The first European Union (EU)-Namibia Business Forum is set to take place in Brussels on October 24 and 25, 2023. The primary aim of this forum is to support Namibia’s efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) from European investors.
The theme of the forum is “Mobilising quality investment and value addition for green growth in the EU-Namibia partnership,” with a specific focus on green hydrogen and sustainable critical raw materials value chains. Both the EU and Namibia share the goal of promoting economic growth and job creation through sustainable and inclusive green growth transition.
Namibia has been making efforts to develop its renewable energy sector, utilising its abundant solar and wind resources to produce green hydrogen and position itself as a green energy hub. A notable project in this regard is Namibia’s $10 billion green hydrogen initiative, which aims to produce two million tonnes of green ammonia annually for regional and global markets, including Europe.
The EU and its member states are supportive of Namibia’s ambitious green hydrogen program, offering assistance in terms of financial, technical, and human resources, innovative technology, and infrastructure. Additionally, the EU expresses its willingness to support Namibia in developing a home-grown extractive, refining, and recycling industry for raw materials, as well as facilitating the green and digital transformation of both Namibia and the EU.
Notably, Namibia has implemented measures to prohibit the export of critical minerals in raw form, aiming to add more value locally, create local jobs, and enhance domestic industrialisation. This policy affects minerals like lithium, graphite, cobalt, manganese, and rare earth elements.
The EU-Namibia Business Forum is considered timely as it builds on the strategic partnership agreement signed between Namibian President Hage Geingob and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in 2022. This agreement focuses on developing green hydrogen and sustainable critical raw material value chains in Namibia, and both parties have committed to concrete actions in a roadmap for 2023 and 2024.
In terms of trade, South Africa is traditionally Namibia’s largest import source, followed by the EU, which accounts for over 21% of Namibia’s exports. Namibia’s trade balance with the EU has consistently been positive.
The forum serves as a platform to further enhance economic cooperation between Namibia and the EU, with a specific emphasis on green investments and sustainable development.