Keetmanshoop residents raise concerns over green hydrogen project’s local benefits

Some Keetmanshoop residents, while welcoming the green hydrogen project, feel government should ensure that the inhabitants of the ||Kharas Region benefit from the project in terms of employment.

Residents shared their concerns here on Wednesday during the national green hydrogen roadshow, which is being held to introduce the Social Economic Development (SED) framework for the green hydrogen project to various stakeholders.

One of the participants, Ulrich Freyer, called on the regional leadership to come up with targeted intervention so people benefit from the project directly.

“We should understand that the people of the south need specific intervention that says this is directly intended for the people here, and we need to know the skills required for government to see what it can do for us to benefit directly,” he said.

Gladys Sekwate called on Hyphen Hydrogen Energy to ensure skills transfer happens when the project starts.

“I am sure you will bring in people from elsewhere that have the expertise, but please when that happens ensure that skills are transferred to empower our people so that they can use the experience to study and become experts themselves,” said Sekwate.

Another participant, Emrico Blaaaw, said in terms of skills needed the region is not well prepared as many people do not even have Grade 12 certificates, adding that bridging courses are needed so that inhabitants get the necessary skills.

Hyphen’s Head of Environment, Social and Governance, Toni Beukes, said the company and the government should look at ways to re-design vocational training courses or retrain those already trained to ensure their skills speak to what is needed.

“We are also looking at the school dropouts. If they can do bridging courses then they can go into vocational training to get the skills,” she added.

The green hydrogen project is expected to create 15 000 employment opportunities during the construction phase and 3 000 permanent jobs during the operational, with the target of 90 per cent of these jobs to be filled by Namibians.

The construction of the facility for the project is expected to start in 2026 and run for four years before operations commence.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency