Janet Yellen, the Secretary of the United States Treasury, made her final stop in South Africa on Friday when she went to the town of Emalahleni, which is known as a coal mining center and generates the majority of the coal that South Africa uses to fuel its power plants. Emalahleni, whose name means “a place of coal,” has twelve coal-powered power plants. It is on the list of regions that will take part in the Just Energy Transition Project, which will lead to the gradual closing of many of the power plants over the course of the project.
Yellen sought to allay fears that towns like Emalahleni would experience from the transformation because their economies are primarily dependent on coal mining by addressing the press shortly after touring a workshop where women and young people are being trained in solar and wind power technologies. Yellen’s comments came shortly after the tour of the workshop.
“What we are doing is trying to support a set of plans that South Africa has devised itself that involve a gradual transition and the recognition that we need to support communities that are affected by that transition.” “The jobs are essential,” she stated. She said that the United States was committed to making sure that people got new skills so they could get jobs in the renewable energy sector.
According to Yellen, establishments such as the Nkangala Top of the World Training Center were essential for the development of the skills necessary to implement the transition. She also said that she had talked to the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the national minister of minerals and energy, Gwede Mantashe, about the possibility of people losing their jobs because of the change.
“As we witnessed today, facilitating a shift that does not leave anyone behind requires job retraining and reskilling programs to be in place.” “In addition to this, it is important to fix up land that was once used to make fossil fuels and electricity and to invest in infrastructure so that new businesses and opportunities can grow,” she said.
On Friday, Yellen was scheduled to meet with a number of philanthropists in Johannesburg in an effort to attract funding for projects related to climate change. She was also supposed to go to the Apartheid Museum, which shows how cruel the white minority government’s system of segregation was before the country became a democracy in 1994. Her 10-day trip around Africa, which also included stops in Senegal and Zambia, came to a close with a visit to South Africa.