In 2012, South Africa remains faced with the triple developmental challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. In addition, the country's current economic growth model is heavily resource and energy-intensive, aggravating pressures on the environment and the threat of climate change. The transition to a green economy, stemming from the concept of sustainable development, has been internationally recognised as a ground-breaking way forward, combining economic development, social welfare and environmental protection.
South Africa is in a unique position to exploit the emergence of green economic development in the world. The country's renewable resources abundance (solar and wind predominantly) and biodiversity positions it to play a leading role in the Southern African region and in Africa. In addition, if supported by an enabling environment, green sectors have the potential to foster South African growth and employment, as well as the shift to sustainable development.