N$1 billion kelp farm deal sealed

By Hilary Mare

CLIMATE Fund Managers (CFM) and Eos Capital have announced a partnership between Climate Investor Two (managed by CFM), Kelp Blue and the Namibia Infrastructure Development and Investment Fund (NIDIF), managed by Eos Capital, for the commercial development of the world’s first large-scale kelp farm with an investment of close to N$1 billion.

The investment will be required over a five-year period, the companies have announced.

This will be funded by both international and local Namibian sources through CI2 and NIDIF, pending investment approvals.

Kelp Blue will seek the necessary Namibian regulatory approvals and will liaise closely with local authorities.

Kelp Blue will cultivate giant kelp in nutrient-rich waters 3-10 kilometres off the coast of Namibia, near Lüderitz. The seaweed canopy will be sustainably harvested to produce alternative agri-food, bio-stimulant and textile products.

Kelp is a fast-growing seaweed and has the ability to sequester more carbon dioxide than terrestrial forests while boosting marine biodiversity and improving fish stocks and generating additional ecological benefits, including counteracting ocean acidification and de-oxygenation.

Founded in 2020, Kelp Blue has its headquarters in the Netherlands and operations in Namibia.

Kelp Blue will also create employment opportunities in coastal communities and contribute to economic growth in outlying areas.

“We are proud to partner with Kelp Blue in its efforts to accelerate marine biodiversity resilience. As one of the early investments under the CI2 financing facility, this partnership speaks to our commitment to supporting the health and productivity of our blue planet. Kelp Blue has the potential to improve aquatic biodiversity, contribute to effective fisheries management and provide alternative revenue streams for coastal economies,” commented Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Climate Fund Managers.

“We are committed to working with Kelp Blue to address the effects of climate change on marine and coastal resources, and build up the integrated marine resource management capacity of local decision makers and regulatory authorities,” he added.

Nicole Maske, Managing Partner of Eos Capital said that, “In addition to the positive impact on our ocean and our local fish stocks, this is an exciting opportunity to add to the infrastructure and growth of Lüderitz, thereby enhancing prospects for the local community, and to secure inward investment into Namibia on an environmentally responsible basis.”

“We look forward to repaying the confidence that Climate Fund Managers and Eos Capital have placed in us by ensuring the success of this project, creating meaningful employment opportunities in Namibia and making a valuable contribution to the integrity and viability of ocean ecosystems,” commented Daniel Hooft, founder of Kelp Blue.

CFM is a new-generation fund management firm dedicated to securing a sustainable future through investing in positive climate outcomes across global emerging markets. CFM is a cooperative incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, established as a joint venture between FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, and Sanlam InfraWorks, part of Sanlam Group of South Africa.

Eos Capital is an established Namibian private equity fund manager, founded in 2015 and 100 percent Namibian-owned. Eos Capital’s mission is to contribute to the growth of the Namibian economy, building on its strong local network and ability to add value to investments. Eos and its funds are registered and regulated under Namibian law.