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Entries now open for the 2017/18 Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation

Practitioners passionate about contributing to a better future for all are invited to enter the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation

This prestigious biennial award, founded by AfriSam and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), recognise the contributions that bring sustainable innovation to human living environments through an integrated approach to communities, planning, design, architecture, building practice, natural systems and technology.

“This award recognises the importance of ‘green’ building in a palpable way while enabling us to highlight and commend excellence shaping our communities for livable sustainability,” says Maryke Cronje, SAIA President and convenor for the 2017/18 Award.

As co-founder and sponsor of the Award, leading construction materials producer, AfriSam, continues its partnership with SAIA in bestowing the Award.

Apart from recognising excellence in Sustainable Architecture and Research in Sustainability, the Award also invites entries that make innovative contributions in the fields of Sustainable Products and Technology, and Sustainable Social Programmes.

According to Richard Tomes, Sales and Marketing Executive at AfriSam, the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation is a natural extension of the AfriSam brand and reflects the company’s commitment to sustaining the environment through responsible manufacturing processes.

“At AfriSam we believe in creating concrete possibilities. This extends far beyond just the products that we manufacture. We believe that through responsible and sustainable business practices today, we are creating a future of possibilities for our children and their children,’ he says.

Entries for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation close at 00:00 on March 24 2018 and will be accepted in four categories:

  • Sustainable Architecture
  • Research in Sustainability
  • Sustainable Products and Technology, and
  • Sustainable Social Programmes

Project entries should demonstrate how they embody sound sustainable practices, that bear the hallmarks of great architectural or social design and innovative thinking in the field of sustainability, to improve our world.

The adjudicators for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation are Maryke Cronje (architect and President of the SAIA), Dr Sechaba Maape (sustainability architecture academic and architect), Philippa Tumubweinee (academic and co-founder of IZUBA INafrica Architects), Niraksha Singh (AfriSam Raw Materials and Sustainability Manager), Emmanuel Nkambule (academic with particular interest in the social environment) and Richard Stretton (founder of architecture and furniture design studio Koop Design). Stretton received the 2010 and 2014 Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture and a 2014 Merit Award.

Issued by Conversation Capital

Contact Ally Cordiglia

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ally@conversationcapital.co.za

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Food-price surge ‘undermining Africa’s growth’

Johannesburg – A severe drought in southern Africa has triggered a surge in food prices, preventing central banks from loosening monetary policy to spur economic growth.

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Central banks in South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique have been forced to raise interest rates to rein in inflation after the El Nino-induced drought crippled the production of the staple maize and other crops, pushing up food prices, despite dismal economic growth prospects.

South Africa’s central bank forecasts Africa’s most industrialised economy to grow by 0.6 percent this year, after expanding 1.3 percent in 2015, partly hobbled by the drought and low commodity prices.

The bank has hiked rates by a cumulative 200 basis points since January 2014 to bring inflation within its target band of between 3 and 6 percent.

Sanlam economic advisor Jac Laubscher said by leaving the benchmark rate at 7 percent at its policy meeting last month, the bank was trying to strike a balance between fighting inflation and not depressing already weak economic growth.

“This time around they opted for growth, while at the same time making it clear that the decision to keep the repo rate unchanged should be viewed as a mere pause,” Laubscher said.

Inflation stood at 6.2 percent in April, but food inflation rose to 11.3 percent compared with 5 percent in the same period last year. The central bank sees food inflation peaking at 12 percent in the final quarter of 2016.

“This tightened monetary policy stance unfortunately comes at a time of very lacklustre economic growth,” said Hanns Spangenberg, an economist at NKC African Economics. “However, the central bank cannot let expectations for inflation anchor at levels above the upper range of its target range.”

Also of concern was a weaker rand, which has depreciated 26 percent to the dollar since January 2015. The currency is vulnerable to possible downgrades to South Africa’s credit rating and higher US interest rates.

In Zambia, Africa’s no.2 copper producer, the benchmark lending rate is at a record 15.5 percent as the central bank fights higher inflation, which stood at 21.3 percent in May compared with 6.9 percent in May 2015.

“The cost of maize has gone up significantly and that is fuelling inflation,” Zambia’s Deputy Finance Minister Christopher Mvunga said. “Unless we are food sufficient, central banks will struggle.”

Zambia’s central bank expects inflation to average 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, but analysts say the target was too ambitious.

“It is very difficult to attain single digit inflation because our currency has been depreciating and most of the goods that we consume are imported,” said Lubinda Habazoka, an economist at the Copperbelt University.

Weaker copper prices have put pressure on Zambia’s currency and the economy. The government expects the economy to grow by 3.7 percent this year against 3.5 percent last year.

Higher food prices have also pushed up annual inflation in Mozambique, which faces an imminent sovereign debt default.

Inflation stood at 17.29 percent in April after prices rose by 1.98 percent in April 2015.

The central bank lifted its benchmark lending rate by 200 basis points to 12.75 percent in April, saying it was concerned about pronounced inflation risks caused by the drought and the sharp depreciation of the currency.

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Relying on imports to feed the nation

The World Meteorological Organisation has referred to the ongoing El Niño as the strongest experienced in 15 years. Responsible for heavy rains in South America and forest fires in Indonesia, it has resulted in far below-average rainfall, and very high temperatures in Southern Africa adversely affecting agriculture in the region.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network expects ‘stressed’ and ‘crisis’ outcomes between January and March in the broader Southern Africa region: “Poor households in these areas will experience livelihood protection and consumption deficits due to reduced casual labour opportunities, above average food prices, poor pasture and livestock conditions, the late start of season, and poor rainfall performance so far.” 

We interviewed Professor in Food Security Sheryl Hendriks from the University of Pretoria on the possibility of a food shortage in SA, and how South Africans should be preparing for the rising cost of food.

With SA now having to import six million tonnes of maize, will it be enough to quell a potential food shortage?

At this point, we are not sure how much we will need to import. The difficulty is that our exchange rate makes imports exceptionally expensive.

The cost of local production is far lower than the cost of importing – especially when international demand and prices are high, but more so because our exchange rate has weakened so drastically.

Maize meal prices have already increased in the stores. The price of SA’s staple food will increase dramatically when we start importing as the consumer will need to cover the costs of importation. If the drought continues, we will face future shortages, making us reliant on imports in the near-term. 

Such a rise in imports will no doubt drive up the cost of maize – a staple food for most South Africans. How will this increase in cost affect the price of other foods? 

The current crisis affects white maize more than yellow maize. Yellow maize is used for animal feed so the white maize crisis will affect the price of mielie meal and other foods where maize is added – corn flour, baking goods, biscuits, breakfast cereals etc. 

One of SA’s best options would be to turn to consuming yellow maize, as we did in the crisis in the 1980’s when we were faced with a similar crisis. One could only buy yellow maize because sanctions prevented us from importing white maize from other countries. Not many countries produce white maize in surplus except for the US, Mexico, Brazil and China. Although, using yellow maize for human consumption would exacerbate the shortage of supply of animal feed, which would affect the prices of other foods such as meat, chicken and dairy products.

According to World Vision’s Paula Barnard, if we don’t have adequate rain by March / April 2016, this could spell disaster for SA. What does the worst-case scenario look like?
The worst case is white maize will be unaffordable – especially for the poor. Even a small price increase affects poorer consumers. Maize is the staple (and in many cases the only) food consumed by poor households. Apart from taste preferences, there are not many alternatives as sorghum is also in short supply due to the drought. A large proportion of wheat is imported as well and so bread is not an alternative to maize for poorer consumers. Vegetables too are badly affected by the drought and prices of other starches such as potatoes and sweet potatoes are astronomical at the moment. Making yellow maize available to consumers immediately is quite important and necessary. It will provide an alternative to those prepared to switch consumption from white to yellow maize meal! 
Is the South African government prepared for such a disaster? Do we have contingency plans in place?
The current government has not had to deal with a drought or food crisis of this proportion. The severity and scale of this drought is exceptional. Most of the country is affected and so we are not able to support one area by bringing supplies in from another area. We do not have national reserves to deal with a crisis of this proportion. A number of national crises such as electricity shortages have led to redirecting of national reserves to solve other problems. 
What should South Africans – at various income levels – be doing at this stage to prepare for impending food price increases, as well as food shortages? 
Be prepared to make changes to your diet – even if this means switching from white to yellow maize. It is healthier for you anyway as it is packed with vitamins and minerals. Each household needs a contingency plan. While hoarding supplies for the future may not be feasible due to inadequate storage facilities and the perishability of foods, consumers should be either putting money aside for possible emergencies or storing non-perishable foods for times of hardship. For middle-income families, there are a number of health substitutions that can be made to reduce the cost of meals without reducing the nutritional value of meals such as adding lentils, beans and pulses to meat dishes or substituting pulses for meat, as well as eating porridges made of oats and sorghum rather than ready-prepared cereals and increasing the consumption of vegetables. Taking lunch to school and work is another option that saves costs and provides a more healthy meal. 

For lower-income and poor consumers who consume mainly pap, the options are limited. These consumers will most likely need support from relatives or government if the price of maize meal increases substantially. 

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Source: bizcommunity


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SADC economies set for a comeback in 2016

The World Bank says firmer commodity prices in 2016 could boost the economic growth prospects of most countries in the Sub Saharan Africa region..

According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects, the region is expected to grow 4,2 percent this year, from 3,4 percent in 2014.

With the current electricity constraints being experienced in most countries expected to persist as well as the drought in Southern Africa, the region is likely to record a somewhat weaker recovery in 2016 than previously anticipated.

However, an easing of the power constraints, better fiscal policy measures and continued stability in commodity prices are likely to impact positively on growth.

“Commodity prices are expected to stabilise but remain low through 2017. Although governments are taking steps to resolve power issues, electricity supply bottlenecks are expected to persist. There are, however, considerable variations within the region. The fiscal policy stance in commodity exporters is expected to ease gradually as commodity prices stabilise,” the report said.

According to Global Forecasting Services, the commodity market is poised for some recovery.

“Although we expect commodity prices to remain well below their 2011 peak in years to come, 2016 will be a year of stabilisation, with our aggregate commodity price index registering a modest 2.6 percent rebound. This will be driven by a mild increase in oil prices, which will feed into the price of other commodities.”

Besides the fall in commodity prices, African countries have had to contend with depreciation of local currencies against the US dollar which led to most countries allowing their exchange rate to adjust, especially among oil exporters.

The region’s pattern of exports makes it particularly vulnerable to commodity price shocks. Fuels, ores, and metals accounted for more than 60 percent of the region’s total exports between 2010 and 2014 compared with 16 percent for manufactured goods. Lower commodity prices obliged a fiscal tightening in several commodity exporters, which caused a sharp slowdown.

Since October last year, Angola, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia’s currencies have experienced depreciations of significant magnitude, reflecting existing or rising domestic vulnerabilities.

The report noted that activity is expected to remain subdued in the region’s three largest economies although for Nigeria, power and fuel shortages and fiscal consolidation which weighed on activity in 2015, are expected to diminish gradually.

“Growth is expected to remain weak in South Africa, as inadequate power supply, weak business confidence, difficult labour relations, and policy tightening slow activity. In Angola, government spending remains constrained, and elevated inflation has weakened consumer spending,” said the World Bank.

South Africa is expected to grow 1,4 percent this year from 1,3 percent in the previous year. Angola on the other hand will grow by 3,3 percent from 3 percent.

Global forecasting services says although copper prices in September last year bounced back from a six-year low on the announcement of large mine closures, sluggish Chinese demand will delay a recovery in prices until 2017.

This is expected to have an impact on Zambia which will record about 3,8 percent growth in 2016.

In 2015, Botswana was also affected by lower diamond prices as well as insufficient power supply due to drought. The World Bank said the Southern African country’s attention to drought and its effects on hydropower is expected to help the economy grow by 4 percent this year from 3 percent in the previous year.

Zimbabwe, which has also been significantly affected by low commodity prices, power shortages and drought, is expected to grow by 2,8 percent from the 1 percent estimated for 2015.

In Southern Africa, DRC, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia and Malawi are expected to record the highest growth rates of 8,6 percent, 7,2 percent, 6,5 percent, 5,5 percent and 5 percent respectively.

Lesotho and Mauritius are expected to grow GDP by 2,8 percent and 3,7 percent respectively.

Swaziland is the only country in the SADC region expected to record a slump in GDP growth to 0,8 percent from 1,3 percent last year.

The World Bank called for policy makers to find ways to broaden their tax bases as a short term solution.

In the medium term, countries were urged to design strategies to bring small enterprises into the tax net and boost administrative capacity while working on instruments such as urban property taxes to help generate revenues from a more balanced tax mix over the long run.

It also said structural reforms are needed to alleviate domestic impediments to growth and to accelerate economic diversification.

“An increasing share of the world’s poor resides in Sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank 2015j). Reviving growth and reducing vulnerabilities will be important for progress toward eradicating extreme poverty, and achieving the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Policies to enhance domestic revenue mobilisation, increase the efficiency of public spending, and boost growth and economic diversification will play a critical role in these efforts,” the report said.

Source: southernafrican


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South Africa: Drought Leads to Failed Crops, Water Shortages

The main street of this dusty South African town is lined with empty buckets, marking each residents’ place in line as they wait for their daily water ration to be brought in by unreliable trucks.

Keeping watch over her buckets, Pulaleng Chakela sleeps in a wheelbarrow on the side of the road to save her spot in the line. The 30-year-old wraps herself in a little blanket as temperatures drop overnight, and asks a male friend to sit nearby for safety.

“If I don’t wait here all night, the water will be finished,” she said.

A flatbed truck carrying three 5,000-liter tanks arrived midmorning when temperatures had already reached 40° C (104° F). Murmurs of relief are soon replaced by angry shouts as residents learn they have been further rationed from filling four buckets to just two. In the chaos, Chakela slips two extra buckets in the line. The situation is so unfair that she feels no guilt, she said.

Disaster areas

Chakela is joined by dozens more residents of Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland – along with much of eastern and southern Africa – bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages.

The drought is a sign of a changing climate the whole region must prepare for, say experts. The El Nino weather phenomenon has returned to southern Africa, marked by delayed rainfall and unusually high temperatures, according to the World Food Program.

The environmental effects of El Nino are expected to last until at least 2017, affecting the food security of 29 million people due to poor harvests, said the WFP report.

The conditions in Senekal should serve as a warning to the rest of region to prepare themselves for the dry years ahead, said Tshepiso Ramakarane, manager of the Setsoto municipality, where Senekal is located.

“For the next 10 to 15 years, the situation is likely to get worse,” he warned, adding that only days of sustained rainfall can solve the town’s woes, despite the occasional scattered shower. “We are in the middle of a crisis.”

Other towns in the district have even less water, but Senekal is in worse shape because of its poor infrastructure and distance from the nearest dam, pointing up the vulnerability of many places in the country to drought due to poor sanitation and running water systems.

Dealing with water shortage

The local municipality has now been forced to buy well water from surrounding farms at 1 cent a liter, distributing about 50 liters of water to each of Senekal’s 8,000 households at no cost.

Those who can’t wait up to ten hours in a line, however, have been forced to buy water directly from the farmers at premium prices.

Makhantsi Khantsi, a single mother of four who works as a security guard, said the farmers are charging her nearly seven times as much as they make the municipality pay and that’s on top of the $10 she has to shell out for the 10 kilometer (6 mile) cab ride.

For laundry, the options are even more grim, and Khantsi and a dozen others use the stagnant, algae-ridden water collected in an abandoned sewage treatment tank to wash their clothes.

“When you are desperate, what must you do?” asks Refiloe Mangati, as she washes her children’s school shirts by hand, scrubbing with too much detergent and rinsing quickly in the hope the algae – and the tadpoles – won’t stain them.

On the farms surrounding the town, hot gusts of wind pick up dust on empty fields where there should be crops.

“We have not planted a single seed,” said Borrie Erasmus, who grew up on the Biddulphsberg farm, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside Senekal. This is the first time in the five decades he has worked his family farm that he has missed the spring planting season.

Financial toll

If it rains for a few days before autumn, he may still plant sunflowers, but that won’t offset the more than $60,000 Erasmus has already lost this season.

“One bad crop can put you back three or four years and now we have no crops,” said Erasmus. Even if the weather returns to normal, it will still take at least five years for farmers to pay off the loans they’ve had to take out to survive.

South Africans, already facing a weak currency, will soon feel the effect of rising food prices as the country may have to import corn, Agricultural Minister Senzeni Zokwana warned on Monday.

Over the Free State, the few clouds gathering in the distance may bring some temporary relief, but farmers here say they need more certain intervention.

“We’re hardy farmers, we’re used to getting by without much, but these are such extraordinary circumstances that there is a need for government to help,” said Erasmus.

Source: voanews


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South Africa tourism set for tough year ahead

Next year may be a difficult one for the economy, with fears of Ebola, crime and terrorism keeping tourists away.

According to a survey by the GeoBranding Centre, in partnership with AIG Travel, travellers regard southern Africa to be as risky as Mexico and Central America.

Titled the Global Anxiety Audit, the report found “one in four global travellers ditched travel plans over safety concerns in 2015; Africa suffers most, with 53 percent of leisure tourists unwilling to go due to worries about personal safety and 46 percent fearful of diseases like Ebola”.

This is despite the fact Ebola has been eradicated and the outbreak affected only a handful of countries on the continent. Security is not much of a concern for American tourists. They, however, need compelling reasons to travel.

“A study of 2 000 travellers reveals US tourists are less concerned with crime and security in Africa versus those from Germany and the UK, but Americans are more in need of a ‘real reason to go’.”

All is not lost, though, as some travellers showed a desire to visit the southern tip of the continent.

The report states: “A notable 20 percent would like to visit southern Africa; word-of-mouth endorsements remain very positive about Africa overall; and worries about costs and flights are dwindling, making safety reassurance, compelling offers and unique experiences key to attracting visitors.”

Nigel Vere Nicoll, CEO of the African Travel and Tourism Association, said: “Africa has the best tourism product in the world, and for more reasons than people may think.

“We know of nowhere else in the world where you can get a good meal with wine for such a low cost as you can in South Africa; it is untouchable.”

Source: iol


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South African region faces rising food insecurity concerns

Rising food insecurity in Southern Africa is a concern said the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Monday.

The organisation said the Southern Africa region is increasingly experiencing food insecurity “as a result of poor harvests” across the region.

The Southern African Development Community reported in their 2015 Vulnerability Assessments that “there will be an estimated 27,4 million food-insecure people in the region during the next six months”.

This is a frightening estimate to consider, and if nothing is done about it, millions would suffer FAO spokesperson David Orr said.

These areas also have to contend with global warming, changing weather patterns, and the El Niño weather phenomenon, which Orr said “could significantly impact Southern Africa following a poor agricultural season in 2014 – 2015”.

Orr said they are constantly monitoring weather patterns as the “intensity of the El Niño is increasing towards a peak expected in late 2015, and may become one of the strongest such events on record”. This means that the region faces another “poor rainfall season and harvest”.

In addition, food insecure countries in the region have to cope with “high levels of chronic malnutrition in children and of HIV prevalence in adults”.

“The poor harvest experienced by farmers across the region will negatively impact the capacity of vulnerable farmers to purchase seeds, fertilizer and other necessities for the current planting season,” said Orr.

Earlier this year, Botswana and Namibia endured an extensive drought season.

Orr cited Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar as being three of the countries in the region most at risk for food insecurity. These three countries, the FAO noted, “all suffered severe crop failure due to extended dry spells”.

Malawi, said Orr, was experiencing its worst food insecurity crisis in a decade, with 2,8 million people facing food insecurity.

Zimbabwe’s harvest season was cut by half, and the impact of this harvest would be seen in the coming months, with 1,5 million people facing food insecurity.

Orr said Lesotho and the southern parts of Angola and Mozambique were facing growing food insecurity concerns, and while Botswana and Namibia faced drought conditions earlier this year, they weren’t considered to be in the most vulnerable group.

Food insecurity, together with rising food prices, brings with it uncertainty about the future.

Orr said, “Food insecurity means that people struggle to buy or produce enough nutritious food to lead a healthy life”.

Orr said that FAO, together with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), have joined forces to expand their operations in these regions.

He said the WFP planned to provide assistance to 2,4 million food-insecure people “during the height of the lean season, the period prior to the next harvest when domestic food stocks become depleted”.

He said, “lean season activities will combine food assistance with cash transfers in areas where market conditions allow. So far this year, WFP has already provided food assistance to one million people who have been affected by floods”.

Orr said they are working with governments to combat rising food prices and implement crisis management plans.

Orr added that in Malawi’s case, the country needs about US $44 million to avert the impending crisis.

The response plan, he said, would include “provision of inputs, with an emphasis on drought-tolerant crops such as cassava, sweet potatoes, sorghum and millet and on supplementary irrigation in order to cope with potential prolonged dry spells”.

He said that in Zimbabwe, the “FAO is working with the government to support resilience building approaches among vulnerable groups”. This support, he said, included 34 irrigation schemes in drought prone districts which were being rehabilitated.

“As many as 127,000 smallholder farmers are receiving support to adopt climate smart technologies and increase their access to rural finance,” he said.

The adoption of climate smart technologies could be one way in which sustainable production and increased resilience among communities could be used to combat food insecurity.

One such way in which communities could help solve the problem is through cash and food for work projects. Orr said these projects see “rural communities work on the refurbishment or construction of schemes such as water management systems, tree planting and terracing to prevent soil erosion”.

In addition, “FAO is providing support to 40,000 smallholder households to engage in commercial livestock production,” he said.

This support extended to drafting a drought mitigation programme that required US $32 million, responding to foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks which required 5,4 million vaccine doses, and providing stock feeds and seeds to farmers.

Orr said that they were “working with the government and partners to assist some 400,000 of the most vulnerable people, scaling up to reach 850,000 people at the height of the lean season”. He said assistance would be provided through food and cash transfers.

Funding, Orr said, is critical to address food insecurity in the region, and provide assistance to all in need. – ANA

Source: jacarandafm


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RETOSA TO HOST ITS 2ND ANNUAL SOUTHERN AFRICA WOMEN IN TOURISM CONFERENCE IN MALAWI’S CAPITAL

RETOSA will be running the 2nd Annual Southern Africa Women in Tourism Conference under the theme “Creating opportunities for inclusive development and social transformation” hosted by Malawi from the 23nd to the 24th November 2015.

The main objective of this conference will be to give a progress report on prioritized programs and projects, discuss the establishment of a Regional Tourism Investment Fund for Women and most importantly the conference will include an interactive Master Class Course in Tourism Business Management for all participating delegates.

The Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) as the tourism implementing agency of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is facilitating and promoting tourism growth and development in Southern Africa by targeting women as a critical component in the sustainable development of tourism in the region.

RETOSA believes that if tourism is to effectively contribute to poverty alleviation and wealth creation, it is important that targeted interventionist measures are applied with women in mind.

The reasoning behind RETOSA’s founding of the Southern Africa Women in Tourism program is to institute a forum that offers women from the SADC region access to business skills, trainings, financial services, networking and self-confidence as they enable themselves.

The conference is set to take place at the President Walmont Hotel (Umodzi Park) in Lilongwe,

Malawi. The lineup of speakers from the region include heads from the tourism ministries of RETOSA member states, UN Women representative Auxilia Ponga, director of the Business development agency in South Africa, Pearl Maphumulo, directors of Traveler’s Eye in Tanzania,

Vanessa and Yvonne Baldwin and deputy CEO of New Finance Bank in Malawi, Gilford Kadzakumanja.

RETOSA encourages all women entrepreneurs in the Southern African tourism industry to attend and be part of this landmark conference.

Source: maravipost


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The women in waste are changing the field

Generally dubbed a ‘man’s world’, the remarkable women who serve on the council for the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) are showing how influential and much needed women in waste are.

Prof Suzan Oelofse is the president of the IWMSA and serving alongside her are Margot Ladouce, chairperson at the IWMSA Western Cape Branch and Nomakhwezi Nota, chairperson at the IWMSA Eastern Cape Branch. With a vision to better the country as a whole in the way waste is dealt with, these incredible women are laying the foundation.

These three noteworthy women have over 44 years’ combined experience in the waste management field. Prof Oelofse, Research Group Leader for Waste for Development at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Natural Resources and Environment Operating Unit, joined the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) in early 2006 and has been the non-profit’s president since 2013. Ladouce, head of Research and Development – Solid Waste Disposal at the City of Cape Town has been a long-standing member of the IWMSA since 2005.

Nota, managing director at AMN Environmental realised her passion for the waste industry in 2008 when she joined the CSIR, hitting its full potential in 2013 when she started environmental consulting in East London.

“Women are much needed in the waste industry and with more and more women pursuing careers in waste management – on every level – I envisage a radical shift over the next few years towards an ethical, innovative and compliant industry,” says Oelofse.

Since joining the IWMSA in 2014, Nota took the initiative to spread the IWMSA’s involvement in more Eastern Cape towns, other than East London and Port Elizabeth. She and her team achieved great success with an approximate 10% increase in membership from organisations and individuals with a hunger to learn more about waste management.

In the Western Cape, Ladouce took on the challenge of organising the IWMSA’s flagship conference,WasteCon. WasteCon2014 proved to be a huge success with over 450 delegates in attendance. The conference attracted key players in the waste management industry, ultimately facilitating dialogue and participation between government and industry players.

Value in Waste

Frequenting industrial sites early on in her career, Oelofse describes how she could not understand why the heaps of waste could not be used for something else. “The thought that all waste generated is in essence the result of consumer demand and consumption, made me realise how unsustainable human activities are and thus my passion for waste management was born”, says Oelofse.

Ladouce adds by explaining where South Africa’s waste industry is heading towards, “Waste should be seen as a resource. Through proper management and processing, waste can add value and can be used to beneficiate and make a noticeable difference to the GDP of South Africa. This can be done through implementation of waste to energy, anaerobic digestion and composting technologies. It is also a vehicle to create opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

Nota mentions that although waste management was not explicitly mentioned in the initial presentation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the targets and indicators identified for the MDGs clearly show important links between waste management and the MDGs.

“These links are indicative of how better management of waste can lead to improvements and poverty reduction aimed at achieving the set MDGs. Significant proportions of populations depend on waste management for their livelihood, and there are opportunities for more employment generation as services extend to cover the rapidly-growing populations globally. Proper waste management has a significant impact on the lives, health and surroundings of humans and the environment,” explains Nota.

Promotion of dialogue with all industry stakeholders

The IWMSA continues to strive to be at the forefront of waste management practices, as well as to support entrepreneurs and encourage young professionals to embark on a career in waste management.

“I love encouraging young professionals to ensure that we are able to sustain what we have initiated through proper engagement with our up and coming young scientists and engineers,” mentions Ladouce.

Nota adds that as a developing country, the increasing population demographics require more innovative thinkers in the waste industry as more waste will be generated in future – a fantastic opportunity for young waste enthusiasts.

Commenting on her role as president, Oelofse says, “Being the president of the IWMSA provides me with the opportunity to influence the strategic direction of the IWMSA to ensure that we remain relevant and that we continue to make a difference in the waste management community.”

Establishing a working relationship with the Department of Environmental Affairs has been an achievement that Oelofse is most proud of since having joined the IWMSA team.

The IWMSA encourages the public to help with its plight in preserving the country by getting involved in recycling initiatives. The IWMSA is hosting two thought-provoking conferences this year namelyLandfill2015 in the Western Cape and The Road to Zero Waste Conference in the Eastern Cape.

Source: mediaupdate


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Malawi: SAA Reduces Its Fares From London to Malawi

Lilongwe — The South African Airways (SAA) in association with Malawi Department of Tourism have reduced flight charges from London to Malawi to £604 return ticket about K422,800, saving up to £149 about K104,300.

The year round discount fares include, return flights to Malawi’s Lilongwe International airport (LLW), return flight to Chileka International Airport (BLZ) at £624 about K436, 800 saving up to £129 about K90, 300.

According to the press release made available to Malawi News Agency (Mana), by public relations manager Jean Paul Zapata, travelers can purchase the discounted fares for travel up to 13th July 2015, 19th August-12th December, 25th December 2015-31st March 2016.

The statement reads that SAA, the African’s most awarded airline, operates double daily flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg and beyond to over 30 destinations in Southern Africa.

“In its domestic market SAA has an extensive schedule operating 556 flights in total per week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, from its Johannesburg hub, as well as code-shared flights between Lanseria – Cape Town and Durban,” reads part of the statement.

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Zapata in the statement said that SAA offers more frequencies than any other airline in South Africa, regionally it offers 24 destinations across the African continent including Abidjan, Accra, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Ndola, Pointe Noire, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

He said SAA’s operates to 40 destinations worldwide via an international network that creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 11 direct routes and code shares, with daily flights from Johannesburg to London (Heathrow), Frankfurt, Munich, Mumbai, Perth, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Washington, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

“SAA has codes share agreements with 27 other airlines across the markets it serves; the airline has extended its code share agreement with Mango, its low cost operator, to also include coastal cities in South Africa,” reads part of the statement.

Zapata said SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airlines and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC).

SAA is a Star Alliance member, which offers more than 21, 900 daily flights to 1, 328 airports in 195 countries and is a winner of the ‘Best Airlines in Africa’ Ward in the regional category for eleven consecutive years.

Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.

Source: allafrica


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