German-Namibia partnership capacitates green hydrogen drive

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in collaboration with the government of Namibia, is facilitating the education of 93 Namibians to the tune of approximately N$87.7 million.

The German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Betinna Stark-Watzinger said this is meant to build internal relevant structures and capacity, as well as responsive programmes in the field of green hydrogen before the sector kicks off.

“The task at hand is to now overcome technology on a path towards a green hydrogen supply chain. This can only be done with education and research. To test production and application of technology under real life conditions, the plants must prove that they can run in very hot climate, high levels of solar radiation and sandy winds, this can only work with research and education,” Stark-Watzinger said on Wednesday.

The Minister said that the partnership is working towards pioneering a path toward a global economy.

"The Daures first net zero community and usage of green hydrogen will be tested in green agriculture for example, the best technologies are nothing without well trained people to operate them," she said.

Stark-Watzinger said the 93 recipients will be trained to provide energy to the world sustainably, similarly to care for future generations to come.

"You are not only part of an endeavour to provide energy worldwide, but a part of a game changer to save our planet…, green hydrogen is not a vision but something we have accomplished," she said.

This comes after the two countries signed, in August 2021 in Berlin, a Joint Communique of Intent (JCoI), in which the BMBF availed grant funding of €40 million, through the National Planning Commission of Namibia, towards deepening Green Hydrogen cooperation between the two countries.

The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) was appointed, by BMBF, as the Implementing Agency of the JCoI.

According to SASSCAL, one of the key priority areas of this Agreement was “Capacity Building”, where €5 million (approximately N$87.7 million) was allocated for Scholarships for the Namibian youth in Germany or in programmes in collaboration with German institutions.

SASSCAL Executive Director, Jane Olwoch says in March 2022, the Namibian Youth for Green Hydrogen (Y4GH) Scholarship Programme was born out of this partnership.

She said this Scholarship programme was designed to ensure an output of trained Namibians ‘who are fit for purpose’, as early as 2024, she said.

The funding priority areas identified included, Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), Master’s degree programmes and up-skilling of current graduates through relevant short courses.

"After the extended closing date, 08 June 2022, over 1,100 Young Namibians responded to the “Call for Applications” across the various programmes. Applications were then subjected to a preliminary screening and data validation that shortlisted 466 candidates.

To ensure the evaluation of the applicants was transparent and fair, an inclusive committee was established with representatives from the various education and training institutions (these included NTA, NCRST, UNAM, NUST, and VTCs) alongside relevant industry players. This committee was tasked with evaluating and recommending beneficiaries for the Scholarships," she said.

From the 466 shortlisted, the committee recommended 164 candidates: 98 Master’s and 66 TVET.

"However, due to funding limitations, from the 164 recommended applicants, only 93 scholarships were conditionally awarded, these included 64 master’s and 34 TVET scholarships.

For the 64 successful master’s scholarship conditional awards, the condition is that applicants obtain a university admission letter into a relevant Green Hydrogen programme, either from NUST, UNAM, or from an institution of higher learning in Germany," she said.

In this regard, the Namibian Government, in collaboration with the relevant education & training institutions, set up hybrid Green Hydrogen study programmes, inclusive of course work in Namibia and Germany.

Meanwhile, in the case of 29 successful TVET applicants, their studies will be undertaken at local vocational training centres.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 29 March 2023 23:42

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