Angela Merkel Touts Renewables in Coal-Hungry South Africa
Friday, February 7th, 2020
Chancellor Merkel met with South Africa’s president to discuss how his country can move towards renewable energy to fight climate change. The pair also discusses the war in Libya and business investments in South Africa.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to discuss trade, climate change and the war in Libya.
Thursday’s talks focused on how South Africa, a country largely dependent on coal, can transition to renewable energy. Ramaphosa said South Africa hopes to learn from Germany’s experience in dealing with climate change.
“We had really extensive and very informative discussions on energy, and the chancellor was able to share the German experience of how they have been able to move away from coal power stations and getting to renewables,” Ramaphosa said.Coal-fired power plants are responsible for generating 89% of South Africa’s electricity. Germany, on the other hand, plans to scrap coal-fired stations by 2038.
“We have also touched on barriers related to how one can combine the traditional generation of energy with renewables, and I think we are very much in agreement,” Merkel said.
South Africa calls for more German business investment
The two-day visit began with a focus on improving business relations between the two countries as well as cooperation at the United Nations Security Council, where both Germany and South Africa are serving two-year terms as non-permanent members.
South Africa is Germany’s biggest trading partner in Africa, while Germany is South Africa’s second-largest trading partner after China.
South Africa is a lucrative market for the German economy. But “the general conditions for the commitment of German companies are not optimal,” Matthias Boddenberg from the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry told DW ahead of Merkel’s trip.
Some 600 German businesses already have operations in South Africa. However, recurring power outages across the country have put off a number of foreign investors.