abimbola1jOHN WESSELSAFP via Getty Images_africaclimatechange John Wessels/AFP via Getty Images

How the G7 Can Support Africa’s Climate Agenda

South Africa’s $8.5 billion Just Energy Transition Partnership addresses vital questions about how African countries can best use international climate finance. In doing so, it provides a framework for negotiating support for other economies in the region through flexible fora like the G7.

BERLIN/WASHINGTON, DC – One of the more concrete outcomes of last November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) is South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). Under this plan, South Africa will receive $8.5 billion in grants and loans from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to support its transition from coal-fired power plants to cleaner energy sources.

Details of the JETP’s implementation are still scant. But the agreement already promises to be a template for how wealthy countries, the world’s largest historical emitters of greenhouse gases, can support the climate agenda of the lowest emitters, most of which are in Africa and are bearing the brunt of the climate emergency. That makes the JETP worthy of close attention as June’s G7 leaders’ summit in Germany approaches.

There are two main reasons why the JETP can provide a roadmap for negotiating other mutually beneficial climate-finance partnerships for Africa. First, South Africa designed the deal to reflect its own needs and priorities – especially concerning the political economy of a green transition that is likely to affect more than 90,000 coal miners, as well as mining communities and influential trade unions. South African politicians and policymakers were therefore careful to negotiate a package that can respond to those realities, framed around an equitable and inclusive “just transition.” Local ownership is crucial.

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