At the 15th BRICS Summit recently held in Johannesburg, a historic partnership was forged as TCTA and the New Development Bank (NDB) sealed a R3.2 billion loan agreement for water infrastructure development. Supported by
a sovereign guarantee, this funding will bolster the continued development of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
This landmark agreement was formalised on 21 August 2023. At the meeting, Nhlanhla Nkabinde, Executive Manager for Project Finance and Treasury, stood in for CEO Percy Sechemane, who was engaged in TCTA business in Stockholm, Sweden. NDB was represented by its Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vladimir Kazbekov.
Nkabinde shared insights, stating that this alliance transcends mere water provision and symbolises collective efforts towards sustainable growth and community empowerment.
“It’s more than just water. This partnership embodies our shared dedication to sustainable progress. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project’s Phase II shines a light on what’s achievable when nations unite for a brighter future,” said Nkabinde.
He went on to highlight the essence of the project: to reinvigorate the economy and assure access to water, the lifeline, for every citizen within the Vaal River System’s ambit. “As this transformative venture begins, gratitude extends to all partners and stakeholders. Their steadfast support and trust are paramount. In collaboration, we’re not just kick-starting a project, but sowing seeds for an enduring legacy of abundance and resilience.”
Funds from the loan will underpin key infrastructure developments in Lesotho, including the Polihali Dam, a 38-kilometre water transfer tunnel, and upgrades to essential infrastructure. The primary aim is to augment the Vaal River Basin’s capacity by about 15%, spurring economic growth, especially in Gauteng. Other provinces such as the North-West, Mpumalanga, and the Free State will also enjoy the dividends of increased water availability.
Backing this initiative, alongside the NDB, are the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other financial partners. Echoing this sentiment, Kazbekov remarked in a joint statement, “This endeavour embodies the NDB’s commitment to promoting clean water access and prioritising sustainable water management.” This aligns perfectly with South Africa’s thrust towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims for “clean water and sanitation for all”.
Founded by the BRICS nations, the NDB amplifies global efforts in infrastructure and sustainable development projects. A notable expansion in 2021 saw the bank welcoming members such as Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.