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.”