Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Supporting a socially just transition

South Africa is experiencing an energy crisis. The power supply has to be switched off for up to 12 hours a day. A national state of disaster was even temporarily declared. The energy infrastructure is in poor repair – a result of decades of underinvestment and criminal activities. The crisis is having a devastating impact on the country’s population and its economic development. Germany is supporting its partner country in effecting a socially just energy transition.

Wind turbines in South Africa

Wind turbines in South Africa

Wind turbines in South Africa

Currently, more than 80 per cent of South Africa’s power generation is coal-based, making it one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The South African government has set itself ambitious climate goals. In order to achieve these, the use of renewable energy will have to be expanded significantly and energy efficiency will need to be greatly increased. South Africa has huge potential for generating energy using wind and solar power. However, the government has stated clearly that South Africa will only be able to restructure its energy sector and achieve its climate targets with the help of the international community.

Creating a partnership for a just transition in South Africa

At the international climate conference in 2021 (COP26), Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and the EU announced a new partnership with South Africa aimed at supporting a just transformation of its energy system (Just Energy Transition Partnership, JETP). These international partners have provided a total of 8.5 billion US dollars, mainly in the form of loans. Germany is contributing over 1.1 billion euros to this, of which around 1 billion will be provided by the BMZ.

Examples of Germany’s activities

Together with the private sector, GIZ (on behalf of the BMZ) is advising South Africa’s Department of Energy, the national power utility and South African districts and municipalities on how to promote the use of renewable energies and improve energy efficiency. Support is being provided for the construction of energy infrastructure, advisory services in the energy market, training opportunities to help people qualify for “green” jobs, and measures to mitigate the social impact of the energy transition.

As part of Financial Cooperation, low-interest loans are being offered via South African institutions to small and medium-sized businesses wishing to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. In addition, KfW Development Bank (on behalf of the BMZ) is supporting measures to modernise the transmission and distribution grids so that energy from renewable sources can be fed into the grid.

As at: 25/08/2023