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New cars much less fuel efficient than manufacturers claim, research finds

Australian Automobile Association finds fuel use on average 25% higher than claimed on consumption label displayed on new cars

New cars are using vastly more fuel on the road than in laboratory tests, raising further questions about the veracity of car manufacturers’ claims in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

The Australian Automobile Association-commissioned research found fuel use was on average 25% higher than claimed on the government-mandated fuel consumption label displayed on all new cars.

In some cases, they were 60% above the fuel use claimed on the label.

On-road noxious gas emissions from five diesel cars were found to be over the legal limit, in one case by up to eight times.

Two petrol cars were significantly above the limits for carbon monoxide emissions.

The research, conducted by technical consulting firm Abmarc, examined 17 new and commonly available cars in the past 10 months.

The AAA did not name and shame individual manufacturers, but said the cars were selected across brands, vehicle types and fuel types.

The 2015 Volkswagen scandal raised serious concerns about the truth of car manufacturers’ emissions claims. Volkswagen was caught installing software in cars that allowed it to game emissions tests in the United States.

That scandal was uncovered after environmental groups detected discrepancies between real-world emissions and those recorded in tests.

The federal government is currently considering tightening emissions and CO2 standards, effectively moving from the “Euro 5” to “Euro 6” standard.

That would bring Australia in line with international standards following years of lagging behind the European Union and the US.

The AAA is opposed to the government’s standards proposal, saying it will cost motorists without delivering any benefit to the environment.

It last week described the plan as an “uncoordinated process” that had no robust cost-benefit analysis.

The AAA chief executive, Michael Bradley, said the results of its latest testing showed the assumptions underpinning the government’s proposal were flawed.

“These results are bad news for Australian consumers looking for good information on which to base their car-buying decisions,” Bradley said.

“They also place a huge question mark over the fuel and cost-savings the government is offering Australians under its proposals to introduce tougher vehicle emissions restrictions.

“Our test results are a warning to Australians to take the government’s promises of fuel and cost-savings with a grain of salt, and expect those savings to be significantly less than what’s promised.”

A spokesman for the urban infrastructure minister, Paul Fletcher, said it was well known that pollutants emitted in laboratory conditions would generally be lower than on-road driving tests.

He said the way vehicles were tested for emissions was “quite separate” from the current question of whether car emissions should be changed or tightened.

“No decisions have yet been taken – the matter will be considered by cabinet later this year,” the spokesman said.

The cars tested had all driven at least 2,000km but no more than 85,000km, and were 2014 models or newer.

The cars were tested twice, from a cold start and a warm start, and were driven along the same route in Melbourne, which contained urban, extra-urban and freeway driving.

Bradley said the AAA supported reducing emissions and strengthening standards, but said policy must “deliver for the environment at the least cost to motorists and the economy”.

“The AAA and Australia’s motoring clubs again call on the government to update its modelling, undertake further public consultation and introduce real-world driving testing for new vehicles in Australia,” he said.

The federal government allows the use of test results from international laboratories for assessment against Australian standards. The government also audits test results.

The ministerial forum on vehicle emissions is considering how to reduce emissions from Australia’s vehicle fleet. It has released three papers for consultation, including a draft regulation impact statement on new fuel efficiency and noxious emissions standards.

Those impact statements included a cost-benefit analysis of the changes, which considered recent studies on the discrepancies between laboratory-tested and on-road emissions.

To address the discrepancy, the statements recommended adopting the latest standards, which introduce a more representative laboratory test and an on-road driving emissions test.

Source: theguardian

South African Department of Trade and Industry to introduce dedicated agro-processing incentive

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in South Africa is working on introducing a dedicated agro-processing incentive aimed at attracting investment, DTI Minister Rob Davies says.

“This sector is critical because of its labour intensity across the value chain and its high economic multipliers, especially with respect to exports. The incentive will contain strong conditionalities, including with respect to labour practices and empowerment,” says Minister Davies.

The Minister addressed the Manufacturing Indaba in the Western Cape, South Africa. The indaba brings together the country’s industrial movers and shakers with the intent of focusing on and boosting the growth potential of key industry sectors including automotive, construction, forestry and paper and packaging, among others.

Davies says the manufacturing sector and diversification of the economy is a key driver to attaining South Africa’s economic growth objectives.

“We all know that the performance of our economy has been flat, but we were saved by the second-quarter gross domestic product manufacturing statistics. That was mainly through the implementation of a transparent localisation policy that we have developed and this result also demonstrates that manufacturing and diversification of our economy is highly critical if we are to achieve our economic strategic objectives,” says the Minister.

Minister Davies says the largest parts of international trade were mainly focused on intermediate products.

“By the early 2000s, domestic boatbuilding capabilities had hollowed out, with the exception of the luxury yachting sector. Government introduced a stronger industrial financing instrument and boats were designated for local procurement. The sector is now witnessing the crowding-in of private sector funding and capabilities to meet demand both locally and internationally.”

The success of Nautic Africa (a shipbuilder and maritime services provider) now part of the Paramount group and Damen are testament to what can be achieved, Minister Davies said, adding that effort has also gone into the clothing and textile clusters in the last decade in the Cape.

“National government has deployed significant incentives to support, among others, companies in this sector in the province. We have injected R2bn incentives over the last five years to support the industry and successfully raise productivity and competitiveness,” says the Minister.

The MEC responsible for Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape, Alan Winde, said the conference focused specifically on agro-processing and oil and gas as they had demonstrated themselves to be key drivers that promote manufacturing.

“We have given ourselves a target of enabling 60,000 jobs in oil and gas at Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. We are also doing work on skills, energy and for the removing of administrative red tape that hampers the flow of business,” said MEC Winde.

He said the Western Cape had set itself a target of producing 32,500 apprentices in the next three-years to work in the energy space and pleaded with delegates to make use of the unit established in his office to remove red tape.

Source: agricouncil

Apple commits to run off 100% renewable energy

Last year, Apple announced it would invest $850 million in a solar power plant through a partnership with First Solar, one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and a provider of utility-scale PV plants. Through a 25-year purchasing agreement, Apple will get 130MW (megawatts, or million watts) from the new California Flats Solar Project.

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The First Solar deal rocketed Apple past Walmart as the largest corporate user of solar power.

On the same day Apple joined RE100, Bank of Americaalso announced it was committing to RE100.

America’s top tech companies have been going green in a big way, so much so that the availability of clean energy resources is a key consideration in where they locate corporate offices and data centers. The move is designed to save them millions of dollars in long-term energy costs.

“We believe energy is the future of our business,” Josh Henretig, director of environmental sustainability at Microsoft, said in an earlier interview withComputerworld.

Last year, Google announced it would purchase 842 megawatts (MW) of clean energy, nearly double the clean energy it had already purchased — taking the company to 2 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy.

Put in context, 1 megawatt (MW) can power roughly 200 homes, so Google’s purchase could power about 168,000 homes. Google has pledged to triple its renewable energy purchases by 2025.

Last year, Apple also joined with 12 of the largest companies in the U.S. to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, a White House initiative to have corporations commit to reduce their emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy, and take other actions to build more sustainable businesses and tackle climate change.

Despite only being a few months old, the RE100 collaborative already boasts corporate signups from companies in India, China, Europe and the U.S.

“Research shows that in the U.S. alone, doubling energy productivity by 2030 could save $327 billion annually in energy costs and add 1.3 million jobs to the economy, while carbon dioxide emissions would be cut by approximately 33%,” RE100 stated on its website.

“We’re happy to stand beside other companies that are working toward the same effort,” Jackson said during remarks at Climate Week in New York City on Monday. “We’re excited to share the industry-leading work we’ve been doing to drive renewable energy into the manufacturing supply chain and look forward to partnering with RE100 to advocate for clean-energy policies around the world.”

Apple is also a member of The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a trade association representing the renewable energy industry.

“We’re thrilled that Advanced Energy Economy member Apple has committed to run on 100% renewable energy and also sees the need to improve policy,” AEE CEO Graham Richard said in a statement Tuesday. “They are upping the ante as they manage their energy needs, a trend we are seeing among our corporate energy buyer members.”

Last month, Apple glass supplier Lens Technology in Beijing announced it would run its Apple operations entirely on renewable energy. The clean energy commitment by Lens was combined with a zero waste compliance agreement for all of its final assembly sites.

Solvay Specialty Polymers, which supplies Apple with antenna bands for the iPhone, also pledged to use 100% renewable energy for all of its Apple production. The commitment will cover 14 manufacturing facilities across eight countries by the end of 2018.

Catcher Technology, one of Apple’s largest aluminum enclosure suppliers, also is targeting 100% renewable power for its production of Apple goods by the end of 2018.

Altogether, Apple suppliers’ commitments to date will represent more than 1.5 billion kilowatt hours per year of clean energy used in the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018, equal to the amount of electricity consumed by more than 1 million Chinese homes.
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Source: computerworld


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It’s time to zero in on food waste

We need to think about how we produce food, what we consume and what we discard, writes Georgina Crouth.

For aeons, parents have guilt-tripped children into eating their dinner because less fortunate children are starving somewhere in the world.

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Judging by the bounty seen in restaurants, grocery stores, at markets and on the streets, it’s hard to believe half a billion people in the world are going hungry while the rest are either making terrible food choices or are gluttons.

By 2050, the world’s population growth is projected to be 10 billion (according to the EU Commission’s Health and Food Safety estimates).

Our resources are not infinite but the way we treat them, you’d think electricity comes from the plug, meat from the supermarket, our greens from the greengrocer and water from the tap.

It takes money to produce all that – money that could be used to drive development in other areas and help the needy.

Food production costs water, it produces emissions, reduces biodiversity and drives climate change.

Our marine ecosystems are being degraded, drought is wreaking havoc, forests are disappearing and millions of people the world over are hungry. We need to start thinking about how we manage and produce food, what we eat and food waste.

Worldwide, 2 billion people are obese while half a billion starve. In South Africa, the latest Discovery Health figures show 60 percent of women and 38 percent of men are clinically obese, with 14 million people going hungry daily.

Yet we throw away up to a third of all our food.

Dr Nadene Marx-Pienaar from the food retail division in the department of consumer science at Pretoria University breaks down some staggering figures about our throwaway society. “It’s estimated that 177kg of food waste is generated annually by the average South African (according to a 2013 study on it by the CSIR),” she said.

“Findings from the study done by the Department of Consumer Science at the University of Pretoria on food waste among Gauteng households done in 2014/15 revealed that fruit and vegetables outranked all the other food groups in terms of food mostly wasted by households. Second were cereals and breads (including pasta, rice, cakes and pastries) with dairy products (including milk, yoghurt and cheese) in third place. The fourth most wasted food type is meat, poultry, fish and eggs.

“The self-reported percentage of purchased food wasted indicated that 31 percent of respondents waste more than 30 percent of the fruit and vegetables that they buy, 34 percent waste more than 20 percent of cereals and breads, 27 percent waste more than 20 percent of dairy products and 20 percent waste more than 20 percent of the meat, poultry, fish and eggs that they buy.”

A 2013 CSIR study titled “The magnitude and cost of food waste in South Africa” found the costs to the economy were estimated at R61.5 billion a year or 2.1 percent of our GDP. “At the same time, 70 percent of poor urban households in South Africa live in conditions of food insecurity.

Food is treated as a disposable commodity, especially in developed countries.

“Yet almost one in seven people globally are estimated to be undernourished.

“Food waste does not only impact on food security, but has environmental impacts in the form of wasted resources and emissions,” they noted.

Food waste isn’t only what we throw in the bin though – it includes that which is lost during and after agricultural production; storage; manufacturing; distribution; and consumption, they say.

“The largest costs of food waste occur in food distribution (R19.6bn), followed by processing and packaging (R15.6bn), and agricultural production (R12.5bn). To meet the challenge of feeding growing populations and addressing food insecurity, massive reductions in the amount of food wasted across the food supply chain in South Africa are needed.”

Marx-Pienaar added: “Date codes are the most reported reason for wasting food. This is followed by poor product appearance and poor planning in terms of purchasing, preparation and storage.”

It’s important to note the difference between “best-before” and “use-by”: the former relates to quality and the latter to safety.

“Use-by” dates mean food can be consumed until that date – after that, if it hasn’t been frozen or preserved, it’s not fit for consumption.

If food has reached its “best before” date, it’s still safe to eat but it may not be at its best. Best-before dates are important guidelines to ensure food safety but they’re not cast in stone as many foods are still good to eat days – sometimes weeks – after they’ve expired.

Some foods, such as cold meats and ready meals, could become dangerous but other foods – such as honey, cornflour and sugar – don’t go off and the dates have the psychological effect of encouraging consumers to throw out perfectly good food.

Responsible retailers and manufacturers are doing their bit to mitigate this wastage: last year, their donations enabled FoodBank to feed 170 000 people with 3 350 tons of food and helped 550 non-profit organisations. That’s R23.5m worth of food reclaimed.

Lamees Martin, FoodBank SA’s marketing and communications officer, explained: “We collect edible surplus food from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers and redistribute this food to verified NPOs that collectively feed thousands of hungry people daily.

“As a recipient of food donations, FoodBank SA has a responsibility to its beneficiaries to carefully check all products received at its warehouses.

“Hence we have quality checks for handling food donations, such as checking all dates on all products and rejecting expired stock.”

France and Italy have recently been in the news for introducing laws governing food waste. In France, retailers are fined for throwing away food; in Italy, they’ll soon be incentivised for donating unsold food.

As consumers, we have the power to vote with our forks to reduce waste. If we all put more thought into what we were eating (and doing so sustainably), preparing real food at home (rather than buying processed food) and wasting less, we’d not only save resources but we’d also be teaching our children to prepare for a future in which there’s enough to go around.

Wise up. Here’s how!

Helpful sites: Visit savethefood.com for food storage tips; www.slowfood.com for information on responsible consumption and local producers (or find your local Slow Food chapter) and follow Love Food Hate Waste; Stop Food Waste; Ugly Fruit & Veg; FoodTank; FoodInsight.org and others on Twitter.

Slow in Joburg: On Saturday, Slow Food Johannesburg will be at the Soweto Theatre, with three events: a conference (“Growing and Producing Food in Soweto and Johannesburg: Urban Farmers Speak” and “Buying Food in the City; how to get a healthy and fair deal”); a market, where urban farmers from Soweto and Orange Farm will be selling their produce; and an “eat-in” (an Nguni cow has been slaughtered for a nose-to-tail competition between teams of chefs and local gogos – pre-booking only). To book, visit www.webtickets.co.za or www.sowetotheatre.com.

Read up: Staff scientist at the US Natural Resources Defense Council Dana Gunders’s book the Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook offers suggestions to change behaviour around waste. Order at amazon.com. For a chef’s perspective, I can highly recommend Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie, which gives wonderful tips on shopping smart, cooking cleverly and wasting less.
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Manufacturing growth expected to remain low in 2016 – UN report

6 September 2016 – A new United Nations report has indicated that global manufacturing growth is expected to remain low in 2016 due to weakened financial support for productive activities.

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The quarterly World Manufacturing Production report, published by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has stated that with financial uncertainty still looming across Europe, foreign direct investment has not yet reached the 2007 pre-crisis level.

According to a UNIDO news release issued yesterday, world manufacturing output is expected to increase by only 2.8 per cent in 2016. However, in contrast to recent years, there will be no breakout from the low-growth trap in 2016.

The agency also warned that lower industrial growth rates pose a challenge for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, as encapsulated by Goal 9, which also aims to significantly raise the share of manufacturing in the economies of developing countries.

It further stated that that manufacturing production is likely to rise by only 1.3 per cent in industrialized countries and by 4.7 per cent in developing ones.

In terms of growth rates for countries, the growth rate performance of China, the world’s largest manufacturer, is likely to further decline from last year’s 7.1 per cent to 6.5 per cent this year. Russia and the United States recorded marginal rises of 1.0 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.

Manufacturing output in Japan, however, fell by 1.8 per cent. India too suffered a sudden 0.7 per cent drop in growth figures. In contrast, other Asian countries largely maintained higher growth rates. Manufacturing output rose by 5.6 per cent in Indonesia, 3.9 per cent in Malaysia and 13.5 per cent in Viet Nam.

Additionally, in Europe, the uncertainty following the Brexit affected the growth rate performance in manufacturing in the second quarter of 2016, below 1.0 per cent for the first time since 2013.

Among Latin American economies, manufacturing output fell by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter, amid a continuing production decline in the region.

The report further noted that, based on estimates from the limited available, manufacturing output rose by 2.5 per cent in Africa. South Africa, the continent’s largest manufacturer, significantly improved its growth performance to 3.3 per cent in the second quarter. Higher growth rates of 8.3 per cent and 7.6 per cent were achieved in Cameron and Senegal.

In terms of growth estimates by manufacturing sectors, the report stated that the production of tobacco fell for the second consecutive quarter, declining by 2.6 per cent.

It also stated that developing economies maintained higher growth in the production of textiles, chemical products and fabricated metal products, while the growth performance of industrialized economies was higher in the pharmaceutical industry and in production of motor vehicles.
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Rise of high-end log homes

“Common problems with any house is moisture absorption, termites and the general wear-and-tear of the house. But with a log house, one does not have to worry about that as moisture absorption is restricted with the design of the logs,” he says.

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Also, the log homes are water-resistant.

The suppliers also kiln-dry the wood to remove all the moisture from it, thus preventing termites from breeding.

Honka Group also suppliers the door and windows or home owners can opt to fit their own that suits their style.

Prices of log homes are about 30 per cent more than the conventional brick-and-mortar house due to the shipping costs and bringing in a team from Finland to assemble, Mr Kanabar says.

Log houses are built on a level surface which means those on a sloppy land require a concrete platform to make it level thereby making it a basement floor.

“We have experimented with various log designs such as square and round logs and have found that the square logs are more popular as they do not collect as much dust as round ones,” says Mr Kanabar, adding that the maintenance costs are just like for standard houses.

To re-apply vanish on the wood or paint it a different colour, one only needs to sand it down and apply a coat of linseed oil and UV protect, then vanish or colour it.

He gives the example of Finland where most houses are built of logs therefore people paint them in various colours to differentiate them. Most Kenyans, however, prefer the natural look which is unique and blends with the environment.

Design

Othaya Group works closely with architectural firm Block45, in designing the structures to ensure viability of the houses they build. Mr Kanabar says designing the log homes takes longer.

“The architects liaise with the clients in order to get their specifications, then they design the house which is sent to Honka where changes are imposed in order to make it a log house,” he says.

The design is then sent back for approval by the client, structural engineer and architect before the manufacturing process starts in Finland.

The long process ensures all the specifications are right since the houses are made of pre-fabricated logs which makes it hard to make structural changes once the pieces are cut and shipped.

“Once the suppliers get the designs, the pieces are custom-made to fit in their place according to the design of the house and sent with a QR code to place each log in its unique place,’’ says Mr Kanabar.

A team from Finland then comes to assemble the house as it is not as simple as staking the logs together.

Pricing

The QR code helps them know where each logs should be placed as a lot of the electrical fixtures and plumbing are all drilled in the log during manufacturing to avoid visible wires and pipes.

The interior design and finishing is done on ground according to as clients’ specifications, but there are certain finishings one cannot apply to log houses.

Mr Kanabar says an average log house can last for hundreds of years with regular maintenance of the wood.

“Common problems with any house is moisture absorption, termites and the general wear-and-tear of the house. But with a log house, one does not have to worry about that as moisture absorption is restricted with the design of the logs,” he says.

Also, the log homes are water-resistant.

The suppliers also kiln-dry the wood to remove all the moisture from it, thus preventing termites from breeding.

Honka Group also suppliers the door and windows or home owners can opt to fit their own that suits their style.

Prices of log homes are about 30 per cent more than the conventional brick-and-mortar house due to the shipping costs and bringing in a team from Finland to assemble, Mr Kanabar says.
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Source: businessdailyafrica


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Africa has to go through its own industrial revolution

Capitalism is failing Africa. A relatively small number of entrepreneurs have prospered on the continent in the past decade, becoming the face of the “Africa Rising” narrative. But hundreds of millions more have remained poor and unemployed, and lacking electricity, good schools and access to adequate healthcare.

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The collective gross domestic product of the continent’s 54 nations is roughly $1.5tn — less than that of Brazil alone, at more than $2tn. Africa, with 70 per cent of the world’s strategic minerals, has about 2 per cent of world trade and 1 per cent of global manufacturing.

Capitalism has been the greatest creator of national wealth in world history, lifting billions out of poverty from Singapore to China, and from South Korea to Brazil. But Africa stands on the cusp of a lost opportunity because its leaders — and those who assess its progress in London, Paris and Washington — are wrongly fixated on the rise and fall of GDP and foreign investment flows, mostly into resource extraction industries and modern shopping malls.

They are in thrall to orthodoxies better suited for more mature economies. African countries need to focus on creating broad-based growth across sectors and social classes in order to promote jobs and labour productivity. This is what improves GDP per capita, which has remained stagnant at less than $3,000 in most African countries. Africa must stop counting malls and measure jobs and their productivity instead.

There is no shortcut to that outcome that can ignore building industrial economies based on manufacturing. African nations must reject the misleading notion that they can join the west by becoming post-industrial societies without having first been industrial ones.

Africa should be striving for self-sufficiency and to become part of the globalised production value chain. This requires the consistent development of skilled labour, linking innovation to industrial production, as well as investment — both domestic and foreign — in infrastructure and manufacturing.

Fossil power has turned out to be a mirage in countries such as Nigeria. They need to switch to a strategy based on renewable energy that is often quicker to install and is increasingly cost-effective.

If countries across Africa are to achieve inclusive economic growth on this basis, another shibboleth must be confronted: the one which decrees that for economies to prosper and grow, governments must get out of the way of business. On the contrary, governments must lead the way, with a firm hand on the wheel and by setting policy that creates an enabling environment for market-based growth that creates jobs.

They must also keep a careful eye on market actors with regulation and oversight that has wider social objectives in view. Markets must work for society and not the other way round. That, surely, is one of the lessons of the global financial crisis.

This is not an argument for a heavy-handed statist approach that would choke productivity and stifle competition. Nevertheless, a strategic role for governments remains essential. The question is whether African governments are capable of making the right policy choices. Ethiopia and Rwanda offer hopeful examples.

African countries need to remove incentives for systemic corruption if the proceeds of growth are to be widely shared. The Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari has rightly withdrawn subsidies and deregulated the importation of refined petroleum products. Next, it should review its policy of maintaining an artificially fixed exchange rate, in the face of depressed income from crude oil. This has bred corrupt arbitrage in currency markets and hurt productivity.

Another key to manufacturing-based, inclusive growth is “smart protectionism” — temporary tariffs that would protect nascent industries from the cheap imports that have rendered African economies uncompetitive on the global stage. For developing countries, such as many of those in Africa, this can be achieved within the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

For capitalism to work for Africa, just as it has for China and much of east Asia, public policymakers must shake off the shackles of orthodoxy.

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Solar bus affirms Africa’s commitment to UN environmental goals

NAIROBI, (CAJ News)- THE continent’s first solar-powered bus, whose production is set for 2018, has been hailed as major breakthrough towards Africa’s commitment to the United Nations global Agenda for Sustainable Development for 2030 and validated Uganda as ready for automotive manufacturing and engineering.

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The innovation has been one of the highlights of the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), at the just-concluded United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi.

Known as the Kayoola Solar Bus, it is a product of the Uganda-based Kiira Motors and a brainchild of the Makerere University under the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), which is the investment arm of the Ugandan Government, as a presidential initiative for automotive manufacturing.

The Kayoola Solar Bus, produced in 2016 is one of the three concept vehicles produced by the Kiira Vehicle Technology Innovation Programme.

It is a 35-seater electric bus with zero tailpipe emissions, a range of 80 km, with latent range extension from the real-time charging enabled by the roof mounted solar panels.

One of its two batteries can be charged by solar panels on the roof which increases the vehicle’s 80km (50 mile) range.

The development of the Kayoola Solar Bus Concept represents the commitment of the Kiira Motors Project to championing the progressive development of local capacity for vehicle technology innovation, a key ingredient for institutionalizing a sustainable vehicle manufacturing industry in the East African country.

The solar bus, which makes the most of the abundance of sunlight in the country, is intended for urban areas than inter-city use because of the restrictions on the distance it can travel.

If it is mass produced, each bus would cost up to US$58 000.

Achim Steiner, the UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the UN, is among delegates that toured the Kayoola Solar Bus during a tour of the Sustainable Innovations Expo, held at the sidelines of the UNEA conference where the bus was on showcase, in addition to being the official green transport partner for the UN conference.

Steiner expressed excitement and pride to see 21st century mobility technology being put “on the road in Africa, by Africans.”

“I challenge local investors in to invest in the fast growing green economy in Africa, as is exhibited through the production of environmentally friendly vehicles,” said Steiner.

Paul Isaac Musasizi, the Chief Executive Officer Kiira Motors, lauded the endorsement of Kayoola Solar Bus by the UNEP.

He committed to further engage the government and private sector for further policy and investment commitment.

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South Africa: Opportunities for Youth in Mining

Pretoria — South Africa’s mining industry has plenty of opportunities that young people from diverse backgrounds and educational qualifications can access.

The Deputy Director General of Mineral Regulation, Joel Raphela, at the Department of Mineral Resources on Tuesday said government supports youth upliftment programmes aimed at improving young people’s participation in mining.

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“We continue to reach the youth through the departmental Learner Week Programmes, where we create mining awareness by organising mine visits around the country.

“We also provide learnerships and internships to learners and graduates as part of bridging the work experience gap needed in the employment market,” said Raphela at the Youth in Mining Summit held in Johannesburg.

The summit comes as South Africa commemorates the 40th anniversary of June 16. The entire month is used to focus on matters of youth development.

Delegates at the summit on Tuesday included youth formations, captains of industry and young entrepreneurs. Raphela said there are numerous opportunities young people can tap into through the department’s state entity Mintek, a research and development organisation specialising in all aspects of mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related technology.

Mintek has been helping young people, who may not have higher education qualifications, find sustainable mechanisms of generating income while also creating jobs for others in jewellery making, glass bead manufacturing and pottery.

“Urban mining presents numerous opportunities for young people to use urban waste to manufacture saleable products, without necessarily having a higher education qualification. The glass bead manufacturing process is a great example of this.

“Mintek provides training in the crushing of glass bottle waste using particular techniques and turning the crushed glass into beads that are then used to make products such as household decoration items and costume jewellery,” said Raphela.

Mintek has further assisted the provincial government of the Northern Cape by setting up two training and beneficiation centres in Upington and Prieska, which provide practical training for making jewellery from semi-precious stones – especially the tiger’s eye that is mined in the province.

Participants are also assisted to develop skills for grading semi-precious gemstones using simple techniques that are easily acquired, so that they can manufacture products that are of good quality for the market.

Last year, Mintek provided practical training to 148 students, in partnership with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and the Department of Science and Technology. Thirty-six of these students have been placed in numerous foundries across the country, where they gain practical skills for melting metals and casting them into aluminium or cast iron products.

The Department has also recently appointed 38 learner inspectors after they successfully completed a two-year training programme. Forty-two percent of the inspectors are women.

This programme was initiated by the department, in collaboration with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), Sibanye Gold and AngloGold Ashanti.

Unemployed graduates were recruited from previously disadvantaged groups and given practical experience in the field of occupational hygiene, surveying, mining, electrical and mechanical engineering.

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South Africa’s electronics industry has a great future

South Africa has a lot to offer to the global electronics industry, such as top design engineers and world-class electronics manufacturing companies.

It is often said that the electronics manufacturing industry can play a bigger part in South Africa’s industrial development and grow the country’s exports – thereby creating more real jobs.

We have the technological expertise and skills but it seems that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is hardly walking the talk.

A key element of the electronics manufacturing is the component suppliers. South Africa does not manufacture electronic components except for some transformers and of course printed circuit boards.

I met with Hannes Taute, the MD of Avnet South Africa to talk about the future of our country’s component supply industry and its effect on the electronic contract manufacturing industry.

“I believe that we are holding our own in a very tough economy. The biggest disappointment is the lack of government support for local companies and projects,” he said.

“A good example of this is the whole digital terrestrial television (DTT) rollout. If managed correctly this could have given the local industry a massive boost with lots of jobs being created.”

“The initial specification was for a locally designed and manufactured set top box (STB) – this has unfortunately changed. If this project eventually goes ahead only a small portion of the electronics manufacturing industry will benefit by assembling imported knock-down kits.”

Taute said that growth in the electronics manufacturing business mainly comes from innovative entrepreneurs who are developing their own products in the areas of safety and security systems, renewable energy control equipment and the lighting industry.

“There is no doubt that the economy is taking strain. We see it on all fronts and yet there are still companies coming up with innovative products that provide moderate growth for the electronic components supply industry.”

“I know there are views within the DTI that each sector should have its own member organisation to interact with them. I disagree with that. Some years back a lot of effort was put into reviving the South African Electronics Industry Federation (SAEIF). Unfortunately it failed.”

“The Association of Distributors and Manufacturers of Electronic Components (ADEC) decided to unite the industry and was renamed AREI (Association of Representatives for the Electronics Industry).”

“The idea was to bring together all industry players related to electronics manufacturing in some way. Coming from a strong base of distributors and suppliers, AREI is making progress and has signed up some of the largest electronic product manufacturers.”

“South Africa is rich with technical expertise and we should be exporting more of our local electronic production. Yes the component costs have gone up as we pay higher prices because of the weaker rand, but if you think about it, the other input costs are pretty stable so local electronic manufacturers should benefit from the weaker rand by making their products more competitive on the world market.”

“We have world class manufacturing facilities that we can really be proud of, manufacturing high tech products that are being shipped all around the world.”

Taute makes an interesting point. Given that South Africa produces electronic products of a very high quality, it is the volumes that need to increase.

As many of the processes today are automated, higher volumes will not materially increase labour cost. I asked him what he believes the local component industry can do to help contract manufacturers grow their business.

“Our offering enables companies to grow. The component supply industry needs to keep customers up to date with the latest technology to enable them to develop and introduce interesting products all the time.”

“Electronics is so fast-moving that if you look at a supplier base there are new products launched almost daily. From a semiconductor point of view there is a lot of consolidation and repositioning going on and it is important for us as a supply industry to keep our customers informed of these developments as it ultimately can affect their future production.”

At one time most component distributors had exclusive product lines. That has changed over the years as virtually all component distributors today have access to most manufacturers.

Taute says that the focus has changed from taking an order and supplying to quite complicated logistics.

“When a new product enters from the development and testing phase into production, the component supplier has to ensure that components are delivered just in time.”

“Today nobody wants to keep massive stock. It is a fine line to manage between the component manufacturers, the shipping agents, customs clearance and delivering what your customers require to keep production lines running efficiently without stoppages because a component is late.”

“Avnet has the necessary systems and logistic support to offer customers this type of service. It is also important to ensure that high quality products are supplied coming from legitimate component manufacturers.”

“Should something go wrong customers want to have the peace of mind that they have recourse to the manufacturer. Unfortunately our industry is still plagued by a lot of grey imports.”

The South African industry still suffers unfair competition fuelled by import duties on many items such as switches and other electro-mechanical components.

Taute said that it is ironic that a local manufacturer of a remote control unit has to pay duty on the switches used in the remote while the completed product from China can enter South Africa duty free.

“It is this kind of issue that needs to be addressed to grow our electronics industry by making local manufacturers more competitive. I know that AREI is continually working on this problem; government needs to understand the urgency for this to be resolved.”

Taute is positive about the future of the industry.

“I believe that South Africa has a lot to offer to the global electronics industry – top design engineers, and world class electronics manufacturing companies supported by leading electronic component suppliers.”

“By working together, support from the export council and AREI and with a more proactive DTI, I believe we can become an export industry of note. In this way we can create more real jobs. From the industry side they should support industry associations, take part in electronics shows and really showcase our local ability to the global market.”

“Together we can grow and develop our industry.”

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Source: mybroadband


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