As South Africa moves forward with its hydrogen strategies to combat climate change and enhance energy security, it’s crucial to first focus on domestic needs before considering global exports.
Muze Shange, the COO of the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone Company, emphasized this during the Hydrogen Africa conference in Johannesburg, highlighting the importance of addressing South Africa’s internal energy requirements and infrastructure challenges.
The conference brought together industry experts to discuss the potential of the hydrogen economy, including opportunities and challenges, as well as the prospects for African and global trade in this emerging industry. While hydrogen can play a significant role in Africa’s energy transition and sustainable development, collaborative leadership is essential to fully harness its potential.
Shange stressed the need to assess South Africa’s current energy needs and infrastructure capabilities. He pointed out opportunities for converting diesel trucks to hydrogen mobility and optimizing existing pipelines and infrastructure.
Additionally, he highlighted the importance of an efficient Transnet (South Africa’s state-owned transport and logistics company) and collaboration among stakeholders to develop the necessary infrastructure.
Shange also emphasized the importance of addressing immediate energy needs, especially in rural areas, and the need for leadership that prioritizes local content and collaboration to achieve success in hydrogen development and cross-border trade markets.