March 7, 2024

Financing South Africa’s Just Energy Transition

The Just Energy Transition (JET) requires substantial quantities of new finance, continually, over a long period of time. Transitions could take 30 years for emerging markets (EMs) such as South Africa and estimates range on the investment needed for the country from R4tn to R8.5tn. It will be a steady pathway towards net zero over this period as easy and hard challenges are tackled.

Public sector-facilitated financing is currently given most prominence in terms of funding the transition given the unique position South Africa has found itself in following the creation of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) at COP26 in Glasgow. However, the scale of capital required means that the private sector will always play the largest role in financing the JET. We therefore need to consider not only public sector financing, but also how private sector financing of JET can be catalysed and most importantly scaled in South Africa.

Many of the lessons we outline and recommendations we make in this paper are applicable globally to EMs for their transitions, in particular other countries exploring JETPs or country platforms.

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