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South Africa: Tourism Has Potential to Create Jobs

Pretoria — The tourism sector has a huge potential to create jobs, says Tourism Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Tourism Trade show in Singapore, Deputy Minister Xasa said the tourism sector was continuing to think innovatively about new and exciting ways to attract visitors.

“This is exciting news for budding entrepreneurs and the youth of the country, as innovation is very often the cornerstone of what sets one business apart from the next and allows new start-ups an opportunity to gain market access.

“Especially in our townships and rural areas, cultural tourism is a niche that continues to offer opportunities,” she said.

The Department of Tourism is partnering with business owners in the sector to leverage off the unique heritage of the country, especially in terms of the country’s liberation struggle history.

Deputy Minister Xasa said the sector is valued due to the fact that it has very few barriers to entry for new businesses, especially when compared to other industries such as mining.

“In addition, the sector is less capital intensive than most others while also being more reliant on human capital,” Deputy Minister Xasa said.

She said the National Development Plan prioritises Small and Medium Enterprises as an important strategic driver of growth.

“Significant resources are being made available across a variety of departments to grow small businesses, stimulate a mindset of entrepreneurship and ease barriers to entry for our already enterprising South Africans,” Deputy Minister Xasa said.

She said the consistent increase in tourism arrivals over the past few years is testament to the success of a variety of initiatives from the side of government and in partnership with business

According to the national statistics agency, tourism made a direct contribution of R103.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product in 2013, rising from R93.5 billion in 2012.

Domestic visitors contributed 57 percent of the total tourism spend in 2013, while international visitors contributed 43 percent.

“The tourism industry employs 655 609 people directly and 1.5 million both directly and indirectly. One in every ten jobs in our country is supported by tourism,” Deputy Minister Xasa said.

Source: iol


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Around 250 jobs promised for Castlebar

Around 250 new jobs are being promised for Castlebar in Co Mayo, with the opening of a hub for companies trying to set up businesses in the developing world.

The initiative is being overseen by OpenSparkz – a company that sources capital for sustainable business models.

The focus is on projects that bring an economic return as well as environmental and social benefits to the areas in which they operate. Screen-Shot-2015-01-29-at-8.58.03-AM

The so-called ‘impact investment’ model brings funding from a range of sources, with the end goal of ensuring there is a lasting positive return for local communities.

The Global Sustainability Initiative will involve a number of companies working together at a facility in Castlebar.

These firms will be linked with local landowners in Africa to develop sustainable energy, food and water-related businesses.

40% of all profit generated will then be re-invested in the communities, to advance the provision of health, education and IT infrastructure.

Organisers say the aim is to create a safe and enduring economic model. The initial focus is on projects in South Africa.

A number of research areas have been identified. These include the development of new biomass fuel supplies to mitigate the impact of global warming; promoting the growth of organic foodstuffs and working to enhance the supply of drinking water.

OpenSparkz says it is in the process of completing contracts with ten companies that will operate from the hub.

These are working in the areas of food research, energy and waste management.

A suitable premises has been identified in recent weeks and is expected to be operational before the summer.

The project is being supported by Mayo County Council, with research backing from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and NUI Galway.

While a variety of companies will be based at the hub in Castlebar, they will be working to achieve common goals – to generate profit and leave a lasting legacy for the communities in which they operate.

The companies involved will have openings in the areas of Research and Development, IT Fund Management and other operational roles.

OpenSparkz founder Declan Conway says there is potential for further expansion but that the first 250 jobs will be filled over three years.

Details of the project will be formally announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and representatives from OpenSparkz in Washington this afternoon.

Source: RTE


 

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SA looks at pension for low-income earners

The Department of Labour was looking into the introduction of a national retirement mechanism for low-income earners in South Africa, Compensation Fund Commissioner Shadrack Mkhonto told a departmental workshop in Irene, in Tshwane on 16 January.

A discussion paper would soon be tabled at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), once it had been approved by the Cabinet. The department’s two-day mid-term review workshop was held to evaluate its achievements against targets set, as well as its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan in the financial year under review. It also looked at crafting a future strategic direction. The workshop was attended by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant; Deputy Minister Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa; and Director-General Thobile Lamati, as well as heads of branches and various public entities such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund; the Compensation Fund; Productivity SA; the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, the Sheltered Employment Factories and Nedlac. During its investigation of the retirement mechanism, the department will turn to the International Labour Organization for information on international best practice, according to spokesperson Mokgadi Pela.

The initiative is part of the government’s efforts to reform South Africa’s broader social security system. Another process under consideration is the inclusion of government employees in the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act benefits.The reform of social security policies is to be aligned with labour market initiatives, Pela says.

Statistics South Africa’s most recent General Household Survey, released on 18 June 2014, reported that the number of people receiving a social grant from the state grew from 12.7% in 2003 to 30.2% in 2013, while the number of households receiving at least one social grant increased from 29.9% to 45.5% over the same period. Meanwhile, the September 2014 Quarterly Employment Statistics report, released by Statistics South Africa on 11 December 2014, reported that total formal non- agricultural employment decreased by 129 000 jobs from 8.67 million in June 2014 to 8.54 million in September.

A total of 132 000 jobs were lost in the government sector, mainly at the Independent Electoral Commission, which shed a large number of jobs following the general elections in May 2014. During the September quarter, 9 000 jobs were lost in the manufacturing industry, while 3 000 jobs were lost in both the construction and transport industries.

However, quarter-on-quarter increases were reported by the mining (8 000), finance (6 000) and trade (4 000) industries. Year-on-year, an additional 83 000 formal jobs were created between September 2013 and September 2014, an annual increase of 1%.

The largest increase was recorded by the community services industry (73 000), followed by the trade and finance industries, with 21 000 and 20 000 jobs, respectively. Gross earnings paid to employees increased by R18.9-billion (+4,6%) from R409-billion in June 2014 to R428-billion in September 2014. The mining industry recorded the largest quarterly percentage increase of 20.9% in earnings, signalling the return of mine workers after the lengthy strike in the platinum belt.

Source: SouthAfrica.info


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South Africa construction market to be boosted by 10-15 year new city project in Modderfontein

The South African construction market is to be boosted by a new 10-15 year project funded by Chinese company, Shanghai Zendai, to build a new city in Modderfontein in eastern Johannesburg. Once compete, the city will include 35,000 new houses, an education centre, a hospital, and a sports stadium and will house around 100,000 residents.

Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai bought the 1,600 hectare plot of land back in November 2013 for R1.06 billion from South African chemical and explosive company AECI and has plans to develop the site into a world financial centre to rival New York City and Hong Kong. The project is forecast to take around 15 years to complete and will provide jobs for local contractors, engineers and other workers in its construction, as well as 100,000 jobs in the new services available upon completion. The new city site is located on the Gautrain route between the OR Tambo International Airport and the central business district of Sandton in eastern Johannesburg, and will soon include a new Modderfontein station to enable easy access.

The transaction to purchase the property was one of the single largest foreign investments ever in South Africa. Shanghai Zendai is a Hong Kong listed investment company that develops and manages property projects in northern China, Shanghai City and Hainan province and hopes that the Modderfontein project will create a new hub for Chinese firms looking to invest in sub-Saharan Africa.

South Africa is the second largest economy on the African continent and the construction sector is set for a boost due to the South African government’s National Infrastructure Plan which focuses investment in energy, transportation, telecommunication and housing sectors. The construction sector experienced a major boost in 2010 when South Africa hosted the Fifa World Cup, but the economic downturn caused a slow down of growth. Recent government focus on infrastructure development has seen a rapid urbanisation in the country and the project at Modderfontein illustrates the significant influence of foreign investment. Foreign investment is one way by which the South African construction industry is overcoming the challenge of cost overruns that many domestic companies face due to the unavailability of funds, the time-consuming roll out of labour, labour unrest, and major project delays.

Key players in the South African construction market should be aware of the upcoming trend towards ‘green’ buildings. In an effort to promote sustainable development, construction companies are increasingly focusing on developing energy-efficient buildings and sustainable construction solutions.

Source: Companies and Markets.com


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