hydrogen in Namibia have progressed beyond mere conversation. It is now necessary for Namibia to develop a plan for a green industrial agenda, focusing on production and the establishment of new industries.

During an interview on NBC's Talk of the Nation program, James Mnyupe mentioned that Namibia has made significant progress in the development of green hydrogen, which has demonstrated positive potential for the country.

Currently, there are eight other projects in Namibia related to the green industry in general. This is why we are shifting our focus beyond hydrogen alone. For example, there is a client in Erongo who intends to produce hydrogen to create iron ore. This will happen later this year. In July, Daures plans to begin production of ammonia and green tomatoes. Furthermore, on April 29th, we will receive a high-level delegation from Belgium to launch Africa's first hydrogen station and fuel the first hydrogen vehicle.

Mnyupe also mentioned that they are in the process of developing a blueprint for the green industry. Once approved by the cabinet, this blueprint will address the social inequalities in Namibia.

I am emphasizing that this blueprint is being presented to the cabinet in order to gain approval and become part of the party manifestos. It is crucial that this vision is owned by Namibia, so that even if the Landless People's Movement (LPM) or any other party comes into power, they will continue to implement it. If LPM comes into power, they will implement it in the Kharas region. If IPC comes into power, they will implement it in Erongo. The vision should encompass all of Namibia.

He also revealed that they are currently conducting environmental impact assessments to ensure that the Hyphen project adheres to environmental standards.

When we visited the International Finance Cooperation in Washington, they provided us with specific standards for green hydrogen in a biodiversity setting, such as the Tsau park. We need to comply with these standards. The IFC is leading the environmental impact assessment, and they are analyzing various aspects of the project. Different entities within the World Bank Group are also exploring ways to support Namibia in conducting a strategic environmental and social assessment of that area.

In the meantime, the Deputy Executive Director in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade disclosed that they are in the process of formulating legislation and a regulatory framework for the safety and standard aspects of the green hydrogen industry.

We need to identify which quality and safety standards from around the world we should adopt. This determination will influence the rest of the production process and the required infrastructure quality. We are collaborating closely with our German partners to build capacity and establish a safety standard for hydrogen in Namibia.

Despite the progress made, Mnyupe highlighted areas of concern.

My main concern is the lack of necessary skills. We need to conduct a diagnostic analysis to identify the skills we require, what we can provide, what needs improvement, and what skills we need to import to Namibia.

The pace of progress is not satisfactory; there is a lack of urgency. As a policy maker, I don't believe I have the skills to handle the complexities of this industry. We need to enhance our skills at all levels, and as a country, we need to pick up the pace.

In terms of economic development for the people, there is room for improvement, especially when considering the levels of inequality in our society. We must address this issue and ensure that the benefits of green hydrogen extend to those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. We need to act swiftly to tackle inequality, as it is a pressing reality in our country.

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Photo Credits
Windhoek Observer

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Author
July Nafuka