JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed to the chairperson at the Conference of the Parties (Cop27) meeting in Egypt for higher-scale funding streams and technological support for South Africa

The International Partners Group of five nations has already given South Africa’s Just Energy transition investment plan the go-ahead at the climate talks.

The investment plan outlines comprehensive priority investment and financing interventions over the next five years to implement decarbonisation commitments.  The plan captures the scale of need and the investments required to achieve these commitments while promoting sustainable development and ensuring a just transition for affected workers and communities.  The said investment plan addresses the global risks of climate change while creating jobs and driving more rapid and inclusive economic growth.

“According to the plan, South Africa will need approximately US$ 98 billion over the next five years to enable a just transition and achieve the ambitious targets we have set out in our Nationally Determined Contribution”, said Ramaphosa.   He explained that the plan includes a portfolio of investments across three priority sectors: the electricity sector, green hydrogen and new energy vehicles.  It focuses, more specifically, on investing in our country’s electricity transmission and distribution networks and expanding renewable energy sources.  It also includes investment in local production of green hydrogen and electric vehicles, and investing in local economies to develop skills and enable economic diversification.

Ramaphosa reminded delegates that it was set out at COP 26 in Glasgow to establish a historic partnership with France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union in support of the country’s transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient society.  This partnership is founded on a common understanding that the contributing countries have towards global warming and a responsibility to an abiding interest in supporting a just transition in developing economy countries.  It is rooted in an understanding that without substantial and sustained financial support, these countries will be unable to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.

“South Africa appreciates the commitment that the International Partners Group made at COP 26 to contribute resources to our ambitious just energy transition”, said Ramaphosa.   “To succeed, we will need to ensure that financial support includes a significantly larger grant funding component.”  He said that among other things, this calls for reform of the multilateral development banks and international financing institutions – and the mobilisation of commercial banks – to meet the climate financing needs of developing economies.  These resources are needed to ensure the implementation of active labour market policies, reskilling and upskilling as well as the creation of new industries on a considerable scale.

The President assured delegates that funding support through the Just Energy Transition Partnership can make a vital contribution to achieving the ambition set out in the investment plan.  “This partnership presents an opportunity to develop a new and innovative model for financial support for just transitions in developing economy countries.  Through this partnership we are in a position to demonstrate greater ambition, urgency and impact.”

He implored the congregation that everyone present is vital to fulfil their shared commitment and to leave no one behind.

Zoé Pillay