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By: Lesego Malete
South Africa is turning into a green nation; we’re building green buildings, talking about greener environments and now we’re embracing the ‘greening of our economy’.
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in partnership with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have compiled a Green Jobs report aiming to create more than 400 000 jobs by 2025.
The launch took place at IDS's offices in Sandton with attendance from the Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, IDC chairperson, Monhla Hlahla, The DBSA’s group executive for development planning, Ravi Naidoo, authors of the report, David Jarvis and Jorge Maia supported by the team who conducted the research.
Opening the proceedings for the day, Hlahla says the launch of the Green Jobs report is a demonstration of our country’s commitment towards sustainable economic and social development. Thereafter the minister followed, emphasising the green economy’s importance as a lever to grow local industrial capacity and creating sustainable jobs. “The greening of an economy can present substantial opportunities for the creation of sustainable employment through the introduction of new activities in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. “The experience of several advanced and emerging countries that have been adopting green initiatives point toward an extraordinary opportunity for South Africa as it pursues a job-rich new growth path. As a considerable emitter of greenhouse gases, South Africa faces the challenge of transitioning to a less carbon-intensive growth trajectory without delay. In short, our challenge is to use less carbons and more people in our economic growth. This is what we mean by a new growth path,” says Minister Patel.
Under the guardianship of both Jarvis and Maia, the team focused on the following, resulting in this 150 pages report; encompassing 26 green technologies or segments:
Energy generation- pertaining to the generation of energy from sustainable, renewable and/or alternative sources with low or no carbon emissions;
Energy and resource efficiency - capturing, among others, initiatives aimed at reducing energy consumption through green buildings, solar water heaters, industrial equipment and public transportation;
Emissions and pollution mitigation - relatings to the utilisation of technologies aimed at reducing the harmful emissions associated with highly polluting industries, including air pollution control, electric vehicles, cleaner stoves, recycling, carbon capture and storage and water treatment; and
Natural resource management - covering the sustainable management and restoration of natural resources, specifically water, soil and land, as well as the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.
Maia says: “a greening economy should result in considerable expansions of productive capacity and service delivery across a wide spectrum of economic sectors. This should be progressively supported by investment activity and result in considerable employment creation.”
His counterpart, Jarvis says South Africa should take advantage of greening the economy considering that the country’s unemployment is rated at 25 percent. “The green economy is complex, extremely diverse, relatively new and fast evolving in many developed and emerging economies. South Africa will be dealing with the progressive and simultaneous introduction of technologies that are being improved, developed or commercialised. The economic merit of many of these technologies may only be fully established in years to come, opening up opportunities for the establishment of infant industries over time, but placing a requirement on countries to invest now to realise any first-mover advantages,” he says.
IDC’s chief executive officer (CEO) Geoffrey Qhena says “We are assisting in proving the potential of innovative technologies, new markets and initiatives within the green arena, gradually crowding-in other economic agents, including commercial financiers. Our green economy interventions will contribute to accelerating and sustaining the economic growth momentum in a more labour-absorbing, value-adding and environmentally sustainable manner.“