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South Africa's Pathway to a Green Economy


National Green Economy Initiatives        

 South Africa's New Growth Path announced in 2010 sets out critical markets for employment creation and growth, implying fundamental changes in structure of production to generate a more inclusive and greener economy over the medium to long run through macroeconomic and microeconomic interventions.

See South Africa's Country Study Summary

South Africa launched a US$ 7.5 billion fiscal stimulus package in February 2008 covering the period covering the period 2009-2011.  Around 11% of this stimulus package, representing US$ 0.8 billion was allocated to environmental-related themes.

The South African Government hosted a Green Economy Summit in May 2010, to set the stage for formulating a Green Economy Plan.

In November 2011, South Africa unveilled a Green Economy Accord to launch a partnership between the government, business community, trade unions and civil society.

The Green Accord is one in a series agreed under South Africa’s New Growth Path. It sets goals to create 300,000 new jobs in contribution to the New Growth Path's objective of creating five million new jobs by 2020, and to double the country's clean energy generation.   

South Africa's Green Economy initiatives build on its National Development Plan - Vision for 2030, its National Framework for Sustainable Development, and other national strategy documents. 

UNEP Green Economy Support 

UNEP is partnering with the Government of the Republic of South Africa, to support its national efforts in promoting a Green Economy. UNEP committed senior-level participation in South Africa's Green Economy Summit and is further cooperating with South Africa as part of a UNEP regional initiative on Green Economy for Africa.

At its Green Economy Summit held in May 2010, South Africa identified nine priority sectors and areas for promoting a low-carbon, resource-efficient and employment-intensive green economy.  UNEP is providing technical support to the Department of Environmental Affairs through a green economy scoping exercise to assess quantitatively potential economic, social and environmental effects of scaling-up investment in key priority sectors, along with enabling reforms. This is done in collaboration with technical institutions in South Africa.   

Other UN related initiatives

      ILO on Green Jobs programme
UNEP is partnering with the International Labor Organisation on Green Jobs projects, implemented in collaboration with South Africa’s Ministry of Economic Development. The “Working for Water” public programme created 25,000 green jobs for previously unemployed people in the removal of high water-consuming invasive vegetation. 

What South African  leaders say about the Green Economy

South African President Zuma:

“We believe that by stimulating investment in green industries, we will be able to contribute to the creation of decent work. In our Medium Term Strategic Framework, which guides government’s programme for 2009 to 2014, we undertake to pursue and further explore the concept of ‘green jobs’, including scaling up labour-intensive natural resource management practices whichcontribute to decent work and livelihood opportunities....

"In the midst of the global economic crisis, the United Nations Environment Programme called for a Global Green New Deal...Today, at this summit, we are responding to that call...We have no choice but to develop a green economy....

"There is significant opportunity for the development of a green economy in Southern Africa, and which extends to other parts of the continent...

"We are certain that out of this summit will emerge a national green economy plan, informed by valuable insights on key areas of focus and on issues requiring our national attention in the short, medium and long term”.

Keynote address by H.E. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, at the Green Economy Summit in Johannesburg, on 19 May 2010. 

View the full text of the speech by President Zuma here.