South Africa aims to transition to an inclusive green economy, combining economic development, social progress and environmental preservation. Both the economy and society remain, however, highly unsustainable. Targeting the transition to an inclusive green economy therefore signifies a massive and disruptive shift, commanding a new model of development. Industrial policy is core to this process, notably to ensure a “just transition” and manage a balancing act, consisting of maximising the benefits of the transition and minimising the risks associated with not transitioning; but in line with South Africa’s capabilities to minimise the short-term trade-offs and threats. This requires a careful alignment of South Africa’s industrial policy with the inclusive green economy paradigm to support the country’s green industrial development. Ultimately, this requires the shift from industrial policy to green industrial policy. To inform such a transformation, this report reviews South Africa’s industrial policy, from an inclusive green economy lens. It investigates the extent to which South Africa’s industrial policy is responding to, if not driving, the country’s transition.
The report was produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with funding from the European Union in the framework of the project Inclusive Green Economy Policy Making for SDGs.