Profiles in leadership
Development Bank of Southern Africa CEO Patrick Dlamini tells us how the bank is investing in infrastructure
Without sustainable infrastructure it is impossible to improve the quality of life of South Africans and the people on the continent. It is for this reason that work of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is critical, according to its CEO Patrick Dlamini.
“Better infrastructure is a crucial tool to help alleviate poverty.When we develop and invest in our infrastructure we facilitate regional trade which in turn helps address poverty. By improving our regional connection and trade, we are enabling job creation for Africans.Therefore, it is important that our infrastructure be efficient, well maintained and that we achieve seamless integration between the various countries on the continent,” he said.
About the DBSA
As the leading development financial institution in Africa, the DBSA provides financing, project preparation and implementation support for economic and social infrastructure in South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and beyond.
Its mission is to improve people's lives, boost economic growth and promote regional integration through infrastructure finance and development.
At national level the DBSA strives to improve the lives of all South Africans through its investment in infrastructure in keeping with the priorities and objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
The DBSA was established in 1983 to perform a broad economic development function within the homeland constitutional dispensation of the time. It was reconsti-
tuted in 1997 into a development finance institution.
The bank plays a catalytic role in delivering infrastructure in the energy, water, transport and information and communications technology sectors with a secondary focus on health and education.
“We operate across the infrastructure value chain offering an integrated suite of solutions including planning, project preparation, financing, project implementation, and maintenance,” said Dlamini.
Enabling economic development
Infrastructure is a big enabler of economic development. In its October 2014 World Economic Outlook the International Monetary Fund found in an assessment of a sample of developed economies that an increase in investment spend equivalent to one percent of gross domestic product (GDP) would on average lead to an increase in GDP of 0.4 percent in the same year of the investment and up to 1.5 percent four years later.
“Therefore, it is essential that we get it right to realise our dream of taking people out of poverty in a manner that gives them pride and dignity.”
“Through infrastructure projects we provide employment to people who build the infrastructure and we connect municipalities and regions to facilitate job creation,” said Dlamini.
He highlighted that the DBSA is strategically aligned with the NDP which sets out an integrated strategy for accelerating growth, eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.
“We subscribe to the NDP position that South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people and growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the State and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society,” added Dlamini.
Programmes benefiting South Africans
The DBSA has a number of programmes and initiatives that benefit South Africans.
The organisation is a critical component of the national infrastructure system, contributing to the roll-out of government programmes and increasing the performance of municipalities lacking capacity and capability.
In the 2016/17 financial year, the DBSA disbursed
R839 million and R240 million to secondary and underresourced municipalities, respectively.
“We also completed 17 projects in secondary and under-resourced municipalities in the electricity, water, sanitation, roads, storm water and fleet management sectors. Furthermore, through implementation support, the bank indirectly contributed to creating over a 1 000 temporary job opportunities,” he said.
Through its Infrastructure Delivery Division (IDD) the DBSA directly contributed a total value of infrastructure delivered to the amount of R2.8 billion, up from R2.6 billion in 2016.
Through this part of the bank's operations more than
266 000 people gained access to improved health facilities while over 4 000 learners benefited from 12 schools as part of the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative.
“Further, in executing its mandate, the IDD has since 2013 benefited more than 2 000 Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) across the country,” said Dlamini.
In the last financial year 500 SMMEs benefited from construction contracts to the value of R493 million which created over 9 000 jobs through projects completed by the IDD.
Dlamini also said signed commitments to the value of R13.3 billion during the 2016/17 financial year were expected to bring changes to the lives of South Africans. More than 182 000 households stood to benefit from electrification projects and the upgrading of substations.
At least 22 000 households were expected to benefit from bulk water provision and reticulation projects. About 15 000 households were expected benefit from sanitation projects in municipalities around the country.
Over 300 affordable houses were completed with 597 households to benefit.
CEO of the Development Bank of Southern Africa Patrick Dlamini. Writer: Noluthando Motswai Pictures: Supplied