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Only freedom can stimulate competition

Competition is not something that can be artificially created. Competition is an inherent facet of human – or living – nature, and thrives most when it is left alone. The notion that government can introduce swaths of laws, regulations, and red tape, like the new Competition Amendment Bill, and not have a deleterious effect on competition and economic growth is naïve. Government should stick to ensuring no violence or fraud is used by firms and let the rest of the chips fall where they may, in the interest of all consumers.

South Africa’s competition policy regime, as constructed around legislation like the Competition Act, is permeated by a fundamental misunderstanding of the economics of competition and of the Rule of Law. The Competition Amendment Bill, for instance, is of a racialist character; assigns excessive discretionary powers; its provisions are ambiguous and unclear; and it seeks to oust the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Appeal, each of which falls foul of the commitment to the Rule of Law found in section 1(c) of the Constitution.

Nothing in the Bill will make competing easier for historically disadvantaged persons. According to Christo Hattingh, competition “is the method by which consumers judge whether prices are ‘too high’”, and businesses that charge too much for their goods or services will inevitably lose customers and face closure. The Free Market Foundation’s former chairman, the late Michael O’Dowd, wrote that entrepreneurs have “to produce goods or services that other people want to buy. Where competition comes in, is that he will not be able to sell his product if others do a substantially better job of producing it than he does. He does not have to defeat the competition, but he does have to keep up with it”.

Competing, in other words, is not something the law can help one do. The law can only create an environment in which competition can thrive. What the Competition Amendment Bill does is open various doors through which cronyism and corruption can slip through as firms, some not as honourable as others, vie for government favour.

By providing that the Competition Commission must take “the promotion of a greater spread of ownership, in particular to increase the levels of ownership by historically disadvantaged persons” into account when determining whether a merger is “in the public interest”, for instance, the Bill is calling for racial arbitrariness the likes of which still haunt us from the Apartheid era. The Commission is being called upon to look, among other things, at the racial character of businesses wishing to merge in determining whether the merger should be allowed or not. There are no strict guidelines for how the Commission must make this determination, so it is a matter of discretion.

Where there is discretion, there will, inevitably, be corruption. When an official can base their decision simply on their own interpretation of the facts, nothing protects them from giving in to the temptation to favour some at the expense of others, other than their own strength of character.

A provision of this nature has nothing to do with the fundamental nature of competition regulation; that is, to ensure the market is contestable and not monopolised by particular firms.

Competition in the marketplace is not stimulated by active government interference in the affairs of firms and entrepreneurs. Government interference leads to price distortions caused by factors such as increased compliance costs and perverted incentives. Ordinarily, entrepreneurs would seek to profit by providing consumers with the goods and services they desire at a better quality or speed than their rivals, but, when government starts to interfere, they now also need to satisfy the ideological and arbitrary whims of the bureaucracy by competing with one another over who can cosy up the closest to the industrial regulator to ensure that their virtue-signalling compliance with ideological legislation receives notice.

For competition to flourish, government must start a process of dismantling anti-competitive legislation and regulations, and of dismantling State-sponsored or -owned monopolies that force private competition out of those respective industries. Competition is not created by government, but comes about in a market free of excessive interference. The role of government should simply be to ensure no firms use violence or deception to deny market entry to their potential rivals.

Author Martin van Staden is Legal Researcher at the Free Market Foundation. This article may be republished without prior consent but with acknowledgement to the author. The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Free Market Foundation.

What drives instability in Africa and what can be done about it

Africa will remain turbulent because it is poor and young, but also because it is growing and dynamic. Development is disruptive but also presents huge opportunities. The continent needs to plan accordingly.

Levels of armed conflict in Africa rise and fall. Data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, the Global Terrorism Database and others indicate that armed conflict peaked in 1990/91 at the end of the Cold War, declined to 2005/6, remained relative stable to 2010/11 and then increased to 2015, although it peaked at lower levels than in 1990/91 before its most recent decline.

Armed conflict has changed. Today there are many more non-state actors involved in armed conflict in Africa – representing a greater fracturing of armed groupings. So it’s not a matter of “government vs an armed group” but a “government vs many armed groups”. Insurgents are often divided and sometimes even fighting amongst themselves. This greater fragmentation complicates peacemaking.

Terrorism has also increased, but depending on how one defines it, it has always been widely prevalent in Africa both as a tactic to secure decolonisation as well as between and among competing armed groups. The big question for 2017 is: is violent political extremism going to move from the Middle East to Africa? Put another way, is it in Africa that Al Qaeda and the Islamic State will find solid footage as they are displaced from the Middle East?

Anti government turbulence has also increased in recent years. In Africa, this has led to disaffection and violence around elections that are often rigged rather than free and fair. Generally this is because governance in many African countries present a facade of democracy but don’t yet reflect substantive democracy.

Seven relationships lie behind patterns of violence on the continent, and provide insights into whether it can be managed better.

Relationships explaining violence

Poverty

Internal armed conflict is much more prevalent in poor countries than in rich ones. This is not because poor people are violent but because poor states lack the ability to ensure law and order. The impact of poverty is exacerbated by inequality, such as in South Africa.

Updated forecasts using the International Futures forecasting system indicate that around 37% of Africans live in extreme poverty (roughly 460 million people).

By 2030, 32% of Africans (forecast at 548 million) are likely to live in extreme poverty. So, while the portion is coming down (around 5% less), the absolute numbers will likely increase by around 90 million. It’s therefore unlikely that Africa will meet the first of the Sustainable Development Goals on ending absolute poverty on a current growth path of roughly 4% GDP growth per annum.

Democratisation

Democratisation can trigger violence in the short to medium term, particularly around elections. Recent events in Kenya are an example. Where there is a large democratic deficit, as in North Africa before the Arab spring, tension builds up and can explode.

And a democratic deficit – where levels of democracy are below what can be expected when compared to other countries at similar levels of income and education – often leads to instability.

Instability is also fuelled by the manipulation of elections and constitutions by heads of state to extend their stay in power. Examples include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and Uganda.

Regime type

The nature of the governing regime is another structural factor. Most stable countries are either full democracies or full autocracies. But most African countries have mixed regimes with some elements of democracy mixed with strong autocratic features. They present a façade of democracy but lack its substantive elements. Mixed regimes are inherently more unstable and prone to disruptions than either full democracies or full autocracies.

Population structure

Africa’s population is young, with a median age of 19. By comparison, the median age is 41 in France (a relatively young country by European standards). So 22% of adult French are in the youth bulge of 15-29 years compared to 47% of Africans.

Young countries tend to be more turbulent because young men are largely responsible for violence and crime. If young people lack jobs and rates of urbanisation are high, social exclusion and instability follow.

Repeat violence

A history of violence is generally the best predictor of future violence. Countries such as MaliCentral African Republic and the DRC are trapped in cycles of violence. This is very difficult to break. It requires a huge effort and is very expensive, often requiring a large, multi-dimensional peace mission that only the UN can provide. But, scaling peacekeeping back rather than scaling it up is the order of the day at the UN.

A bad neighbourhood

Where a country is located can increase the risk of violence because borders are not controlled and rural areas not policed. Most conflict in Africa is supported from neighbouring countries. Violence spills over national borders and affects other countries while poorly trained and equipped law and order institutions generally cannot operate regionally.

Slow growth and rising inequality

Africa is quite unequal, so growth does not translate into poverty reduction. In addition, the world is in a low growth environment after the 2007/8 global financial crisis, with average rates of growth significantly lower than before. Africa needs to grow at average rates of 7% or more a year if it is to reduce poverty and create jobs, yet current long term forecasts are for rates significantly below that.

Opportunity amid challenges

These seven related factors indicate that the notion that Africa can somehow “silence the guns by 2020”, as advocated by the African Union as part of its Agenda 2063 is unrealistic. Violence will remain a characteristic of a number of African countries for many years to come and Africa should plan accordingly.

In the long term only rapid, inclusive economic growth combined with good governance can chip away at the structural drivers of violence. It is also clear that middle income countries are making progress in attracting foreign direct investment but that poor countries will remain aid dependent.

The ConversationMuch more international and regional cooperation will be required as part of this process, including substantive and scaled up support for peacekeeping.

– Jakkie Cilliers is Chair of the Board of Trustees and Head of African Futures & Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies and Extraordinary Professor in the Centre of Human Rights at the University of Pretoria.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Source: news24

Air transport supports 490,000 jobs and contributes $12bn in GDP for SA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new data showing that the air transport sector in South Africa provides immense value to the people and economy of the country supporting some 490,000 jobs including tourism-related employment and contributing $12 billion or 3.5% to the country’s GDP.

These findings are among the highlights of ‘The Importance of Air Transport to South Africa’ study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of IATA.

“The study confirms the vital role of air transport in facilitating over $110 billion in exports, some $140 billion in foreign direct investment and around $9.2 billion in inbound leisure and business tourism for South Africa. With the country now in a recession it’s time to re-double efforts to promote South Africa as a destination for business, trade and tourism,” said Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa, who is making his first visit to Africa in his new capacity.

According to executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum for the study, South Africa’s transport infrastructure quality score places the country 1st out of 37 African countries surveyedand 48th globally

South Africa ranks 19th out of 37 African countries for visa openness

It ranks 17th out of 37 for cost competitiveness in the air transport industry, based on air ticket taxes, airport charges and VAT

Around 390,000 aircraft land and take off from one of South Africa’s main airports every year. Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport is the country’s busiest in terms of passengers with over 18.5 million travellers passing through the airport in 2014.

“Affordable, safe and reliable air transport is crucial to economic growth. It promotes skills development and is a catalyst for jobs. We urge the South African Government to remove any impediments, including unnecessary red-tape and policies that hinder air connectivity and the trade, investment, tourism and job opportunities it facilitates and stimulates,” added Albakri.

During his visit to Johannesburg, Mr. Albakri is meeting key industry stakeholders from South Africa’s government, the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Airports Company South Africa, Air Traffic Navigation Services, IATA member airlines in the country and IATA’s sub-regional sister organization, the Airlines’ Association of Southern Africa.

Source: defenceweb

Miners brace for unveiling of strict new charter in South Africa

Ashake-up to the mining code in South Africa could have a far-reaching impact on miners listed in the UK, amid fears the government there will try to impose onerous new requirements around company ownership.

A new version of the mining charter is expected to propose raising the mandatory black ownership of mining assets from 26pc to 30pc under the government’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) initiative.

But the mining industry is particularly worried about a second proposal, which would require miners to maintain 30pc black ownership even when the original BEE holders have sold their stake.

Under the original charter, mandated in 2004, miners only need “empower” their assets once.

South Africa’s Chamber of Mines has threatened legal action against the government if it imposes the new conditions, which it says will deter much-needed foreign investment and have been drafted with little consultation from the industry.

The new charter – which is months overdue and has been the subject of disagreement within the ruling ANC party – was approved by the cabinet in draft last week and is expected to be made public in a matter of weeks.

Mining contributed SAR286bn (£17bn) to the South African economy, or 7.1pc of its GDP, in 2015. London-listed companies Anglo American, Lonmin, Glencore and Petra all operate in South Africa.

Anglo boss Mark Cutifani has called on the government to ensure that the charter encourages investment. Earlier this year he told The Telegraph that investors would feel that promises had been broken if the government changed the BEE threshold.

A spokesman for Anglo said the company was waiting to see “whether industry submissions have been considered”.

“Anglo American is and remains committed to meeting South Africa’s transformation objectives and has been a longstanding and major contributor to transformation,” he added.

“These proposed changes will send a shudder down the backs of investors,” said Kieron Hodgson, analyst at Panmure Gordon.

Hunter Hilcoat, analyst at Investec, added: “We should be alarmed, not only by the BEE threshold increases but by several potential aspects, including the re-empowerment requirements.”

Source: telegraph

Business doesn’t need permission to act on climate

Great leaders protect their nations and their communities by addressing current threats, scanning the horizon for approaching storms and transforming policies as needed. They understand that being prepared, as the Boy Scouts have taught us, is the requisite of security.

Today, without any doubt, the Earth’s climate is changing. In 2016, global temperatures were the highest recorded, surpassing the previous record set only the year before. Rising seas are already threatening island nations and coastal communities. Drought has forced millions of families to migrate in search of food, while the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have described climate shifts as a serious potential threat to the United States.

This is a threat that we must heed. We do not want to be caught unaware and in denial like the grasshopper of Aesop’s fables.

What do we do? One approach is to wait for the government to act. This is a hazardous path. As a candidate, President Donald Trump called climate change a hoax and dismissed the Paris Agreement as misguided.

China has taken the opposite position. It has committed to aggressive emissions reduction targets and, by some reports, is already ahead of schedule. In January, China halted plans for 103 coal-fired plants. Simultaneously, it is committing billions of dollars toward a low-carbon economy, creating jobs in renewable energy and supporting emerging nations in their efforts to adapt to the onslaught of climate change.

This does not mean that we in the U.S. are paralyzed. Climate change, in fact, has ushered in a renaissance in design, land use and technology. Businesses and universities are investing in new technologies as well as new partnerships with the focused mission of solving the climate challenge, with or without the government.

Architects are designing buildings that generate more energy than they consume. Farmers are using cropland more efficiently to prevent expansion into carbon-storing forest ecosystems. And cities, businesses and universities are continuing to invest in clean-energy breakthroughs that are driving down the price of wind and solar.

“Humanity has the capacity and the ingenuity to respond to climate stress. To do so, we must remember that no great transformation has been led by government alone”

In November, immediately after the U.S. presidential election and concurrent with the United Nations climate negotiations, the worlds of innovation and tradition came together as entrepreneurs and indigenous leaders joined forces to plan decentralized action to fight climate change. The result is the Roadmap, a call to action to create new inclusive models of change to fight climate change together as a global community.

One non-technological solution put forward was simply to support the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, who control nearly 25 percent of the Earth’s surface and most of the planet’s healthy ecological systems. Their forests, if managed wisely, could capture one-third of the total amount needed to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is what many scientists believe is the limit for avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

There is no doubt that humanity has the capacity and the ingenuity to respond to climate stress. To do so, we must remember that no great transformation has been led by government alone. It always has been up to private citizens to provide the solutions to back up formal policy.

Now, we push forward with that work, with or without the U.S. government. No matter what our government does, we — citizens, communities and businesses — must not hold back our creativity, urgency and investment.

This is the time for transformation without permission.

Source: greenbiz

Pakistan turning into a water-scarce country, say experts

ISLAMABAD: Leading experts on water resources are of the view that there is not sufficient awareness among the policy-makers of the impending water crisis in Pakistan, which is posing a threat to the country’s security, stability and environmental sustainability.

Former chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Shamsul Mulk highlighted water security issues discussed in a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, ‘Development Advocate Pakistan’.

Pakistan’s water policy does not exist and key policy-makers act like ‘absentee landlords’ of water in Pakistan, he said. “Because of this absentee landlordism, water has become the property of the landlords and the poor are deprived of their share’’.

A draft report on water resources was framed at the expressed request of the ministry of water and power. Mr Mulk said it was unfortunate that the federal cabinet never allocated the time for its review and approval.

“The worst example of landlordism is in Sindh. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Pushtoon society is a lot more egalitarian. In general, landlords don’t want the poor to become economically self-sufficient to remain in power. So, this water issue is very political in nature,” he said.

Mr Mulk pointed out the extreme variability of river flows season-wise— 84 per cent of flows in summer and only 16pc in winter—as a major problem.

According to the report, with a Kharif to Rabi ratio of two to one, the seasonal needs were about 66pc in summer and 34pc in winter, showing surpluses of 18pc in summer and shortages of 18pc in winter.

The surpluses of summer create floods, inflicting major damages to the infrastructure in the Indus plains and shortages in water disable Rabi crops from its optional yields. Owing to the lack of a strong government, this disability continues to hurt Pakistan and its economy, said Mr Mulk.

According to Director General of Federal Water Management Cell of the ministry of national food security and research, Muhammad Tahir Anwar, 18 million acre feet (MAF) of rainwater or hill torrent potential have not been realised in the overall policy framework.

It is imperative that a comprehensive policy framework inclusive of river basin, groundwater and rainwater and hill torrents be developed and adopted to ensure sustainable use of scarce water resources, he said.

According to all indicators, Pakistan was rapidly becoming a water-scarce country, said Chairman of Pakistan Council of Research in water resources, Dr Mohammad Ashraf. However, there is little awareness of this looming disaster amongst stakeholders, particularly policy-makers and they cannot foresee the real picture of its repercussions on social and economic fronts, he added.

He said that the draft ‘National Water Policy’ should be approved which provides policy guidelines for sustainable management of water resources, adding that provinces should develop their own strategies within the framework of the national water policy.

Source: dawn

Only five exhibition stands remain for African Agri Investment Indaba

The African Agri Council presents the exclusive African Agri Investment Indaba, set to bring together hundreds of senior decision-makers from across the entire agri value chain including government officials, commercial farmers and agri stakeholders who are ready to connect with strategic and technical solution providers and looking for innovative investment and finance partners.

There are a number of opportunities for you to put your brand in front of a highly-qualified audience comprising of African and international agri business professionals.

Exhibit/Sponsor: We only have 5 exhibition booths remaining – exhibiting is the absolute minimum involvement you need to secure a dialogue with our highly-qualified audience. With all the market leading solutions, we are offering over 20 tailored sponsorship packages which will allow you to position yourself as a market leader within the industry. (View the current floorplan).

Advertise in the show guide: Position your company in the on-site show guide which will be distributed to over 4,000 industry experts. Contact us today.

Time is running out to secure your space at the most dynamic gathering of Agri business professionals in Africa.

Conference keynote sessions will be presented by:  

  • Senzeni Zokwana, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa. South Africa
  • MEC Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, Western Cape Government. South Africa
  • Nhlanhla Nene, Resident Advisor, Thebe Investment Corporation and Non-Executive Board Member, Allan Gray. South Africa
  • Seydou Bouda, Executive Director for Africa, World Bank. Burkina Faso
  • Vusi Khanyile, Executive Chairman, Thebe Investment Corporation. South Africa

For more information please view our brochure. We look forward to welcoming you to the Indaba!

Source: agricouncil

Nigerian government enforces prohibition of GM foods

The Nigerian federal government has ordered super-stores operators in the country to withdraw all genetically modified (GM) products from their shelves within the next seven days or face sanctions from the regulatory body.

According to a statement made available by Head of Press Ovuakporie Efe, the warning was issued by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) director-general Rufus Ebegba, in a meeting with representatives of super-store operators in Abuja.

Ebegba said that the meeting was aimed at creating awareness among the operators on the biosafety regulations guiding the importation of GM products into the country. The director-general also stated that the agency had received complaints from Nigerians that some of these stores may have been selling GM foods.

He said the warning became imperative because most of the super-stores get their supplies from countries that have long adopted the production and sale of genetically modified foods. Ebegba added that the consequences of continuing to sell GM products after the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum may be very dire as the warning is not without legal backing.

“There is a law in place. We will not want any segment of the society out of ignorance to act in manners that will infringe on the existing law. The Act establishing the NBMA empowers the agency to regulate the activities of modern biotechnology and the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs,)” he stated.

Source: agricouncil

In 2013 government reintroduced 18% VAT on water for domestic and government projects

Basing on the belief that access to clean water is a human right; a call has been made to government to scrap off Value Added Tax (VAT) on Water to enable every Ugandan including low-income consumers to also access clean tap water.

The proposal was made by students pursuing masters degrees in Public Infrastructure Management (MPIM) at Makerere University following their study tour to South Africa.

In May this year, a total of 22 second year masters students under MPIM visited South Africa and areas of study were roads and transport management, energy resources management and water resource and sanitation management.

The team that undertook a water tour study found out that 92% of South Africans have access to clean water while in Uganda, 67% have access to clean drinking water.

The senior monitoring and evaluation officer in the Ministry of Water and Environment, Josephine Apajo while presenting findings of the study on behalf of other students, said South Africa removed VAT on water, almost everyone can access clean water and this has among other advantages reduced cases of diseases related to consumption of unclean water.

“Uganda should borrow a leaf from South Africa and increase the percentage of people accessing clean water. One of the ways to do so is through scrapping off vat on piped water,” she said.

“Access to safe and clean water is a human right; everybody should be given water for free, this will help in addressing challenges involved in consuming dirty water like outbreak of water borne diseases like typhoid, cholera” she added.

In 2013 while still the Minister of Finance, Maria Kiwanuka reintroduced 18% VAT on water for domestic and government projects with the purpose of collecting sh8b in revenue to fund the sh13.1 trillion 2013/14 budget.

In addition, Apajo revealed that while in South Africa sanitation is under the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, in Uganda there is no specific ministry in charge of sanitation.

She proposed sanitation in Uganda be part of Water and Environment ministry.

This was during the MPIM study tour dissemination seminar held at the main campus and organized by Makerere College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS).

Umar Kakumba, associate professor and Dean, CoBAMS said the health budget is escalating every financial year; removing VAT on water would be beneficial because it means many people would be able to access clean drinking water and disease outbreaks would be minimal thus cutting costs on treatment.

He however noted that research is necessary to determine whether it is a tangible solution and its impact.

The guest of honour Dr. Henry Rubarenzya, the Head of Research and Development, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) said the challenges affecting the infrastructure sector are largely corruption, budget limitations, bureaucracy, poor quality infrastructure, high cost of the infrastructure and inadequate local competent and skilled labour.

To address these challenges, he said leadership and management skills take centre stage in addition to key capabilities required to make a significant impact to the infrastructure including innovation, public funds management, and human capital development.

“We have to deliberately build skills through continuous training, exposure, internships and rightful deployments,” he said.

On the proposal to scrap VAT on water, Rubarenzya said it is a proposal that has to be looked at holistically.

He reasoned that some development partners like World Bank are halting financial support to Uganda, government is looking for ways to get money and run projects in various sectors, therefore removing VAT on water would not be a good idea.

Source: newvision

Universities of technology eye rich prospects in waste

South African universities of technology are positioning themselves as critical partners in what is considered a fairly new but highly relevant area of research, innovation and job creation: waste recycling and management, an industry conservatively estimated by the government to be worth R25 billion (US$1.6 billion) per annum.

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A memorandum of understanding is set to be signed between the South African Technology Network or SATN, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Technology Innovation Agency or TIA – the public entity tasked with getting innovations to the marketplace.

The initiative will harness the resources of universities of technology to build capacity, and formalise growing levels of cooperation around waste management between sectors. A unique masters degree in waste management – a partnership between SATN and TIA – is also in the pipeline.

The 5th Annual Waste Management Summit was held in Umhlanga near Durban last month, attended by 650 representatives of industry, academia, government and waste-pickers.

Speaking on the sidelines, SATN CEO Professor Anshu Padayachee said that there was growing recognition of the benefits of partnerships between universities, industry and government in the joint creation of an entrepreneurship ecosystem as a basis for the creation of a developmental state.

“As universities of technology, we constitute the best institutions to create new curricula and develop entrepreneurs. Industry is the biggest consumer of our product, which is qualified students, but there has been limited investment in return,” she told University World News.

“We would like to see industry invest more in terms of expertise and money to upskill staff and support students in interesting projects. We are open to that kind of partnership.”

An enabling environment

“After this conference I think there is a greater understanding of what we can offer in terms of research capacity, in terms of building innovative partnerships and technology stations and converting research ideas into entrepreneurial activities,” she said.

Padayachee said the government had been proactive in creating an enabling legislative environment for partnerships. Another positive development was the establishment of the Waste Management Bureau, which will monitor waste management plans and manage the money derived from government’s waste management charges.

The proposed new masters degree in waste management – aimed largely at biotechnology, engineering and science students – is likely to go some way to providing high-end technological skills.

TIA head of innovation skills development, Senisha Moonsamy, said the two-year programme was at approval stage and would be rolled out towards September this year. A network of international academics had been established to tutor an anticipated 40 candidates, and provide academic support and mentoring.

Dr Anitha Ramsuran, TIA’s manager of strategic stakeholder relations and communications for two provinces, said the issue of waste and its management – now critical in South Africa where approximately 80% of waste still ends up in landfills and over eight million people are without jobs – had more recently been seen as an opportunity for job creation.

Paradigm shift

“There has been a paradigm shift towards the idea of waste as a creator of jobs,” she told University World News. The idea would be to create new skills and foster entrepreneurship at all levels of the value chain, including at the level of waste-pickers.

“We intend to put out calls for new indigenous technologies aimed at pickers, so that waste collection can become a respectable and safe vocation,” she said.

TIA CEO Barlow Manilal said the memorandum of understanding had a number of focal areas, including the application of research, technology and innovation to waste beneficiation and the creation of entrepreneurs at every point along the waste value chain.

He was reassured by the level of engagement evident through the summit. “Around the world waste is a challenge for all kinds of economies and the desire to collaborate was greater than in other sectors,” he said.

However, addressing the increasingly pressing issue of waste management was also about challenging social attitudes. “Society needs to play a bigger role,” he said.

Mark Gordon, deputy director general for chemicals and waste management in the Department of Environmental Affairs, echoed the need for an integrated approach to waste management and acknowledged the role of higher education institutions in developing research methodologies and innovation that could inform development.

Job creation

But universities also had a role in developing the skills needed to take advantage of a recycling and waste diversion industry estimated to be valued at R25 billion per annum.

“There are huge opportunities for job creation among our 27% unemployed people,” he said.

Gordon said even waste collectors at the lower end of the waste recycling chain could benefit from formal vocational training around waste management. “A waste collector should be able to earn a formal qualification and become an artisan; he or she could be recognised as e-waste technician or dismantler,” he said.

“In the waste sector there are conversations between industry, government and higher education; there are memoranda of understanding, collaborations and partnerships. We now need to massify those efforts. There must be an integrated approach – and that’s happening.”

Referring to the Vaal University of Technology electronic waste recycling and management centre, which was launched at last year’s SATN conference, Gordon said his department wanted to see the model that brought together academia, government and the private sector replicated across all universities of technology in South Africa.

“E-waste is the biggest growing waste stream in South African and the world,” Gordon told University World News. Not only does the centre deal with recycling and management of e-waste, but it tries to address unemployment by engendering entrepreneurial thought and innovation among students.

Anshu Padayachee said projects like the Vaal University of Technology e-waste project offered opportunities for students to earn money through entrepreneurial activities, which they could then use towards tuition fees.

The issue of student fees has been the subject of a series of student protests in South Africa over the last six months with the national #FeesMustFall campaign calling for the scrapping of student fees.
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Source: universityworldnews


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