German-South African Energy Partnership

Project description

Title: German-South African Energy Partnership 
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE)
Overall term: 2013 to 2023

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The German-South African Energy Partnership was launched in 2013 with the signature of a letter of intent. South Africa is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for generating power. Its energy policy therefore aims to promote energy efficiency, ensure the reliable supply of energy, create jobs and increase the share of energy obtained from renewable sources in the country’s energy mix. The project advises and accompanies the German- South African Energy Partnership in its aim of contributing to the global energy transition and supporting the South African energy market in achieving its own transition.

The Energy Partnership is part of the global project on Supporting Bilateral Energy Partnerships in Developing Countries and Emerging Economies. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) in implementing and developing strategies for energy partnerships with Algeria, Brazil, Chile, China, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia, and in establishing new dialogue structures with other developing countries and emerging economies.


South Africa has committed to using an energy mix in future in which climate protection, supply security and affordability will play greater roles.



The cooperation and topic areas of the Energy Partnership include:

  • Developing a green energy infrastructure
  • Promoting low CO2 power generation through renewable energy
  • Increasing energy efficiency
  • Hydrogen and fuel cell technology, Power-to-X (technologies, for example, for producing electricity-based liquid fuels)  
  • Structural change in coal mining regions/just transition
  • Research collaboration
  • Supporting German energy transition companies in South Africa, business-to-government dialogue

The Energy Partnership combines political exchange with practical project work. Involving the German and South African private sectors is a key element in the approach.

At the political level, a high-level steering committee meets annually. The venue alternates between Germany and South Africa. The committee presides directly over a working group for energy. Once a year, under the leadership of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the working group sets out the Partnership’s technical content, involving the private sector, research, initiatives and associations in this process.

With the support of GIZ, two secretariats based in Pretoria and Berlin have been established to implement the energy partnership. The secretariats act as the link between the partner ministries and as the point of contact for German and South African stakeholders who wish to get involved in the Energy Partnership.



Four high-level steering committee meetings and five energy working group meetings were organised, which facilitated institutionalised political exchange between German and South African decision-makers.

The regular meetings of the local Business Advisory Council of the Energy Partnership also facilitate effective dialogue between the private sector and government. This creates a link between key German and South African players in business and energy policy.

Other important elements of the Energy Partnership are workshops, study visits and the publication of studies and discussion papers. Featured topics include the hydrogen energy economy and research, developing new business models for municipal utilities in Germany or South Africa and making conventional power plants more flexible. These elements make a permanent contribution both to education and to promoting a climate-friendly energy policy.

Last update: December 2022