By Ntombi Mhlongo
Standard Bank is planning to provide nearly E10 billion ($520m) in new finance to support Eskom’s transmission system.
This was announced by the bank’s Chief Executive Officer for Corporate and Investment Banking, Kenny Fihla. According to the Africa Report, Fihla stated that the bank needs Eskom to meet certain conditions to allow the money to be released and an agreement from the national treasury to allow the utility to borrow.
The mechanisms to ensure that the money is applied to transmission and that Eskom has the needed procurement abilities also need to be met. Fihla is optimistic that the money can start to be deployed in the coming months.
“We’re trying to iron it out now,” Fihla was quoted saying. Fears that persistent Eskom load-shedding could escalate into a totally South African grid breakdown have helped push down the rand in recent days. Fihla is said to have explained that the bank is ensuring that critical employees have backup power supplies at home.
Existing and new clients, meanwhile, can borrow at favourable rates for solar power installation, and the bank is increasing its ability to generate its own solar power.
The CEO is also said to have outlined that consultations with other banks have shown that they have the right contingency plans in place and that South Africa’s financial system would be able to keep functioning.
The bank is a potential financier for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) planned to run from Uganda to the Tanzanian coast. In Mozambique, Standard Bank is one of the financiers for the $15bn (E270billion) LNG project in the Rovuma basin which is led by France’s TotalEnergies.
The development has been delayed by an Islamist insurgency in the northern Cabo Delgado province.