New Development Bank President Kundapur Vaman Kamath. PHOTO: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – The BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB) regional office in South Africa hopes to end 2019 with total loan approvals of about R32.5 billion, according to the bank’s president, Kundapur Kamarth. 

The regional office was opened in August 2017, and the bank’s board of directors approved three projects worth R11.2bn during the 4th annual meeting of the bank that finished yesterday. The board approved five loans worth R17.1bn during the annual meeting, R11.12bn of which is destined for projects in southern Africa.

The five projects approved during the NDB board of governors meeting on March 31 brought the total amount of the bank's portfolio to more than $9.2bn, the bank said.

At the meetings, board members noted the achievements of the bank, including expansion of its business, significant growth of loan portfolio as well as the ramp-up of the NDB’s borrowings. The board of governors chaired by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni also provided guidance for the bank's future work.

Projects approved by the governors included a R6.8bn project loan to Eskom to finance retrofitting flue-gas desulphurisation equipment at the 4 800MW Medupi power station to make it compliant with environmental standards coming into force.

Some proceeds of the bank’s R1.15bn loan will be on-lent by the Industrial Development Corporation to renewable energy sub-projects.

The NDB will provide a project loan of R3.2bn to the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority for the implementation of Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and financing the construction of water transfer infrastructure. The aim is to boost the water supply in the Vaal River Basin.

The Bank will provide a 825 million yuan (R1.75bn) project loan to the People’s Republic of China for the Zhejiang Green Urban Project, which is aimed at upgrading urban and rural water supply and sewage facilities and enhancing the water management system in Shengzhou, Zhejiang Province. 

The bank will also provide a $300m (R4.27bn) project loan to China for a project to improve urban water systems, restore ecological balance and enhance flood protection in Chongzuo, a city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Paulo Guedes, the governor of the NDB and Minister of Economy of Brazil, was elected as the next chairperson of the board of governors. It was also decided the next annual meeting of the bank's board of governors will be held in Brazil in 2020. 

The three South African projects are separate from the loan agreements that the NDB signed on Monday with Eskom and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

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