Green Hydrogen: A People-Centred Approach to Sustainable Development in Namibia

Namibia, with its vast renewable energy resources, particularly solar and wind, stands on the cusp of a green energy revolution.

November 21, 2023

Ms Alka Bhatia, UNDP Resident Representative in Namibia

Central to this is the development of green hydrogen, a clean energy source that has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions and drive sustainable development.

The potential gains for green hydrogen are considerable, with Namibia poised to become a key player in the global clean energy market, fostering innovation and generating new employment opportunities.

As the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), we recognise the potential of this innovation to address critical challenges such as its youth population of whom 46,1% are unemployed (Namibia Labour Force Survey, 2018), accelerate research and development, and strengthen the service industry, while opening new avenues for innovative financing.


The true potential of green hydrogen, however, can only be realised if it is developed with a people-centred approach for it to truly be a catalyst for sustainable development.

And by ensuring it contributes positively to the lives of all Namibians and aligns with the broader goals of sustainable development, as set out in the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This means equitable benefit distribution, community involvement in decision-making, skill development, and reinvestment in local development projects.

The benefits of green hydrogen projects must be equitably distributed among all Namibians, especially in rural and underserved areas.

In addition, a portion of the revenue from green hydrogen should be reinvested in community development projects, further contributing to the country’s socio-economic growth pathway.

By adopting a people-centred approach, green hydrogen can be more than just an energy solution; it can be a pathway to a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for Namibia and its citizens.

The role of development partners, including the UNDP, is pivotal in supporting the Namibian government in this transition.

With its global presence and technical expertise, the UNDP can assist in ensuring that the green hydrogen sector development is human development-oriented, and leaves no one behind.


Developing a green hydrogen economy is not without challenges.

It will require a substantial investment in infrastructure, technological innovation, skills development and capacity building.

Moreover, there’s a need to create the right regulatory framework that will support the growth of the industry, while enhancing social and environmental safeguards.

In our efforts to support Namibia’s green transition, the UNDP emphasises the importance of innovative financing mechanisms such as carbon markets.

The country’s engagement in carbon markets, encouraged by its commitments under the Paris Agreement, presents a novel approach for blended finance.

This market-based mechanism not only aids in achieving net-zero emissions, but also serves as a financing option to support the country’s climate mitigation efforts.

Green hydrogen can position Namibia as a key player in the global clean energy market, drive technological innovation, and create new employment opportunities across various sectors.

It can also drive technological innovation and create a new industry that offers a range of employment opportunities from hydrogen production to research and development.

As UNDP, we support this endeavour, recognising that robust research and development capabilities are essential for sustainable development.


As Namibia embarks on its journey towards a green hydrogen economy, the vision should be not only to harness its renewable resource but to do so in a way that uplifts human development and sets a global example for sustainable development.

The UNDP is ready to support Namibia in achieving these objectives.

Linking green hydrogen to the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs means: The production and utilisation of green hydrogen in Namibia has the potential to directly contribute to several SDGs by providing a clean energy source; it can help achieve SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

The development of the industry can stimulate economic growth (SDG 8), foster innovation (SDG 9), and potentially reduce inequalities (SDG 10) by creating new job opportunities for all Namibians.

Alka Bhatia is the UNDP’s resident representative in Namibia.