Daily Archives: August 9, 2016

Business confidence holds steady in Africa in the second quarter of 2016

Confidence among African business leaders stable for second consecutive quarter after steep decline in 2015

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 09, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organization in the world, announced today that economic confidence among business leaders in Africa continued its gradual recovery in the second quarter of 2016. Having dropped to a record low of 51.0 at the end of last year, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for Africa, which tracks economic confidence levels among CEOs in the region on a quarterly basis, remained relatively stable for the second consecutive quarter, climbing 0.6 point from 53.2 to land at 53.8.

Despite the stabilisation in economic confidence, Africa remains the most pessimistic region in the world regarding the current and expected economic landscape, trailing the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index of 59.7 by 5.9 points.

The stabilisation in economic confidence in Africa was largely due to a more positive outlook among CEOs in South Africa and a significant rebound in confidence in Nigeria. The YPO Global Pulse Index for South Africa rose 2.1 points to 57.5, suggesting that South African business leaders are beginning to see signs of improvement and stability in the economy. However, South African confidence remains considerably weaker than it was pre-2015, when the confidence index remained above the 60-point mark for more than five years.

The YPO Global Pulse Index for Nigeria jumped a remarkable 14.5 points to 54.1 in the second quarter. After plummeting in 2015 to a record low of 30.7, economic confidence in Nigeria has recovered significantly following modest increases in oil prices and a period of relative stability in the country.

Elsewhere, Kenya suffered a sharp drop in confidence, declining 9.9 points to 51.4. While Zimbabwe index gained 1.4 points, confidence remained in pessimistic territory at 40.1.

“Evidently, economic confidence among business leaders in Africa differs sharply by country, but it’s true to say that every CEO in Africa remains concerned to some degree about economic conditions at both the country and regional levels,” said Glenn Gamsy, managing director of GIB Financial Services, principal officer of Destiny Retirement Funds and YPO Johannesburg chapter education officer. “However, there are some signs of encouragement, with oil prices beginning to recover and indications that the global economy may be more stable than was feared six months ago when there were major question marks. CEOs will be hoping for a period of stability and growth in the second half of the year, giving them greater confidence to plan and invest for 2017.”

Worldwide, the YPO Global Pulse Index for the second quarter of 2016 rose 1.4 points to 59.7, its highest level for a year. In line with Africa, most regions around the world enjoyed a modest increase in confidence levels, with the notable exception of the European Union, where confidence eroded following the Brexit referendum result in the United Kingdom. Asia gained 2.9 points to land at 62.9, making it the most confident region in the world. The United States climbed 1.2 points to 60.8, its highest level for a year, and Latin America 3.6 points to 54.4. The Middle East and North Africa remained almost unchanged, edging up 0.3 point to 55.9. Only the European Union saw a significant decline in confidence, slipping 3.1 points to 58.5, its lowest score for three years.

Key findings in Africa

Challenging conditions set to remain for the rest of 2016
When asked about expected economic and business conditions affecting their organisation in the next six months, almost one-third (32%) of CEOs predicted conditions would deteriorate, compared to 27% who expected to see an improvement.

Business leaders remain positive about prospects for their own organisation
Despite concerns over the wider economic climate, many business leaders in Africa believed there are opportunities for growth within their own organisation.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of CEOs predicted an increase in sales in the next 12 months, while 13% expected sales to decline. This is an improvement compared with the first quarter of the year, when 61% forecasted an increase.

Thirty percent of CEOs expected to increase workforce over the next year, compared with 15% who anticipated that their workforce would be reduced. Again, this was a slight improvement with first quarter 2016 when 17% predicted a reduction in their workforce.

YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index
The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of July 2016, gathered answers from 2,389 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 162 in Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world.

About YPO
YPO is the premier chief executive leadership organization in the world, representing a global community of leaders committed to the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders through Lifelong Learning and Idea ExchangeTM. YPO today provides more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries with access to extraordinary educational resources, alliances with leading institutions, and specialised networks designed to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit www.ypo.org.

Contact:
YPO 
Linda Fisk
Office: +1 972 629 7305 (United States)
Mobile: +1 972 207 4298 
press@ypo.org

South Africa: Message to White South African Voters – Keep Calm … and Shut Up!

We the South African voters have spoken in the local government election, and we said many different things. Let’s give votes and cities (in part or whole) to the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Let’s give some votes and the municipality where President Jacob Zuma’s homestead of Nkandla is situated to the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

Also, let’s give some votes but no cities to the militant Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and small parcels of votes to many, many others.

We as voters have embraced pluralism and competition. It seems to have come as something of a shock to the leaders of the African National Congress (ANC), for some reason. Perhaps the hefty R1 billion the ANC used for campaigning would be better spent on some decent polling.

We also said, as an electorate, let’s take votes – and cities – away from the ANC. Whether the various parties of the opposition attracted our votes, or the ANC leadership repelled us and our votes through their arrogance and brazen corruption, remains a key research question facing academics and politicians.

For local governments in the country’s wealthiest province of Gauteng, in particular, where delivery has been way above the national average, this is a gloomy question. Where did all that hard work go? Was it simply insufficient for a 21st-century “world-class” set of cities?

Why did national credit downgrading matter so much to everyone, but city upgrading by the same agencies of Johannesburg to AA1 status mattered not a jot?

Bluntly, did the rot from the centre suppurate through to voters who may otherwise have rated the metropole of Johannesburg, its mayor Parks Tau and members of the mayoral committee (MMCs) as working well for us? Did we throw out the Tau with the bathwater, in anger and frustration at his ANC overlords?

This question – of blame, simply put – is likely to be at the heart of post-election ANC manoeuvring. Whether the interests of voters will be taken into account is an open question.

Free and fair and (too) fast

To add hubris to the mess, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was brazen enough to host an end-of-election event, declaring the entire endeavour free and fair. This, even while the vote for the economic and provincial capital, Johannesburg, remained incomplete and subject to dispute in multiple wards. Really?

The audacity of the IEC was breathtaking. It would be rather like the Brexit vote being declared while still counting the London votes.

Twitterati breathlessly told us that the IEC emerged from the election well, with its reputation regained after its own tango with corruption and maladministration. Apparently our appetite for a clean institution is so large and urgent that we are willing to allow such incidents to occur, relieved that at least most of the vote had been free and fair, and the IEC seemed to smell of roses.

Then the young women of the EFF stood in mute protest as Zuma spoke at the IEC election centre after the polls in Pretoria. They reminded us of the rape charge and trial of the president a decade ago (he was acquitted), asking profound questions about the moral basis of leadership – and did so just metres away from Zuma, while he bumbled through the usual pleasantries of a captain watching his ship sinking while trying to keep the passengers calm.

Zuma’s security detail – presumably gobsmacked that these young women completely outmanoeuvred their assumed tactical astuteness and training and little plastic ear wires and big guns – were rather less presidential in their handling of the young women.

Strong men shoving around young women – the tableaux acted out exactly what the women were protesting. The women are university students, doing what students do best – cocking a snoop at authority in pursuit of their beliefs. Setting a rather presidential example, it may be noted.

Since then, the social media landscape has been alight with awkward camera angles, muffled sound and snippets of gossip – did female ANC cabinet ministers really round on one of their own for the lapse in security? Was Zuma heard shouting his anger? Who were the women? Why were they screaming when led away? Did the rest of the EFF contingent know of the protest, as they hastily made for the door, apparently refusing to listen to Zuma?

Snide, rude and arrogant

But perhaps the worst thing to happen is that someone told DA former party leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille she could stop hiding and start tweeting again. Life is tough enough for whiteys without her assuming to insert snide, often rude and arrogant tweets into whatever debate she feels needs her special attention.

Universities have been literally aflame for almost a year, but this did not stop Zille from tweeting to a #feesmustfall group that:

If this woke bunch hate being UCT students so much, pls help them out of their misery and withdraw their funding.

Political writer Richard Poplak has already eviscerated the tweet and the twit who wrote it. Just what we need – stupid, snide, entirely lacking in compassion, suggesting a flatlined learning curve. And unassailably white on the scale of snottiness and lack of empathy.

Not that anyone asked, but if they did I’d say to fellow white voters, “Stay Calm – but (not just you Helen Zille) please shut up!” The massive change we have witnessed; the “new narrative” that has welcomed pluralism and jettisoned the much-peddled factoid of 2014’s national election, that we were all heading to doom, death and decay – or, worse, Zimbabwean basket-case status; these things have not been done by white people, though we may have been part of the change.

Elections are not a racial census

We do not bear “the white man’s [sic] burden” of being the gatekeeper of liberal democracy, even though various commentators over the last 22 years have told us that black people vote blindly for ANC governments – that elections are a racial census.

These supposed political scientists argued for years that the black vote – that key item lying at the heart of the struggle for democracy – was actually the biggest threat to democracy, because the “natives” kept electing ANC governments. If anyone wanted a better example of why the academy needs a dramatic post-colonial overhaul, read 22 years of election analysis, and weep quietly.

But now these have been debunked by us voters. The academics trotting out these tropes have been shown to write utter tosh; and one can only hope that we all accept – and all will accept us – as part of a massive social revolution that began in 1990 and is still taking shape, unravelling from the violence and racism and psychological scarring of the past and moving restlessly into an unknown future.

It cannot do so where whites or blacks silence one another – but it also cannot thrive where black or white claim credit for the victories of democracy.

We – all of us, in our resplendent variety as voters – we did this. Whites did it. Blacks did it. Coloureds did it. Indians did it. Gay and straight, LGBTIAQ+ and staunchly religious conservatives and atheists, surfers and tiddly-winks players, we all did it.

So let’s own it as a collective victory against those who sit in power and disregard us as voting fodder. The only winner in the local elections of 2016 is the only winner that matters – you and I, the South African voter.

Disclosure statement

David Everatt receives funding from the NRF, and accepts students from government departments and elected officials. My school regularly competes and wins NRF grants at individual and School level.

Source: The Conversation

South Africa: Guide Survives Table Mountain Fall

An experienced mountain guide and climber probably has his helmet to thank for escaping major injury after an eight-metre fall on Table Mountain at the weekend.

Ross Suterhad had taken two climbers up African Ledge on Saturday afternoon, before falling and fracturing his arm and injuring his head, according to Wilderness Search and Rescue spokesperson Johann Marais.

The rescue team and a specialist doctor took the cable car up to where he had fallen, and abseiled from it to access and treat him.

He was then hoisted back into the cable car and taken down the mountain.

“It was interesting because he was very calm and matter-of-fact,” his partner Lori Lake told News24 on Monday.

“He phoned me around 5pm and said, ‘I have had a fall, I think I might have broken my arm. I am fine.’ It all felt fine. It was only when seeing the scale of the rescue that it hit home how hectic it was.”

She praised the rescue team for their work and reassuring updates.

Suter’s head was wrapped up in bandages, but he was on his feet and coherent.

He went for an operation on his arm on Monday. A CT scan revealed that his head was fine.

Suter has at least 40 years of mountain experience and holds rock climbing guide and mountain walking guide qualifications.

Lake said she was not yet sure what had led to the fall.

“At some point in any climber’s life there has to be a fall,” she said.

“He’s been climbing all his life. He is incredibly comfortable, careful and patient. He is able to slow down and be there for his clients.”

She said if he had not been wearing a helmet, the outcome of the fall would have been very different.

An outdoors man at heart, Suter was likely to feel very frustrated in the weeks of recovery ahead.

“One of his hobbies is photographing flowers and orchid season is coming up. That might be how he works his way through this,” said Lake.

Source: News24Wire.

South Africa: ‘Women Must Be Prioritised’ – Maimane

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has paid tribute to the DA’s past female leaders at a DA “thank you” rally in Pretoria’s Freedom Park on Women’s Day, even as the only women on stage were young women in short skirts who formed part of the marching parade.

Former party leader Helen Zille was said to have been in attendance, but the speakers – North Gauteng regional chairperson Fred Nel, Gauteng leader John Moodey, DA leader Mmusi Maimane and the party’s Tshwane mayoral candidate Solly Msimang – were all men.

“Our women have done us proud,” Maimane said.

“Whether it be on the sports field or in the corporate field, or politics, I celebrate that. Even here in our party… we are not saying we are looking for a woman leader. We see the women leadership rising up everywhere, including people like Helen Zille, Helen Suzman. They are women who were in leadership and who took our organisation to where it is today.”

Struggle

The “thank you” rally came after the DA got a majority of the votes in the Tshwane metro during last week’s local government elections, Maimane said the struggle “in many ways were led by our mothers and sisters” who marched to the Union Buildings to fight for equal rights in 1956.

But he said there still remained a lot to fight for.

“The struggle is far from done because the face of poverty is still female. And while the face of poverty is still female we must continue to fight, until our mothers and our sisters live in safe communities, in places of prosperity, until freedom is freedom for all.

“It is our sisters who make this country so beautiful,” he said.

“We can’t just say happy Women’s Day while so many women are being raped, while so many women still face poverty.

“And I want to say this to everyone today. You don’t have to be a woman to fight for women, you just have to be a South African committed to a prosperous and peaceful and safe SA for all.”

He said Women’s Day could not just be a simple public holiday.

“It must be a day on which we remember the economic struggle for all, and more specifically women.”

Safety

Maimane also said the safety of women in South Africa remained of deep concern and those who raped women, “you are not going to do it in my name, and I want us to be crystal clear, your place is jail”.

“As a nation we need to fight for the rights and equality of women in our society – whether in communities, the private sector or the public sector.”

He said that during the party’s campaign to govern municipalities, they had called for change to ensure that communities were better places for all, by prioritising job creation, service delivery and eliminating corruption.

“With 39% (almost 6% higher than men and almost 4% higher than the national average) of women facing joblessness, it is clear that in our project of building an inclusive economy, women must be prioritised,” added Maimane.

Following the party’s electoral congress last year, where Zille stepped down, the number of women in its top leadership has dropped, with only two out of the eight national leaders – deputy federal chairpersons Desiree van der Walt and Refiloe Ntsekhe – being women.

Source: News24Wire.

Africa: Envoy Reassures On China-Africa Cooperation

China remains committed to programmes announced in December 2015, at the Johannesburg summit on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Pan Hejun, the Chinese ambassador to Rwanda said this while briefing journalists about the recent Coordinators’ Meeting of the FOCAC which took place in Beijing in July.

In Johannesburg, China announced 10 initiatives, specifically identified for cooperation over the next three years.

The areas include industrialisation, infrastructure, green development, agricultural modernisation, finance, trade and investment facilitation, poverty eradication and people’s wellbeing.

Others are public health, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and peace and security.

The Beijing Coordinators’ Meeting discussed the implementation of follow-up actions of the FOCAC summit.

Speaking to journalists yesterday in Kigali, Amb. Pan said Rwanda is already benefitting from FOCAC initiatives and is on the right track for more.

“Rwanda is already benefitting from FOCAC,” he said.

“Two documents have already been signed between the governments of Rwanda and China, one for constructing 54km roads in Kigali and the other for expansion of the Masaka Hospital. You can see that Rwanda is already getting its share and in years to come, more will be agreed upon and implemented,” he said.

According to available documents, the Masaka Hospital expansion project covers an area of 36000square metres.

This includes outpatient department, emergency department, medical and technology department, hospitalisation and partial modification of existing building.

The Kigali urban road upgrading project will see the construction and upgrading of 54.56km of urban roads in the city of Kigali.

In this project, nine roads located on the trunk roads of the city of Kigali will be rebuilt to improve the urban road network.

The roads will be internally connected to Kigali International Airport, central business district, and a long distance bus station and stadium.

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion in financial support to Africa toward the various initiatives.

Amb. Pan said the cooperation will not only include inter governmental partnerships but also involve partnerships between local and Chinese entrepreneurs and businesses to provide material inputs, technology, production know-how, investment capital, and training.

At the coordinators meeting in Beijing he said, out of the 61 cooperation agreements signed, only 20 were intergovernmental economic and trade cooperation deals signed between Chinese government and relevant African countries.

According to draft statistics, over the past seven months after the conclusion of the summit, China and Africa have signed 243 agreements of various kinds involving a total of $50.1 billion.

The volume of direct investments and commercial loans from Chinese enterprises to Africa reached over $46 billion accounting for more than 91 percent of the total amount.

FOCAC was launched in 2000 in Beijing as a tri annual collective dialogue platform for cooperation between Africa and China.

The 2nd Africa-China Cooperation Forum Summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa was held under the theme “China-Africa Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development.”

Source: The New Times.