Danes, Dutch in green hydrogen ‘hurry’

Countries’ prime ministers make intentions clear
President Hage Geingob said Namibia is looking forward to "a partnership of equals" with the European giants.
Jemima Beukes
Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen, who was in the country with her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte yesterday, says the world is in a hurry for green hydrogen and Namibia must thus seize the opportunity to deliver on this front.
In an unprecedented move, Denmark and the Netherlands, driven by Europe's energy needs, have united efforts to seize opportunities within Namibia's highly sought-after green hydrogen industry, aiming to address their own energy challenges.
With a commitment to ensuring project success, Netherlands have pledged various incentives – including signing a letter of intent on a visa-waiver agreement with Namibia at State House yesterday, which would allow Namibians with diplomatic passports to travel without visas between the two nations.
Negotiations between the two countries started in early June and, once concluded, will present an important milestone for Namibia.
Frederiksen said they are seeking stronger relations with Namibia as the three countries share a common goal to create a sustainable future.
“Green hydrogen and renewables - this is one of the areas that we would like to work closely [on] together. You are one of the frontrunners in Africa on climate-change solutions and also because you already feel the effects of climate change.
“Your farmers, your population already have that situation. So, we are really in a hurry, when we look at it globally and nationally. Of course, this is on top of our common agenda,” she said.
Frederiksen and Rutte spent just one day in the country on a working visit.
Frederiksen stressed that the objective is to ensure a just green transition that does not threaten the livelihood of the many people working in the local mining industry.
If the energy profile is to be changed, the three governments must make sure people are skilled and that they finance not only the technical know-how, but human beings too, she said, adding that climate financing is the most important thing to consider in this venture.
Not a political project
According to Rutte, there are huge opportunities in Namibia in the green hydrogen sector for the 2024-25 timeframe. They are eager to work with Namibia to make this world more sustainable, he added.
“We are standing shoulder to shoulder and the port of Rotterdam is also part of this delegation. Indeed, we believe there are huge opportunities when we work hard in green hydrogen. We are doing this in Namibia in terms of implementation capabilities, [and] then people and companies from the other side [the West] will also see this is not a once-off, not a political project, and that this is rooted in all government sectors,” he said.
The project has the potential to become the biggest in the world, while Namibia has everything it needs to become a major player in the renewable energy sector, he said.
Meanwhile, Geingob stressed that it is now a new era and that they are very happy to see a commitment from the two countries who sent two high-level representatives.
“We are looking forward to a real partnership of equals and we have just signed the policies. It will be a partnership of equals. Based on that, we can hold hands and create what the Chinese call a win-win situation,” he said.
Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein echoed Frederiksen’s sentiments that the real benefit would be how this project is linked to the country’s agriculture sector and its people.
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