U.S. Trade and Development Agency

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USTDA Director Askey (far left) and Infrastructure Chairman Visvin Reddy (second from left) of the eThekwini Municipal Council sign an agreement conferring the USTDA grant.USTDA Director Askey (far left) and Infrastructure Chairman Visvin Reddy (second from left) of the eThekwini Municipal Council sign an agreement conferring the USTDA grant.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (August 10, 2006) – Facilitating the development of South Africa’s electricity distribution infrastructure is the objective of a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant awarded today to eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal Province.   The $500,000 grant will be used to fund technical assistance to eThekwini Electricity (TE), the licensed municipal electricity distributor, in developing a strategic plan for the implementation of an integrated information technology (IT) system.    


A signing ceremony to confer the grant was held at the Ron Brown Commercial Center during an official visit to South Africa by USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey.  Director Askey and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Visvin Reddy, eThekwini Municipal Council, signed the grant agreement on behalf of the U.S. government and eThekwini Municipality, respectively. 


“USTDA recognizes the importance of power infrastructure to economic growth and development,” said Director Askey on the signing of the grant agreement.  “This grant will support this objective in South Africa by assisting eThekwini Electricity in developing a strategic plan that will result in more cost-effective and reliable service.”


Electricity is a key strategic sector of the South African economy and underpins the growth and developmental objectives set out by the South African government.  In the “Electricity for All” campaign that was launched by TE to bring light and power within reach of every home in the Durban Municipal area and beyond, more than 170,000 new consumers were connected to the power grid.  In 2005, however, TE’s service area began to experience power interruptions.  A strategic plan and execution strategy is needed for TE to acquire the specific expertise, software, and equipment necessary to support an integrated IT system that will enable it to effectively manage its distribution network. 


The competitive contracting opportunity associated with the USTDA grant awarded today will be announced on the Federal Business Opportunities website at  U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the Federal Business Opportunities announcement.  The U.S. firm that will provide the USTDA-funded assistance will be selected by TE.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

Additional Information:  USTDA Director Askey Concludes Visit Supporting Expanded U.S. Relations with South Africa and Botswana