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Germany Eyes Namibia's Green Hydrogen

Namibia has the potential to offer low-cost green hydrogen production / HYPHEN. Germany has been Namibia's first international partner t...

Namibia has the potential to offer low-cost green hydrogen production / HYPHEN.
Germany has been Namibia's first international partner to invest in green hydrogen production. At first glance, this partnership seems to be a match made in heaven. The German government is considering green hydrogen as potential fuel for their energy transition. 

Green hydrogen, an energy source created using renewable energy could be the means to achieving these goals through the revitalization of industry and employment creation while achieving carbon neutrality. Namibia is endowed with natural resources with world-class potential for renewable energy through solar and wind, pre-conditions for ‘green’ hydrogen production. 

Namibia seeks to explore the production of green hydrogen. The Green Hydrogen Initiative potentially has immense environmental, educational, economic, and social impacts on Namibia. In addition, Namibia has plenty of sunshine and more space to produce green hydrogen. Since Namibia needs international investments to establish a large-scale industry, both sides could benefit from this partnership. 

Namibia is ambitiously aspiring to be at the forefront of global green hydrogen production / HYPHEN.
The Namibian government estimates it will need up to $190 billion (€181 billion) by 2040 to implement its vision of becoming Africa's first green hydrogen provider. The prospects are enormous. According to the government's strategic plan, the hydrogen industry could contribute up to $6 billion to the country's GDP.

"Because of our national green hydrogen efforts, Namibia remains well-positioned to become a major supplier of clean and green energy to the world!" President Hage Geingob declared at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt. His government recently launched a new Green Hydrogen and Derivatives Strategy aimed at delivering up to 12 tons of Green Hydrogen annually by 2050. The initiative is expected to create an additional 600,000 jobs by 2040 for a country with a population of around 2.5 million.


Namibia is aiming to become a green hydrogen superpower in the coming decade by positioning itself as a leader in emerging markets and an international exporter of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen will be an important source of foreign investment and be important for the country’s energy security and transition. The government plans to use it extensively to decarbonize its own economy.  

Namibia has the potential to offer low-cost green hydrogen production (second only to Chile) owing to its abundance of solar and wind resources. It is thus facilitating the research and development in the field of green hydrogen technologies with aid from foreign institutes, with support from partner countries like Germany. The development of the green hydrogen market is critical to upskill the domestic workforce and maximizing local employment. 

“We shall deliver Namibia’s Green Hydrogen strategy, outlining a clear pathway to unlocking even greater investments and to establishing Namibia as a regional and global decarbonization champion.”- H.E. Dr Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia 

National Strategy

Namibia’s Green Hydrogen Council launched its green hydrogen strategy at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, which supports the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, with the ultimate goal of reducing emissions to net zero by 2050. 

The strategy will also allow Namibia to become a net exporter of energy by unlocking its potential to meet global demands of 10 million metric tons by 2030 while playing a pivotal role in energy security for the region. The strategy will also enable the country to continue its global outreach campaigns and foster hydrogen diplomacy to inform potential investors, project developers, and international development partners about Namibia's hydrogen opportunity.

The activities required to achieve the objectives as set out in the strategy include:

  • Establishing an appropriate and fit-for-purpose structure to help develop the green hydrogen industry. The envisaged structure will also be responsible for planning, procuring, and monitoring future green hydrogen projects developed on state-owned land.
  • Crafting and enacting the Synthetic Fuels Act as a comprehensive regulatory framework to create an enabling environment. This legislation will ensure compatibility with international green fuel, certification, health and safety, and environmental standards.
  • Launching pilot projects to build knowledge, local EPC companies and capabilities to construct and deliver local component manufacturing.
  • Planning and developing an ownership and governance model and shared ecosystem for Common User Infrastructure to lower development costs and risks.
  • Putting in place training programs and policies to enable Namibian citizens to participate in the hydrogen economy and supply talent to the industry.

Capacity and price

The new Namibian green hydrogen strategy targets the production of 10-12 million tonnes per annum of hydrogen equivalent by 2050. Through the pilot project of HYPHEN Tsau Khaeb, Namibia has set a Hydrogen production target of 300,000 tonnes per year. The electrolyzer capacity target for the Hyphen Tsau Khaeb project is 3 GW.  McKinsey estimates that Namibia could be producing green hydrogen at US$1.5/kg by 2030.

Jobs creation

In accordance with national and continental goals, Namibia seeks to become a developed country with inclusive growth and sustainable development. At the core of this is the responsible yet effective use of its natural resources to the benefit of its citizens for economic growth and prosperity. 

HYPHEN expects to create 15,000 jobs primarily for domestic workers with 3,000 extra roles once full operations are in progress. This is certainly welcomed considering the unemployment rate in Namibia currently stands at 23% with certain towns in Namibia such as Lüderitz having 55% unemployed.

Alongside its tax contribution, Hyphen will further fuel the Namibian economy through its concession fees, environmental levies, royalties, and investment into the sovereign wealth fund. Namibia is currently one of the most unequal countries in the world with a GINI coefficient of 57.9 ranking it second for inequality.

Green hydrogen will bring development and create jobs for Namibians, Vanstaden Kamwi, a security guard at Oshetu Open Market in Katutura, told the media that he has high expectations for the green hydrogen projects. He said he hopes to see "changes in our country," which should include "new jobs."

Rachel Nghimulitete, a presenter at a youth radio station, also felt optimistic about the production of green hydrogen in Namibia. "I feel it will bring money into the country," Nghimulitete said. "Of course, we will also have clean energy in the country, which means maybe we will have cheaper energy in the country, maybe electricity will be cheaper for us, hopefully. But I also expect development from the project."


There are concerns, of course, that the money will be used for the wrong purposes or go to corruption, but overall we are confident!" Several street vendors said they knew very little about green hydrogen. Others expressed concerns about corruption, such as Pombili William, who feared the newly built industry around green hydrogen could become a second 'Fishrot.'

In 2019, the Fishrot Files exposed corruption in the distribution of fishing quotas. Samherji, one of Iceland's largest fishing companies, bribed high-level political and business officials in Namibia to gain priority access to fishing quotas in the country. Fishrot is Namibia's biggest corruption case to date. Two former ministers have been in custody since the scandal was unveiled.


Namibia's official opposition, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), is cautioning against high expectations. Large sums could benefit politically connected individuals, PDM President McHenry Venaani said. "How [was] a six-month-old company with no track record able to achieve the best bid for the largest tender in the nation's history?" Venaani asked.

Hyphen Hydrogen Energy is a joint venture between Germany's Enertrag energy company and multinational investment firm Nicholas Holdings, specializing in sustainable energy in southern Africa. The company was awarded the contract to develop a $9.4 billion green hydrogen project in a restricted area in the country's south. Namibia's government granted a permit to Hyphen Hydrogen Energy for 40 years, and an area of more than 4,000 km2 (988,421 acres) is available.


Meanwhile, some of the Namibians feel left out of the green hydrogen project, Joseph Isaacks, the chairperson of the regional council of the Kharas region, complained that he had been an outsider in the negotiations between Germany and Namibia. "I have numerously spoken to the president through writing. I also spoke to the economic advisor of the president. But all these attempts proved futile," Isaacks said.

The local leader is part of the Landless People's Movement (LPM), an oppositional party that took control over the regional administrations in the country's south after the 2019 elections. In his view, the exclusion of the regional administration is unconstitutional. "Kharas regional council, although the project emanates from this region, is excluded from all discussions, from all various meetings and sessions that were held. We are not part and parcel of anything!"

Isaacks even claimed to have been left in the dark about the upcoming visit by the German Federal Minister of Economic Affairs, Robert Habeck. "If the [German] federal minister is coming and he is coming for this hydrogen, why are we not informed, why are we not invited, why are we not brought to the table, so that we can also partake and air our position?"

The Ministry of Energy, on the other hand, said in a press release that the government would guarantee the involvement of the local community and the support of regional stakeholders. Robert Habeck is scheduled to travel to Namibia between December 4 and 5, 2022. There, he will meet with national decision-makers about green hydrogen and discuss the prospects of Namibia's green hydrogen production and Germany's cooperation.

Going forward

The Tsau Khaeb National Park is recognized as one of the best locations in the world for low-cost hydrogen production. The plentiful solar resources and onshore winds sweeping from the Atlantic combined with strong transport links into Southern Africa make Tsau Khaeb an ideal location for the project. There are already calls for further hydrogen projects in Namibia having seen the bids for the initial phase of development. 

Whilst there is certainly great optimism for the future of Namibia’s hydrogen industry, it remains vitally important that the practicalities of development and operation continue to be at the forefront of decisions given the enormous cost and investment in the green hydrogen projects.