Improving the management of natural resources and investing in the environment could increase South Africa's crop yields by almost a quarter, create170,000 additional jobs, and significantly increase the availability of water, compared to current practices.
These are among the key findings of a new report released today by South Africa's Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa at a ceremony,which also launched a new community based Green Fund Project in the uPhongolo Local Municipality.
The study, South African Green Economy Modelling, shows that investing in a low-carbon, resource efficient green economy is fundamental for South Africa’s sustained economic growth and well-being.
The study assesses the impacts of green investments in four of the country's key economic sectors: agriculture, energy, transport and natural resource management.
Based on the government's current targets and expenditures, the report identifies possible opportunities for achieving government targets in each of these four sectors.
The report finds that a green economy approach - such as investing in low-carbon technologies, green buildings, and renewable energy - can create more jobs than a business as usual approach, while supporting the same level of economic growth, yet with lower emissions of greenhouse gases and less environmental damage.
However, based on a green economy, target-specific scenario, it also confirms that additional investment may be needed to meet the country's growth target stipulated in the National Development Plan of 4 to 7 per cent rise in GDP per year between now and 2020.
"South Africa is committed to pursuing and exploring opportunities in its transition to an inclusive, low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy," said Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa. "This study demonstrates that a green economy approach, which takes into account the country’s economic, social and environmental aspirations, can deliver as much growth as a business-as-usual model but in a more sustainable manner. The report’s findings will help guide the country's future policies and investments, as it work towards achieving its sustainable development and poverty eradication goals."