EU LAUNCHES 1.5-BILLION RAND FUND TO FINANCE INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA

By Liabo Setho

JOHANNESBURG, March 14– The European Union (EU) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) have launched a 1.5-billion-Rand (about 138.8 million US dollar) fund to finance infrastructure projects in this country, particularly in their early stages.

The South African government has placed priority on infrastructure development as a catalyst to address high unemployment, poverty and inequality. Infrastructure bottlenecks are also stifling economic growth.

Launched here Thursday, the fund has been set up as a joint initiative between the EU and the DBSA as part of the EU’s broader intervention under its country strategy for South Africa.

The DBSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Dlamini, said at the launching of the fund here that South Africa would not disappoint its largest trading partner in the implementation of the project.

The DBSA is a development finance institution wholly owned by the government of South Africa and focuses on large infrastructure projects within the public and private sectors.

The 847 billion Rand set aside by the government for infrastructure spend ingis insufficient and the chronic shortage of funding is a major constraint to the roll-out of infrastructure in the countrym said Dlamini.

The EU, working with the DBSA, will finance projects which have the potential to contribute to infrastructure development. This programme will prioritise the energy, transport, water and environment, information communication technology (ICT) and social infrastructure sectors.

A request for proposals will be issued early next month.

SOURCE: SABC