The New Development Bank (NDB) has approved 1.5 billion U.S. dollars loans in various projects in South Africa, the Bank’s Director General for Africa regional center Monale Ratsoma told Xinhua in an interview.
These are the first loans approved by the bank since the office was officially opened in August 2017.
“The approvals you’ve seen are direct outcome of the work that has come in to ensure the bank is satisfied with South Africa’s processes and vice versa,” he said.
Ratsoma said the region had been “lagging behind” other members states in approving funding due to different reasons.
“The last year has been about catching up on South Africa’s projects,” he said, adding there are two loans that have been signed and three have been recently approved which automatically trigger loan agreements which will be signed during the year.
One of the loan agreement is that of state owned power utility Eskom. This project would see an integration of 670 MW of renewable energy into the power utility’s grid.
“The first huge project signed was 180 million U.S. dollars for connecting renewable projects to the grid,” he said.
He said the developmental bank takes into account environmental and procurement policies before funding projects in member states.
“The bank is environment-friendly in its approach and mandate and those conditions have to be satisfied. Procurement policies must be adhered to,” Ratsoma said. “The projects that have been approved are underpinned by the alignment of the bank’s to member country policies.”
He insisted that the bank does not just lend money to entities and walks away, but “monitors” projects.
Ratsoma said while the NDB funds infrastructural projects in energy, transport and water, the focus would soon be shifting into social and health infrastructure.
“The bank has ambition in South Africa to look at social infrastructure, health infrastructure in line with education,” he said, “Especially where there’s heavy backlog on social projects at municipal level.”
Initiated by BRICS members, the NDB is an important international institution designed to fund infrastructure projects in Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and other developing countries.