Bank puts R140bn to pave SA growth

SOUTH Africa's infrastructure development has received a big boost after the Development Bank of Southern Africa announced its multibillion rand injection into the country's development.

Last week, DBSA announced that it would spend between R100billion and R140billion on projects in the next three to five years.

DBSA's group executive in development planning Ravi Naidoo said infrastructure development was the bank's priority.

"We are a financier. We fund projects which will bring big development in the country," he said.

Naidoo said through the R140billion, six key areas have been identified which include health, water and sanitation, education, human settlements and energy.

"We will ensure that the projects have a good impact on what government wants to achieve," he said.

Naidoo said the funding for the projects came from private sector, government and DBSA.

"Our role is not to pay for everything," he said.

"We take on the (financial) risks and when the private sector sees that the risks are low then they can put their money in.

"The projects are not a once-off thing. We also look into the maintenance of the infrastructure which will be developed so that it is sustainable.

"On a project we analyse if it is useful for the intended results and what then should be its funding model and its sustainability."

He said the bank would engage the relevant ministry which included all three spheres of government.

"On health we will focus on building new hospitals and clinics closer to the people. We will also look at refurbishing existing infrastructure," he said.

He said these facilities would be built according to the Department of Health's standards and priority plans.

On water Naidoo said: "We will give technical expertise to municipalities, bridging finance and management of water demand."

Naidoo said the bank would look into new ways of dealing with the challenges the country was facing on sanitation. Education also received attention.

"We will look at the 700 schools which have been identified (nationally) as substandard and focus on building physical infrastructure - buildings," he said.

Naidoo said one of the areas that would be dealt with in higher education was accommodation for students development of existing infrastructure.

"The number of students has expanded over the years so infrastructure development is needed," Naidoo said.

DBSA will also play a role in supporting power generation, distribution and look into renewable energies.

Naidoo said in all the bank's projects it would look at the entire sector before coming up with the type of intervention needed.

"All projects will be monitored. We'll use finance and advice to help the country in its new growth path," he said.