South African loan and aid package lingering
CUBA STANDARD — The foreign relations committee of South Africa’s
parliament urged the government to implement a three-year old 350
million South African Rand (US$41 million) aid and loan package for
Cuba, one year after it was ratified.
The aid agreement was signed during a Havana visit in 2010 by President
Jacob Zuma and ratified by the South African parliament in September 2012.
An official with the Department of International Relations and
Cooperation told the committee that his institution “intended seeing
through” the package, according to a press release by the parliament.
The economic assistance package consists of a 40 million Rand ($5
million) grant for the purchase of seeds by Cuba, a 100 million Rand
($14 million) solidarity grant, and a 210 million Rand ($24 million)
credit line in two tranches from South Africa’s Export Credit Insurance
Corporation, to provide risk cover to potential South African exporters
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and a business delegation of 18
South African companies visited Cuba last fall, to meet with officials
and visit the International Havana Fair. The delegation represented
capital equipment, electro-technical, mining, agro-processing,
engineering, and metals industries.
Davies said at the time that Cuba would like to borrow $11.5 million to
have the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidráulicos (INRH) buy raw
material from a South African manufacturer used for the production of
water pipes in Cuba. Once Cuba pays back this first tranche of the
credit line, South Africa will grant it the second tranche, Davies said.
As part of the 2010 agreement, the South African government agreed to
cancel $159 million worth of defaulted debt, and offered Cuban state
companies to participate in the country’s $100 billion infrastructure
South African mining companies have expressed interest in Cuban nickel
and other minerals in the past, but no major investments have
materialized. More recently, a South African group of investors has
financed hotel construction in Cuba.
Meanwhile, Cuba has provided health services, as well as personnel and
logistics for workforce housing construction and construction of
facilities in the run-up of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Also, South
Africa is funding some of the healthcare programs Cuba is providing to
third nations in Africa. In May, South Africa agreed to pay for 208
Cuban doctors to be deployed in South Africa. In addition, Cuban experts
will provide support in implementing South Africa’s National Health
Insurance, help overhaul the healthcare system by refocusing on primary
healthcare and streamlining administration, improve human resources
management, and help South Africa with research and development,
particularly in biotechnology.
Source: “South African loan and aid package lingering « Cuba Standard,
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