A green transition in South Africa? Sociotechnical experimentation in the Atlantis Special Economic Zone

Richard Grant, Pádraig Carmody, James T. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

South Africa faces interconnected challenges of developing and diversifying its economy and adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change. A green policy tilt is ascendant in the country, manifest in a cascading array of policies and special initiatives. Utilising concepts from the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions, we assess Africa's first designated Green Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Atlantis SEZ (ASEZ) in the Western Cape, a niche innovation aimed at transforming the Province's industrial base. This initiative is very ambitious in four respects: (1) it links green SEZ development in a deprived metropolitan area to the broader regional economy; (2) it utilises an innovative governance structure; (3) it promises localization economies and export potential; and (4) it connects SEZ niche experimentation with emergent renewable energy regimes. While elements are in place which might seed a sociotechnical transition, societal and political forces (i.e. landscape features) continue to limit its realisation, highlighting the immanent, structural realities shaping South Africa's economic futures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-211
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Modern African Studies
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atlantis
  • Green Special Economic Zone
  • socio-technical transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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