09 Apr 2024, 13:52
Benjamin Wehrmann

German government urged to consider colonial past in green hydrogen projects in Namibia

Clean Energy Wire

Representatives of the Nama people in Namibia are preparing an appeal to the German government to consider its colonial past in its plans to make the southern African country a supplier of green hydrogen, the German NGO Society for Threatened People (STP) has said. Nama representatives are meeting in the town of Lüderitz from 9-11 April to debate what the German government’s large-scale plans for investing in green hydrogen production in Namibia mean both for the indigenous group’s economic prospects and also for its relation to the former colonial power Germany. Germany orchestrated a genocide among the Nama and Herero people between 1904 and 1908, which it only acknowledged officially in 2021. The Nama representatives criticised plans to construct a port for shipping green hydrogen on Shark Island, the former location of a concentration camp by the imperial German forces where up to 3,000 members of the local Nama and Herero groups were incarcerated and murdered. “Many Nama fear that this important location for remembrance of the genocide will be massively damaged,” the STP said. The NGO said that producing green hydrogen in the country must not happen at the expense of the Nama. “Germany has to acknowledge its special responsibility and ensure that the offspring of those who were murdered are included in the plans,” STP director Roman Kühn argued. He said both the German government and companies involved in the hydrogen production plans should reach out to the Nama and coordinate their plans with them.

Namibia’s government entered into a contract with German investors who plan to put 10 billion euros into developing the country’s green hydrogen industry. The project is part of Germany’s wider efforts to establish suppliers and import the climate-neutral fuel from around the world. An alliance of social and environmental NGOs earlier this year called on the German government to include concrete and binding sustainability and justice standards in its upcoming hydrogen import strategy to enable a fair trade.

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