South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted the 2nd South African Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town.
This summit aims to highlight South Africa’s remarkable potential as a global hub for early-stage, large-scale, and cost-effective green hydrogen production, encompassing the entire value chain of investment.
During his address at the summit’s inauguration, President Ramaphosa expressed that green hydrogen has the capability to make a substantial contribution to the country’s GDP by 2050 and generate hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities.
“The hydrogen economy has a prominent role to play in our country’s just energy transition, providing employment and support to vulnerable workers, communities and small businesses.
“The hydrogen economy has the potential to add 3.6% to our GDP by 2050 and approximately 370 000 jobs. We must act with purpose to harness the potential of the green hydrogen economy,” the President said.
South Africa’s Cabinet, earlier this year, endorsed an Investment Strategy that identifies green hydrogen as a major strategic sector poised to attract both foreign and domestic direct investments.
President Ramaphosa underscored the nation’s commitment to positioning itself as a competitive global player in this rapidly expanding industry.
He pointed out that 64 countries, accounting for 89% of global emissions, have committed to achieving net-zero targets by 2050. He also stated that there is a projected sevenfold increase in global green hydrogen demand by 2050.
Ramaphosa also emphasised that in order to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, green hydrogen should make up 10% to 20% of the global energy mix.
“South Africa has committed to ambitious emission reduction targets. Our own estimates indicate that green hydrogen has the potential to remove 10% to 15% of our domestic emissions and contribute to our nation’s long-term energy security,” he said.
Collaboration and Advancements in Africa’s Green Hydrogen Industry
The President acknowledged the collaborative initiatives within the African Green Hydrogen Alliance, which includes countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Ethiopia, Angola, and South Africa.
Their alliance aims to leverage Africa’s considerable potential in the development of green hydrogen industries.
It seeks to collectively advocate for technical assistance, financial backing, and market entry opportunities from both international public and private sector partners.
“The inaugural summit laid a strong policy foundation. This year’s summit has a dedicated project focus, providing an opportunity to demonstrate the degree to which projects have matured and advanced.
“This is also an opportunity to demonstrate technological developments and advancements in the green hydrogen space.
“Close cooperation between public, private and financial partners will be key to unlocking Africa’s green hydrogen potential.
“This will enable mass-scale domestic and international demand for green hydrogen, and increase cooperation on green hydrogen production, storage and distribution infrastructure,” President Ramaphosa stated.
Since the previous summit, the President mentioned that progress has been made in developing the green hydrogen industry in South Africa.
Some of these achievements include a formal agreement with the German government, which focuses on gaining access to markets, securing customers for green steel and green fertiliser, and creating value-added benefits in their production.
South Africa has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Netherlands to purchase products derived from green hydrogen.