Written by: Kaula Nhongo

Namibia’s hydrogen industry has the potential to provide a substantial boost to the economy over the next seven years, its central bank governor said.

“By 2030, it could contribute $4.1 billion to gross domestic product, which is 32% more than 2030 GDP estimates without a hydrogen industry,” Johannes !Gawaxab told attendees at a Bloomberg ‘Namibia in Focus’ event on Tuesday. The industry may also create an estimated 18,000 jobs, he said.

Conditions in the arid southern African nation of just under 2.6 million people are ideal for solar- and wind-powered plants to produce green hydrogen for export, and it has outlined plans to build a significant number of renewable energy facilities.

Namibia is aspiring to “produce hydrogen and its derivatives at highly competitive costs and create an at-scale green fuels industry that will serve markets in Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, and other parts of the world,” !Gawaxab said.

Demand for the clean-burning fuel is surging as the world looks for alternatives to climate-warming fossil fuels and Europe seeks to lessen its dependence on Russian natural gas, supplies of which have proved unreliable due to the political tension created by the war in Ukraine. The European Union is looking to import 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.

Namibia also stands to benefit from its oil and gas industries, the governor said.

In April, Namibia announced its third significant light oil discovery in the Orange Basin, adding to a series of successful finds over the past year. The discoveries, totaling at least 3 billion barrels of oil reserves within Namibia’s borders, also have the potential to transform the economy, according to !Gawaxab.

Three of the finds rank among the world’s top 30 largest deepwater oil discoveries since 2015, and production is expected to begin in the next four to six years, he said.

To capitalize on its energy resources, Namibia in May last year established a sovereign wealth fund to serve as a buffer against future economic shocks and manage wealth generated from its natural resources for future generations. 

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