Namibian Economics To The Point – November 2021

30 Nov 2021


The warm summer weather prevailed throughout November with sporadic rainfalls across the country. The Namibian government announced at the climate summit in Glasgow in Scotland, that the ‘Hyphen’ consortium was the successful bidder to develop the country’s first green hydrogen project.  

The Namibian company Ohlthaver & List announced it would sell its stake in one of its subsidiaries, Namibia Breweries Holdings to Dutch beer giant Heineken, pending shareholder approval.  

The chief executive officer of Namibia’s Save the Rhino Trust, Simson Urikob, received an international reward in London for his lifetime achievements to save the country’s rhinos. The first passenger cruise ships have arrived in Namibia, with the MS Europa being the first one calling at the port of Walvis Bay. 

The Namibian Ports Authority (NamPort) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the port of Rotterdam, readying itself to become the green hydrogen export hub for Europe and the rest of the world. 

Several European countries and the United Arab Emirates banned flights from and to southern African countries after South Africa announced the discovery of a new virus variant, Omicron, end of November. The German airline Lufthansa however announced on 30 November that it would continue its flights. The President of Namibia, Hage Geingob and the country’s Environment Forestry and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta both expressed their disappointment on the rushed decision to ban flights, which disrupt the tourism industry. The Ministry is currently developing a Tourism Rescue Plan and hosts public hearings with stakeholders and the private sector in all 14 regions. 

The government-owned company Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) has listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) in November, the first state enterprise to do so. 

Namibia’s inflation rate stood at 3.6 percent at the end of October, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency (September: 3.5%). 

Namibian Breweries wanted by Heineken Beer Giant 

After over a hundred years of beer brewing in Namibia by local companies, the Dutch beer-brewing giant intends to buy out Namibia Breweries (NBL) for an undisclosed amount. Both companies announced the deal on 15 November 2021. The transaction, however, still needs shareholder and government approval. 

Heineken said it would buy the 50.01% stake of the Ohlthaver & List Group in NBL Investment Holdings, which holds 59.4% of NBL. Heineken holds the remaining 49.99% in the investment holdings company. 

Heineken, the second largest beer brewer in the world, also wants to buy NBL's 25% shareholding in Heineken South Africa and take control of South Africa's Distell Group Holdings. This will provide Heineken the opportunity to enter the wine and spirits sector with brands like Amarula liqueur and famous labels like Nederburg Wines and Two Oceans. Heineken plans to sell Distell's British-based Scotch Whiskies. 

According to Heineken’s Chief Executive Officer Dolf van den Brink, the buy-out would improve logistics and increase selling point for beer, wine and spirits in South Africa, and in Namibia. The chairman of Namibia’s O&L Group, Sven Thieme said, it was an offer too good to refuse and it was time that NBL, after a century spreads its wings and explore more international markets. Once, approved, the deal would be completed by December 2022. 

International firm wins bid for green hydrogen project 

The Namibian government has announced the German-South African Hyphen Hydrogen Energy as the preferred bidder to implement the roughly N$143 billion (about 9 Billion Euros) green hydrogen project. The announcement was done during the climate summit in Glasgow in early November. Hyphen was issued a notice of award for the project in the Tsau //Khaeb National Park.  
Hyphen is a joint venture between Nicholas Holdings Limited and ENERTRAG South Africa, a subsidiary of a German company. 

President Hage Geingob (C) with British PM Boris Johnson (L) and UNSC Antonio Guterres at the COP26 in Glasgow. Photo: Mainichi Daily

Hyphen will ultimately produce 300,000 tons of green hydrogen annually for regional and international markets, either as green hydrogen or as green ammonia. The company will receive the right to construct and operate the project for 40 years once the feasibility study is concluded and signs a contract with the Namibian government. 


By 2026, two giga watts (GW) of renewable electricity will be generated to produce green hydrogen for conversion into green ammonia in the first phase.  
“Further expansion phases in the late 2020’s will expand combined renewable generation capacity to 5 GW and 3 GW of electrolyser capacity, increasing the combined total investment to some N$143 million ( about 9 billion Euros),” according to the Hyphen chief executive officer Marco Raffinetti.  

Rotterdam agrees to support Namibian ports 

NamPort signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rotterdam ports authority to share expertise specifically on how best to position Walvis Bay and the Dutch port to become green hydrogen export hubs and to facilitate the flow of the green hydrogen supply chain from Namibia to the Netherlands.  

NamPort has set aside 350 hectares of land at the Walvis Bay north port for allocation to green hydrogen related industries. The actual solar and wind farms will be located either inland or offshore. The electrolyser factory that produces the green hydrogen as well as the factory that converts the hydrogen into ammonia would need to be located inside a port close to a berth from where it can be exported.  

Additionally, the planned new deep-water port of Lüderitz at Angra Point, would complement the north port of Walvis Bay in cementing the country’s drive to become a hub for the production and export of green hydrogen to Europe. NamPort will follow the property owner model in both Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, in accommodating the green hydrogen industry. This means that common infrastructure such as berths and pipelines may be developed by NamPort and operated on common user principles whereby green hydrogen developers who are awarded concessions by the government will have equitable access to the port infrastructure to export the green hydrogen. 

Rhino trust receives conservation award in London 

The CEO of the SRT Simson Urikob receives the Africa Conservation Award 2021 from Prince William. Photo: Ninety-One

The chief executive officer of Namibia’s Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) has received the annual Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa in November. The award ceremony took place in London during the annual gala event of the British Tusk Trust. Prince William is a patron of the Tusk Trust since 2013. 

Urikob has worked with the SRT for 30 years and became its CEO in 2015. Three decades ago, Namibia’s black rhino population was almost at the brink of extinction. Today, rhino numbers have increased, and rural conservancies benefit from tourism. 

“Simson is an especially gifted conservationist. It is impossible not to feel his passion, commitment and honest open heart when he talks about protecting the species”, said Prince William (Duke of Cambridge) when he handed over to award to Urikob.

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