Enrico Brandt, Deputy Head of Mission: German Embassy to South Africa

Germany and France have each released €300-million in concessionary finance to South Africa as part of the $8.5-billion pledged to the country by the EU, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States for its transition to a low-carbon economy, said Enrico Brandt, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy to South Africa.

The $8.5-million deal, which launched the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) between South Africa and the developed countries, was announced at the 2021 United Nations climate change talks (COP26). The concessionary loans were announced at 2022’s COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Making a switch to a low-carbon economy inevitably caused social and economic disruption, Brandt said, adding that it was “very important” to put social justice at the top of any energy transformation agenda.

He warned that it was a scientific fact that if the world were to avoid the “catastrophic” effects of climate change, global warming must be limited to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Brandt added that it was only by working together that the world could achieve this aim.

“The JETP is a good example of relying on each other, [and of] a long-term agreement” that embraces global efforts for industrial and economic growth, he said.

Through the JETP, South Africa would accelerate decommissioning its coal-fired power stations, and the JETP funding would be used “in a catalytic way” to ensure South Africa’s switch to a low-carbon economy powered by energy from renewable resources. This would be done in accordance with the JETP investment plan South Africa unveiled at COP27.