The following are the remarks made by Namibia’s Head of State and Government, His Excellency Dr Hage G Geingob at the September 7-10 African Green Revolution Forum Presidential Summit being hosted by Kenya
H.E. Dr Hage Geingob
Since Independence, given our comprehensive social safety net programs, more than 500,000 Namibians have been lifted out of severe poverty.
During this administration’s first term in office, the Food Bank programme was rolled out across all regions, reaching 42,081 Namibians while the Drought Relief Programme reached over 2.8 million Namibians cumulatively. During this period, no Namibian was reported to have died from hunger despite the country enduring one of the worst droughts in recent history.
According to the October 2020 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of COVID-19 in Namibia, overall poverty is expected to increase by an estimated 4.2 percent as a result of loss of income. We have thus responded by resolving to revise and convert the Food Bank and Special Feeding scheme for Marginalised Communities into a monthly cash transfer, as the first step to phase in a Conditional Basic Income Grant (BIG).
To complement the above social safety net programme, Namibia will promote and facilitate the infusion of private strategic investments into the agricultural sector. This ambition will contribute to the National goals of bolstering food security and self-sufficiency. These schemes hold the potential to unlock the production of high-value crops, contribute to the export market demands; while creating thousands of jobs.
Namibia is a small, open economy that is susceptible to independent intervening variables, including climate change and its disruptive consequences. Namibia experiences recurrent droughts, of which the most recent have been recorded as the worst in history. Therefore, Namibia must craft climate change-related solutions as it looks to holistically combat malnutrition and inequality.
To do so, Namibia has established a green economic recovery plan as has been envisioned in June 2021, by African Heads of State during the launch of the African Union Continental Green Recovery Action Plan.
Our ambitious plans to develop a green and blue economy as articulated under the economic advancement pillar of our Harambee Prosperity Plan II is hinged on our ability to work with global and continental partners to capture our world class renewable energy resource and utilise it to produce green hydrogen. The emissions free hydrogen will be converted into ammonia, which is a key building block for various fertiliser products.
Locally produced zero emissions fertiliser can be used to provide a fertile opportunity for local and regional sustainable economic development and will meaningfully contribute to a global effort to decarbonise our economies while augmenting Africa’s ambitions to attain zero hunger.
This new clean synthetic fuels industry has the potential to double our GDP, create employment for thousands of Namibians and importantly contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable home for our children and our children’s children. Environment, hunger and equity are indeed intricately linked, and must be tackled concurrently.