3 Apr 2023
In March most parts of Namibia experienced little rain and in areas where rainfalls were recorded it came late as some crops already wilted. Communal and commercial farmers are concerned about a possible drought looming in the coming months.
In the Erongo Region the ground-breaking ceremony for the Daures Green Hydrogen Village (DGHV) has taken place.
Germany's minister for education and research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger briefly visited Namibia and launched 93 scholarships for students pursuing careers in green hydrogen-related fields.
The government announced that from 01 April the Transkalahari border post at Buitepos/Mamuno east of Gobabis will be open 24 hours a day.
Shell, NamCor and Qatar Energy announced another offshore oil find.
The government has introduced an online platform for the electronic application of work visas and Namibian citizens can now apply online for passports.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila led a delegation to New York to attend the UN water conference and confirmed that Namibia planned to build a second desalination plant.
In Walvis Bay a new fish factory was inaugurated.
Namibia's inflation increased to 7.2% at the end of February, up from 7.0% in January.
The first net zero emission village in Africa will be established in Namibia. During a ground-breaking ceremony on 27 March in the vicinity of Uis in the Brandberg area, the project leaders said that phase one would start in October.
The Daures Green Hydrogen Village (DGHV) will kick off with an agriculture component aiming to plant "carbon-emission free" tomatoes.
According to the DGHV chief executive officer Jerome Namaseb, the first green ammonia and hydrogen vegetables will be produced in the first quarter of 2024.
“The development of the project, will be completed in the next 12 months from procuring of materials, equipment, setting up and operationalisation of phase one,” Namaseb said during the ground-breaking ceremony at Daures in the Erongo Region. Germany's green hydrogen commissioner, Till Mansmann was also present.
It will be a carbon-free village, with solar and wind power. The aim is to produce 31 tonnes of green hydrogen and about 110 tones of ammonia annually.
Some of the ammonia will be exported as it is a good fertiliser. Vegetables will be produced in large greenhouses. The project is funded with over N$220 million (about €10.5 million), through a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), via the Windhoek-based Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL).
The project will include a research station and a training institution among others. The University of Namibia will conduct research in a joint project with the Stuttgart University in Germany.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in collaboration with the government of Namibia, are facilitating the education of 93 Namibians to the tune of approximately N$87.7 million.
The BMBF minister, Bettina Stark-Watzinger said this is meant to build relevant internal structures and capacity, as well as responsive programmes in the field of green hydrogen before the sector kicks off in Namibia.
“The task at hand is to now overcome technology on a path towards a green hydrogen supply chain. This can only be done with education and research, she said at the handing over ceremony in Windhoek.
"The Daures first net zero community and usage of green hydrogen will be tested in green agriculture for example, the best technologies are nothing without well trained people to operate them," she said.
Some 93 recipients will benefit after the two countries signed in 2021 a Joint Communiqué of Intent (JCoI), in which the BMBF availed grant funding of €40 million of which N$88 million are meant for bursaries.
The recent offshore oil discoveries along the southern coast of Namibia have resulted in a surge of foreign direct investment (FDI), according to President Hage Geingob. In his annual state of the nation address in the National Assembly on 16 March, Geingob announced that FDI with regard to exploration activities came to N$13.2 billion (about €60 million) between January and September last year."This amount translated into 7.2 % of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)," President Geingob stated.
"This was the highest year-on-year growth witnessed since 2015. These financial inflows are running at a record high, with FDI being the main contributor, and these green shoots are undeniable," Geingob said. "This demonstrates growing investor confidence in Namibia."
According to him, the government expected higher FDI during 2023 with more test wells being drilled for oil and the green hydrogen project feasibility study, which will kick off. The multi-faceted study is estimated to cost around N$2.5 billion (about €127 million).
The fisheries minister Derek Klazen inaugurated a new fish factory of the Merlus Group in the port of Walvis Bay. It is the third factory of the company, and will process fresh fish into high-end market-ready consumer products for premium markets. The investment into the new factory came to N$70 million (about €3.2 million) and a new fish trawler was acquired of N$ 34 million (about €1.6 million). In addition, the company invested another N$50 million (about €2.4 million) when it bought a piece of land to construct its own styro-foam factory, to produce boxes for their export of fish products. Total investment came to N$154 million (about €7.3 million).
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has launched its long awaited online application
system for working visas. This will make applications for foreigners, who want to work in Namibia, quicker and more efficient. The visa will be issued online in electronic format.
The Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Albert Kawana emphasised that the system will allow applicants for work visas to complete all relevant forms online and upload all required documents, offering a more efficient and cost-effective process. In the same vein, Namibian citizens can now apply for their passports online.
With the new online passport application system, citizens will no longer have to attach additional documents such as identity documents and birth certificates, as these will be automatically imported through a computer system integration. Kawana said that applicants will also be able to choose their own booking time-slot for appointments when biometric data like fingerprints and their photos will be required
In early March another offshore oil discovery was announced by Shell, Qatar Energy and the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NamCor).
The three entities are in a joint venture with Shell Namibia B.V holding 45%, QatarEnergy 45% and NamCor 10%. In a press release they announced the "light oil" discovery. The well was drilled in Block 2913A and 2914B since December 2022 and completed early in March.
Named the "Jonker-1X" discovery it is the third well drilled on the licence held by Shell within twelve months.
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