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The African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB), which was opened this week by President Jacob Zuma, marks the official start to $1.5-billion worth of infrastructure projects. The New Development Bank was launched by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) in 2015, with a head office in Shanghai, China. The African Regional Centre is the next step in the growth of the Bank.

SA to get billions for infrastructureThe Bank was created in order to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Brics and other emerging economies, and was set up with an initial authorised capital of $100 billion. The initial subscribed capital of $50 billion was equally shared among the founding members.

Last year saw the bank issuing its first set of loans, amounting to $1.5 billion to fund renewable energy projects in member countries. This next 18 months will see a further $1.5 billion allocated to infrastructure projects in South Africa. According to Kundapur Kamath, the NDB’s president, the bank’s target is to end 2018 with a total loan book of about $8-billion for approximately 35 projects.

“We have an appetite to do about $1.5-billion of lending to South Africa for the next 18 months and the task before the members of the Africa Regional Centre is to make sure that this pipeline is rectified into actual lending projects,” Kamath says.

“We expect that the bank, through the Africa Regional Centre, will contribute to accelerating infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water and other productive sectors,” President Zuma said at the launch of the African Regional Centre.

“The bank’s next mission is to start the process to consider new members and finalise the project pipeline for the second batch of loans to be offered in the 2017/2018 financial year. I am encouraged by the recent announcement made at the Second Annual Meeting of the New Development Bank Board of Governors in New Delhi to increase the bank’s lending to $2.5 billion in the 2017/2018 financial year. This announcement has come at an opportune time for South Africa as we need more projects.”

The bank has raised $450-million to date and plans to raise a further $2.5-million through the Chinese bond markets. $180-million had been earmarked by the NDB for Eskom’s renewal energy project, which has since been put on hold.

Image credit: Copyright: thamkc / 123RF Stock Photo

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