April - South Africa: The Green Fund

In order to catalyse its transition to a green economy, South Africa established a green fund to financially support green initiatives. The fund now supports projects covering project development, capacity building and research.

For nearly ten years, the South African government has recognized the country’s need for sustainable development and a transition to a green, more socially inclusive, economy.  National policies and development plans have been developed to support this transition.

In 2012 the government recognized a gap in the market for funding innovative green initiatives, which were failing to gain financing through traditional mechanisms. In order to close this gap, the government set up the Green Fund.

The Green Fund was established by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and is managed by the Development Bank of South Africa.  The initial seed money of ZAR 800 million was provided by the South African government.

The Green Fund sees its role as that of catalyst, sparking the transition to a green economy. As such it seeks to break down barriers and bridge gaps where ever they exist along the innovation path. The Fund provides financial and other types of support to projects at any stage ranging from the early research stage right through to project expansion. The decision to invest in a project follows a holistic investment assessment, due diligence and is guided by the principals of relevance, innovation and an ability to be scaled up. Funding from the Green Fund is considered additional and complementary to existing fiscal allocations supporting South African transition to a green economy.

After the first funding window, nearly 600 applications totalling ZAR 10 billion were received. Of these applications 49 projects and ZAR 661millon in funding has been approved. Some of these projects include reforestation of unused landfill sites, the scale up of traditional medicinal plant harvesting, research into a policy frame work to promote sustainable innovation and capacity building projects. 

More information is available at the Green Fund website