SA Needs R8.5 Trillion for Just Energy Transition, Says World Bank

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South Africa has the potential to drive inclusive, resilient and sustainable economic growth while addressing the negative impacts of climate change. However, to achieve this, the country will need to revamp its policies and maximize investments to implement a ‘triple transition,’ one that is just, low-carbon and climate-resilient, according to a new report released by the World Bank.

Released this month, the World Bank report states that the country requires R8.5 trillion – from a combination of external, private and public sector financing – between 2022 and 2050 to finance structural reforms – including financial and fiscal terms – and to accelerate the rollout of smart infrastructure across various sectors such as energy, agriculture and transport.

Of this, R2.4 trillion will need to be invested by 2030.

As such, according to the report, South Africa should pursue a triple-transition, targeting three types of transition to ensure both economic and climate objectives are met. Specifically, the report recommends the implementation of a low-carbon transition – by directing investments in new technologies such as renewables, the country can reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the energy sector while addressing the energy crisis; a climate-resilient transition – by investing heavily in climate action mechanisms such as irrigation, agronomic practices, ecosystem restoration and sustainable land management, the country can reduce the impacts of climate change including droughts, floods and heatwaves across various sectors; and finally, a just transition – by investing in reskilling and upskilling programs and increasing support for micro, small and medium enterprises as well as self-employed businesses to ensure the transition to low-carbon business models creates value to existing workers.

By unlocking the financing needed, South Africa stands the chance to implement its three-fold approach to the energy transition, thereby meeting dual goals of climate change mitigation and sustainable socioeconomic growth.

“As we work toward implementing our ambitious climate objectives, the difficult question remains how we uplift people and communities in the transition to a low emissions economy and ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable are not left behind as we resolve the tripartite challenges of inequality, poverty, and unemployment,” stated Dr. Crispian Olver, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Commission

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Nicholas Nhede

Nicholas Nhede

Nicholas is an energy sector journalist with a passion on how technology and diversification of the energy mix can be used to address energy sector challenges. Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication studies and has been covering energy-related topics including the Internet of Things, distributed energy and digitalisation since 2015.

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