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South Africa doubles its climate grant to $676M, paving its path to green energy. As COP28 looms, how will this impact the nation’s carbon-heavy economy?

In a significant development, South Africa has secured a $676 million grant from affluent nations to bolster its shift to sustainable energy. This amount is notably more than twice the originally promised grant, although it represents only a portion of the entire financial package. The balance of the package would entail repayments with interest.

Speaking to Reuters on Thursday, Rudi Dicks, the head of project management in the presidency, illuminated that the nation has been vigorously advocating for a larger slice of the $12 billion available from Western countries to be provided as grants instead of loans. The initial grant allocation stood at $329.7 million.

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Dicks expressed the sentiments of the South African leadership, stating, "The president has made it very clear that he wants to see an increase in the grant component." He emphasized the possibility of additional grants being pledged as South Africa prepares for the COP28 climate discussions in Dubai next month.

Looking back, powerhouses like Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, and the United States had committed $8.5 billion during climate negotiations two years prior. This figure has witnessed an upward revision, with countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Spain, and Switzerland jumping on board this week.

However, South African officials gauge the comprehensive expense for the country's shift from coal — a resource that presently fuels 80% of its power and is utilized in producing a third of its liquid fuel — to be a staggering 1.5 trillion rand ($78.44 billion).

Dicks conveyed that dialogues are underway to potentially augment the overall package and the fraction represented by grants during the upcoming talks. The nation will lay out the blueprint for the grant's utilization in these discussions.

South Africa envisions the need to nurture expertise in domains such as solar power, electric vehicles, and green hydrogen in its roadmap. Additionally, there's a call to support coal miners facing job redundancies and to beckon the private sector to fund projects that typically offer slimmer returns. The overarching objective is to decommission coal-fired power plants, escalate renewable energy sources, and establish a green hydrogen export nexus, among other initiatives.

Dicks concluded, "The implementation plan will go for cabinet's approval by end October and will be presented at COP28."

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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