Germany and South Africa on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on green hydrogen projects in the latest bid by Europe to tap into Africa’s huge renewable resource potential to meet 2050 net zero targets.
Under the deal, Germany will assist in developing markets, facilitating imports and linking producers with technology partners, said Masopha Moshoeshoe, an executive in the investment and infrastructure office of South Africa’s presidency.
The partnership will “assist in creating business to business opportunities between our developers as well as off-takers in Germany,” Moshoeshoe said.
Green hydrogen, produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable energy, can be used as fuel use across industries such as transport, petrochemicals and steel.
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European countries are turning to Africa to secure future supplies of the fuel, investing heavily in green hydrogen projects in countries from Namibia to Morocco and Egypt to South Africa.
Last week, the Netherlands and Denmark launched a $1 billion green hydrogen fund in South Africa. A similar fund was launched in Namibia last year.
South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy and the world’s 14th biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has also made green hydrogen an important pillar of its own decarbonisation efforts.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the country would need up to 319 billion rand ($17.28 billion) of investment to kick-start the industry.
So far it has received $700 billion dollars under $8.5 billion pledged to it by a group of rich countries including France, Germany, Britain, the United States and the European Union. Tuesday’s agreement did not specify any investment target by either country.