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Where a $5 Billion Green Incentive Runs Into Politics of Coal

South Africa’s transition to clean energy finds itself tangled up by nation’s reliance on the black rock.

Upheaval Is Coming To South Africa Over The Shift Away From Coal
Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

The world’s richest countries are courting South Africa as a model of how to transition to a more climate-friendly future from a dependency on coal.

While $5 billion of cheap loans and grants are on offer as a first step, transforming Africa’s most industrialized economy demands more than cash. It needs to win over power brokers like Gwede Mantashe, a former coal unionist who is now energy minister and chairman of the ruling African National Congress, to weaken the nation’s reliance on the black rock.