Inexplicably, big financiers have not been active in the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) equity area of late. Perhaps it could be something to do with tough economic times. But, for a fact, IBM South Africa has revived flagging corporate interest in the area.
Through the Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, IBM launched a R700 million IBM South Africa broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) equity equivalent investment programme in Cape Town on 19 February 2015.
In his speech, the Minister Commented: “The equity equivalent programmes are expected to contribute towards the achievement of enterprise creation and development, foreign direct investment (FDI), accelerated growth and development of black rural women and youth, sustainable growth and development, human development with focus on education and skills development, infrastructure investment with an emphasis on developing the country’s research and development infrastructure.”
Further, Davies said his department was impressed by IMB SA’s commitment and, with pleasure, has granted the company the full 20 points under the ownership element of the B-BBEE codes for their participation in the programme.
On behalf of IMB, Abraham Thomas, IBM South Africa’s Country General Manager, said: “It is with great pleasure that we are announcing this equity equivalent programme.
“I would like to encourage all my fellow multi-national companies in South Africa to really look at this as a potential programme where they can build even deeper roots in South Africa and the development of this fantastic country.”
The launch of the equity equivalent investment programme is in line with the 2007 Codes of Good Practice that require all entities operating in the South African economy to make a contribution towards the objectives of B-BBEE. The Minister signed off on the programme on 26 January 2015 for a period of ten years.
The equity equivalent programme would be anchored on three main areas of focus including an Enterprise Development Programme (EDP); an academic programme and a research programme.
What is noteworthy about the EDP component is that it will focus on helping black-owned and black women-owned businesses with a particular focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and South African youth within the information, communication and technology (ICT) domain.