Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the SA–Denmark–Netherlands Business Forum, 20 June 2023
Your Excellency, Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark,
Your Excellency, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands,
Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa, Mr Ebrahim Patel,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Business leaders from the Netherlands, Denmark and South Africa,
Representatives of organised labour,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we come to the end of a successful business forum, we are encouraged by the enthusiasm of the Netherlands and Denmark to work together with South Africa to strengthen and deepen our economic relationships.
Both countries have shown great interest to become key trading partners in the green hydrogen and green energy sectors.
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh last year, South Africa elaborated on its just transition. We presented our Just Energy Transition Investment Plan as the basis for our pathway towards a low-carbon and a climate resilient society.
While enabling the country to meet its ambitious emission reduction goals, the Just Transition Investment Plan brings about many trade and investment opportunities in the green hydrogen and green energy sectors.
For South Africa, it is important to develop green hydrogen projects that contribute to the export market while developing local economies.
The engagements that have been held during this visit are important for all of our countries.
They provide a glimpse of what South Africa has to offer and allow for direct exchanges on how we can best collaborate on the numerous available opportunities.
It is significant that these engagements have involved government, business, labour and other social partners. It reinforces our view that these developments need to be inclusive and need to benefit all within society.
South Africa today is well poised to attract and implement renewable energy projects and we have the capability to build some of the components that these projects will require.
From solar to biogas, from wind to battery storage, these investments are leading one of the most important growth industries in South Africa.
Such investments are particularly important as South Africa faces severe electricity shortages.
The development of new renewable generation capacity – alongside the recovery of our existing fleet of power stations – is vital for our long-term energy security.
The reforms that are underway in the electricity sector will enable a more competitive, cost-effective and sustainable electricity market.
We also need to acknowledge the investments that are breathing new life into mining, one of the country’s oldest industries and still one of its most important.
Through these investments, we will be expanding our production of platinum group metals and other minerals that are vital to the emerging technologies of the future.
South Africa also offers valuable investment opportunities in manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, infrastructure and innovation.
I want to thank the companies and institutions from the Netherlands, Denmark and South Africa for the investment announcements and partnerships made today.
From the Netherlands, we welcome the commitment of $1 billion for the establishment of SA-H2 Fund to mobilise green hydrogen investments.
We thank Invest International for their announcement of a concessional financing package for water- and energy-related public infrastructure.
We welcome the establishment of a Climate Smart Horticulture demo facility at Eskom’s Grootvlei power station, which will serve as a hub for agricultural production, packaging and distribution for the surrounding areas.
We also welcome the expansion of the Danish Energy Partnership Programme to build capacity in wind and electricity.
We congratulate Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Mulilo Energy Holdings SA on their announcement to invest $200 million to set up a New Funds Market for investments in green energy infrastructure.
Equally important for South Africa is skills development in the green energy sector.
We therefore welcome the establishment of a Labour Market Consortium to promote social dialogue and skills development for a just and inclusive energy transition in South Africa.
I wish to thank you all for making this business forum a success.
Thank you to our business leaders and delegations from the Netherlands and Denmark for supporting the business forum and advancing its purpose.
As we conclude today, I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest shown by the Netherlands and Denmark to work with South Africa in developing a green hydrogen economy.
I am certain that the strong ties between our countries will translate into economic gains for all our people and will contribute to our efforts to combat the effects of climate change.
As the South African government, we remain committed to creating a business environment that is conducive to supporting trade and investment.
In conclusion I wish to thank all of you for your attendance and participation.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency