In late 2020, South Africa participated in a bespoke modelling exercise organized on post-COVID-19 economic recovery options by PAGE and Cambridge Econometrics (CE). The research specific to the South African context analyzed spending plans and multisectoral impacts in detail with results shared during a stakeholder workshop on 22 January.
The country released its South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan in October 2020 and this modelling focused on establishing estimates related to the future green and economic impacts of the plan. The analysis further offers an additional scenario with a ‘green push’ for the government’s consideration, through measures such as increased investment in renewables and decommissioning coal power plants.
Among the key findings presented to South Africa, research has shown that green policies can promote economic growth, job creation and environmental sustainability to ultimately bring back GDP to what it would have been in the absence of COVID-19. What’s more, a recovery without strong green policies would see greenhouse gas emissions return quickly to the levels seen before the pandemic and continue to rise. Green policies would offer an opportunity for higher incomes and employment, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, making low-carbon shifts in the economy would offer gains in new sectors. These projections also illustrate a need to protect those affected by job losses in areas such as coal mining would need to be supported and addressed to ensure a just transition.
The analysis is part of an ongoing partnership between PAGE and CE to compare the potential immediate to long-term impacts of varying economic recovery scenarios on a global scale. These results will provide quantitative analysis to contribute to broader messaging on green economic recovery options.