Johannesburg - South Africa, the world’s biggest exporter of oranges, plans to build two dams for $1.2 billion (R12.6 billion) to boost agriculture and industrial development in the Eastern Cape province.

The project will see the construction of the Ntabelanga and Laleni dams on the Tsitsi River, according to a statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office.

The water will be used to improve irrigated agriculture, industrial demand and to generate electricity, the Presidency said.

South Africa, ranked the 30th driest on Earth, needs to spend 670 billion rand ($64.4 billion) on water infrastructure over the next decade, the government said in August.

The country, which relies on mining for more than 50 percent of its foreign exchange earnings, will spend 15.5 billion rand on a series of tunnels and dams that will allow more water to flow from its landlocked neighbour Lesotho. - Bloomberg News