An overview of the socio-economic impacts of the green hydrogen value chain in Southern Africa
The green hydrogen economy offers synthetic green energy with significant impacts and is environmentally friendly compared to current fossil-based fuels. Exploration of green hydrogen energy in Southern Africa is still in the initial stages in many low-resourced settings aiming to benefit from sustainable green energy. At this early stage, potential benefits to society are yet to be understood. That is why the socio-economic impact of green hydrogen energy must be explored. This paper reviews the current literatures to describe the potential socio-economic effects in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The review supports the view that green hydrogen will be beneficial and have great potential to revolutionise agricultural and industrial sectors, with advanced sustainable changes for both production and processing. This paper also examines how sustainable green hydrogen energy production in Southern Africa will provide economic value in the energy export sector around the world and support climate change initiatives. Further, it discusses the impacts of the green hydrogen value addition chain and the creation of green jobs, as well as the need for corresponding investments and policy reforms. It is also noted that the green hydrogen economy can contribute to job losses in fossil fuel-based industries, so that the workforce there may need re-skilling to take up green jobs. Such exchanges may deter efforts towards poverty alleviation and economic growth in SADC.
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