AfDB President strengthens alliances in South Africa

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The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, visited Pretoria, South Africa, April 7-8, 2016, where he strengthened alliances with stakeholders in line with the Bank new corporate priorities – the High 5s. The President also positioned the Bank as a key development partner by leveraging resources to support the African countries in implementation of the Bank’s “High 5s” (Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa).

Adesina met with the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago; CEO of the NEPAD Business Foundation, Lynette Chen; the country’s Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat Petterson; the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown; the Senior Policy Advisor, Association of Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA), Steven Smith; the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan; and the CEOs of theDevelopment Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Eskom, Transnet, Landbank and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

The African Development Bank President was also received by President Jacob Zuma.

The meetings were focused on exploring new areas of cooperation and strengthening cooperation in key sectors such as energy and food security.

In the context of its “High 5” priorities, the AfDB plans to establish transformative partnerships for agriculture with the common goal of feeding Africa. The Bank has also developed “The New Deal on Energy for Africa” and plans to create an energy sector fund of USD 12 billion over the next five years; and further mobilize about USD 50 billion from the private sector, to ensure universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025.

President Adesina undertook a tour of Medupi power plant, a green-field coal-fired power plant project located west of Lephalale, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The power station is comprised of six units with a gross nominal capacity of 800 MW each, resulting in a total capacity of 4,800 MW. Construction activities commenced in May 2007. Once completed, the power station will be the fourth largest coal plant in the southern hemisphere, and the biggest dry-cooled power station in the world. The planned operational life of the station is 50 years. The Bank supports the project through a facility of EUR 1.86 billion signed in December 2009.  

“I’m delighted to be here to discover this huge African coal plant,” Adesina said. “Energy is like blood for human beings. We need to boost energy production to help African countries’ economies to develop and to improve the quality of life of our populations.”

As an African response to the climate change challenge, Eskom and the African Development Bank (AfDB) signed, in September 2011, two loan agreements for a total value of USD 365 million to enable the first large-scale implementation of renewable wind and solar generation in Eskom’s history. The loans consisted of USD 265 million from the AfDB’s own resources and USD 100 million from the resources of the Clean Technology Fund, a climate investment fund that promotes the transfer of low carbon technologies.

The AfDB financing was part of a broader funding plan for Eskom’s renewable projects, which includes sourcing from other development finance agencies.

Eskom has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the African Development Bank. In 2008, the AfDB approved and signed a first loan with Eskom of USD 500 million to finance the company’s capital expenditure project which was followed up in 2015 by a further USD 375 million. The Bank has advanced loan facilities to Eskom of approximately USD 3.2 billion. 

AfDB loans to Eskom have reinforced the extent to which institutions based on the African continent can provide financial support to projects, which fosters regional growth. 

MEDUPI Power Station Project - Lephalale, South Africa April 8, 2016