Posted in Uncategorized

Global Cocoa Sector Meets in Côte d’Ivoire to Explore New Directions for Sustainability Efforts

$12 Million Regional Initiative Announced by Industry & U.S. Government First CocoaAction Annual Report Released ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, Oct. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 500 representatives of the global chocolate and cocoa sector, including farmers, have gathered in Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa, to address critical sustainability issues confronting the crop, which is […]

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Posted in Uncategorized

Le Secteur Mondial du Cacao se Rencontre en Côte d’Ivoire Pour Explorer de nouvelles Orientations pour les Efforts de Durabilité

Une Initiative Régionale d’un montant de 12 Million $ annoncée par l’Industrie et le Gouvernement Américain Sortie du Premier Rapport Annuel de CocoaAction ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 26 Octobre 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Près de 500 représentants au niveau mondial du secteur du chocolat et du cacao, y compris des producteurs, se sont réunis en Côte d’Ivoire, […]

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Posted in Human Rights

Prosecuting Authority on seizure of house of former Independent Development Trust employee

State employee’s house seizedOn 6 October 2016 a former employee of the Independent Development Trust (the IDT), Martha Baloyi, appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, Pretoria on charges of fraud. She was released on bail and the…

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Posted in Buying & Selling

SA’s net exports on the rise

Cape Town � South Africa’s net exports and the current account exports grew by 3% in the second quarter of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

According to National Treasury’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), the increase was supported by manufacturing and mining exports, particularly platinum group metals.

The first half of the year saw a 2% decline in the share of exports to African markets compared with the same period in 2015, reflecting weaker economic conditions in the region.

In recent years, despite the large and sustained depreciation in the value of the rand, South Africa has not experienced strong export growth.

Since 2010, the real effective exchange rate has depreciated by 20.9%.

Yet the main factor in export growth is global demand, which has been moderate, National Treasury said.

National Treasury said the one-percentage-point increase in global demand could add as much as 0.3% to medium-term growth.

Soft domestic demand was reflected in the decreased volume of imports, which fell by 3.1% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2015.

Notable exceptions included vegetable products, oils and fats, where increases of between 43% and 60% reflected the effects of the drought.

Over the medium term, improved domestic demand should support import growth, but the weaker currency will limit the expansion of volumes.

National Treasury said imports are expected to contract in the current year and grow by 2.7% in 2017.

Current account narrows

The current account deficit narrowed in the second quarter as net exports increased and the trade account recorded a surplus, despite some weakening of the terms of trade.

The deficit was funded through an increase in net portfolio investment, mainly into government bonds, and a rise in net foreign direct investment.

Over the next three years, the current account deficit is expected to average 3.9%, down from an average of 5.2% between 2013 and 2015.

The forecast does not project any major gains in the terms of trade.

South Africa’s competitiveness improves

National Treasury said South Africa’s position in the Global Competitiveness Index improved by six spots to 47 out of 138 in the past three years.

The country is the second-most competitive in sub-Saharan Africa, after Mauritius, which is ranked at position 45.

South Africa maintains its regional leadership in financial markets, technological readiness, innovation and business sophistication, supporting competitiveness.

South Africa’s rankings for ease of access to loans, enhanced local competition and better use of talent in terms of how pay reflects productivity have improved significantly.

There were notable declines in several institutional categories, including public trust in politicians (down 11 spots to 109), favouritism in decisions of government officials (down 10 to 115) and reliability of police services (down 13 to 115).

In addition, South Africa scores poorly in labour-employer relations (138), hiring and firing practices (135) and flexibility in wage determination (135).

Source: South African Government News Agency

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Posted in General

Minister Nathi Mthethwa: South African exhibition at the British Museum

Speech by Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the British Museum, London, United Kingdom

Let me begin by commending the British Museum for taking on what must have a been a challenging task, with much thought, deliberation and careful consideration.

An exhibition of this extensive nature that sweeps through 100, 000 years of art and takes on these huge epochs of time can only begin with a vision and a dream. It is the dream of many people – not unlike the dream of the Mantis in South African folklore.

The Xam people tell the story that the Mantis, a powerful figure in this folklore, a legend in his own right, once had a dream. It was a beautiful dream. Every night the Mantis had the same dream. But in the morning the dream was gone. And all he wanted was for the dream to come true. Day after day he waited. But nothing happened. He decided to embark upon a different strategy. He went around asking everyone he met to dream the same dream that he dreamt.

That night everyone went to sleep and dreamt the same dream. The next morning, much to everyone’s surprise, the dream had come true. This brings us to the realisation that a dream cannot be dreamt by one person alone, but a dream must be dreamt by all people.

In some ways this is also the story of the Southern African people, an ancient people, far older than any other on the earth.

San cosmology suggests that this cultural system was one of embracing the sky and the underworld, the camp and hunting grounds. All connected to the central thrust and power of water. The rock paintings in caves and shelters across Southern Africa demonstrate the intricate worldviews of South Africa’s earliest people.

This is only one example of the multi-faceted and nuanced narratives of a country and continent whose human activity has spanned many millennia. Historians assert that South African clans and kinship groups were in the final throes of nation-building as the region became ravaged by colonial plunder and advancement, and the entrenchment of colonialism, segregation and apartheid.

The South African story is a story where victory only emerged where people worked together as a movement to overthrow their oppressors and to declare the triumph of freedom and democracy over servitude.

The difficulties of telling this expansive story should be acknowledged as it starts with archaeological records, prehistory, precolonial and colonial periods, as well as covering the art of the country in transition, the advent of democracy up until the present.

Clearly African art captures a sense of people, space and time, long before recorded history.

The shell beads fashioned for a necklace that have been recovered in the Blombos cave in the furthest reach of the southern peninsula of South Africa dating back to 75 000 years ago is one such example.

Highlights of the exhibition must include the golden artefacts from Mapungubwe, a kingdom that flourished 800 years ago, and the much revered Golden Rhino in particular that takes pride of place in South African history and culture.

Museums as curators of the memory of society.

The exhibition demonstrates that art has the ability to transport us to a different time and place and that museums are truly curators of the memory and consciousness of society. It allows us to gain historical perspective and understanding and appreciate different periods in history and their impact and significance in our world.

Artists create a visual record and interpretation of life experiences – commemorating the memorable and asserting freedom through challenging social injustices, such as slavery and abuse.

Art acts within the context of its own time, yet can transcend the parameters of the present by seeking deeper truths and being forward-looking.

Museums are also a significant factor in attracting visitors to an area and can therefore be instrumental in boosting local economies.

Kevin Spacey, in a recent speech at the Old Vic, makes the profound point that: We can do better by recognising how much our cultural life contributes to the health of communities across our nation and, indeed, around the world. Those who enjoy culture should be more aware of the financial contribution arts institutions make to their communities.

He continues to say that,

Relationships between business and the arts offer a real chance to achieve financial success � not only for each other, but also to generate income for the hotels, restaurants and countless other businesses that populate the neighbourhoods where cultural centres operate. I for one do not want to see another regeneration plan that does not have arts and culture at the heart of its offer. Without it, we are not building rounded communities, but ignoring the fabric and soul of society.

Closer to our home, our beloved Madiba, speaking of the importance of the arts in general and language in particular, said that:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

I believe that this exhibition will go a long way in showing how art can bring people closer and make of us one world.

Programme director, let us use the power we have at our disposal to extend the South African dream of equality, non-racialism and non-sexism, to make the world a better place for humanity, a place where future generations will not know what war is, a place where poverty will only exist as part of historical records that indicate a passing phase in human history.

It is within our power, let us put a shoulder to the wheel.

The dream of the Mantis is also our dream.

It is a dream that must have inspired the sponsors of this exhibition, Betsy and Jack Ryan, whom we thank profusely, as well as the Director, Hartwig Fischer, and curators of this museum, the artists, the logistics teams and representatives of museums and agencies in South Africa.

You have all worked together meticulously for making this dream exhibition of South Africa: the art of a nation come true!

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

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