South Africa today joined the International Energy Agency as an Association country, bringing one of the most dynamic countries on the African continent into the IEA family, and giving a major boost to global energy governance.The announcement was made by HE Mr Jeff Radebe, South Africa’s Minister of Energy, and Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, in Cape Town, South Africa, on the sideline of the Africa Oil Week conference.
“South Africa joining the IEA Family represents a major milestone for our Agency bringing a key emerging leader in global energy policy around our table,” said Dr Birol. “We can count on a strong and engaged voice from Sub-Saharan Africa enriching our global policy exchange, and making the IEA more representative and global than ever. This is a region of the world that is particularly important to me, and where the IEA has been working for a long time.”
As the largest energy consumer on the continent, South Africa holds about half of Africa’s electricity generation capacity, and has one of its highest electrification rates. It becomes the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to formalize its engagement with the IEA, opening new opportunities to jointly work toward a more sustainable and secure energy future for Africa and the world.
“Our relationship with the International Energy Agency is today strengthened by this mutually beneficial collaboration,” said HE Minister Radebe. “South Africa will benefit from the IEA’s relationship and authority with its Member countries. We will improve on areas such as energy planning (including all sectors such as electricity, liquid fuels and gas), energy statistics, energy efficiency, grid integration and energy innovation to mention a few.”
“As the world moves to more advanced and sophisticated forms on energy, Africa must improve how it converts its natural resources into more efficient forms of energy in order to improve its economic status,” said HE Minister Radebe. “South Africa has the most industrialised economy in Africa. It is the region’s principal manufacturing hub and it is well endowed with natural resources such as coal and platinum. We believe that Energy is and should be a pre-requisite for growth and development. Energy should drive our economy to greater heights.”
Over the past years, South Africa was instrumental to the elaboration of key IEA reports on Africa, including the 2014 WEO Special Report and the 2017 Focus on Energy Access. As part of association, both sides agree to build on past cooperation in the fields of energy data and statistics, training and capacity building as well as energy efficiency, renewables deployment and grid integration, and energy technology innovation.
South Africa has made important strides toward developing an energy sector roadmap that will ensure a cleaner future for the country and help keep pace with climate change commitments. South Africa’s recently drafted Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018 includes the integration of a larger share of renewables, and introduction of measures to help reduce less sustainable sources of fuel in the mix.
“South Africa has shown great leadership over the past decades in regional – and global – energy and climate debates and its increased engagement will greatly help promote clean energy transitions and energy access in the region and beyond,” Dr Birol said.
South Africa is key to advancing the IEA strategic reform agenda decided by IEA Ministers in 2015. The IEA confirms that South Africa’s joining of the Association Initiative does not imply or trigger any financial implications nor obligations on the side of South Africa beyond what is already contained in the existing Memorandum of Understanding concluded between the parties in 2011.
Accounting for 75% of global energy consumption, the IEA Family now has 30 Member countries and 8 Association countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.