NEF sets aside R1.2bn to invest in black business

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has approved R1.2-billion worth of investments to support businesses owned and managed by black South Africans.

At least R692-million of this will be disbursed into the -domestic economy, creating thousands of jobs, Minister of Trade and Industry Ibrahim Patel said in an interview with Sunday World.

Patel said the Black Industrialist Programme must be intensified on all fronts, and that as the enabling financing institution, it must be recapitalised if the needs of black industrialisation are to be fulfilled.

Support for black business, BEE and job creation are among the key issues on the agenda of political parties in the run-up to Wednesday’s elections.

“This is the NEF mandate in alignment with the Department of Trade and Industry’s towards three shared outcomes, which are industrialisation, transformation and the creation of a capable state,” Patel said.

The minister said focusing on key areas of BEE and strengthening the NEF, would allow the
department to pool sufficient resources to capacitate and recapitalise the NEF to achieve and fulfil its mandate of supporting black industrialisation project for inclusive economic growth, in which the black economic empowerment is accelerated.

“Transformation is about building an economy that works where people are, and bringing
development to rural provinces and districts,” Patel said.

Established by the National Empowerment Fund Act, the NEF is the only development finance institution in the country that is exclusively mandated to grow the broad-based black economic empowerment through the provision of financial and non-financial support to black-owned and managed businesses.

Black business sectors funded by the NEF include, among others, tourism and entertainment, transportation, textile industry services, retail, property, printing services, motor industry, mining service, manufacturing, and information and computer technology.

NEF chairperson Dr Nthabiseng Mole-ko recently told the Black Business Council Annual Summit that the time has come to recapitalise funding entities such as her organisation if there is – going to be accelerated progress towards developing industries to end poverty and unemployment.

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