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Namibia sees opportunity to attract German energy refugees

"The former German colony, Namibia wants to help Germany in its energy crisis". This is how an article in the online edition of a German newspaper recently began about Namibia's new "Digital Nomad" visa. The six-month visa is ideal for long-term holidaymakers. And for professionals who have their office on their laptop and can work from anywhere.

Published: December 18, 2022, 6:20 am

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    “You Germans are very welcome here!” according to the managing director of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), Nangula Nelulu Uaandja. “This is your second home here, a piece of Germany in Africa. We have German architecture, German street names, with the A1 even a German motorway!” Germans are now able to apply for a visa at the NIPDB to escape the cold.

    Namibia’s six-month visa is viewed as a relief action for Germans who want to escape the sky-high heating costs at home.

    German bread and pretzels are part of the “second home” and Namibian beer is brewed according to the German Purity Law. There is smoked pork knuckle and Black Forest cake available on most restaurant menus – which visitors can order anywhere not only in the old German coastal town of Swakopmund.

    Traces of the colonial era

    Namibia is home to 15 000 ethnic Germans and among them are many descendants of Germans who emigrated during the colonial period from 1884 to 1915. Today, there are no tensions in the way people interact in everyday life, despite claims to the contrary.

    NIPDB boss Uaandja and businessman Heinrich Hafeni list other advantages in the Bild article. Namibia offers summer instead of winter. There is hardly any time difference with Germany (at present Namibia is one hour ahead, but from March to October, the time is the same). Housing, food and fuel are comparatively cheap.

    Bild editor Sebastian Geisler knows Namibia from his time as an “intern” at the private German-language radio station Hitradio Namibia. That was many years ago. But time and again he is drawn “back”, the last time, last March.

    His contribution with the headline “Germans to spend the winter in ex-colony” obviously hit a nerve in the country. Many other media houses immediately picked up on the topic, including Deutschlandfunk, the Rheinische Post and the Münchner Merkur.

    Visa for remote workers and long-term holidaymakers

    The six-month visa is intended for “new workers”, but is also suitable for long-term holidaymakers. One can apply for it online on the NIPDB website). Required are:

    – an income or credit of 2 000 US dollars per month. For an accompanying spouse, an additional 1 000 US dollars and per child an additional 500 US dollars per month must be shown.

    – a health or travel insurance that covers the risks during the stay in Namibia

    For more and more Germans, living in their own country is becoming unaffordable. African countries are preparing for this and want to attract German emigrants – either for the whole six months or at least for the winter.

    The governing party SWAPO was “surprised” about the problems that prevail in Germany. Nangula Uuandja, Managing Director of the Namibian Investment Promotion and Development Board, promised that there would be “no upper limit” for interested energy price refugees. German remains one of the country’s official languages. There are also German-language newspapers and radio stations, and many schools teach in German. Traditional German festivals such as carnival or the Oktoberfest are still celebrated in Namibia.

    Uuandja emphasized: “You can live and work here in winter, you don’t have to be afraid of the high heating costs like in Germany.” In addition, “we always have electricity”.

    The country has lots of sunny days: Capital Windhoek has over 300 sunny days per year. According to Köppen climate classification, the annual average temperature is above 18 °C. The temperature throughout the year could be called mild, due to altitude influence.

    Energy situation looking bleak

    Despite politicians’ protestations to the contrary, Germany’s energy security is extremely weak. That suddenly became clear on Monday, December 12. The coldest day so far in an exceptionally cold December resulted in significant energy consumption.

    Germany used a full percentage point of its stored gas on December 12, according to Bundesnetzagentur chief Klaus Müller. “That should now remain an outlier,” said Müller in the ZDF.

    December could be one of the coldest in the past ten years. As a result, industry and households did not achieve the goal of consuming 20 percent less gas than usual. The fact that Germany exports electricity from gas-fired power plants to France also contributed to the high usage.

    Müller is optimistic that a “gas shortage” and the disconnection of gas lines are not imminent. The reservoirs are more than 92 percent full. “One, two, three weeks when it gets cold and we consume more, we can easily endure that.” But if it continues in January and February, the picture changes.

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