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China’s Didi Kuaidi and Lyft Join Forces in U.S. to Take on Uber

Users of China’s largest ride-hailing service visiting the U.S. can now call up cars courtesy of Lyft Inc., as the two startups strengthen an alliance intended to curtail Uber Technologies Inc.’s rapid global expansion.

Starting this week, any of Didi Kuaidi’s almost 300 million customers will be able to use the Chinese company’s app in the U.S. to access Lyft’s pool of private cars, they said in an e-mailed statement. In-app translation will help smooth language wrinkles, and they can pay via Chinese services Alipay and WeChat.

The reverse may soon become a reality. As early as this quarter, Lyft users may be able to use their apps to hail a taxi when in China, according to the statement. Didi and its San Francisco-based partner have been integrating services which span hundreds of cities across both countries and have now rolled out a trial version for the U.S.

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“Just like any Internet product, the launch is on a phased schedule. Going forward, the opportunities are wide open,” Li Zijian, Didi’s senior director of international strategy, said by phone. “Didi will be offering its private cars and Lyft will be offering its equivalent to private cars.”

America is a popular destination for Chinese tourists, the most numerous on the planet. About 5 million people travel between the two countries every year, according to tourism bureau data that Didi cited.

First Fruit of Alliance

Lyft and Didi are testing what amounts to the first major initiative from a global push to fight Uber. The two have teamed with Southeast Asia’s Grab and India’s Ola. Didi itself is stockpiling cash for the battle ahead. China’s largest ride-hailing service raised the target on its latest round of funding to more than $1.5 billion, which could value the company at more than $20 billion, a person familiar with the matter has said.

Both Didi and Lyft will review their partnership on a regular basis to work out financial sharing arrangements and gauge its success.

“We’ve agreed to review it every few months and it’d be fair to say that by year’s end, we’ll have a review of the product, of the experience and of the business,” Li said.

Didi expects to be able to serve about 30 million riders daily by the year’s end. It has a wider range of services than its partners – customers can hail taxis, car-pool with drivers and even hop on buses. Its partner, Lyft, debuted car-pooling for the Bay Area in March.

“Going forward we have the Lyft Line and the Didi Hitch and other types like taxis” to offer, Li said.

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Source: reuters


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As Global Trade Slows, India Needs to Start Firing on All Cylinders

An important paradigm shift is underway. Over the course of last century, global trade was growing faster than global GDP (read: income). However, post-2008, this trend is reversing. Presently, world trade is growing more slowly than world GDP. Recent estimates by OECD in 2015 indicate trade figures for the G-7 group of countries fell by 7.1 per cent while trade figures for major emerging economies including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa slumped by 9.5 per cent.

This trend is worrisome. The beneficial effect of trade in increasing productivity and income growth is well known. Economies such as South Korea, Taiwan, and much of the South East Asian nations catapulted to a higher growth trajectory through trade. In fact, as evidence from China suggests trade has been instrumental in lifting millions out of poverty.

Economists argue four important reasons as to why growth in global trade is slowing down. First, the financial crisis in the US, and more recently in Europe has slowed down world trade. These two regions account for more than half of world trade volumes, and a slowdown in these regions will naturally have an impact on global trade. Second, with an economic slowdown there will be a concomitant fall in investment across national boundaries, which means lower trade.

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Third, a slower intra-industry trade, particularly, those associated with the international fragmentation of production. A fall in investment flow negatively affects trade in similar in commodities such as cars, computers, air conditioners, and refrigerators. Finally, in event of slower trade growth, individual countries turns protectionist. Protectionism is becoming evident in terms of an increase in applied tariffs (although, keeping them below the rates countries bound at WTO) and non-tariff barriers (NTBs), mainly in the form of anti-dumping measures, sanitary and phytosanitary sanctions, and even through the provisions granting subsidies to domestic producers.

In the event of this global scenario, India has a lot to worry about. Recent trade data for India (April-February 2015-16) suggests, in dollar terms, cumulative value of exports were at $238.4 billion as against $286.3 billion during corresponding period a year earlier, registering a negative growth of 16.7 per cent.

Pipe dream

Apparently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aim to almost double goods and services exports to $900 billion in the next four years, and grabbing a 5 per cent share of global trade by 2020 (up from 1.7 per cent global exports share at present) seems overly ambitious. India’s largest export item, namely, refined petroleum products has fallen by 15 per cent, lowest in nine years. Interestingly, this fall is not only due to a fall in international crude price (as some experts would argue) but also because of declining export volumes. Growth of other important export items such as metal, electronics and machinery are also falling.

Interestingly, despite the Chinese economy slowing down, the export figures for China in 2014 was recorded at $2,342.3 billion in comparison to India’s $317.5 billion. If one takes into consideration items such as iron and steel, chemicals, machines and telecommunication equipment, textiles and clothing, where China and India compete with each other in international market, the former’s share in the world market is much higher.

Indian businesses are losing competitiveness due to high borrowing costs and because of country’s long-standing weaknesses such as bad infrastructure, red tape and corruption.

In this regard there are important lessons to be learnt from China. The relative success of China lies in its ability to provide better physical infrastructure and easy availability of cheap credit. Within infrastructure funding, the contribution of India’s private sector is only 36 per cent in comparison to China’s 48 per cent. This is notwithstanding the fact that China’s GDP is almost four times the size of India’s GDP.

In many instances, Indian exporters of edible items like rice, tea etc., find it difficult to ship their product from the nearest port of exit. For example, exporters in eastern India are forced to transport edible items by road to Kakinada – a port in Andhra Pradesh which offers mid water loading facilities – to avoid contamination. The congested Kolkata port handles export of iron ore and other metals scraps, items which cause pollution (read dust particles) and thereby expose edible items to the risk of contamination.

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The Chinese government offers other goodies as well. On top of cheaper credit, Chinese manufacturing units also avail cheaper power, water and land. Besides providing these indirect subsidies, the government also gave differential subsidy. For example, production of staple fibres, meant for domestic consumption, attract lesser subsidy as compared to when it is used as an input for making exportables, like, polyester yarn. The special economic zones (attracting zero tariffs) were built with the idea of making China the assembly hub of the world – where inputs were imported from neighbouring Asia, assembled in China and thereafter exported to the rest of the world. Coupled with these, a much larger scale of operation by lowering per unit cost of production, explains China’s much higher share of world exports.

Lower transaction costs have also given Chinese exports a much-needed competitive edge.  For example, it takes around 40 days to book a container for exports in India as compared to just one day in China. On the contrary, logistics costs in India are among the highest in the world at 13 percent of GDP. For instance, trucks in India have to pass through multiple checkpoints and stop at state borders to pay toll taxes and octroi, for inspections, etc. An estimate of the time taken at checkpoints shows that for a journey of 2,150 kilometres between Kolkata and Mumbai a truck had to stop at 26 checkpoints for as much as 32 hours. This torturous journey is likely to continue unless the government implements GST. With respect to ‘Trading Across Borders’, in 2013, India ranked 132 out of 189 countries, while Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka ranked 130, 177, 91, and 51, respectively.

Inadequate infrastructure is responsible for holding back GDP growth by roughly 2 per cent, or an annual hit of approximately $20 billion to economic progress.  The government, on its part, has set a huge target of doubling investment in infrastructure from Rs. 20.5 trillion ($0.33 trillion) to Rs. 40.9 trillion ($0.65 trillion) during the twelfth five year plan period (2012-2017). To achieve this target, the government will require investment from the private sector.

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Ease of doing business

Although reforms in India are taking place, they are far from complete. Companies face a maze of government orders, regulations, rules and procedures, which raise the cost of doing business in India. In its Doing Business Report-2015, the World Bank placed India in the 142nd position out of a sample of 189 countries, with a ranking that is worse than China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan when it comes to the convenience of doing business. The Doing Business Report-2016, saw India’s performance improved, moving up by 12 places to 130th position, mainly because Central government specifically stepped in to improve the ease of doing business in Delhi and Mumbai (as opposed to the rest of India) – the two cities where World Bank observers undertake surveys to examine the ease of doing business.

Even in terms of productivity and efficiency, India needs to improve. According to the APO Productivity Database 2014, average Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth in India rose from 2.0 per cent in 2000-05 to 4.7 per cent during 2005-10, but fell to 0.9 per cent in the following two years. However, for China average TFP growth was 3.9 per cent during 2000-05, rising to 4.2 per cent during 2005-10, and falling to 2.1 per cent over the next two years. During 2010-12, while TFP contributed 11 per cent to GDP growth in India, its share in China’s GDP growth was 26 per cent. Average TFP growth over the last four decades in India has been 1.4 per cent as compared to 3.1 per cent in China.

Equally important is to undertake a more effective stance at regional trading forums. The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) has met with limited success. Negotiators from ASEAN regions accuse Indian policymakers of not willing to give them market access to items originating from ASEAN countries. Most of the tradable items are under negative lists (outside the purview of basic zero custom tariffs). India-Japan CEPA has resulted in limited gain for services involving movement of professionals such as nurse and yoga teachers, and trade in Indian generic pharmaceutical products. India policymakers need to indulge in more effective negotiation to sell our Mode 1 and Mode 4 services, areas where we have a comparative advantage.

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Source: thewire


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“Another 5-Star Green Star SA rating for Aurecon in the Cape”

Aurecon, a global engineering consultant, has been awarded a 5-Star Green Star SA

Office v1 Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for the company’s second office building in Century City, Cape Town. Aurecon’s earlier premises in Century City were completed in 2011 and achieved the distinction of being the first 5-Star Green Star SA rated building in South Africa.

“Aurecon is leading by example in designing and occupying green buildings for our own offices,” says Aurecon’s Cape Town Office Manager, Coenie Fick. “We are reaping the benefits of much lower electricity costs with more than 60 per cent saving, pleasant and productive environments, as well as an enhanced reputation as one of the world leaders in sustainable development.”

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Rapidly outgrowing their first 7 000 m² Century City office premises, Aurecon developed a second building that is connected to the first one by a sky-bridge. The new building is called Aurecon West. The versatile design of the new Aurecon West makes provision for the company’s continuing growth in the Cape region, comprising 4 700 m² of premium office space on three levels together with 3 200 m² of parking space on two levels. Aurecon is initially only occupying one office level. The remaining floors have been made available for other tenants to experience the benefits of a 5-Star green office environment. In addition, the lowest office level has been adapted for use as a third parking area, which will enable a convenient expansion of the office space in the future.

Continuing the successful project partnership established with the first Aurecon Century City offices, the second building has been developed by the Rabie Property Group for owners Ingenuity Property Investments. Aurecon was responsible for the engineering services and the Green Star rating application, assisted by Ludwig Design Consulting. MaC Architects were again involved with the design of the building.

Aurecon West was completed in February 2016 at a cost of R92.7 million. “The steep learning curve to address the ground-breaking challenge of achieving the country’s first

5-Star rated building with Aurecon East had the benefit of enabling a seamless delivery on Phase 2,” comments Aurecon Technical Director, Heinrich Stander. “This was also in line with the international trend as supply chains for green materials and technologies mature, and the industry becomes more skilled at delivering green buildings.”

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The power efficiency that Aurecon achieved for the Phase 1 building had a spin-off for Phase 2. With efficiency far exceeding expectations and the consequent reduced requirement for back-up power, it was possible for one of the two back-up generator sets to be relocated to the Phase 2 project. Another interesting development was in the approach used for water conservation and management. Instead of the rainwater harvesting system used in Phase 1, the new project exploited its access to treated effluent water from the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works. The effluent water is processed within the building to an acceptable level that completely eliminates the demand on potable water for toilet flushing.

Aurecon has accumulated first-hand experience of the positive return on investment achievable with efficient green building design. Phase I was the first green rated building in Century City and Phase 2 has become the tenth. “The trend doesn’t stop there,” claims Stander. “The cost-neutral and beneficial green design principles that Aurecon engineers and designers have experience in applying are also proposed for, and generally incorporated in, our ‘non-green’ rated projects.”

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Source: businessghana


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Why Singapore needs the sharing economy

Singapore has declared its plans to be a sustainable city. In the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015, a policy document which maps out the country’s sustainable development strategies, the city-state has set out a collective vision that includes being a “car-lite”, zero waste nation by 2030.

It has also set reduction targets for its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Under Singapore’s pledge to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it will cut its emissions intensity—that is, the greenhouse gases needed to produce every dollar of national income—by 36 per cent compared to 2005 levels.

Experts say that one largely untapped strategy for Singapore with huge potential is the sharing economy, where people use websites and mobile applications, or apps, to rent, lend, and swap goods and services with one another rather than buying them from shops or commercial companies.

April Rinne, a United States-based sharing economy consultant and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, says that by encouraging people to pool existing resources instead of buying new goods, “there is no question that the sharing economy can help a society be more sustainable”.

With its high population density, technology-savvy society, compact urban layout, and a strong government commitment to efficiency, Singapore is perfectly poised to become a sharing nation, adds Rinne, who was in Singapore last month to speak on the sharing economy.

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An evolving economy

People have swapped, loaned, and rented items informally for centuries, but the sharing economy—also known as collaborative consumption, peer economy, and access economy, among other names—has gained formal recognition only in recent years.

The term has come to include everything from services that help neighbours lend each other household items and websites that allow a tourist to stay at a stranger’s home while on vacation, to apps that summon a driver at the tap of a button.

United Kingdom-based business consultancy PwC notes in a 2015 study that peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, peer-to-peer accommodation, and car-sharing are among the fastest growing sharing economy sectors globally.

PwC predicts that these sectors—along with online staffing, and music and video streaming—by 2025 will present a global revenue opportunity of US$335 billion, up from US$15 billion in 2013.

These new operating models certainly promise bigger business opportunities and profits, but they are also a chance to change how society uses resources, note experts.

Eugene Tay, founder and former president of the Sharing Economy Association of Singapore (SEAS)—an organisation set up in 2014 to promote the industry’s growth—notes that “car sharing or carpooling reduces the need to own a car, while the sharing of accommodation or co-working spaces reduces the resources to build more spaces”.

Members of SEAS include local start-ups such as item-lending services Rent Tycoons and Leendy, accommodation sharing site PandaBed and car-sharing firms CarPal and iCarsclub. International home-sharing giant Airbnb is also a member.

Other local enterprises include Carousell, an app for selling second-hand goods, and carpooling services like the Tripda app and ShareTransport.sg, an online community.

Fenni Wang, co-founder, Rent Tycoons, says that “renting helps to reduce the wastage caused by avoidable purchases—for example, if an item is only needed for a one-off or short-term use”.

While there are no statistics on how these local companies have helped drive Singapore’s sustainability goals, global firms like Airbnb and on-demand ride service Uber have calculated their environmental impact.

Airbnb, for example, in a 2014 study, found that home sharing helps reduce water and energy use, greenhouse gases and waste generated compared to traditional hotel stays.

In North America, Airbnb properties used 63 per cent less energy than hotels per guest night, enough to power 19,000 homes for a year. They also consumed 12 per cent less water than hotels, which resulted in savings of 270 Olympic-sized swimming pools in 2013.

Staying in other people’s homes—most of which already have recycling facilities in place, and tend not to offer guests single-use toiletries like hotels do—also reduced waste, found Airbnb.


Car sharing or carpooling reduces the need to own a car, while the sharing of accommodation or co-working spaces reduces the resources to build more spaces.

Eugene Tay, founder and former president, Sharing Economy Association of Singapore.


Uber, meanwhile, says its vision is to have “many fewer cars on the road”. In addition to its basic service, called UberX, where people can use the app to call a driver in a few minutes, the company is also rolling out UberPool, which integrates carpooling into Uber’s standard business model.

First announced in August 2014 and launched in New York City in December that year. UberPool groups users travelling on similar routes and allows them to share a single ride—and the fare.

Not only does this allow passengers to save money, it can also reduce the number of cars on the road, says the San Francisco-headquartered company, which was founded in 2009 and now operates in almost 400 cities worldwide.

According to the company, for every fully utilised UberPool car, eight cars could be rendered unnecessary. This means that in a city like New York, UberPool could eventually result in 1 million fewer cars on the road.

Chan Park, Southeast Asia general manager, Uber, tells Climate Challenge that UberPool is likely to be launched in Singapore sometime this year.

Today, over 30 per cent of all Uber trips in Singapore start and end within 100 metres of a train station, Park shares. This likely means that “people are using UberX to complement their public transport use and bridge the first and last mile of their journey,” he says.

The first and last mile of a journey refers to the distance between a person’s home or office and the nearest public transport node, such as a train station. If commuters find it too inconvenient to bridge this distance—for example, if the walk is too long, or connecting bus services are too infrequent—they may find it more convenient to stick to using a car.

The government is already stepping up efforts to bridge this last-mile gap through measures such as improving bus services in residential neighbourhoods and providing ample bicycle parking at train stations for commuters.

To make it easier and more convenient for people to use bicycles to cover the distance between their homes and train stations, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in July 2014 announced a study into how a public bicycle-sharing scheme could be introduced in the city-state.

Famous examples of bike-share programmes, where the public can simply rent a bicycle from one location and drop it off at another, include London’s Santander Cycles and YouBike, a public scheme in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei.

The government is also exploring how shared autonomous vehicles—that is, self-driving cars—can overcome the last-mile challenge in another study, announced by LTA last June. These new vehicles could provide residents with a convenient last-mile solution, and encourage people to shift away from private car ownership, notes LTA.

Uncovering new opportunities

These reductions in new purchases, waste, and emissions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the sharing economy can help shape a more sustainable Singapore, say Tay and Rinne. But there are even more ways for the city-state to become a truly sharing nation.

Tay, for example, notes that most sharing businesses today operate on a peer-to-peer model, or in the business-to-consumer space.

“Businesses with underutilised equipment, vehicles, spaces and assets can share with other companies,” he says. If the government does the same, Singapore’s civil service could be “the first sharing government in the world”, he adds.

One government which has received much praise for its sharing economy initiatives is South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, says Rinne. In 2012, it launched the Sharing City Seoul initiative to promote collaborative consumption and resource sharing.

To use valuable assets like land more efficiently, the city’s leadership has opened up almost 800 government buildings for the public to hold meetings and events when they are idle.

Guided by a vision to make private car ownership obsolete by 2030, Seoul has also invested heavily in public bicycle sharing services and aims to have 1,200 car-sharing hubs in the city by 2030, up from 292 in 2013.

Similar public sector leadership could make a big difference in Singapore, says Rinne.

On its part, the Singapore government has already taken several steps recently to facilitate the growth of the sharing economy while at the same time addressing some common concerns regarding the industry such as safety, privacy, and proper taxation.

For example, given the popularity of home-sharing companies like Airbnb, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is re-assessing a law which states that it is illegal for a person to rent out their home on a short-term basis.

The agency last January embarked on a public feedback exercise to decide whether private residential properties in Singapore should be allowed to be used for stays shorter than six months. At the end of the feedback exercise, URA said that it is reviewing the matter and will announce details when ready.

Meanwhile, LTA has also taken steps to encourage people to carpool, a practice which results in more efficient car use and fewer vehicles on the road.

Until recently, drivers could not accept any compensation for offering others a ride, which discouraged them from going out of their way to offer strangers a ride.

But this changed last May when LTA passed laws allowing drivers to receive payment from passengers as long as it did not exceed trip expenses such as fuel and road tolls.

Virtually every city in the world is tackling the same uncertainties and regulatory challenges that Singapore is working on, says Rinne. When these issues have been addressed and sharing is the ‘new normal’, it could transform daily life for Singaporeans, she adds.

In an ideal scenario, every resident will tap on sharing services to make life more convenient and save money, and the government will use these platforms to better deliver public services, streamline its own operations, and fulfil the nation’s sustainability goals.

“This is not an unachievable utopia,” she says. “It is a bold ambition which is 100 per cent doable, and I am more confident that Singapore will get it right than other places”

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Source: eco-business


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International and refugee scholarships

Postgraduate degree funding

Closing date: 31 July (preceding the year of study)

A limited number of scholarships are available to graduates who are not South African citizens. These are awarded on a competitive basis and preference is given to senior candidates.

All UCT International and Refugee Students’ Scholarships are supplementary. Students who apply must have the means to fund their studies. The scholarships are renewable for the duration of the course of study, if satisfactory progress is maintained, for one year at honours level, two at master’s level and three at doctoral level. Applicants must apply for full-time admission through the UCT Admissions Office or the Faculty Office. Late applications are not accepted.

Applicants can download the International Students Scholarship application form below.

Funding is available for refugees in South Africa. The Scholarships awarded on a yearly basis. The country of origin is irrelevant, but proof of Refugee status is required.

Funding is available for postgraduate studies only. The bursaries are awarded on a yearly basis. The country of origin is irrelevant.

The closing date is 31 July (preceding the year of study).

Please refer to Booklet No.14 Financial Assistance, etc for full details.

Source: uct


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Transnet’s CFO to drive Eskom’s R250bn funding plan

Cape Town – Transnet chief financial officer (CFO) Anoj Singh has been seconded to Eskom in the same role for six months, according to the state utility on Thursday.

Singh’s secondment is effective from 1 August 2015 and he will attend both the Eskom board of directors and the executive committee meetings, Eskom said in a statement.

“He will be responsible for driving all aspects of the company’s finance strategy, including the R250bn funding plan.”

On June 25, former Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe resigned, after being suspended along with three other senior executives, including former CEO Tshediso Matona. He also resigned, along with executive for group capital Dan Marokane.

All the executives were on Wednesday cleared of any wrong doing, the Eskom board announced, after an inquiry into company was concluded. Eskom said the inquiry report was being finalised and would be shared with government in due course.

READ: Suspended Eskom execs cleared of wrongdoing

Singh will be primarily tasked with transforming the company’s finance function, aligning it with key strategic priorities of generation, funding and build programme, while enhancing the approach to tariff applications, Eskom said.

According to Eskom, Singh is a chartered accountant who has been Transnet’s CFO for the past six years. He led Transnet’s treasury operations, which saw the company raising billions in both domestic and international markets, Eskom said.

Singh has extensive experience in financial strategy development and execution, capital projects assurance, treasury, corporate finance, investor relations, tax and funding for regulated businesses, Eskom said.

It added that he has won several accolades in recognition of his outstanding performance and leadership. These include: Public CFO of the year award for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Strategy Execution Award and Compliance and Governance Award, among others.

Before joining Transnet, he worked as an accountant at a listed company and as an auditor.

Source: fin24


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Global industry group says aviation important to Africa

The importance of aviation to Africa was highlighted by International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi at the recent Fourth Aviation Stakeholders Convention. “Aviation plays a vital role in Africa’s economic, social and cultural life. Aviation is often the best and sometimes the only option to link this vast continent.” Aviation in Africa has helped create 5.8-million jobs and $46-billion in gross domestic product across the continent. Last year, airlines carried 70- million people into, out of and across Africa.

And the opportunities are vast. “The economics and demographics of fast-growing African countries will lead to tremendous demand for aviation,” he pointed out. “But African operators will need to be ready.” By 2034, there will be another 41-million passengers flying in Africa each year.

The African aviation sector suffers from a number of weaknesses and, currently, only few of the continent’s airlines are profitable. “There are fundamental issues that must be addressed for African aviation to seize the opportunities,” he affirmed. “Africa’s aviation development needs partnerships that are genuine and complementary to home-grown effort.

“Safety is the number one priority,” he stressed. “It is heartening to see improvements in Africa. In 2014, there were no jet hull losses in Africa. The best African airlines are equal to the best in the world.” But losses of other types of aircraft remain high. IATA has already developed, and is helping airlines implement the International Air Transport Association (Iata) Operational Safety Audit (Iosa). But the association has realised that there is a need for a specific programme for operators of smaller planes across the continent. Accidents involving smaller operators worsen Africa’s aviation safety statistics. Consequently, Iata will launch a Standard Safety Programme in Nairobi in June, which is designed to allow the operators of smaller aircraft to benchmark their operations against international standards.

Kuuchi also highlighted the importance of the Yamoussoukro Decision for the liberalisation of the African air transport market. “The African Union is playing a leading role through its advocacy to implement the Yamoussoukro Decision,” he said. “Iata is fully supporting this process. An Iata study last year showed that an extra five-million passengers a year would be generated by liberalising air transport between just 12 African countries.”

At the same conference, South African Airways acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout called for improved cooperation within Africa’s aviation industry. “This year’s theme, Building and Sustaining Strong Partnerships, is more relevant than ever,” he stated. He also highlighted the role of aviation in uniting the continent and stimulating its development. Road and railway development will not be as rapid as the development of aviation across Africa.

“Passenger growth in Africa is forecast by aircraft manufacturers as being among the world’s fastest,” he reported. The development of aviation infrastructure has had a “profound impact” on the movement of goods and people.

A key question, he said, is whether the African aviation industry has cooperated properly and whether its members have worked with one another. Liberalisation of Africa’s air transport market will have its effects. “Our market will undoubtedly be an area of focus for international operators,” he noted. “How ready are we?

“Events such as [liberalisation] serve to foster cooperation.” Such cooperation would support the creation of a more connected Africa and develop more efficient African airlines. “We have a real opportunity to place Africa’s aviation industry on an upward and sustainable trajectory,” asserted Bezuidenhout. This would benefit the people of Africa.

The development of a sound air transport system for Africa has the support of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao), which is a specialised agency of the United Nations. This was highlighted at the convention by Icao Eastern and Southern Africa Office regional director Barry Kashambo.

He pointed out that sustainable and affordable air transport aids development and benefits the public. ICAO fully supports the complete implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision. Removing the current restrictions in the market would open “a new era of air transport in Africa”, he said. But the industry must be open. “Transparency is a factor we must take into consideration as we forge ahead.”

“The next two decades are poised to be exciting ones for African aviation,” affirmed Kuuchi. The Aviation Stakeholders Convention was held at Emperors Palace, at OR Tambo International Airport, east of Johannesburg.

Source:engineeringnews


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