SA plans development aid agency

28 October 2010

South Africa is set to create a US-style development aid agency as it seeks to play a more prominent role as a major donor country in Africa, says International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

She made the announcement at a regional heads of mission conference in Nairobi, Kenya during a three-day foreign policy session, Business Day reported on Wednesday.

The South African Development Partnership Agency, which has already been approved by the Cabinet, will operate along the same lines as USAid, an initiative that provides developing countries with funding for economic and humanitarian projects as part of the US’s foreign policy objectives.

“This agency will not only enhance our contribution in institutional and capacity building on the continent, but also ensure that our post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts are centrally co-ordinated,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

She said the agency would be established before the end of the 2010/11 financial year.

Ministerial spokesman Saul Molobi said on Tuesday that the department was still drawing up a budget and could not immediately say how much the project would cost.

Through the multimillion-rand African Renaissance Fund, managed by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, South Africa is one of the largest development aid providers in Africa.

The African Renaissance Fund and all its activities will eventually be absorbed by the new aid agency, which will reduce bureaucracy and duplication.