What is the pathway to a new economy in South Africa?

Date: Thursday 5th August 2021


The transition to low carbon development is gaining traction in many developing countries, including South Africa. Despite pressesing socio-economic challenges, there is increasing recognition of the need to avoid being located into a carbon intensive development pathway. Undertaking climate action, while retaining economic competitiveness and commitments to poverty alleviation is critical to building an inclusive economy.

The recent violent riots and looting in South Africa are a stark reminder of the precarious circumstances under which South Africa’s economy is built. It’s clear that the current economic model is dysfunctional, leaving millions disenfranchised and unable to provide their basic needs, a situation that was exacerbated by the pandemic.

It’s important to note that, South Africa is not only faced by socioeconomic challenges, but also a looming climate crisis. The riots and looting that took place have many parallels with the potential outcomes of the climate crisis. Characterized by extreme events such as droughts and flooding, the impact of climate change on the poor and the most vulnerable in society will be devastating.

The events of the last couple of weeks have clearly demonstrated that, faced with a major climate crisis, South Africa is likely to also have a lacklustre response, if proactive measures are not implemented.

What is the pathway to a new economy?

South Africa needs to rethink how it can rebuild its economy to be more inclusive and resilient. The country requires a ‘new economy’, that is focused on creating opportunities for vulnerable communities. Key to this new economy transition, is the need for frameworks that support effective participation of vulnerable communities, catalysing local investments and creating an enabling policy environment for low carbon development.

Invitation to dialogue

The African Centre for a Green Economy (ACGE) invites you to participate in a series of dialogues, that seek to identify practical opportunities for driving local economic development, in the transition to a low carbon development.

This dialogue is part of a comparative study being undertaken between South Africa and Uganda on just energy transition, supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The project is seeking to enhance effective participation of vulnerable communities in the discourse on low carbon development in both countries.

Expected Outcomes

  • Unpack the notion of just transition and the policy shifts that are required to achieve it
  • Identify key research priorities required to accelerate just transition in South Africa
  • Outline key measures required to enhance inclusive participation in the discourse on low carbon development

Moderator: Dr Sepo Hachigonta– Director of Strategic Partnerships, National Research Foundation & Non-Executive Director, African Centre for a Green Economy


H.E. Chris Cooter, Canadian High Commissioner to South Africa

Crispian Olver, Executive Director, Presidential Climate Commission (TBC)

Kumi Naidoo, Global Ambassador for Africans Rising for Justice, Peace & Dignity (TBC)

Ms Makoma Lekalakala, Director Earthlife Johannesburg

Dr Mao Amis, Executive Director, African Centre for a Green Economy


The webinar is organised by AfriCGE; a Think Tank and innovation hub supporting the transition to a green economy in Africa. Through engaging with policymakers, business leaders and academia, AfriCGE is seeking to promote evidence-based policy implementation and the development of appropriate skills for the transition towards a green economy

For further information please contact: damalie@africancentre.org