Germany wants to help South Africa develop its renewable energy sector, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

She made her official visit to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday at the Union Building in Pretoria.

Ramaphosa says Merkel explained to him how Germany managed to use almost no coal at all.

“We are still totally dependent on coal, but our path to renewable energy has also begun,” the president said.

“Coal will still be important for now, but renewable energy will play an increasingly important role.

“We can learn a lot from Germany’s experiences at this level,” Ramaphosa added.

Ramaphosa said at this meeting, where he was trying to attract more German investors to the country, that South Africa would do everything possible to ensure a stable supply of electricity.

André de Ruyter, the new CEO of Eskom, also attended the meeting.

Merkel, who is on an official visit to South Africa, was welcomed at the Union Building early Thursday morning with a cannon salute of 19 shots.

Merkel, regarded as the most powerful woman on earth and who has played a key role in establishing stability in Europe for the past decade or so, said at the media conference that Germany wants to work with South Africa in the field of energy, skills development and education.

She says Germany wants to help South Africa overcome its challenges. “Shoulder to shoulder we will walk with you.”

About 600 German companies, which provide employment to about 100,000 people, already have interests in South Africa.

Among them are major companies such as Siemens, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volkswagen.

Ramaphosa says Germany is one of South Africa’s strategic partners. He and Merkel both want communication between the two countries, and mutual trade, to expand further.