Merkel of­fers to help SA switch to re­new­ables

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Brian Sokutu

In a move aimed at ad­dress­ing the coun­try’s power cri­sis, Ger­many has of­fered to as­sist South Africa by shar­ing its ex­pe­ri­ence of hav­ing moved from coal to re­new­ables as a source of en­ergy.

Ad­dress­ing a joint me­dia brief­ing at the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and vis­it­ing Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel an­nounced among key is­sues that dom­i­nated ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two coun­tries were en­ergy, trade and vo­ca­tional train­ing.

Merkel, who is on a two-day of­fi­cial visit to South Africa, is ac­com­pa­nied by a high-level Ger­man busi­ness del­e­ga­tion, which in­cludes such heavy­weights as Siemens AG pres­i­dent and CEO Joe Kaeser.

About 600 Ger­man com­pa­nies are based in South Africa – with a to­tal trade be­tween the two coun­tries hav­ing reached R235 bil­lion in 12 months by end of last Novem­ber, while South African ex­ports stood at R108 bil­lion.

Ad­dress­ing jour­nal­ists, Merkel said Ger­many was “ready and com­mit­ted to as­sist South Africa in the use of re­new­able en­ergy in a sus­tain­able way”.

“We would like to share our ex­pe­ri­ence on how Ger­many moved from coal to re­new­ables and we think South Africa can make a transition and an adap­ta­tion, in re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions that lead to cli­mate change,” Merkel said.

With South Africa and Ger­many hav­ing signed a co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment on vo­ca­tional train­ing, Merkel said dis­cus­sions with Ramaphosa also cen­tred on how to ad­dress youth un­em­ploy­ment through train­ing.

“Through the Alexan­der von

Hum­boldt Foun­da­tion, Ger­many would like to take on young peo­ple for a one-year pro­gramme in our coun­try for train­ing,” she said.

Ex­press­ing a vote of con­fi­dence in Ramaphosa’s lead­er­ship, Merkel said: “Thirty years ago, the re­lease of Nel­son Man­dela brought about changes to South Africa and to my life.

“We are im­pressed at the pas­sion shown by Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa in ad­dress­ing chal­lenges. “That is why we sup­port you.” Ramaphosa de­scribed Ger­many as “one of the most strate­gic part­ners of South Africa, the sec­ond big­gest trad­ing and most val­ued de­vel­op­ment part­ner”.

“Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted it­self to re­duce youth un­em­ploy­ment over the next five years by pro­vid­ing young peo­ple with skills,” he said.

On trade, Ramaphosa said: “With 600 Ger­man com­pa­nies based in South Africa, there is a need for Ger­man busi­ness to deepen trade with South Africa.

“Our drive is to grow our econ­omy in ex­cess of R1.2 tril­lion in­vest­ments over the next five years and Ger­man in­vestors have not dis­ap­pointed us.”

Pic­ture: AFP

RED CAR­PET TREAT­MENT. An­gela Merkel, the Chan­cel­lor of Ger­many, and Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa ar­rive for the wel­com­ing cer­e­mony dur­ing her of­fi­cial visit at the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day.

Pic­ture: Reuters

SHAR­ING A JOKE. Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day.

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