South Africa

Last updated: November 2023

The country is one of the priority countries with which the International Climate Initiative (IKI) maintains a particularly close cooperation.

South Africa has one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world, since the country is dependent on fossil fuels in the electricity, industry and transport sectors. Coal amounts to approximately 71 percent of primary energy, which is equivalent to 85 percent of electricity production. The industrial sectors of the country, including the mining, metal and automotive industries, have developed alongside the energy sector, leading to complex mutual dependencies.

Despite various intervention measures for energy supply security, entire municipal districts have to be regularly disconnected from the power grid for several hours to prevent a collapse of the grid. This measure is referred to as “loadshedding”. The consequences for the population and for economy as a whole is tremendous. Therefore, the country is confronted with the great challenge of making the expansion of additional power generation capacities renewable and sustainable - and of developing a political strategy that takes economic growth and the South African climate and biodiversity targets into consideration.

Interface project

Most priority countries of the IKI also engage in so-called IKI interface projects, which have permanent project offices in the capital city of the respective country. Alongside their own, country-specific project commission, these interface projects are also tasked with maintaining close contact to environment and climate ministries as well as networking with other relevant ministries in the field of climate and biodiversity policy. Beyond this, the interface projects also work to network all of the IKI projects in the country and region together so as to promote synergies.

In South Africa, the interface function is currently represented by the project Climate Support Programme IV

Project priorities 

  • Support of the DFFE in the implementation of national climate goals in the areas of climate change mitigation, adaptation to climate change and transparency, as well as consultation on the integration of the biodiversity aspect;
  • Promotion of innovative financing streams; 
  • Support for the preparation of projects (climate action and biodiversity conservation); 
  • Function as an IKI interface: Promotion of dialogue on climate and biodiversity between the IKI projects in the country as well as between other actors (networking opportunities and knowledge management).

In a nutshell

Region: Southern Africa

Population: 59.9 million (World Bank, 2022)

CO2eq emissions (incl. LUCF): 508.4 million t (ClimateWatch, 2020)

CO2eq emissions per capita (incl. LUCF): 8.6 t (ClimateWatch, 2020)

Total energy supply (IRENA, 2020):

  • 6 % RE (83 % Bioenergy - 2 % Hydro/marine - 15 % Solar)
  • 14 % Oil
  • 3 % Gas
  • 2 % Nuclear
  • 75 % Coal + others

IKI projects in the country (last updated in November 2023):

  • bilateral: 6 ongoing, 9 completed
  • regional: 4 ongoing, 5 completed
  • global: 18 ongoing, 41 completed

ClimateWatch

NDC partnership: country page

IKI partner ministries:

  • Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE)
  • Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE)
  • Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI)
  • Department for Water and Sanitation (DWS)
  • Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC)

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