#PublicFinance4Climate

A call on the Minister of Finance to insist that the DBSA and IDC invest in a clean energy future with social and climate justice at the heart of transition away from fossil fuels.

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#PublicFinance4Climate – Invest in the future, stop funding fossil fuels.

South Africa needs to urgently do its part in tackling the climate crisis. The country’s Public Finance institutions, specifically the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) can be powerful forces in driving a just transition to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. Unfortunately, they pour billions of Rands of public money into fossil fuel projects, which drive the climate crisis. As Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), with mandates to contribute to sustainable economic development and social progress,  they have a responsibility to invest in a clean energy future with social, economic, and climate justice at the heart of the transition away from fossil fuels.To get there, we are calling on the Minister of Finance as well as the DBSA and IDC abide by the following demands:

  • The DBSA and IDC to publically commit to stop funding fossil fuels by coming out with a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy.
  • Ensure that public finance institutions meet their social and economic mandates by increasing their efforts in investing in climate solutions with the aim of driving a fair, fast, and just transition away from fossil fuels.

Any new investments in coal will limit South Africa’s ability to effectively tackle the climate crisis. Instead, the country’s public funds can deliver a just transition that ensures no worker or community is left behind in the shift towards a low carbon, climate-resilient future.

IDC Online Action

We will be kicking off an online action this Friday 29 May 2020. Take action with us anytime from the 29th by emailing, tweeting, or phoning the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to call on them to stop financing fossil fuels and to instead build resilience against all crises, including climate change.

Take Action

Phone the IDC (On Friday)

Could you pick up the phone to call the IDC, to bring attention to the call for them to come out with a fossil fuel exclusion policy and for them to instead support solutions to the climate crisis as well as a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic? A guide to help you with the call: COMING SOON!

Tweet at the IDC (On Friday)

Join us as we put pressure on the IDC to demonstrate bold development finance partnership by taking part in this a Twitterstorm using #PublicFinance4Climate tweeting at IDC, and requesting that they commit to stop funding fossil fuels by coming out with a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy. More information about the Twitterstorm: COMING SOON!

Add Your Name

Email the IDC

Sign this letter calling on the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to stop financing fossil fuels and to instead build resilience against all crises, including climate change:

"I am writing to you in support of the 350Africa.org campaign, to ask the IDC to come out with a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy that ends the direct and indirect funding of fossil fuel companies and infrastructure. I also request that the IDC leverages public resources to help support a just recovery to a fairer, climate-resilient, and more sustainable economy.".


Dear Mr Tshokolo Nchocho, Chief Executive Officer, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

I am writing to you in support of the 350Africa.org campaign, to ask the IDC to come out with a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy that ends the direct and indirect funding of fossil fuel companies and infrastructure. I also request that the IDC leverages public resources to help support a just recovery to a fairer, climate-resilient, and more sustainable economy. 

Counteracting the economic impacts of COVID-19 is an opportunity for the IDC to steer its infrastructure financing activities towards a low carbon transition. It is vital to keep up efforts in support of climate justice during this unprecedented time. Climate change has long been considered a future threat, however, its impacts on water and food security, are already being felt by workers and communities across South Africa - this insecurity has only worsened under COVID-19 induced lockdown. 


Climate change is largely being driven by the exploration, extraction, and burning of coal, oil, and gas - activities which are not compatible with sustainable development.  The IDC currently does not exclude any fossil fuels in its funding activities as development banks from other regions and commercial South African banks exclude coal financing. In fact, an assessment on the Sustainability of Investment Policies for Development Finance Institutions in South Africa criticizes IDC for not publicizing a climate change policy. There is no evidence about whether the IDC is doing enough to help South Africa transition to a low carbon, climate just economy.

South Africa needs to urgently bring the era of fossil fuels to an end. This is why I am calling on the IDC to chart a new development path, by committing to a fossil fuel exclusion policy to build a better future, underpinned by these 5 principles for a just recovery and sustainable economic development.  

The IDC is perfectly positioned to help move South Africa towards a low emission, climate-resilient economy with social, environmental, and economic advantages that improve the quality of all life. Demonstrate real commitment to development finance partnership Mr. Nchocho, and ensure that IDC comes out with fossil fuel exclusion policy and helps kickstart a just recovery. 

Yours Sincerely, 

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  • The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to publicly commit to stop funding fossil fuels.
  • The same institutions to finance a just transition to renewable energy.

Support for fossil fuel companies and infrastructure projects prevents large sums of public funds from being invested towards a prosperous, socially, and ecologically just energy future. Therefore our goal is that the Minister of Finance insists that public finance institutions put in place a fossil fuel finance policy that excludes these institutions from funding fossil fuels. Public funds should instead be used to respond to the COVID-19 in a way that ensures a just recovery and transition to a better future that puts people’s health first.

Public finance institutions like the DBSA and IDC should be using their funds for the greater public good. As entities whose mandate is to support sustainable development, financing fossil fuels, which drives the climate crisis is contrary to their stated missions. To achieve their goal of bettering society, the DBSA and IDC can:

  1. Commit to exclude fossil fuels from their energy financing activities.
  2. Accelerate the transition to renewable energy through climate finance.
  3. Assist the country and its clients in reducing their GHG emissions and aligning their activities to the Paris climate agreement as well as to warnings of the 2018 IPCC Special Report on 1.5.

Given the urgency to accelerate a transition away from fossil fuels, there is an opportunity for real leadership from public finance institutions to address the climate crisis. The DBSA and IDC have the mandate to tackle developmental challenges and have the institutional capacity to drive the shift towards a transition away from fossil fuels. 

Financing a just transition cannot be achieved through public finance only, the state would need to look for support from the private sector and international financial institutions to realize this. However, South Africa’s public finance institutions can lead the way and help set the agenda for a fair, fast, and just transition away from fossil fuels

A 2019 report by the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) estimates that South Africa could lose up to R 2-trillion from the value of the country’s fossil fuel assets and income between 2013 and 2035. This loss would be a result of a reduction in demand for fossil fuel energy sources like coal and gas as factors such as climate policy and more country’s making the switch away from fossil fuel power infrastructure towards low carbon energy gains momentum.

By 2017 as much as $60 billion that the country could have expected to earn from its coal resources based on 2013 business-as-usual forecasts had already been lost. If the country does not rapidly implement measures to reduce its dependence on coal and enact a low carbon transition, regulations and the impacts of climate change could negatively impact investor returns from coal companies and infrastructure.

This R2 trillion loss will not only impact investors but it may limit the South African government’s ability to finance a progressive social and economic agenda aimed at addressing poverty and inequality.

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Ask the DBSA not to fund Thabametsi:

350Africa is calling on the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to publically commit to not funding Thabametsi coal-fired power station.

The impacts of climate change are being felt in South Africa today more than ever, and developing another power plant in a water-stressed region stands to threaten communities living in Lephalale. In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, no new coal infrastructure should be built.

While we welcome the Development Bank’s investments in renewable energy initiatives, these positive steps risk being undermined by support for coal infrastructure. Instead, DBSA can play a bigger role in scaling up action on climate change and delivering on the ambitions that South Africa committed to during the global climate talks held in Paris in 2015.

The Life After Coal campaign has made great strides towards stopping Thabametsi and other coal-fired power station projects from going ahead, and we are joining this struggle, focusing on the institutions financing Thabametsi.

We’re calling on the DBSA to commit to not financing Thabametsi coal-fired power plant. It is an opportunity for them to stand out and be a leader amongst financiers in South Africa, and not waiver from fulfilling their development aims of improving affordable energy access for all South Africans.

Add your name to this petition!

350Africa is calling on the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to publically commit to not funding Thabametsi coal-fired power station because of the devastating effects this will have in Lephalale, Limpopo, South Africa.

Emissions from Thabametsi are going to be far worse than Eskom’s newest coal-fired power stations, Medupi and Kusile, and even worse than some of the country’s older power plants. Thabametsi should not even be considered because it uses some of the most polluting coal-burning technologies, with a contribution to climate change to match. What is worse, is that the effects of coal on many South Africans are insurmountable. Poor health, conflict, broken homes are but some of the effects of coal.

While we applaud the DBSA’s backing of renewable energy initiatives in South Africa, these positive steps run the risk of being undermined by pouring money into projects like Thabametsi. Renewable energy like wind and solar is not only cleaner but cheaper. Renewable energy works.

We’re calling for a shift in South Africa’s energy system and that begins with putting a stop to plans for any new coal infrastructure. This May, your petition will be delivered to the DBSA as part of a wider regional movement for a coal-free Africa.

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