Ahead of the EU-South Africa Summit to take place on Thursday (18 July) in Pretoria, the European Union has approved a €100 million (R1.291 billion) programme to support infrastructure development in the country and region as a whole.
The investment would come through a grant-loan blending mechanism, and is expected to contribute to increased infrastructure investments in transportation and logistics, energy, water/environment, information, communication and technology (ICT) and social infrastructure.
The programme would leverage investments from development finance institutions in areas identified by the country itself which were in deep need of financing.
Grants will support a range of activities, including technical assistance for the preparation, management and implementation of projects, as well as direct grants to co-finance capital expenditure of infrastructure projects.
EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs, said: “Improving infrastructure is key to the development of any country. South Africa is currently held back by its infrastructure, which restricts people’s access to health, education and job opportunities.”
“By taking an innovative approach, our new support programme will help to significantly boost trade in the region and get the country on the road to further growth.”
The funding is part of the European Union’s support programme for South Africa (2007-2013), with its overall objective of reducing poverty and inequality, and amounts to €980 million (R12.652 billion).
The Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa will involve close cooperation between the Development Bank of Southern Africa and European development finance institutions; namely, the European Investment Bank (EIB), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD).