Opportunities Exist for South Africa to Become a Sustainable Low-Carbon Economy

Opportunities Exist for South Africa to Become a Sustainable Low-Carbon Economy

Like other countries in Africa and, indeed, the rest of the world, South Africa has also been struggling with climate-related challenges. Interestingly, all these challenges also present an opportunity to invest in and build great low-carbon economies. A report released towards the end of 2021 by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) explains some of the hurdles that countries like South Africa must work to overcome if they want to build their green H2 sector and economies.

One might ask why South Africa is highlighted in the report and not any other country in Africa. Well, the report explains that African continent contributes about 4% of global carbon emissions. South Africa contributes about 33% of total emissions from Africa. Further, it is among the top 50 countries in the world that over the years have been majorly responsible for climate change. For this reason, it is expected that its role in the quest to overcome climate change will act as an example to other nations in the continent and even beyond as the world transitions to the use of green hydrogen as a sustainable and clean option.

While opportunities exist, the report points out the need for South Africa and the rest of the continent to attract global green H2 investments. More precisely, there is a need for African leaders to mobilize themselves and also work with the international community to tap the potential/opportunities that exist in the green H2 sector. According to Lucas Chaumontet, managing director and partner at BCG, Johannesburg, collaborative actions by South Africa and other countries are what might help unlock the opportunities that exist in the low-carbon economy. Such a move will also help confront major climate threats that affect both Africa and the whole world as well.

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The report further indicates that for South Africa, the transition must be managed in a way that includes all stakeholders and ought to contribute to measures for alleviating poverty. To achieve such a goal, leaders must come up with a plan specifically for national climate resilience. Such a plan must identify solutions to existing challenges and the opportunities that exist and must be tapped. The challenges that must be pointed include high levels of inequality, over-reliance on fossil fuels, and unemployment. On the other hand, opportunities include the existence of vast renewable resources, competitive costs of production, and job creation if the sector is explored fully and the right investments are made in it.

In its concluding remarks, the report paints a picture of the potential that exists in South Africa and the rest of the continent if some actions are given priority. The actions include massive investment in climate adaptation, leveraging of new technologies related to green H2, and the creation of local green manufacturing capabilities. While doing all that can be a challenge, having the right plans and mobilizing resources might make it possible to reap big from the low-carbon economy. It will also shape South Africa’s path to zero emissions in the future.

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