Thursday, October 28, 2010

South Africa’s “new growth path” strategy: Green

South Africa’s green power ambitions

October 27, 2010 - Here are two of South Africa’s biggest challenges: reducing one of the world’s highest unemployment rates and curbing carbon emissions growth by a target of 42 per cent over the next 15 years.

A government statement this week suggested the country will aim to kill both birds with one stone by growing green industries - and that includes, according to a ruling party bigwig, seizing an opportunity to become a leading player in the electric fuel cell business.

Following months of discussion, the government on Tuesday gave some details of its “new growth path” strategy. The most eye-catching part was the pledge to reduce unemployment from 25 to 15 per cent, by creating 5m jobs over the next decade.

Details of how that would be achieved were sketchy - but there was a clear emphasis on low-carbon industries.

The “green economy” will supply 300,000 new jobs by 2020, according to Collins Chabane, minister in the presidency, with most coming through the construction of wind and solar power stations. “In each of these areas, clear targets of the jobs potential have been developed,” says Chabane.

So far, South Africa’s investment in renewable energy has been limited: it will amount to just $125m this year, compared with Brazil’s $7.4bn, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

Yet the state is now trying to put its money where its mouth is: the Industrial Development Corporation, a public body that finances businesses and entrepreneurs, has allocated R12bn to promote green industry. {read rest}

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