At least 20 young entrepreneurs working in the hospitality industry are set to benefit from a deal signed between Sheraton Kampala Hotel and mentorship firms, Youth Business International (YBI) and Enterprise Uganda, which will improve their skills and raise their business profiles.
According to details of the one-year mentorship pact signed on Wednesday, Sheraton will host four selected local youth hotel entrepreneurs or managers every month for hands-on training and experience in handling customers.
Dubbed the Sheraton Enterprise Experience (SEE), trainees will also get managerial tips during the course of practical trainings and internship at the five-star hotel.
Officials are optimistic that lessons from the trainees’ experience shall be transferred to their businesses to boost growth, services and profits.
Speaking after the signing of the deal, Charles Ocici, the executive director of Enterprise Uganda, said the mentorship programme is tailored towards nurturing young entrepreneurs and managers into world-class hospitality industry players. He explained that trainees will have to apply and must be youths below the age of 35 years.
Ocici said such mentorship programmes could empower more Ugandans and cut down on the dominance of Kenyan and South African experts in the local hospitality service sector. He added that Kenyans and South Africans have more experience in the hospitality industry because of their success in the tourism sector.
The mentorship deal was one of the outcomes of the global ‘Promise of Youth Event’ hosted in Kampala from April 5 to 7. The two-day conference, supported by YBI, attracted youth entrepreneurs and managers from Kenya, India, Sweden, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and donor representatives.
Apart from recognizing successful entrepreneurs and sharing experiences, officials discussed the challenge of unemployment.
Uganda is one of the countries grappling with unemployed youth. According to official statistics, 400,000 graduates join the search for jobs every year, yet only 9,000 vacancies are available in the formal public employment sector.
It is against such background that officials urged private sector-led initiatives such as mentoring programmes to encourage youth create their own jobs instead of seeking employment.
“Downside risks and vulnerabilities have risen, against the backdrop of volatile capital flows, a large drop of commodity prices, escalated geopolitical tensions,” reads the communiqué of the Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Shanghai, underlining the daunting challenges facing the world economy.
Indeed, the global economy is undergoing hard times. No country can stay unscathed when economies are increasingly intertwined in the era of globalisation.
According to recent data from Statistics SA, the growth rate of South African gross domestic product (GDP) fell to 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 and overall growth fell from 1.5 percent to 1.3 percent. This year the growth is expected to further drop to less than 1 percent due to various unfavourable factors.
Despite such circumstances, we still have some good news – the economic ties between China and South Africa have been strengthened rather than undermined against headwinds.
More and more Chinese enterprises are seeking opportunities in South Africa. There are about 140 medium and large size Chinese companies in South Africa now, having invested more than $13 billion (R199bn) and created a total of 30 000 jobs.
Even in the past two years, Chinese direct investment to South Africa has kept on expanding. The assembly plant of China First Automotive Works (FAW) in Coega Industrial Park, the home appliance factory of Hisense Group, and the cement production line invested by Hebei Jidong Development Group, among others, have offered much-needed jobs for local people.
Meanwhile, most of the Chinese enterprises actively shoulder corporate social responsibility by providing training to local unskilled workers and donating to charities and green groups.
The two governments have also strengthened co-operation on human resource development. Last year China gave training to more than 400 artisans, technicians and managers for South Africa.
What’s more exciting is that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to South Africa in December has added more impetus to bilateral economic co-operation.
More than 20 agreements worth billions of dollars were signed at the Union Buildings, including a dozen co-operation agreements achieved by enterprises from both countries in the areas of finance, energy, automobiles, infrastructure and so on.
Although it is obvious China-South Africa economic co-operation enjoys a bright future, the speculations and doubts never stop emerging. For example, recently I often hear the rhetoric of “collapsing Chinese economy”, which misinterprets the Chinese economy’s real situation.
Undoubtedly, China’s growth is slower when compared with the past. However, against the world economic difficulties, it is by no means a small achievement to realise a growth rate of 6.9 percent on the basis of more than $10 trillion GDP, especially given the world’s average growth of only slightly more than 3 percent.
For decades, China has been one of the strongest engines of world economic development. In 2015 China added more than 25 percent to global growth and its demand for global products is still significant.
Last year China remained the world’s second-largest import country. The volume of commodities China imported has kept growing. During the same period, China’s direct investment to the rest of world has further expanded to $127.6bn, an increase of 10 percent on a year-on-year basis.
Recent volatility of yuan renminbi and fluctuations in the Chinese stock market have also caused concern of some analysts and become the focus of media.
To understand the issue, the point is that the fundamentals of China’s economy remain strong and Chinese policymakers still have plenty of policy tools to address the downward pressure, if at all.
China’s currency depreciation is mainly due to reforms to the yuan exchange rate formation mechanism. China has no intention to boost exports and obtain competitive advantages by devaluing its currency, neither does the yuan have any foundation of further depreciation.
Last year, the Chinese trade surplus reached almost $600bn and China still has $3.3 trillion in foreign reserves. Furthermore, with the yuan being put into the special drawing rights basket by the International Monetary Fund last year, the market is expected to enlarge its demand, which will further contribute to the stability of the currency.
The fluctuations of China’s stock market, together with similar scenes in bourses of other countries, reflect the unclear and generally pessimistic prospects of the world economy. The long-term stability could be seen from the fact that the Shanghai composite index always stayed around 3 000 points at the end of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It is true that China’s stock market is still a developing and relatively immature market and has its own problems to be addressed. But with value only accounting for roughly 60 percent of China’s total GDP, it will not significantly harm the whole real economy.
Looking ahead, the strongest driving force of China’s economic growth will be the ‘reform dividends’ from the annual sessions of Chinese National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference currently being held in Beijing. The 13th Five-year Plan and the supply-side reform, along with other comprehensive reform measures, aimed at achieving innovative, co-ordinated, green, open and shared development, will be discussed and implemented in broad spectrum. All of these will add vitality to China’s economy.
China has both the courage and ability to break the old development pattern and transform to an innovation-driven and consumption-driven economy.
South Africa is also exploring new growth areas and making its economy more sustainable and inclusive. Reforms are never easy.
For the two economies, which are both in crucial and difficult transition, the only way out lies in sharing experience and deepening practical co-operation in areas such as industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure and trade.
Let us work together hand in hand to achieve our goals.
Nigeria will host the 22nd edition of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Lagos, in 2018. An agreement to this effect was signed last weekend between the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr Solomon Dalung, and President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Mr. Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, in the presence of the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Dr. Solomon Ogba. The CAA president, Malboum, was in the country and visited Dalung, during which he announced that a High Altitude Athletics Training Centre will be established in Jos, Plateau State. A statement issued by Mrs. Nneka Ikem-Anibeze, the minister’s Special Assistant, Media, said on the occasion, Malboum stressed the need for Africans to develop their own athletes by setting up structures and facilities that will enhance and develop athletes in the continent.
“We have already set up a High Performance Training Centre in the University of Port Harcourt. We intend to set up another one in Jos for the middle and long distance runners because we have seen that we need to prepare our athletes in Africa. “When you send them to UK, in a few months they change nationality and easily become British citizens. Even their coaches don’t support our athletes because they want their own to win. So, this is why we need to set up our own facility for long and middle distance runners in Africa to develop our own athletes,” Malboum explained. In his response, the youth and sports minister, Dalung, thanked the CAA president for his passion in promoting African sports and enhancing the prospects of African youths.
“Sport is one of the strongest weapons of promoting development in Africa. The only thing that can provide gainful employment for youths and engage them is sport. With the support of the government, I have discussed with officials in South Africa that there is a need for us to strengthen the Council of Ministers meeting and begin to identify the relevant issues that will move African sports forward and also give Africa a comparative advantage to compete with other countries of the world.
“It is the absence of facilities that makes African athletes travel for training outside Africa and end up becoming citizens of countries where they trained and camped. If we must also domesticate our own talents and skills for the benefit of young Africans, then we must invest in the provision of modern sporting facilities in Africa. This will take us to the development of a functional high performance system with all the necessary equipment for the training, camping and development of African athletes,” Dalung said. A delegation from the IAAF and the CAA is expected to come for an initial inspection of the site in Jos for further recommendations and provision of facilities. The high altitude Athletics training centre when completed, will serve athletes from West Africa. Similar training centres are already located in South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Dakar and Zambia.
Transnet SOC Ltd., the South African ports, rail and pipelines operator, is pursuing opportunities to expand on the continent and in the Middle East as the state-owned company seeks to redress an over-dependence on its home market.
The utility wants 25 percent of revenue to come from outside South Africa by 2025, acting Chief Executive Officer Siyabonga Gama, 48, said in a Sept. 10 interview at Bloomberg’s office in Johannesburg. That compares with 4.2 percent of its 61.2 billion rand ($4.5 billion) in the 12 months through March this year. The company has started a process to form a new unit, to be called Transnet International Holdings, which will oversee the foreign expansion, he said.
We have a fairly good idea where it’s going to come from and how,” Gama said. “We are not just looking at Africa, we are also looking at the Middle East. There are a number of things that we are working on.”
Transnet leadership believes the company depends too much on South Africa, where it operates more than 20,000 kilometers (12,430 miles) of rail network and facilitates 98 percent of South Africa’s global trade through
its eight ports. The utility will seek to apply its expertise and skills acquired at home to ports, rail and pipelines in new markets, Gama said.
The opportunities for expansion include consulting, training, and facilities-management contracts, as well as competing for, and operating concessions, Gama said. The international unit will be capitalized with “a decent amount” of funding, he said. Transnet last week signed a contract in Cotonou, Benin, to advise on the port there’s container terminal.
“We will try and improve their efficiencies, with the view that we will
make some further investments once we have helped them with the port
master plan,” Gama said of the Cotonou deal. “It’s small but it indicates
the direction that we are taking in a number of these markets.”
Transnet already operates in other African countries including Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Most of the foreign activities are rail-related, Gama said. The company also sees opportunities to invest in new natural-gas pipelines in South Africa, as well as in countries including Tanzania and Mozambique.
Gama, the head of Transnet’s freight rail unit, was named acting CEO of the company in April, after Brian Molefe was seconded to head Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state power company. Transnet Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh has also moved to Eskom on an acting basis.
Showcasing great South African companies that are demonstrating leadership in sustainability
As an organisation, Tuffy Brands has made sustainability a priority and, given the nature of their products, has always aimed to operate in a way that is mindful of both their environment and community. Now more than ever, Tuffy is continuing to build on the strong foundation laid by their founders and aims to implement various new initiatives which will have a meaningful impact both within and beyond the walls of the organisation.
The Tuffy strategy incorporates targets around innovation and differentiation and this is directed at the achievement of competitive advantage where large channel customers (mostly retailers) are concerned. By focusing on sustainability performance in the value chain, Tuffy is able to provide retailers with products that are adding value to the environment and a corporate sustainability profile that is hard to ignore when procurement decisions are being made. Established in 1968, Tuffy Brands is a Cape Town based company which manufactures flexible plastic and paper products for the retail, industrial and advertising and marketing industries.
The company pioneered the launch of refuse bags on a roll in South Africa, and were the first organisation in South Africa to receive SGS accreditation for having fully recycled content in refuse bags.
Strategic Integration and Senior Support
At Tuffy, sustainability has been introduced at the top of the value chain in each sector of the business, ensuring that the principles have become an integral part of the way they do business. As a company who have always made the earth a priority, they have also developed codes of conduct which place great emphasis on key environmental issues, ensuring that environmental sustainability continues to be embedded in everything they do.
Additionally, occupational codes and guidelines (i.e. a Code of Conduct) exist in the organisation and sustainability strategy relating to quality and quality management is addressed through the ISO 9001 standard.
Product Responsibility and Innovation
Tuffy addresses product responsibility through each step of their product lifecycle and remain conscious of their impact throughout production. Given the nature of their products, strong emphasis is placed on responsible sourcing, reduction of waste and reusing of materials; their entire black bag product ranges being made from 100 percent recycled materials.
With regard to product standards, the company has internally developed benchmarks in place which are linked to the ISO 9000 standards and maintained across product ranges to ensure that products meet high models of quality. Tuffy also takes care to print clear warnings on packages regarding the health and safety of their consumers.
Tuffy Brands is registered with the Good Business Framework system in South Africa, a system which incorporates an online executive sustainability training course that is aimed at providing key members of the organisation with international best practice sustainability knowledge and implementation guidelines.
Efficiency and Responsibility
Tuffy carefully manages their resources and has made a significant effort to reduce emissions, energy, water and waste. They do not make use of any direct energy, but in-direct energy is comprehensively measured and managed throughout the organisation. Energy productivity statistics are widely available and strategically used, and various good practices and interventions exist within the production plant; including energy sub-metering, natural cooling/heat rejection, efficient pumps and fans and energy efficiency lighting.
The company makes use of a closed water system which is used for cooling in the production plant; a system which is carefully measured and managed. Data is recorded relating to total withdrawal of water by source; water discharged by volume and destination water recycling; water re-use and water productivity calculations. The company also has various water meters and management systems in place which are principally focused on the manufacturing environment.
Tuffy places great emphasis on waste management and recycling, particularly in the manufacturing process. Waste beneficiation practices are in place and waste skips are collected by recycling companies for further separation, ensuring that the only wet waste goes to landfills.
In the manufacturing plants, paper and plastic waste is separated prior to the skip, which is then fed back into the production process as recycled, post-production waste.