“There is a growing demand globally for renewable energy solutions, technologies and products. This demand is the direct result of the challenges relating to addressing climate change, promoting sustainability and improving environmental quality. As a result, there is a rise in opportunities for environmental entrepreneurs or ‘ecopreneurs’,” said Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela at the opening of the 2nd Annual Green Youth Indaba 2015 in Pretoria.
He said government's industrial policy identifies "green and energy-saving industries” as a priority sector for job creation and the New Growth Path targets the creation of 300 000 additional direct jobs by 2020 in green economy sectors, including 80 000 in manufacturing, and more than 400 000 by 2030.
A study by the Industrial Development Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and economic research institute TIPS supports government ambitions, estimating the potential in the formal sector of the green economy to be around 462 000 employment opportunities by 2025.
“Processing recyclable materials sustains 10 times more jobs than landfill or incineration (on a per tonne basis). Ecotourism has a 20 per cent annual growth rate, about six times the rate for the rest of the sector.
“Emerging economies' share of global investment in renewables rose from 29 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2008 - primarily in Brazil, China and India. Only 25 per cent of the world's waste is recovered or recycled. The world market for waste is worth around $410 billion a year,” said the Deputy Minister.
He said in 2006, more than 2.3 million people worldwide were working in the renewable energy sector. The recycling industry in Brazil, China and the USA alone employs at least 12 million people.
The economy is going green and the green economy will be the mainstream of the future, Manamela concluded.