Acsa secures €85m French loan

first_img27 February 2009Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) have signed a long-term €85-million (about R1.06-billion) loan agreement to improve Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.According to the agreement, the loan will be repayable over 15 years, with a three-year grace period.Central terminal buildingAccording to a statement by Acsa this week, the funds will be used to finance the extension and upgrading of Acsa’s flagship OR Tambo International Airport, in particular the recently built central terminal building.“This financial support shows how international development institutions can accompany, even in critical global financial times, development processes that structure the economy,” said AFD’s Johannesburg-based regional director, Christopher Richard.As part of Acsa’s strategy to diversify its sources of funding, it has approached a number of financial institutions, particularly those that focus on long-term infrastructure development, and AFD was the first international development finance institution to support the company in funding its capital investment programme.‘Quality partnership’Acsa finance executive director Priscillah Mabelane said they were pleased that AFD had partnered with them in providing long-term funding with an appropriate structure at a time when the credit market was constrained.The agreement emphasised the quality of the partnership between France and South Africa, in particular for the support of the organisation of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and the long-term development of Africa, she said.Operating in South Africa since 1994, AFD is a French government institution set up to provide development financing especially for urban, rural and infrastructural development, as well as industry, financial systems and education.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Continue reading

South Africa’s first mobile agri-lab

first_img11 September 2013 South Africa’s first mobile agricultural laboratory, one of the most technologically advanced in the world, will be a major boost for the country’s emerging farmers, enabling them to have their water, soil and animals tested on their doorstep. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) spent R3-million on the development of the laboratory, which was recently launched by non-governmental organisation Mobile Agri Skills Development and Training (MASTD) at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport outside Nelspruit. “The benefits of the lab are numerous and include bringing conformity assessment support closer to emerging farmers, giving them access to a testing facility that will help them in their farm planning and crop production,” Seda spokesperson Beverley Kgame said this week. Project manager Kevin Gambaran said the lab, with its cutting edge-range of equipment, “is definitely the most advanced agricultural laboratory in the country, and we are very proud to launch it after years of hard work”. In addition to laboratory facilities, the 20-metre Scania truck unit hosts a training facility with high-tech electronic equipment and a comprehensive one-stop support centre for small, medium and micro enterprises within the agriculture industry. Two high-definition television screens on the outside of the truck relay what is going on inside, and all laboratory equipment, barring the air-conditioners, are run with solar power. “There is an interactive training room on board and a top-of-the-range computer where research and analysis can be furthered,” Gambaran said. MASTD chairman Mathews Phosa said the laboratory would “strengthen MASTD’s hand in accelerating the growth of emerging farmers into commercial producers and beyond”. The truck adds to a fleet of MASTD vehicles which visit projects and deliver seedlings and mechanisation to farmers across the country. MASTD managing director Lynette Bezuidenhout, who leads a team of 30 full-time professionals at the NGO, said the lab would also be used for educational purposes. “The plan is also to support rural schools by taking the laboratory unit to them and demonstrating experiments by using the television screens, making students aware of basic agri-science and showing that agriculture is a worthwhile profession.” Bezuidenhout said more than 300 people were involved in the construction of the laboratory, which was hand-created and custom-made. Phosa, the former premier of Mpumalanga province, said that such developments were vital for South Africa’s economy given the dwindling number of commercial farmers in the country. “Many African and East European countries continue to lure farmers with extremely lucrative contracts. More worrying is the fact that the average age of our commercial farmers is 62. It is clear that the future of food production and rural job creation lies with South Africa’s 2.5-million emerging farmers.” Phosa added that since MASTD’s inception in 2005, the organisation had made significant inroads in uplifting emerging farmers through its business incubation system. “Last year alone, MASTD was instrumental in establishing 286 new SMMEs, creating more than 400 jobs,” Phosa, adding that the goal would be to establish laboratories in all nine provinces. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Continue reading