Simon Brooks, Vice-President, European Investment Bank
Speech at SARi Launch – 7 December 2011
The European Investment Bank has been following the South African Renewables Initiative since early 2010 or maybe even a little bit before that. In February 2011 at an international workshop, the SARi team recognised our input and asked us more formally to contribute advisory services, which we were delighted to do.
Today we reach a key SARi milestone; not the first and, as Minister Peters has said, certainly not the last. For me, the whole-hearted and public commitment of the government of South Africa is just what business and finance, in South Africa as elsewhere, really need to commit themselves at scale to the renewable energy and industrial projects that will make such a significant contribution to combating climate change.
The commitment to SARi holds the promise of green energy, green jobs and green development.
Ministers, I have to say that when we first looked at SARi, my experts said, “We’re not sure about this one, Simon. We’ve never been involved in anything like this before. In fact, we’re not sure that there has been anything like this before.” So I said, “Okay, please get back to me.” I’m pleased to say that after a few months, they came back and said, “Now we’re sure.”
It is different. It is the first of its kind. But, it meets all Europe’s priorities for climate action and for green development. We should be involved. I was so glad they came back with that message because I so wanted that to be the answer.
I’m a “Projects Man”, Ministers. For me it’s all about getting the projects done. I think SARi can be the frame for a continued cooperation between Europe, the EIB and South Africa. SARi can be the way to upscale and deliver and bring on those projects, which is what really counts. The EIB and Europe are involved and I’m very pleased that we are. Thank you.