Namibia: Statement by President Geingob at the Global Gateway Forum

Brussels — Director of Ceremonies;Your Excellency, Dr Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission;Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government; Ladies and gentlemen;

I am pleased to be here at the Inaugural Global Gateway Forum and to give remarks at this Leaders Session on the Green Energy Transition and Green Hydrogen.

Last year, at COP27 in Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt, the President of the European Commission, Her Excellency Ursula Von Der Leyen and I met. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen our joint efforts in developing Green Hydrogen and Critical Raw Materials. During our bilateral meeting yesterday, President Von Der Leyen and I further discussed how Namibia and the EU shall continue to work together to carve out a pathway to realise sustainable development for our respective economies.

As we continue to dream and to work for a better tomorrow, it is clear that Namibia has the necessary resource endowments. Together, we are confident that the vision could turn into reality in our lifetime. It is clear that neither party will settle for the trading in unprocessed commodities between one another anymore. Therefore, value addition to Namibia’s natural resources and technology transfer are key priority areas of focus in our pathway.

Ladies and gentlemen,

According to the Namibian Green Hydrogen Strategy, global demand for hydrogen and its derivatives is expected to soar from an estimated 140 million tons per annum in 2030, to 660 million tons per annum in 2050. In other words, the global market for these green molecules compels us to act with speed.

Namibia has world-class renewable energy sources and well-developed infrastructure. More important, Namibia has an Effective Governance Architecture that is buttressed by processes, systems and institutions. Therefore, Namibia is well positioned to help fill the anticipated global and European hydrogen demand- supply gap and lower the cost of the net-zero transition. However, natural endowments and infrastructure alone will not suffice.

As we head to Dubai for COP28, President Von Der Leyen and I agreed that it is vital for Namibia and the EU to focus its energy and efforts on a few critical areas to realize the potential of the pathway that was crafted in Egypt. For starters, local skills development, with a particular emphasis on vocational training, will be a critical feature of our partnership.

Additionally, during the EU-Namibia Business Forum yesterday, we received very clear feedback from the project developers from both Namibia and the EU. All of them called for the need for an appropriately crafted and targeted, off-take support mechanisms.

Lastly, ensuring that we are looking to create robust supply chains that allow for the effective trade in goods that have benefited from value addition, it is necessary to ensure that our mutual economies are given a fair opportunity to develop.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Only when we hold hands as partners, will we collectively stand a chance to get the molecule successfully shipped from region to region and from continent to continent. This is the only way in which we can fulfil the crucial mandate of the Global Gateway initiative, “Stronger Together, through Sustainable Investment”.

The Incoming COP Presidency published an update letter last week urging global leaders to help deliver a comprehensive plan of action at COP28 to meet the level of ambition the world requires.

I stand here before you all to urge us to work closely together to craft a portfolio of instruments that we must announce at the 28thth United Nations Conference of Parties – a portfolio that will propel the idea of a Namibian Synthetic Fuels Industry ‘Beyond Theory.’ Indeed, an EU-Namibia Off-Take Program must be part of the requisite innovative solutions that we deliver to the world in December 2023.

Our teams are capable and have already started sharing notes and ideas with your teams. The inspirational Mother Theresa once exclaimed, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot: together we can do great things.” This is the spirit with which we must attack the monumental opportunity that stands before us.

I thank you!