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DBSA celebrates 30 years of contribution in advancing economic growth

DBSA celebrates 30 years of contribution in advancing economic growth
08-05-24 / Shelly Nxumalo

DBSA celebrates 30 years of contribution in advancing economic growth

Pretoria - Celebrating three decades of democratic progress, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) marks its contribution to economic growth, infrastructure development, and social advancement. During this time, the Bank has empowered communities and encouraged investment, shaping a more inclusive society. As South Africa and the Southern African region reflect on this milestone, the DBSA remains dedicated to supporting the aspirations of all citizens and laying the groundwork for a prosperous and sustainable future.

The state of infrastructure development, as outlined by the DBSA, reflects a complex landscape of growth, challenges, and opportunities. South Africa has made significant progress in expanding and modernising its infrastructure, with notable advancements in transportation networks, energy production, and telecommunications. Today the stock of national capital assets is estimated to be more that R13 trillion.

Infrastructure is a cornerstone of modern society, providing much more than physical structures. In many African regions, the construction of roads, bridges, railways, and telecommunications networks represents a lifeline for communities historically lacking access to resources and mobility. These projects have far-reaching impacts, promoting social cohesion, empowering individuals, and creating new pathways for economic participation. Supporting these efforts, plays a critical role in reducing transportation costs, attracting investment, and fostering tourism.

Improved infrastructure opens doors to education and employment, allowing students to travel to schools and universities, and connecting workers with new job opportunities. It also brings technology and telecommunications advancements, bridges digital divides and allows communities to access information and online resources. This enhanced connectivity fosters a more educated and empowered workforce, fuelling further economic growth.

Zeph Nhleko, Chief Economist at DBSA said, "At the Development Bank of Southern Africa, we recognise that infrastructure is more than concrete and steel; it's a stimulant for economic growth, social cohesion, and long-term sustainability. By investing in roads, bridges, railways, ports, water systems, energy systems and telecommunication networks, we are not only connecting regions and creating opportunities, but we are also fostering a sense of unity and resilience. Our commitment to building infrastructure with purpose reflects our broader vision of a more inclusive and empowered Africa, where every project paves the way for a brighter future."

Infrastructure development represents freedom by improving lives and empowering communities. The DBSA has highlighted in its Integrated Annual Report 2023, that key initiatives supported in the past include the water programme office created by the Bank's Project Preparation Division to address service delivery backlogs in places like Johannesburg, Ekhurhuleni, and eThekwini. The Bank has also funded the expansion and refurbishment of critical infrastructure, including wastewater treatment plants, landfill sites, roads, and electrical substations. Additionally, the Gautrain, a rapid transit railway system that transformed transportation, and extensive stadium construction and refurbishment in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, thus boosting South Africa's global profile, were also supported. The Bank funded its first few renewable energy projects during this time, indicating a shift toward sustainable infrastructure. These efforts not only improved connectivity and stimulated economic activity but also demonstrated the DBSA's commitment to innovation and sustainable development in Southern Africa.

In the 2022/23 financial year local SMMEs and subcontractors benefited in construction-related activities and the creation of 10,362 temporary and permanent jobs in 2022/23 reflects the broader economic liberation. The construction and upgrade of sanitation facilities in 177 schools benefitted 68,687 learners, while 29 555 learners benefited from the refurbishment of 117 schools and 2 208 from newly built schools. This collective progress leads to a brighter, more equitable future, with infrastructure development providing a tangible path toward economic freedom.

Beyond economic benefits, infrastructure projects contribute to a sense of national unity, connecting regions that were once isolated. They promote social cohesion and encourage a shared sense of destiny. As the DBSA invests in infrastructure, it highlights the importance of resilience and sustainability in the face of climate change and environmental challenges. The DBSA's focus on durable infrastructure ensures that the benefits of these projects endure for generations.

Through partnerships with governments, businesses, and civil society, the DBSA is creating infrastructure that serves as a beacon of hope and empowerment. These projects are more than mere structures, they are transformative tools that can lead to a more connected and vibrant Africa. As the DBSA continues to invest in critical infrastructure, its commitment to sustainable, inclusive development is a testament to the lasting impact that these infrastructures can have on a nation's trajectory.

"We believe that infrastructure is the cornerstone of development progress, serving as a symbol of freedom, connectivity, and opportunity. As we celebrate three decades of dedication to economic growth and social advancement in the democratic era, we remain committed to building infrastructure that not only transforms communities but also fosters resilience and sustainability. Through our partnerships and investments, we are laying the foundation for a more prosperous and interconnected Africa, where every project contributes to a legacy of liberty and progress for generations to come," concludes Zeph.

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