The private financial sector can rarely finance developmentally important sectors on its own and publicly owned development finance institutions (DFIs) continue to fill these gaps in both industrialised and developing economies. These institutions can play a complementary role to private finance, precisely because they are not constrained by profit motives, and are able to take greater risk than private banks due to their public backing. South Africa has a number of DFIs but these are small as compared to other countries.

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