Green Economy

A key element of South Africa's future development is the issue of energy and climate change.

An economy dependant on coal

Solaranlage Enlarge image (© dpa/pa)

In the international dialogue on climate change, South Africa is an important partner. In worldwide climate discussions the country has signalled its readiness to commit to emission reduction goals for its coal-based energy industry. However, its abundance of coal induces inefficient electricity use and is a major source of severe pollution. Besides, South Africa has neglected modernisation investments for years, putting its electricity security at risk.

High CO2 emissions

South Africa is one of the 15 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases worldwide and number one on the continent. Coal combustion releases almost 10 tons of carbon dioxide per capita per year. This emission rate is 43 percent above the global average and therefore a very high level for an emerging economy. Even though, low electricity tariffs and less stringent emissions standards attract heavy industry and mining. They consume more than 50 percent of the electricity.

Development cooperation

Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/dpa) Since 2008 climate and energy have therefore been priority areas of cooperation in German Development Cooperation (DC) with South Africa. There is potential for cooperation particularly in the field of renewable energy resources, but also in energy efficiency in the industrial as well as the transport sector. Different programmes of the German Development Cooperation are designed to support South Africa in reducing its carbon footprint as well as contributing towards a constant sustainable energy supply. On the one hand the South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN) strives to improve framework conditions for increased investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. On the other hand the Climate Support Programme (CSP) assists with the implementation of the South African Government's white paper on the national climate policy with expert knowledge.

Advice and training

Awareness Enlarge image (© GIZ/Stubbs) Advice and cooperation in improving the institutional framework, in the diverse aspects of emissions trading, and in climate change adaptation are integral parts of German Development Cooperation.

This also applies to basic and advanced training of professionals in this field. The German DC is trying to have its impact on driving the supply of green qualifications forward on stimulating the demand for graduates of green economy branches of education with its Skills Development for Green Jobs (SfGJ) Programme.

Green Economy


Working together towards increased access to skills development

Bildungspartnerschaft Afrika

Limited access to quality education and training means that South Africa has a large number of unskilled workers, who struggle to find employment, especially in the formal sector. Through various projects supported by Germany it is hoped that more and more people will have access to skills development and subsequently find employment.

My Green Home – Germany supports Energy Efficiency in Housing

My Green Home

A South African – German pilot project, “my green home” has just presented its final results that showcase how much energy and resource savings are possible in the residential sector in South Africa. “My green home” is led by the Green Building Council South Africa, with main co-funding and substantial input from the German government through the South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN).

Energy Week in Port Elizabeth 2014

Energy Week 2014

The German Government supported its South African partners in organising the “Energy Week”2014 in the Eastern Cape, which took place from 28th Juli to 1st August 2014. The event was hosted by the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) of the Eastern Cape Province and supported by the German Development Programme “Skills for Green Jobs”, which is implemented by GIZ.

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