The Southern Co., parent of Georgia Power, is one of several foreign utilities assisting South Africa meet its top development priority of bringing electricity to the 60% of the population now living without electric power, according to Francois Botha, the general manager of the Atlanta office of Eskom International, its electric utility.

Speaking at a breakfast  briefing Tuesday, March 21, Mr. Botha said Eskom plans to bring electricity to 300,000 homes a year for the next five years. “We say that what took the Tennessee Valley Authority 20 years to do, we will do in five years,” Mr. Botha said following the briefing which featured economic development officials from the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu/Natal regions in South Africa.

While describing the challenge to provide the country with electricity, he asserted that electricity is available in South Africa at less cost than anywhere else in the world, encouraging investment  in manufacturing facilities there.

The briefing , sponsored by Eskom, the African Trade Center in Decatur and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, drew some 35 people from a variety of professions and businesses.

Eskom opened its Atlanta office last year to serve its corporate bond holders in the U.S., to develop relationships with U.S. utility companies and to attract investors to South Africa.

For more information,  Mr. Botha may be reached by calling (404) 848-7710; fax, (404) 848-7711.