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Loan to tackle power crisis

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The World Bank said that its board had approved a R19 billion loan to help South Africa reform its energy sector, as the country tries to overcome regular power cuts that have curbed economic growth.

File picture: Leon Lestrade, African News Agency

THE WORLD Bank said earlier this week that its board had approved a R19 billion loan to help South Africa reform its energy sector, as the country tries to overcome regular power cuts that have curbed economic growth.

The bank wants to support the country’s reforms to split Eskom and to transition to a low carbon economy, it said in a statement.

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank’s director for South Africa, had told Reuters last month that the loan was under discussion and could come soon.

In Wednesday’s statement, Marie-Nelly said reforms the government had launched would “benefit the people of South Africa – particularly the most vulnerable households – the economy, the environment, and advance the energy transition”.

Eskom’s coal-fired power stations routinely break down, leading to outages of up to 10 hours a day.

Several plants breached government emissions regulations earlier this year, according to a Reuters analysis published in September.

The World Bank said its Development Policy Loan would contribute to a gradual reduction in water and air pollution by reducing the reliance on coal for power generation.

Government pledged to split Eskom into three subsidiaries – transmission, generation and distribution – in 2019. In February, it agreed to take on R254 billion of Eskom’s debt, more than half its total debt, which was at risk of default.

– REUTERS

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