Namibia inks deal with EU on sustainable raw materials, its exports to EU up 50%

Namibia inks deal with EU on sustainable raw materials, its exports to EU up 50%

Ahead of the COP27 in Egypt, Namibian and European Union officials say they have reached an agreement for Namibia to export rare earth materials to the EU, as Namibia’s total exports to the EU market have soared by 50%.

The EU is interested in developing the mining of minerals like lithium, cobalt and graphite, which are currently mined on a small scale in the country, according to Erasmus Shivolo, a senior official from Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.

“The EU is the one saying, ‘Well, Namibia has got certain minerals that are critical to the energy transition and therefore we want to explore opportunities in working together to develop projects in that space,’” Shivolo said. This possible agreement comes at a time when Western nations are seeking sources besides China for these minerals, which are used to make batteries for mobile phones, electric cars and other technology.

Shivolo added that the EU is also interested in Namibia’s ambitious plan to become a producer of “green hydrogen,” a clean power source that could be used by industry and to power electric vehicles.

According to EU Ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila, both parties are now working on a MoU, which is an outgrowth of an African Union-European Union summit that took place in Brussels last year. The agreement has not yet been signed, but it will be soon, Antila said, adding that both sides “agreed that we will start on building a partnership on sustainable raw materials and the green hydrogen.” Antila pointed to another factor speeding up the EU’s pursuit of alternative energy sources – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “This situation makes it even more important now, because the fact is we have to get rid of the dependency on Russian gas because Russia is not a reliable partner at the moment,” she said. Meanwhile, the big picture is that Namibia’s exports to the EU market has grown by 50%, and at one point reached €36 billion while imports only grew by 8.9%, EU Ambassador to Namibia said.

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