THE German government has committed €414,26m (about R5.9bn) for development projects in South Africa.

Five agreements were signed on Friday by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and German ambassador Horst Freitag, which bring the total contribution by Germany to development in the country to about R14.4bn in financial and technical aid since 1992. The funds have been used for empowerment, skills transfer and the building of institutional capabilities.

Mr Nene said the co-operation by Germany was aligned to the priorities articulated in the national development plan.

According to a joint statement by Treasury and the German embassy, bilateral co-operation between the two countries over the last 20 years “has matured into a partnership where Germany supports South African priorities. The partnership is focused on the areas of energy and climate change, HIV/AIDS prevention and good governance which includes violence prevention and trilateral co-operation.”

Mr Freitag said Germany continued to support South Africa in meeting its mid-and long-term challenges. “With these new funds, we underline our will to stand by our partners in a sustainable and predictable way. South Africa is one of our most important global development partners. Our development co-operation is an integral part of our broader co-operation in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres.”

Among the projects Germany has funded is the R71m contribution to the “Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading” project in Khayelitsha in Cape Town, which has helped reduce crime and increase safety. It also involved the establishment of a fully equipped library and community centre which provides internet access.

With regard to HIV/AIDS prevention, Germany finances mobile clinics, particularly in rural areas in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga, providing testing and prevention services.

A further R185m was used to fund and activate a leadership scheme which allows youths to undergo a three-year training programme.

Germany has also contributed to the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre, training 5,000 qualified wind technicians. The establishment of the centre is further supported by a public-private partnerships between Sagen, the Cape Peninsular University of Technology and the German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex under which Nordex will provide essential training equipment.

In the area of governance Germany has supported the Amathole Economic Development Agency in the Eastern Cape by facilitating the construction of the Cumakala bridge connecting Mlungisi township and Stutterheim.