Today, South Africa and the European Investment Bank (EIB) reaffirmed their mutual commitment to a continued close partnership and cooperation. This came following a meeting between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and European Investment Bank Vice President Plutarchos Sakellaris, who is on a four day visit to South Africa.
The relationship between the country and the bank was established when the Framework for Financial Cooperation between South Africa and the EIB was signed in June 2000, and was strengthened in 2007 with the signing of a Declaration of Intent pledging financial support of EUR 900 million to the country until 2013. EIB has been supporting priority infrastructure projects of public interest and private sector initiatives across South Africa. ESKOM, EThekwini Metro, SANRAL, Umgeni Water, Transnet, Tshwane Metro and ACSA are among those to have benefited from the EIB loans.
Last year, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) received a EUR 60 million credit line from the EIB to finance private sector small and medium sized enterprises. The funds will be used to support viable projects undertaken by small and medium enterprises businesses in the industrial, resources and services sectors. The Development Bank of Southern Africa also signed a line of credit for EUR 60 million in June 2009 to finance municipal infrastructure projects. In total, last year the EIB provided R3 billion for investments in South Africa. Key projects financed in 2009 included support to private sector SMEs, municipal infrastructure and national roads, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Following the meeting, Minister Gordhan expressed his appreciation of EIB’s commitment to South Africa and noted opportunities for this relationship to be strengthened further by complementing government’s investments in public entities.
European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific, Plutarchos Sakellaris said: “The European Investment Bank is grateful for the close working relationship with the South African National Treasury over many years and looks forward to the close cooperation with ministries, government agencies and the private sector to ensure a strong contribution to infrastructure and economic development. We look forward to seeing the true benefit of the record number of projects approved last year in improving the quality of life of South Africans across the country”.
The EIB has provided South Africa with a total of EUR 2bn since 1995. In 2009, the European Investment Bank provided over EUR 1.1bn (R11.7billion) of funding to sub-Saharan Africa. The Bank provides a broad range of financing instruments including loans, guarantees and risk capital to Africa selecting projects that can deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits.