Namibian Economics To The Point – May 2023

1 Jun 2023

The Namibian summer extended into May this year including rainfalls but a sudden cold spell in the last few days of the month brought the realisation that winter has arrived.

The Namibia government has signed a historic feasibility and implementation agreement (FIA) with the company Hyphen Hydrogen Energy (HHE) to embark on the next steps towards the realisation of a huge green hydrogen industrial park project.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has revoked the lithium mining license of the Chinese company Xinfeng Investments in the Erongo Region near Uis. It further instructed the company to cease all mining operations by 31 May. Xinfeng in turn has filed an application in the Windhoek high court challenging the ministry’s decision.

The ministry of environment, forestry and tourism (MEFT) has held a national conference on human-wildlife conflict (HWC), which has increased in the past years. Recommendations made will culminate in report to be submitted to Cabinet.

Namibia plans to participate in Africa’s Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI), greening and restoring landscapes to combat land degradation.

The communications regulatory authority of Namibia (CRAN) announced it would auction its 5G spectrum in October.

The Lotteries Board of Namibia has declared a lottery/raffle for illegal.

With altogether four public holidays in May, economic activities in Namibia were somewhat dampened.

Inflation stood at 6.1 percent at the end of April, (March: 7.1%) the national statistics agency reported in mid-May.

Namibian government signs benchmarking agreement for green hydrogen

On Friday, 26 May, the Namibian government and Hyphen Hydrogen Energy (Hyphen) have inked the feasibility and implementation agreement (FIA) at an official ceremony held at State House in Windhoek. The FIA governs the process for the development, implementation and operation of Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest green hydrogen project.

The FIA is expected to set a global benchmark for the sustainable development of large-scale green hydrogen projects. Over the next two years, an environmental feasibility study will be conducted. After submission of the final report, the government has four months to decide on the project.

Namibia has been offered up to 24 percent ownership into the privately owned project, for which it will have to secure capital.

Under the FIA, Hyphen is responsible for the technical, financial, environmental, social and commercial delivery of the project. The Namibian government is responsible for providing the land for the project and developing and implementing the required legal, fiscal and regulatory environment necessary for the establishment and sustainable operation of Namibia’s green hydrogen industry.


President Hage Geingob (seated, centre)next to Hyphen CEO Marco Rafinetti (R) and Gunar Hering (L), head of Enertrag, as well as company representatives and government officials.
Photo: Windhoek Presidential Office


The construction phase will create around 15 000 new jobs and 3000 permanent jobs once it is operational. It was agreed that 90 percent of the jobs will be for Namibians, of which twenty percent will be for the youth (ages 18 to 35).

Thirty percent of the procurement for goods, services and materials throughout both the construction and operational phases will be reserved for Namibian companies.

Hyphen is a Namibian-registered green hydrogen development company, specifically formed to develop green hydrogen projects in Namibia. Hyphen is a joint venture between Nicholas Holdings Ltd and the German company ENERTRAG SE.

5G spectrum auction in October

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has set 01 October 2023 as the date to auction its 5G spectrum frequency. Cabinet approved the deployment of the fifth generation (5G) technology in Namibia at the end of last year. The approval has stirred strong interest and the move to auction the spectrum is a response to the interest shown by various stakeholders in 5G, according to CRAN.

“To ensure transparency and gather feedback from stakeholders, CRAN will be releasing the bid document on 1 August 2023, allowing interested parties to provide their comments,” the authority said.

“This step demonstrates CRAN's commitment to an inclusive and participatory process. With the release of the 3.5GHz spectrum, Namibia is taking a significant

stride towards advancing its telecommunications infrastructure and enabling the deployment of high-speed and reliable 5G networks," CRAN stated.

Further details regarding the auction process, including timelines, will be provided in due course on CRAN’s online platforms. Other African countries, which already offer 5G services are South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

Mining Minister revokes lithium mining license for Xinfeng

The mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo has revoked the lithium mining license issued to the Chinese company Xinfeng last September last year for exclusive prospecting near Uis. The license was granted for 20 years until 2042.

The minister’s action follows a demonstration by the Daures community, farmers, and small miners against what they claim were illegal lithium mining activities Xinfeng.

The company has been accused of not following proper procedures, and contravening the Environmental Management Act.

Alweendo noted in his letter to Xinfeng it was found to have deliberately included misleading, untrue, and incorrect information during the application process.

The minister said the explanations given by Xinfeng in both their written and oral representations have not shown that certain information was indeed truthful.

In light of the decision to revoke the license, Xinfeng has been instructed to cease all operations related to ML 243 in the EPL 7228 area by 31 May.

The company also had to hand back the printed license document to the ministry on the same date.

In the meantime, Xinfeng filed an urgent application with the Windhoek high court to challenge the mining minister’s decision, to revoke its lithium mining license. The company also wants to declare Alweendo’s conduct as invalid and unconstitutional. A ruling is expected on 02 June.

Meanwhile, a British company, Andrada (formerly AfriTin Mining) has announced this month that it has produced its first bulk lithium concentrate on site near Uis.

Lotteries board declares online ‘raffle’ illegal

The Lotteries Board of Namibia (LBN) has announced that the multi-million dollar online real estate “lottery”, the Namibia Property Raffle Project, has not been approved by the board and is thus operating illegally.

The board's warning was issued after inquiries by the public regarding the property raffle. The raffle organisers sell tickets for N$1,500 and the two prizes to be won by means of a draw are a tourist lodge and a small hotel in Windhoek.

The LBN Chairman Michael Mutonga explained that the application was declined at an ordinary meeting held on the 18th of August last year, and operation of the Namibia Property Raffle Project was thus regarded as illegal.

Brigitte Weidlich

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