African Development Bank is the biggest backer at South Africa Investment Conference

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the heads of businesses onto stage at the fourth annual South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC) to announce investment commitments of over R200 billion. While most of the confirmed projects are tied to the manufacturing industry, the African Development Bank Group (ADB) pledged a R42 billion investment package – with R6 billion reserved to support Eskom and the energy transition.

SAIC attracted over R200 billion from 49 businesses involved in South African-related projects with values ranging from R20 million to R42 billion.

ADB President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina pledged $400 million in support of the country over the next three years, particularly for Eskom, as it transitions to renewable energy. He said the Bank was working with international partners, especially the G7 countries, to establish a just energy transition facility that will support South Africa in raising at least $27 billion.

“We will do it without South Africa going into debt,” Adesina said. “I applaud the G7 countries, for their commitment of $8.5 billion in support of South Africa’s just energy transition. This financing will support public and private sector investments in priority areas of agriculture, renewable energy, transport, youth employment, health, vaccines manufacturing, among others. We know South Africa is bankable.”

Adesina was speaking at SAIC 2022 in Johannesburg, the first physical convening of participants since 2019, which President Cyril Ramaphosa opened with a message of optimism and determination in the face of a global pandemic, tough economic headwinds, and millions of job losses.

“We meet at a time when our country is facing huge challenges, but great opportunity and promise,” said Ramaphosa. “Our economy has been severely damaged with the loss of two million jobs. I am here to share with you what has been done and what we are doing.”

The country’s president has faced numerous challenges in office and outlined measures his government has made, including social and economic relief packages, describing them as “difficult but necessary reforms” in energy, state-owned enterprises, and the fiscal and taxation sectors, to drive economic growth.

“No economy can operate without a reliable supply of electricity,” he said of South Africa’s most pressing economic struggle. His administration is responding with ongoing reforms to the energy sector including changes to Eskom, the country’s energy supplier, and additional generation capacity through wind and solar sources of energy.

“We have established a presidential task team to advance the country’s just energy transition to a low-carbon transmission economy and we invite you to be part of the South African growth story.”

ADB has invested nearly $7 billion in the country in energy and infrastructure since 1997and has an active portfolio in South Africa of 23 operations with a total commitment of about $4.5 billion in financing.

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Lindsey Schutters


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