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NewsSDG 7

Study trip to Intersolar Europe as culmination of Namibian-German association partnership

Five people having a lively conversation around a table in an exhibition hall. In the background, stalls and fairgoers.

Sponsored by Germany’s Green People’s Energy programme, the partnership between the Renewable Energy Association of Namibia (REIAoN) and the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) culminated in a study trip to the Intersolar Europe trade fair in Munich in mid-June. Besides extensive talks, BSW and REIAoN also organised a well-attended side event.

“Higher, faster, further, bigger” – in retrospect, it’s hard to find the right superlatives for Intersolar Europe 2023 in Munich, Germany. The leading trade fair for solar and storage technology came to a successful close with a record 106,000 visitors from around the world. Guests included three visitors from Namibia. Paulus Mulunga and Jan-Barend Scheepers from the board of the Namibian solar association REIAoN and manager Anna Hamukwaya visited the Bavarian capital for about a week. Their takeaway? They were impressed by the size of the trade fair and the intensity of talks on site.

Namibia’s REIAoN meets BSW in Bavaria

Ronald Upmann, project manager for the German Solar Industry Association, hosted the delegation in Munich and had prepared and coordinated the trip with the Namibian partner organisation. One of the highlights of the week was a side event organised by both partners on Thursday entitled ‘Opportunities in the Namibian Solar Market’. The panel included REIAoN board members Mulunga and Scheepers, Bärbel Höhn, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Africa representative for energy, and BSW managing director David Wedepohl. In addition, Elizabeth Ipangelwa from GIZ Namibia gave an interesting insight into the organisation’s various activities. Despite various events in parallel, the event was well attended and there was a lively exchange with company representatives from the audience afterwards.

Photo 1: REIAoN and BSW side event on the solar and hydrogen market in Namibia. Paulus Mulunga, JB Scheepers (REIAoN), Elizabeth Ipangelwa (GIZ Namibia) and Ronald Upmann (BSW) lead through the well-attended event.
Photo 2: One of many interesting conversations at the exhibition – the REIAoN board in exchange with a training provider who already offers training in several African countries.
Photo 3: Group photo on the first day of the fair (from left to right): JB Scheepers (Chairperson REIAoN), Anna Hamukwaya (Manager REIAoN), Ronald Upmann (Project Manager BSW), Elizabeth Ipangelwa (Advisor Green Hydrogen & Green People’s Energy GIZ Namibia), Paulus Mulunga (Secretary REIAoN).

Namibia’s solar market meets the world, and its neighbours, in Munich

Another highlight for REIAoN was its participation in the Global Association Workshop, co-organised by BSW, where representatives of associations from all over the world meet and exchange ideas on the sidelines of the fair. REIAoN board members Mulunga and Scheepers were able to present their organisation on a large international stage and network with other associations, such as the South African photovoltaic association SAPVIA, whose CEO Dr Rethabile Melamu was in Munich. The BSW also maintains a close partnership with SAPVIA and could prepare a meeting with colleagues from Namibia.

Continued partnership

Last but not least, REIAoN and BSW had many interesting discussions at the fair, for example on training concepts, for which there is still a great demand in Namibia. BSW introduced REIAoN representatives to potential partners and service providers already offering solar energy training in the region.
Both associations decided at the fair to continue working together in the future. At the very least, there will be regular virtual exchanges and matchmaking formats.