Sunrise in Johannesburg

South Africa Global development partner in southern Africa

South Africa calls itself the Rainbow Nation, in reference to its ethnic and cultural diversity. In the past, South Africa had been shunned by the international community due its policy of apartheid, under which it systematically repressed the black majority population. The impact of those decades of political, economic and social isolation can still be felt today.

Since apartheid ended in 1994, South Africa has developed into a stable democracy. The constitution it adopted in 1997 is regarded as one of the most progressive anywhere in the world. It contains, among other things, a comprehensive catalogue of human rights. The country has a free media and an active civil society. Despite its status as an upper middle income country, South Africa is currently ranked just 109th out of 191 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI).

Development cooperation

In view of South Africa's regional and international significance, Germany has selected it as one of its group of six “global development partners”. Cooperation between the two countries focuses on four priority areas: energy and climate (“Green Economy”); good governance and public administration; technical and vocational education and training and skills development; HIV prevention.

Traffic on the N1 between Pretoria and Johannesburg in South Africa

Reform process under way Internal link

The African National Congress (ANC) has been in government since 1994. Whilst its share of the vote fell at the country's sixth round of free parliamentary elections in May 2019, it still emerged with an absolute majority.

People in a slum on the outskirts of Cape Town

Rift between rich and poor Internal link

South Africa's policy of apartheid has left a profound mark on the country. Whilst a black middle and upper class has indeed emerged, there are still large sections of the population for whom conditions have not yet improved to any noticeable degree.

Orange processing plant in South Africa

Great potential, slow growth Internal link

In recent years, the country has lost a lot of its economic momentum. Since 2014, growth rates have been below two per cent, with expansion of just 0.6 per cent being recorded in 2018. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting a similar level of growth in 2019.

German development cooperation with South Africa

The development partnership between Germany and South Africa is aimed at helping the country overcome the development challenges that still persist, especially in the areas of governance, health, education and prevention of violence. The other aim of the partnership is to support global climate protection efforts and strengthen South Africa in the important role it plays for democracy, peace and stability on the African continent.

Official governmental development cooperation with South Africa began with the end of the apartheid regime. Since then, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has provided bilateral funding of around 1.6 billion euros.

At the government negotiations in November 2018, new commitments of 253.6 million euros were made for bilateral projects in 2017 and 2018. Since South Africa has already reached an advanced level of development, support was mainly provided to this particular partner country in the form of loans. Of the total sum, 224 million euros was allocated to Financial cooperation and 29.6 million euros to Technical Cooperation. The priority areas of cooperation are as follows:

  • Energy and climate (“Green Economy”)
  • Governance and public administration
  • HIV and AIDS prevention
  • Technical and vocational education and training and skills development
Wind turbines in South Africa

Generating more electricity from wind and sun Internal link

South Africa has been caught up in an energy crisis for years. And at the same time the government will have no other choice but to switch to different forms of energy if it wants to meet international climate goals. Currently, South Africa is largely using domestic coal reserves to meet the growing demand for energy. This has made the country one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

View of the government building in Pretoria

Establishing an efficient public administration Internal link

German development cooperation is helping South Africa to create an efficient public administration system that is open to and serves all its citizens equally and that provides reliable and transparent basic public services.

Woman holding an AIDS awareness campaign in South Africa

Informing young people about the risks Internal link

In no other country in the world are there as many people living with HIV as in South Africa. The spread of HIV and AIDS is jeopardising not only the country's economic development but also its social stability.

Trainees at a technical training centre in Soweto

Creating opportunities Internal link

More than half of young people in South Africa under the age of 25 are unemployed. Yet, at the same time, companies are having difficulties filling vacant posts because of a lack of skilled workers.