Namibia: President Nangolo Mbumba Addresses the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam

I feel honoured to have been invited to address this esteemed audience at the World Hydrogen Forum.

Let me take this opportunity to express to the Dutch government my sincere appreciation of the warm hospitality accorded to the Namibian delegation since our arrival here on Saturday.

Namibia and the Kingdom of The Netherlands share long-standing bilateral relations anchored in history, mutual respect and a commitment to global peace and sustainable development. Over the years, this relationship has expanded, resulting in strong economic ties in a number of sectors, of which green hydrogen is the latest.

Our participation in this auspicious event is thus another chapter in this exciting story of friendship and collaboration.

Namibia, like many African countries, views the 21st century as a potentially transformative era for the continent, in which we can utilise new, greener and cleaner technologies to leapfrog towards industrialisation and subsequent economic transformation. This will enable us to create jobs, greatly reduce poverty and build inclusive, peaceful and stable societies that will give rise to genuine and lasting progress.

In this regard, the Namibian government, together with national and international stakeholders, is spearheading efforts to unlock the massive potential of green hydrogen. Over the past few years, the government, through the Green Hydrogen Council, has worked tirelessly to position Namibia as the primary leader in the global market for green hydrogen, and we are now starting to see concrete visible results.

In the Namibian context, green hydrogen is the brainchild of my predecessor, the late Dr Hage Geingob, the third president of the Republic of Namibia, who recognised in early 2021 the catalytic role the sector can play in reconstructing the Namibian economy.

Today I stand before you all to pay tribute to his great vision, which reminds me of the old Greek proverb which states "blessed are those who plant trees whose shade they would never sit under".

President Geingob was one such visionary who planted a tree whose shade he would never sit under, but which would transform the lives of millions of people and turn their dreams of prosperity into reality.

As a result of his tireless efforts, today Namibia hosts 9 hydrogen projects, across two developing hydrogen valleys, with the potential for a third valley to be anchored by its abundant iron ore potential.

I am informed that Namibia is hosting its inaugural exhibition right here at the World Hydrogen Summit, alongside a dedicated space reserved by our own Daures Green Hydrogen Village. At this pavilion, we shall be providing key status updates of all said projects and emerging common use infrastructure in our hydrogen valleys.

Green hydrogen offers opportunities beyond just clean molecule production, it holds the potential to anchor new industries in emerging markets across the globe. Namibia has always harboured a desire to become an indispensable logistics hub to the southern African region.

To enhance this ambition, we are now developing an ammonia-bunkering hub and a green hydrogen-powered train to decarbonise shipping and long-haul logistics routes, ensuring that goods and commodities transported via our port infrastructure minimises both scope two and scope three emissions.

This will not only increase the competitiveness of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz as harbours of choice for key exporters and importers, but we believe it will increase the competitiveness of our regional goods, augment the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), thereby boosting intra-African trade in the process.

Our newly developed green industrialisation blueprint further illustrates how green hydrogen can be used to add value to minerals sourced from within our borders and indeed the continent.

In Namibia, we plan to produce green direct reduced iron, a key low-carbon ingredient that promises to decarbonise the steel industry, which according to the international energy agency contributes to more than 8% of global emissions.

My final point is that green hydrogen promises to buttress our relations at the regional and international levels. Later today, Namibia's green hydrogen programme will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Western Cape Development Agency (Wesgro), their counterparts from the Northern Cape, the Northern Cape Economic Development, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (NCEDA) and Gasunie, The Netherland's leading hydrogen backbone developer.

This partnership aims to study the feasibility of building Africa's first cross country green hydrogen pipeline, connecting Namibia and South Africa and facilitating significant trade of a new product between our two countries.

At this juncture, allow me to extend an invitation to all to join Namibia and the rest of Africa, as we look to host the African Global Green Hydrogen Summit between the third and fifth of September this year.

At that event, we shall look to not only showcase what Namibia has delivered in terms of our green hydrogen ecosystem, but also the efforts of our peer nations on the continent.

Furthermore, we shall zero in on key policy interventions needed to give birth to a burgeoning sector and also showcase key financial models and tools needed to close the gap between the price of grey and green molecules.

Lastly, we shall organise targeted tours to Namibia's projects, showcasing constructed infrastructure producing hydrogen, synthetic fuels, fertilisers and reduced iron to illustrate the practical applications of a hydrogen economy. This is an opportunity Namibia cannot afford to miss!

As I conclude, let me state that I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to address you, and most of all, to finish a most inspiring journey that my brother, president Geingob, started. While thanking the organisers of this wonderful World Hydrogen Summit for arranging this event, let me encourage all participants to take full advantage of this opportune occasion to cultivate greater growth, inclusive development and cooperation in the hydrogen sector.

We are glad to be part of this grand and exciting occasion and I wish you all fruitful discussions and a successful World Hydrogen Summit.

Once again, let me express Namibia's profound appreciation to the Dutch government, its people and leaders for the hospitality extended to us.

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