South Africa: The Brics Bank Is Ready to Lend SA $1bn to Fight the COVID-19

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is mulling an offer by the BRICS New Development Bank to lend South Africa $1-billion to fight Covid-19 - though he generally doesn't like borrowing.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is ready to lend South Africa $1-billion (about R18-billion), to tackle the immediate Covid-19 public health crisis - with another $1-billion later this year to help restimulate the economy after the downturn, which is expected as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown.

The NDB has just lent $1-billion to China - where the pandemic originated - in the form of an Emergency Assistance Programme Loan to help it tackle Covid-19 with medical equipment and gear such as hospital beds, ventilators and protective equipment for frontline medical workers. Last week, the bank issued a successful Coronavirus Combating Bond, which raised 5-billion Chinese RMB (about $700-million), to help fund the loan to China.

Leslie Maasdorp, the South African who is NDB's vice president and chief financial officer, told Daily Maverick that the bank was ready to provide the same size of the loan to other BRICS members, including South Africa.

He said the loan to China was the biggest the bank had ever issued (since...

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