South Africa’s economic development Minister Ibrahim Patel said the country has a responsibility to explore new innovative ways to grow the economy and so also address its unemployment problem. He was speaking at a Green Economy Summit currently that took place at the Sandton Convention Centre on April 19.
“Green Economy gives us an opportunity to achieve our economic development goals and it’s something we have to explore,” Patel said.
He said organisations like the Industrial Development Corporation were ready to finance entrepreneurs who want to explore the green economy industry.
According to the IDC’s initial research and calculations of the potential size of green economy almost 300 000 jobs can be created by the industry in the next few years, in areas like solar bio-fuels.
The green economy sector attracted more than $17 billion in China and more than 1.2 million people are currently employed in the sector. Germany created about 200 000 jobs using throughput technologies aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Patel said South Africa will be learning from the countries where the move to green economy has led to massive job creation.
The country’s mining industry also committed to green economy objectives by through “responsible” mining that would not leave behind negative environmental impacts.
“I firmly believe that this new approach is a global imperative, not only for sustainable mining but also for sustainable development in general,” said mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu.
Shabangu said old mining technologies and outdated mindsets towards labour issues had created unnecessary and painful social consequences and environmental damages.
“To avoid these preventable outcomes, we have embarked upon a process of multi-stakeholder engagement involving all role players in our mining sector,” she said.