Government of Namibia’s leadership in Youth For Green Hydrogen
By Mr. Frans Kalenga, Technical Advisor on Synthetics Fuel & Green Hydrogen Ministry of Mines and Energy
Importance of Strengthening youth for green hydrogen for the energy transition. As we commemorate the World Environment Day.
1) Namibia’s commitment to fighting climate change
Namibia is resolutely committed to taking practical and ambitious action to reduce emissions and ensure a climate-resilient economy. We believe that green hydrogen offers a unique opportunity to both increase the development of renewable energy in the country while creating new market opportunities that will contribute to economic growth.
2) Urgency: What is the problem we are trying to solve?
• There has never been a more critical time in the history of our planet to accelerate the global transition to renewable energy
• Global greenhouse gas emissions are at their highest ever levels
• There is an urgent need for the world to decarbonize in order to meet net zero goals and protect the planet
• Dependence on unstable countries and regions, recently seen with the Russia/ Ukraine conflict has shown energy users that there is a need to diversify their energy supplies
• The transition to renewables must happen at pace, but must be a just transition.
3) Where green hydrogen comes in: The role that Namibia can play in helping the world decarbonise
• The IEA has made clear that there is an urgent need to step up investment in low-carbon hydrogen with US$1.2 trillion needed globally by 2030 to achieve the world’s green hydrogen objectives
• To achieve net-zero the world will require approx. 500 – 600 million tons per annum of green hydrogen
• The EU recently pledged to triple current 2030 targets for green hydrogen imports to 10 million tons per annum by 2030
• Germany, in particular, is leading the adoption to green hydrogen as an alternative to Russian natural gas – Namibia is drawing on international capital and expertise to implement its green hydrogen strategy and recently signed a joint declaration with Germany to accelerate the research and production of green hydrogen
• Namibia is uniquely positioned to be one of the largest green hydrogen producers globally:
o Significant land availability (35th largest by landmass; 2nd least populated);
o Amongst the world’s top resource-rich locations for the co-location of wind and solar energy;
o One of the most stable democratic governments in Africa;
o Few, if any, competing interests (e.g. competing industries, infrastructure or unsupportive private landowners); and
o Geographic proximity of renewable resources to coast/port connectivity to global markets.
How Scholarship Started?
In order to ensure our competitive advantage, our government has established key partnerships globally. One such partnership is with the German Government. On the
25th of August 2021, in Berlin, the Namibian and German Governments signed a Joint Communique of Intent. In which the German Government availed grant funding
towards enabling a Green Hydrogen industry in Namibia. One of the key priority areas of this Agreement was “Capacity Building”, where €5 million was allocated
for Scholarships for the Namibian youth.
As such, the Namibian Youth for Green Hydrogen (Y4GH) Scholarship Programme in collaboration with the German Government has been established. The
scholarship is fully funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and spans over 5 years. This is the only scholarship program focused on green
hydrogen in the entire world I am aware of, correct me if I’m wrong.
HOW NAMIBIA BECAME THE FIRST COUNTRY IN ENGAGING YOUTH TO WARDS GREEN HYDROGEN?
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR NAMIBIAN YOUTH
Currently, the number of annual graduates in Namibia is disproportionate to the available employment opportunities in the country. There are many Namibian
graduates, both post and undergraduates, who are qualified but remain unemployed. Experts anticipate that the number of jobs within the emerging Green
The hydrogen economy will grow exponentially over the coming years. As an optimal location for the production of Green Hydrogen and its derivatives, it is vital that the
Namibian Government, taking a leadership role in building capacities for this new industry, ensures that people are trained and ready to contribute to the emerging
Green Hydrogen economy workforce. Therefore, this Scholarship programme will facilitate capacity building for the emerging Green Hydrogen industry, while
addressing the high youth unemployment in the country.
As a first move toward building a Green Hydrogen-ready workforce, the scholarship has been designed to mainly target two groups. The first group are unemployed
Namibian graduates and the second are those interested in pursuing Vocational Education and Training in the field of green hydrogen.
It’s our hope that the scholarships for young Namibian scientist and engineers will hone their skills with fellow German and indeed global like-minded peers as they
seek to find breakthroughs in related fields.
Why Build All that Capacity?
Namibia is embarking upon a Southern Corridor Development Initiative – a portfolio of complementary projects and infrastructure in the southern region that maximizes
the opportunity presented by green hydrogen and green ammonia. Given our world-class renewable resources and proximity to the ocean, Namibia is well placed
to become a sub-Saharan powerhouse with a dynamic green and blue economy.
4) The project and its benefits:
• This US$9.4 billion project, is roughly equivalent to Namibia’s GDP and will support the local economy through employment, local procurement and
the industrial development of Namibia
• This is not a one-off project, Hyphen is proposing the development of a common user infrastructure to facilitate the scale-up of hydrogen production by a factor of 10, for future projects in the larger area and Namibia has the potential to produce up to 15 million tonnes per annum of green hydrogen
• The project once fully developed will employ an estimated 3,000 people, with 15,000 construction jobs supported over the four-year construction period
• Over 90% of these jobs are expected to be filled by local Namibians Hyphen has committed to 20% youth employment in the project, and They are hoping to take the first batch of potential wind turbine technicians to their facilities in Germany on this year.
They are then engaging with the Ministry of Education and UNAM to identify the skill sets that will be required for the project so that they can start to build programs
to support this. The skills needed for GreenH2 (use the matrix/map we got from Hyphen) we are now sharing those skills with the youth early on to help them
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR GOVERNMENTS ACROSS THE WORLD TO REPLICATE AND WORK TOGETHER?
Key to achieving our ambitious goals is collaboration across the global value chain for green hydrogen and partnerships with a range of different stakeholders.
That is why I am so pleased and honored to be part of this and I will announce that we are going to launch “Youth for Green hydrogen Namibia” soon. This is to show
our commitment and to highlight our actions as a youth. These provide us with a platform for contributing to the global conversation on green hydrogen and the
broader energy transition by sharing our perspectives and experiences. It allows us to gain insight into commitments and projects by other governments and private
companies in other parts of the world. also, It provides an opportunity to showcase to the international community the enormous potential and exciting opportunities
for green hydrogen production in Namibia led by the youth. We have no doubt in achieving this because Namibia has visionary leaders who know that the future
belongs to the youth and that they want to do more than just “leave” a legacy for the youth, but they want to build one with the youth for the youth.
We think skills development is important We have high youth unemployment, and we want to address the problem proactively and not become a victim of this
challenge hence the scholarship program. Namibia has involved the youth in the team that will craft the National green Hydrogen strategy as well and has given
them exposure around the world. I mean that’s how we met right Sailesh.
We hope that more governments and companies will prioritise youth, so that we can expand this conversation and accelerate the expansion of green hydrogen.
We look forward to the collaboration. The Namibian youth are ready let’s hold hands and venture into this exciting new area of exploration.
Happy World environment day