The African Development Bank has pledged financing worth R42.5 billion at South Africa’s Investment Conference this week, and agro-processing, infrastructure, renewable energy and water and sanitation are set to be some of the biggest recipient sectors.
The conference comes as pressures mount for government to address rising food and petrol prices, and to fix dilapidated infrastructure and ageing power stations.
Zooming in on agro-processing, the president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said that a portion of the available R42.5 billion will go towards a project in beef processing, and agricultural projects with youth and women at the helm.
“We know that when we invest in youth and women’s projects, there will be sustainability. We will be with South Africa all the way as you try to revive your economy.
“We want to see quality jobs for the youth and women in South Africa. We promise and we will deliver on our promises,” he said.
Another pledge towards agri-related projects came from RCL Foods, a leading South African food manufacturer that will use R400 million to expand its food manufacturing capacity in Gauteng and Limpopo.
R170 million was pledged by Lotus for manufacturing food in their plants in the Western Cape, while South African Breweries pledged around R4,5 million to increase its brewing capacity in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
Equator Breweries pledged R2 billion for its brewery and malting plant in Gauteng, while ECP Private Equity pledged R500 million for new Burger King outlets across the country.
Infrastructure takes priority
During his address, President Cyril Ramaphosa assured investors that government had created a conducive environment for investing in different sectors.
He said that his administration is currently fighting a decade of corruption and state capture that has been hindering investment in the country.
“We know that our challenges are many, that they are complex and that they are protracted. But we are neither defined by these challenges, nor are we daunted by them,” he said.
Ramaphosa assured investors that Mzansi’s power utility is now getting its house in order following months of power cuts impacting on the economy. He further said that the infrastructure fund will unveil multiple projects to revive the economy.
“We are supporting these investments with a renewed focus on expanding the country’s economic and social infrastructure.
“We have established the Infrastructure Fund, with a R100-billion allocation from the fiscus over 10 years, to leverage blended financing from private investors and multilateral development banks for infrastructure.”
Projects in water, sanitation, energy, transport, digital infrastructure, agriculture, agro-processing and human settlements are also in the pipeline.
Ramaphosa urged social partners to work together to realise the common goal of having a sustainable economy following two years of Covid-19 disruptions, which had led to two million South Africans losing their jobs.
“As investors, you need to know that your investments are secure, that the operating environment is stable, and that you are supported by policy certainty and regulatory safeguards,” he said.
“You need to know that the measures we are taking to tackle crime and damage to infrastructure are having an effect.”
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