31 Aug 2022
A warm spell in August set the tone for an early summer in Namibia and hopefully a good rainy season.
The Namibian government has dropped all regulations with regard to Covid-19 in mid-August. No negative PCR tests are required anymore when entering Namibia. Similarly, no vaccination certificates are required at entry points and border posts anymore. Covid-19 infections in Namibia have dropped to such low levels, that the Ministry of Health has stopped issuing weekly updates on Covid infections and recoveries on 25 August.
British Formula 1 racing star, Lewis Hamilton, spent a few days in Namibia at the start of this continental trip to trace his African roots. Hamilton was absolutely smitten by Namibia’s landscapes and its people. This he shared with his approximately 29 million followers on social platforms. In a press statement, the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Forestry thanked Hamilton for his visit and putting Namibia on the intentional map.
The German government has provided 30 million Euros (about N$590 million) to Namibia to help kick start four green hydrogen pilot projects. This was announced at the first national green hydrogen conference in Windhoek.
The annual Ongwediva trade fair in north-central Namibia is back with a bang after two years, due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Over 350 exhibitors from near and far showcased their products from 26 August to 2 September.
The annual mining conference and expo is also back on the events calendar and started on 31 August in Windhoek after a two-year absence.
Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo, led a government delegation to the gas and oil producing country Equatorial Guinea on 30 August to gain insight into this sector.
The government has averted a national strike by civil servants by signing a wage increase agreement with two leading unions.
Namibia’s inflation rate jumped to 6.8 percent at the end of July, according to the National Statistics Agency. In June inflation stood at 6.0 percent.
The Bank of Namibia (BoN) has again raised its repo rate by 0.75 percent in August. The repo rate now stands at 5.50 percent. The BoN also slightly lowered its projections for Namibia’s economic growth for 2022 from 3.4 percent to 3.2%.
Four green hydrogen pilot projects with a total investment requirement of N$892 million (about 45,2 million Euros) can kick off after they received a non-repayable grant of 30 million Euros (about N$590 million) from the German government. Namibia’s green hydrogen commissioner, James Mnyupe, said the projects are expected to raise the remaining capital after this financial boost.
The Daures project in the Erongo Region intends to produce green hydrogen and ammonia to run an irrigation project for crops with ammonia nitrates as fertiliser. One of the project partners is the University of Stuttgart.
A five-megawatt electrolyser and a green hydrogen mobile refuelling pilot plant will be set up in the port of Walvis Bay to convert an existing tugboat to hydrogen dual fuel technology. In addition, green hydrogen bunkering and refuelling infrastructure at the port is planned.
The third pilot project plans to convert 50 diesel locomotives of the state-owned company TransNamib to dual fuel with green hydrogen as alternative. The locomotives will mainly run between Walvis Bay via Swakopmund to the Kranzberg station near Usakos.
The fourth project is the green hydrogen refuelling station in Walvis Bay.
Namibia’s supervisory authority for the non-banking financial sector (NAMFISA) has entered a new dimension with the launch of an innovation hub for financial technology (fintech). This follows the fintech innovation regulatory framework mapped out by the Bank of Namibia.
NAMFISA’s fintech square is a platform where the regulator meets innovators to drive financial inclusion and innovation. It will also help mitigate some of the risks emerging from the financial services industry.
It is to become an innovation hub to provide an opportunity for upcoming innovators, particularly the youth, to participate in the transformation of the financial services industry.
Digital technologies and operations in financial services are rapidly transforming this sector according to NAMFISA. The hub will receive a regulatory “sandbox”, an incubatory platform where financial innovators would “test” their innovations in a controlled regulatory environment.
NAMFISA already received 29 applications from innovators from across Namibia spanning banking, non-banking, and other sectors of the economy.
Namibia has started to develop policies and regulations and institutional arrangements to enter the carbon credit market arena. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as Japan will support the country in this endeavour.
“This will establish the enabling environment for Namibia to pursue carbon market-based options to allow for more stakeholders to participate in addressing climate change,” the Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (MEFT) Pohamba Shifeta said.
“Namibia presents a favourable environment for the implementation of carbon markets particularly in the agriculture, forestry, and energy sectors,” he noted.
The project is being funded by the government of Japan which provided US$1 million (about N$19 million). It will be implemented through the UNDP with the Ministry of Environment as the executing partner.
The government has for the first-time appointed trade attachés to promote trade with Namibia and its investment potential. The five trade attachés will be deployed to Pretoria in South Africa, Cairo, London, Beijing and New York.
The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) announced this step. The five new diplomats worked for the Namibia Investment Centre (NIC) it was transformed into the NIPDB and will take up office in early September.
“We intend to take a more direct and targeted approach to investment attraction. The attachés will be supported by a technical team who will provide market intelligence that will allow them to target investors in key sectors,” the NIPDB stated.
The government has signed a last-minute wage deal with civil servants’ unions for N$924 million to avoid a national strike. Just a few days earlier, civil servants voted for a strike, after the government and the labour unions declared a deadlock.
Both parties agreed on a 3 percent salary increase for all civil servants, an 11 percent increase of the housing allowance below management ranks and a 14 percent transport allowance hike amounting. This translates into N$924 million the government has to fork out. The increases have been backdated to April.
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