KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has committed the province to continue to support new developments that help reduce the carbon footprint, while simultaneously ensuring that people are adequately skilled to be at the forefront of the new green industries.

Addressing the African Sub-Sovereign Governments Conference, Zikalala noted that while Africa contributes about 4% of the total greenhouse emissions, it is sadly the continent that feels much of the brunt of climate change caused by the industrialised nations of the world.

“We must insist on a just transition from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy which does not arrest Africa’s development or destroy jobs,” Zikalala said.

As the country navigates through the global pandemic of COVID-19, Zikalala urged the delegates to also recognise the real and urgent threat of global warming.

“As we know, the disastrous impacts of global warming, which come in the form of floods, storms, earthquakes, draughts do not recognise any of our borders or nationalities,” he said.

Held at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Thursday, the conference seeks to promote Intra-African trade and investment by setting up government networks at the level of provinces and States.

The session, which took place on the sidelines of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair 2021 underway at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, was conceived to be a platform to facilitate business exchanges and the development of a Sovereign Network to promote trade and investments among African sub-sovereigns.

Zikalala commended the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for signing a $1.4 billion facility with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to finance the exploration of petroleum, one of the major deals signed at the Intra-African Trade Fair 2021.

Zikalala said Afreximbank continues to show leadership and funding the deals that seek to grow the share of the African economy, while building bridges among different African countries, States, provinces, and local municipalities.

“Indeed, there are many lessons that other financing institutions can learn from Afreximbank on how they are able to deploy innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, thereby accelerating industrialisation and intra-Africa trade.

“There is consensus in the world that Africa is the new growth frontier. The potential for growth is in municipal wards, local municipalities, district municipalities, provinces or states, and in deed at country level,” the Premier said.

The transaction complies with Afreximank’s mandate to promote local content in Africa’s oil and gas and other mining industries, and generate foreign receivables into Africa.

The transaction comprises a Pre-Export/Shipment Finance Facility underpinned by a Forward Sale Agreement (FSA) and Offtake Contracts from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, acting as the borrower and seller.

In a statement, Afreximbank said the NNPC will enter a FSA within which it shall deliver 35 000 barrels of crude oil per day.

“The proceeds of the facility will boost tax revenues and foreign currency receipts and create thousands of jobs in the oil and gas refining value chain, all by more than US$2.4 billion to the immediate benefit of the government, thereby improving the balance of trade and Gross Domestic Product in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy,” Afreximbank said.

Source: South African Government News Agency