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Forget the Smart City, time to think about the smart Smart Citizen

By 2050, it’s expected that nearly 80% of South Africans will be living in urban areas. This massive acceleration in rural-to-urban migration was highlighted recently by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel*.

For South Africa’s cities, this influx brings new opportunities, but also a host of new challenges. To serve increasing numbers of inhabitants, cities will need to become more efficient with their service delivery and more engaging with citizens.

Many are touting the concept of Smart Cities – where new technology is used to connect and enhance many of the basic services: like electricity, water, transportation, road networks, waste management, crime prevention, and billing services, among others.

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But to truly realise this vision, the conversation needs to evolve from being just about ‘Smart Cities’, to include the concept of ‘Smart Citizens’. As with the introduction of any new technology, the catalyst for adoption is always the end-user. As more and more users start expecting technology solutions in local government, cities will have no option but to prioritise the development of Smart initiatives.

With their expectations now set by high-quality digital solutions from the likes of companies paving the way for future technological advances, citizens are demanding that local government keeps pace with these trends. Our collective patience is wearing thin when it comes to lengthy wait times on calls, long queues, inaccurate billing and poor services.

In fact, today’s digital citizen expects an omni-channel experience – where they can report service delivery issues from the convenience of a mobile app. They expect queries about their property rates to be resolved via a direct message on Facebook or Twitter.

It’s this awakening demand from the millions of residents in South Africa’s metros that will stimulate transformation at a local government level.

In the economic heartland of Johannesburg, the first signs of this are already taking hold. Already we have mobile apps for motorists to report faults on the city’s 7000 kilometres of road, instantly report crimes and suspicious activity, check for scheduled power cuts, find bus routes and schedules, and see upcoming public events.

These apps empower citizens with the digital tools to engage with their City, and generate a culture of shared accountability and transparency.

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By receiving tip-offs from citizens on issues ranging from illegal dumping, to serious crime, or burst water pipes and broken traffic lights, the City is able to crowdsource insights from millions of people.

A simple example like the City of Johannesburg’s infamous Twitter representative “TK” shows how a metro can become more engaging and helpful – helping to spawn a culture of public-private partnership and shared accountability. Over 200 000 people now follow tweets from the @CityofJoburgZA account.

By tuning in to the constant chatter buzzing around social media, Cities can understand the most pressing pain points, and start addressing the critical issues first.

But the next step for local government leaders is to integrate these new digital tools into the core of their operations. Crucial to this is the creation of a ‘single view of the citizen’ – giving the City visibility of the individual’s various relationships with different municipal entities – and enabling tailored responses to solve any queries or problems.

To get a sense of just how important this is, the Johannesburg Road Agency’s Find ‘n Fix app already sees over 1000 motorists sending in geo-located reports and photos of potholes, damaged roads, broken lights, and other infrastructure issues – every single week.

Attending to these issues in the most efficient way is the crucial next step in improving citizens’ overall experience and continuing to enhance the reputation of the service provider.

The ultimate dreams of Smart Cities, crowdsourcing, and collective responsibility can only come true if these smaller, focused projects gain traction; and if users continue to play the role of catalyst in getting local government to adopt new technology and new ways of delivering services.

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Source: itnewsafrica


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Resolute restructuring to assist in growth

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed gold miner Resolute Mining on Wednesday announced a new management structure in an effort to drive innovation, growth, improved communications and value for shareholders. The changes created a number of new roles within six core business functions, with the number of senior executives increasing from three to six.

The key changes has resulted in the appointment of David Kelly in the new position of GM corporate strategy, Paul Henharen as the new GM for project developer and the elevation of the existing position of GM for exploration to a CEO report line. Meanwhile, a new position of GM for people, culture and information has also been created, and a recruitment process for the role has started. Furthermore, the existing position of chief business development officer and GM for human resources and administration have been made redundant, which would result in Peter Venn and Marshall Hestelow leaving the company.

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“Resolute has been a proven gold producer for more than 25 years. Today’s announced restructure is part of an ongoing organisational transformation driven by a new commitment to deliver greater value for shareholders from our operating experience and success,” said MD and CEO John Welborn.

“We operate in a volatile industry with high risk and dynamic pressures. Our management structure will continue to evolve to allow Resolute to be a more agile organisation that can deliver growth and profitability. We will achieve this by applying the best possible skillsets in roles that are clearly defined and aligned to best enable Resolute to achieve its principal purpose; rewarding our shareholders.”

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Source: engineeringnews


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Regional integration and monetary unions

With a land mass of over 30 million square kilometres, Africa is as big as India, China, the US and most of Europe combined. Betrayed by a Mercator map projection, the common view of the size of the continent has been diminished, pretty much the same way as other characteristics of the continent.

When we realise the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone is about half the size of the European Union, we could even pretend that at least that much territory is already integrated within the continent. However, the reality is that even in one single country, like the DRC, national integration is a challenge. Just ten years ago DRC had a public budget smaller than Brussels. Basically, the point is: Africa has a long way to go!

The reality of integration in every region and corner of the planet is a tale of many challenges. Africa is no different. The European Union (EU), considered the most mature integration achievement, has itself started to demonstrate serious difficulties and major shortcomings, particularly relating to the Eurozone.

Africa has a longer history of monetary unions than Europe, but the large size of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and the challenges it has faced since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, provides important lessons for both existing and proposed monetary unions in Africa. Europe worked hard to consolidate its single market and achieve a high degree of trade integration before the establishment of the Euro. The Eurozone countries built over time an impressive architecture of processes, institutions and regulations.

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One of the key lessons for Africa from the EU’s experience is that the institutional environment has to be conducive to the fostering of regional trade.  Another lesson for Africa is the importance of stable macroeconomic policies. When there are wide differences in the degree of fiscal discipline across member countries, that reality can create challenges for the survival and stability of any union.

The Eurozone experience also underscores the need for countries that are about to participate in a monetary union to have a credible and feasible mechanism for fiscal transfers, in order to enable them to respond and adjust to asymmetric shocks. In the absence of such a mechanism, any monetary union will be susceptible to enormous pressure when its members are hit by such asymmetric shocks. There are, however, concerns that the adoption of the stringent convergence criteria will limit policy space to address current and emerging development challenges.

The importance of monetary, fiscal and financial policy harmonization, within the context of economic integration, cannot be overemphasized. Monetary union is defined in the literature as involving two components: “exchange rate union, that is, an area within which exchange rates bear a permanently fixed relationship to each other…” and “convertibility – the permanent absence of all exchange controls, whether for current or capital transactions within an area”.

Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, Professor Robert Mundell, posited that the degree of factor mobility within a currency union is of utmost importance.  Movement of labour and capital goods across borders is not restricted so that it is easy for factors to move to areas where they can earn maximum remuneration for the services rendered. An essential requirement here is the presence of at least, an internally convertible currency within the union.

Regional Economic Communities in Africa aim to establish monetary unions as part of their broader integration agenda.  Africa has a long history of some countries sharing single currencies. For example, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) has 8 countries using the CFA franc, previously pegged to the French franc and now to the euro. There is also the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) with an additional 6 countries using the CFA franc. Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland are pegged at par to the South African Rand, which effectively means that they share the same monetary policy.  Countries that are part of these three blocs represent a significant portion of Africa’s GDP.

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In fact, one of the main objectives of pursuing monetary unions in Africa is to boost regional integration, particularly intraregional trade and investments.  Intra-African trade is about 16 per cent on average compared to 21 per cent for Latin America and the Caribbean, 50 per cent for Asia, and 70 per cent for Europe.

Administering 54 sovereign states with an array of national policies and inefficient government apparatus constitutes a massive resource-draining overhead cost on Africa’s fragile, undiversified primary production based economies. An assessment of progress towards macroeconomic convergence in Economic Communities in Africa show that, while some progress is being made, it is generally below the targets set in their monetary integration programmes.

If Africa were a business the management costs of this type of structure would be uncompetitive. The cost of governing such a fragmented production structure is simply too high for Africa to afford or sustain.  Thus, the contribution of regional integration to the promotion of intra-group trade, growth, development and social and political cohesion is unquestionable.  The stark conclusion that can be drawn from these facts is that Africa must integrate (or, in business parlance, rationalise and merge) in order to reduce its overhead costs.

The debate about integration, however, has been mostly centred on the political dimensions and the paramount pan-African ideal. Africa has broken the cycle of hopelessness and has hewn for itself an optimistic future through rapid and strong economic growth since the start of the century. Time has come to move to a more technical debate and focus, partly to give credence to such noble political ideals, but also because the speed of global transformation will not await, much more, for late comers. Accelerating the pace of and achieving structural transformation remains the greater challenge for the future. In fact, the majority of African countries continue to struggle to diversify their narrow-based economies.

Addressing these challenges will require due attention to an appropriate macroeconomic policy framework underpinned by a long-term development strategy that facilitates transformation of economic and social structures, and ensures a positive feedback loop in the investment-growth nexus. Such a macroeconomic policy framework for structural transformation should encompass five main components: i) scaling up public investment and public goods provision; ii) maintaining macro stability to attract and sustain private investment; iii) coordinating investment and other development policies; iv) mobilizing resources and reducing aid dependence over time; v) securing fiscal sustainability by establishing fiscal legitimacy.

These key elements of transformation are not optional when discussing monetary unions in the African context. Regional Economic Communities better pay attention, otherwise they risk not being taken seriously about such ambitious goals.

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Source: southernafrican


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PORT ELIZABETH START-UP REVOLUTIONISING E-WASTE DISPOSAL

An Eastern Cape technology start-up company is revolutionising electronic waste disposal and recycling in South Africa through a mobile unit dubbed the “e-shredder,” which will help private and public sector organisations to discard electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working or obsolete.  Once e-waste has been sanitised, the recycled components will be upcycled into consumer goods which in turn will provide job creation in arts and crafts sectors.

eWaste Technologies Africa (eTA), a client of the Seda Nelson Mandela Bay ICT Incubator (SNII) in Port Elizabeth, has a zero-to-landfill policy, which means the company is committed to finding ways for e-waste to be reused, recycled or repurposed.

In South Africa, e-waste makes up 5% to 8% of municipal solid waste.  E-waste is also growing at a rate three times faster than any other waste forms in the country.

“eWaste can be transformed into art. They will create jobs and the money made on these projects will be theirs. The non-profit organisation can make jewellery, clocks, and so much more,” said Enrico Vermaak, eTA Managing Director.

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eWaste Technologies Africa recently repurposed a hard drive shredder into a mobile waste disposal unit. This means it can be transported to a client’s premises where it will provide secure hard drive destruction service.

The company will offer clients enhanced data sanitation services by ensuring that information on devices is rendered completely inaccessible even before the equipment in which it is stored is recycled or disposed of.

“We scrub all hard drives, ensuring our methods are compliant with the South African National Intelligence Agency requirements,” said Vermaak.

“If the information on old IT equipment isn’t sanitised or destroyed properly before disposal or sponsorship, it could cause massive reputational damage to your company.  Just imagine the implications of the unsanitised laptop of your CFO ending up in the hands of a competitor or local media,” he said.

“The mobile ewaste shredder will be taken to a company or individual’s premises to perform physical data destruction on hard drives and solid state drives. A certificate will be issued as proof that the hard drive was destroyed.”

eTA also offers on-site ewaste receptacles and collection services for the disposal of e-waste.

“Until recently very few companies have considered proper data sanitation or destruction as an option.  We have received old PC’s and laptops that were deemed ‘wiped’, and found very sensitive information on them.  Fortunately all devices that we receive are sanitised before further processing.”

Vermaak added that most large corporates buy laptops, desktops and tablets with an OEM Microsoft Operating System license included.  Typically these Operating Systems are upgraded to comply with company licenses.

“When the machine is disposed of or sponsored, the upgraded Operating System must be removed and replaced with the original OEM license. This may only be done with the original CD/DVD that was distributed with the device. As a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher (MRR), we will ensure that all licensing obligations are met for your peace of mind.”

Vermaak explained that the use of ewaste in art was a new project his company was busy with as part of their social responsibility. “It is a pilot project. We will sponsor the ewaste and tools to the community, who in turn make jewellery or office supplies such as business card holders or book holders.”

eWaste Technologies Africa is a member of the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA), the body that oversees industry best practices and the latest recycling techniques.

What to ask for when choosing an IT asset disposal partner:

  • Do you sanitise data before it leaves my site?
  • Do you belong to any or all of the following associations:

o   Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA)

o   The e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA)

o   The South African e-Waste Alliance (SAEWA).

o   South African Police Service (SAPS) for a second hand goods license.

    • Do you landfill any of the IT assets?
    • Can you destroy the information at my premises (if legally required)?
    • Are you a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher (MRR)?

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Source: rnews


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Shell, NEF cooperate on transforming retail petroleum industry

Petroleum product supplier Shell Oil Company and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry, on Thursday entered into a cooperative agreement to assist black South Africans wanting to own and operate service stations. Through this initiative, Shell was aiming to ensure that 40% of its service stations were black-owned by 2017. “The energy sector was the first to adopt a transformation charter and it is in line with that trend that Shell’s ground-breaking target of 40% black-owned service stations is coming to life,” said NEF CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa. Shell South Africa chairperson Bonang Mohale noted that Shell’s aim was to to select high-quality brand ambassadors who would receive the necessary training by qualified Shell Retail trainers.

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Once the selection and training process was complete, Shell would facilitate a retail site handover, which involved essential mentoring and support in the initial phases of the business operation.  “We want to ensure that we do not only comply to the rules and regulations governing the industry, but we also attain leadership status in the transformation area,” he noted. Mthethwa added that, within the NEF’s franchise portfolio of R709-million, service stations ranked as the most successful. The review of the Liquid Fuels Charter – a regulation that provided a framework for empowering black South Africans in the petroleum industry, revealed that one of the major barriers to entry for black entrants in operating and owning service stations was a lack of access to capital. To address this challenge, the Shell and NEF partnership would result in the provision of funding to black retailers with a majority share of no less than 51%. To date, the NEF has invested R300-million in the acquisition of 63 petroleum service stations that were owned and managed by black entrepreneurs countrywide, with these stations supporting 1 920 jobs. The NEF’s total funded portfolio exceeded R7.1-billion, while strategic industrial projects were valued at over R27-billion.

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A new deal on energy for Africa – Power, potential and partnership

Africa needs a new deal on energy, and now it has one.  US President Roosevelt’s post-Depression New Deal of the 1930s focused on ‘Relief, Recovery and Reform’.  For Africa’s New Deal on Energy, in the spotlight at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, the focus is on Power, Potential and Partnership.

‘Power’ – because the New Deal aims to light up and power Africa by 2025.  Energy is the lifeblood of any society.  It is the passport to economic transformation, and it is one of the foundations for any society in the provision of education and health.  And yet as we begin 2016 over 645 million Africans – some two-thirds of the people on the continent – have no access to energy.

Africans are tired of being in the dark: children suffer, because 90% of the continent’s primary schools have no electricity.  Women suffer: 600,000 people, largely women, die each year from cooking with unclean energy like wood or baked earth.  Hospitals and their patients suffer when equipment simply doesn’t work.  Small and even large businesses suffer – Africa loses an estimated 4% of its annual GDP for the lack of energy.  The unavailability of energy in Africa is unacceptable, and so is its cost.  A woman living in a village in northern Nigeria spends around 60 to 80 times per unit more for her energy than a resident of New York City or London.

‘Potential’ – because Africa is aching to release its full economic potential, and to turn strong but uneven economic growth into deep-rooted and universally shared economic transformation.  Energy is the secret to that.  With a strong and secure energy supply we can unleash the skills of a young and dynamic population.  We can continue the process of turning agriculture into agro-industry, and partial diversification into full-scale industrialisation.  The raw materials that will provide our energy await us – unused or as yet untapped.  As well as 300 gigawatts of coal potential and 400 gigawatts of gas, the continent is waiting to get its hands on  10 terawatts of solar energy potential, 350 gigawatts of hydroelectric, 110 gigawatts of wind, and a further 15 gigawatts of geothermal.

‘Partnership’ – because no country, no organization, no initiative can do it alone.  The Africa Progress Panel has already done the research to show that Africa can power itself – if it and others work together.  There are already key players in the field, like the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative supported by the G7, the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, and the US Power Africa Program.  The private sector is a source of leadership as well as funding, for instance through the Africa Energy Leaders Group. The task is to point them all in the same direction.  So the New Deal is an African-led initiative to mobilize political will and financial support to solve Africa’s energy challenges.

What will it do?

It has four – huge – targets.  To increase on-grid generation by adding 160 GW of new capacity by 2025, nearly doubling what we have today.  To increase on-grid transmission and grid connections that will create 130 million new connections by 2025, 160 per cent more than today.  To increase off-grid generation to add 75 million connections by 2025, nearly 20 times what we have today.  To increase access to clean cooking energy for around 130 million households.

First and foremost, it will raise money, from Africa and beyond, and from the public and the private sectors. We need a total of $60-90 billion a year, compared with the $22 billion invested in the sector in 2014. This money will come from a variety of sources. First, we will work with other multi-lateral and bilateral financial institutions to see if we can get investment into the power sector to triple on an annual basis. Second, governments themselves need to play a role. If Africa were to increase its annual spending on energy from 0.4% of GDP to 3.4%, this would solve the problem completely. This could also be done by putting an end to subsidies for products such as kerosene and diesel. Finally, the private sector is very willing to play a significant role. This will require changes in regulation to make the sector more attractive for private capital, but we have seen many examples of significant capital flow where regulations are appropriately structured.

The New Deal is also practical: it will set up the right energy policy environment: laws, regulation, governance; it will build the capacity of national energy utility companies; it will dramatically increase the number of bankable energy projects and the funding pool to deliver them; it will roll out waves of country-wide energy ‘turnarounds’.  It will be energy resource neutral, using renewables and non-renewables alike, and technology neutral.

The African Development Bank will manage the New Deal, as well as investing US $12 billion in energy funding over the next five years, attracting up to four times as much from other financiers in the process.

‘I pledge you, I pledge myself to a New Deal for the American people’, said FDR in July 1932.  The pledges – financial and political – are being made again on a different continent, over 80 years later.  Meeting Africa’s energy challenge is both a moral and an economic imperative.  ‘A flick of a switch’ can’t be delivered in an instant, but a flick of a switch is what it will take.

Source: ghanabusinessnews


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Ethiopia to build Africa’s largest airport

Ethiopia’s infrastructure binge shows no signs of slowing down, with plans being made to build a $4 billion second international airport in the Addis Ababa area, one that could serve as many as 120 million passengers per year when it opens in about a decade’s time.

But a new report by risk analysts PGI Intelligence warns that the airport mega-project is at risk of delays due to challenges securing finance, while the huge costs entailed threaten to worsen foreign exchange shortages in the coming years.

The planned airport would make it Africa’s biggest airport by far, and even larger than London’s Heathrow, which handled 73.4 million passengers last year, with a capacity of 90 million.

Africa’s busiest airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg, South Africa; about 18 million passengers passed through its terminals last year and ongoing expansion work will raise capacity to 28 million.

The planned giant airport in Ethiopia is set to be one of the country’s most ambitious projects, surpassed only by the $4.8 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to state-led development through investment in huge infrastructure projects.

Already, Ethiopian Airlines is the only major African carrier that is reporting healthy profits, in the region of $175 million in 2014/15, while the other big three – South African Airways, Kenya Airways and Royal Air Maroc – are facing financial headwinds, bleeding cash badly and/ or reporting virtually no growth as reported earlier by Mail & Guardian Africa.

The project reflects the scale of Ethiopia’s economic ambitions and will form an important component in developing the country’s tourism and light manufacturing sectors, as well as putting Ethiopian Airlines in pole position to consolidate its market share and comprehensively overtake Nairobi as East Africa’s aviation hub.

Separate from Bole

The new project is separate from the ongoing $350 million expansion of the current Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, illustrating the importance the government has attributed to planned aviation sector growth. The current airport expansion is set to increase capacity from 6 million passengers annually to 22 million by 2018.

The two developments combined aim to transform Addis Ababa into one of the largest aviation hubs in Africa, with the new airport consisting of four runways, several passenger terminals and an airport city on the outskirts of the capital.

But it also raises the question whether Ethiopia can command those kind of passenger numbers to make the investment worthwhile.

A decade ago, Bole handled fewer than a million passengers a year, by last year that had risen to 7 million. Passenger numbers are expected to continue increasing by about 10% a year – which means it could take more than two decades for the airport to reach full capacity.

But Ethiopia’s state-driven capitalist model aims to line up all the ducks in a neat row, looking to deliver passenger numbers not just through bolstering Ethiopian Airlines’ position as an aviation leader in Africa, but also through growth in tourism and light manufacturing sectors, as part of the country’s second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II).

The GTP-II will cover the period 2015-2020, and is set to be launched officially in the next few weeks with the airport as its flagship project. It is also expected to include the $1.8 billion Gilgel Gibe 3 dam, a raft of geothermal, solar and wind projects, and a vast house building programme.

Tourism currently generates $2.9 billion for the economy and several international hotel chains have set up operations in the country in recent years; in August the culture and tourism ministry announced it planned to triple Ethiopia’s annual foreign visitors to 2.5 million by 2020.

Increases to freight capacity will likewise support the light manufacturing sector, for which the government has already attracted several global brands and Unilever, General Electric and GlaxoSmithKline are all planning investments that will supply international markets.

Industrial parks

Ethiopia is targeting $1 billion of annual investment in industrial parks over the next decade to boost exports and make it Africa’s top manufacturer. The government may invest half of the $10 billion needed for zones across the country that will house textile, leather, agro-processing and other labour-intensive factories, a special advisor to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in May.

But analysts are warning that Ethiopia’s mega-infrastructure binge will put enormous pressure on Ethiopia’s public finances, which are already strained following the first growth and infrastructure plan that expires this year (GTP I 2010-2015).

In September, the IMF reported Ethiopia’s public debt-to-GDP ratio was already at 50%, and GTP II would see this increase further.

Concerns around the sustainability of these debts could create challenges in securing finance for the new airport; without an immediate demand for its services, Ethiopian officials could struggle to secure finance from foreign lenders at concessional rates, the PGI Intelligence report states.

As with GTP I, both the new airport and GTP II are likely to depend heavily on domestic funds to finance projects. The absorption of funds by large infrastructure projects has created huge liquidity problems in Ethiopia over the past five years, resulting in delays to imports and difficulties for the private sector to access finance.

These restraints have been compounded by banking regulations that require banks to pay an additional 27% of each loan to private companies into state bonds that fund the government’s growth plans, a requirement that “frequently deters banks from lending to the private sector,” PGI Intelligence says.

With little sign the government is willing to ease restrictions on the banking sector, access to finance and liquidity will remain among the major barriers to success as the government presses ahead with its growth plans over the next five years, the analysts warn.

Crumbs

Not to be deterred, however, regional banks are all lurking on the streets of Addis Ababa, looking to set themselves up for even the crumbs of Ethiopia’s still very tightly regulated banking sector.

Foreign lenders are not allowed to own banks in Ethiopia, and the financial sector is dominated by the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.

But last month, South Africa’s Standard Bank opened an office in Ethiopia, “to gain a foothold in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies”, it said in a statement, and this week, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) announced it had received a licence to open a representative office in Ethiopia.

Other banking institutions with representative offices in Addis Ababa include the European Investment Bank, Germany’s Commerzbank, pan-African lender Ecobank, Export-Import Bank of India, National Bank of Egypt and Bank of Africa.

Source: ghanaweb


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Transformation slow in mining sector

Pretoria – The majority of companies in South Africa’s vast mining sector have not met their transformation responsibilities in the ten years to 2014, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Tuesday.

Releasing an interim report into the mining sector’s compliance with the Mining Charter, Ramatlhodi told reporters in Pretoria that there was no agreement on the transformation levels in ownership and that the courts were asked intervene.

“There is no consensus on the applicable principle and the courts are being approached to resolve the matter on an urgent basis,” said Ramatlhodi.

He said the Supreme Court would have to make a ruling on the matter.

Regarding housing and living conditions, Ramatlhodi said 63 percent of mining rights holders with hostels had converted to either family and/or single units.

“The drive to improve the living standards of the mineworkers has not been fully realised. More needs to be done to address the broader objective of ensuring that mineworkers live in decent accommodation,” he said.

Ramatlhodi said only 36.8 percent of companies have met the target of spending five percent of their total annual payroll on training.

On mining communities development, Ramatlhodi said only 47 percent of the mining companies’ projects are between 75 and 100 percent complete.

Regarding procurement and enterprise development, Ramatlhodi said 42 percent of companies met the target of procuring capital goods from historically disadvantaged South Africans.

“A total of 33 percent met the target of procuring services from historically disadvantaged South Africans and 62 percent companies met the target of procuring consumables from the historically disadvantaged South Africans,” he added.

He said his department would be moving in to strengthen the efficacy of the Mining Charter through a review process to accelerate the transformation imperative in the mining sector. It was hoped this would create a conducive environment for the sustainable growth of the sector.

“Government values the contribution of the mining industry to the South African economy. However, we expect the investors in the industry to behave in a responsible manner, and to abide by the laws and policies of the country,” said Ramatlhodi.

“From the statistics, it is clear that there is still some way to go before we can truly transform the industry, and fully realise the objectives set out in the Charter and the MPRDA (Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act). We appeal to the industry and labour to continue to work with us.”

The Charter was adopted in 2004. It was amended in 2010 with a revised scorecard to strengthen and sharpen its efficacy in driving transformation and competitiveness in the mining sector.

The Mining Charter attaches conditions to which mining right-holders are expected to comply with in terms of the MPRDA.

Source: IOL


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Gauteng to create new economic corridors

The Gauteng government has announced interventions to change the space and structure of the province’s economy to help address unemployment, poverty and inequality. Speaking during the State of the Province Address on Monday, Premier David Makhura said these interventions were spatial reconfiguration; township economy revitalisation; and investment in infrastructure that the provincial government would undertake in partnership with municipalities and the private sector. Gauteng City Region’s space and economy would be configured into five development corridors that would have distinct industries and different comparative advantages, Makhura said.These are:

  • Central Development Corridor, which will anchored around the City of Johannesburg as the hub of finance, services, ICT and pharmaceutical industries;
  • Eastern Development Corridor, which will be anchored around the economy of the Ekurhuleni Metro as the hub of manufacturing, logistics and transport industries;
  • Northern Development Corridor, which will anchored around Tshwane as South Africa’s administrative capital city and the hub of the automotive sector, research, development, innovation and the knowledge-based economy;
  • Western Corridor, which encompasses the economy of the West Rand district and the creation of new industries, new economic nodes and new cities; and
  • Southern Corridor, which encompasses the economy of the Sedibeng district and the creation of new industries, new economic nodes and new cities.

Makhura said the provincial government would “mobilise” more than R10-billion in public and private investments in the regeneration of the Joburg CBD as the seat of the provincial government.The Premier said Gauteng would work with national government and the City of Joburg to ensure that the Central Corridor became the home of the proposed Brics regional development bank.A plan to revitalise the townships of Kliptown and Alexandra was also under discussion with government and the City as “the two townships are in a terrible and sorry state of disrepair”, Makhura said.

Transformation

Makhura also announced that 140 000 housing units would be built in the next five years in the area to help change human settlement patterns.Together with the private sector and the City of Johannesburg, there were plans to transform the spatial landscape of the Central Corridor, which include:

  • Masingita City, an integrated commercial and industrial hub, is a R3- billion private investment that is expected to create 15 500 jobs during its construction, which will begin in March.
  • Rietfontein. With an investment of R20-billion, this will be a complete mixed-use node with more than 8 000 proposed residential units, including commercial property, distribution and warehousing, retail and education facilities.
  • Waterfall City, the largest city to be built in post-apartheid South Africa. The estimated investment during construction is R71-billion, with an estimated 100 000 jobs to be created by the project.
  • The Modderfontein development will inject R84-billion into the economy of the Gauteng City Region and is expected to create 150 000 jobs over the next 20 years.

Aerotropolis

Turning to the Eastern Development Corridor, Makhura said 29 industrial initiatives under the banner of the Aerotropolis would be undertaken to revitalise manufacturing, aviation, transport and logistics industries linked to OR Tambo International Airport.”This will dramatically transform the current industrial structure of the economy of Ekurhuleni,” Makhura told the legislature.Other projects in the corridor will be the Tambo Springs Inland Port Development, with an estimated R7.5-billion investment over five years.The first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit System in Ekurhuleni would be operational by March next year, Makhura said, and more than 100 000 housing units would be built in the area over the next five years.

SA’s biggest convention centre

Makhura said Gauteng would be working with Tshwane to develop the West Capital development project in the Northern Corridor. This will include a student village, sport incubatory centre, retail and commercial components, inner city housing and health facilities.The African Gateway in the heart of Centurion would be a partnership with the private sector and will comprise South Africa’s largest convention centre, an hotel, residential, commercial and additional office space.

Tshwane

The City of Tshwane would be investing R525-million to establish a business process outsourcing park in Hammanskraal, Makhura said. “The park will offer on-site training, technical support and incubators for SMMEs. The project is expected to create more than 1 000 jobs during construction and more than 1 000 indirect jobs.”Working with the private sector, Tshwane would also continue to rolling out free wi-fi within the City. To date, R150-million had already been invested in this initiative.Makhura said more than 160 000 houses would be built in the area.Green economyThe economy of the Western Corridor would focus on green and blue economy initiatives, tourism, agro-processing and logistics, said Makhura.”Lanseria Airport and Maropeng World Heritage Site will be the main anchors of the new city and new economy of the West Rand,” he said.The corridor would be positioned as a hub of agriculture and agroprocessing, and a public-private partnership would see the development of aquaculture projects, such as the prawn farming facility, the premier said.He said more than 160 000 houses are to be built in the area.

Diversification

Makhura said the economy of the Southern Corridor needed to move from an “over- reliance on the steel industry” to one that included tourism and entertainment, agro- processing and logistics management.Among the projects would be the development of the new Vaal River City (hydropolis), with a private sector investment of more than R4-billion.Over the next five years, more than 120 000 houses in Sedibeng will be built.”Also in this corridor, we will continue to support the Gauteng Highlands development, a mixed-use development comprising industrial and residential space. This is a R40-billion investment aimed at creating 25 000 direct and indirect jobs,” said Makhura.

Source: SAInfo.com


 

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