Daily Archives: November 2, 2016

SANY étale toute la puissance de la fabrication chinoise avec le projet ferroviaire Addis-Abeba-Djibouti

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopie, 1 novembre 2016 /PRNewswire/ — La première ligne de chemins de fer électrifiée moderne en Afrique, Addis-Abeba-Djibouti Railway, est ouverte au trafic depuis le 5 octobre dernier. Le géant de la construction SANY Heavy Industry a pris part à cet immense projet. Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161101/434683 Au total, 43 ensembles d’engins SANY ont […]

Minister Siyabonga Cwele hosts send-off cocktail function for students who are going to China for ICT Training, 3 Nov

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr. Siyabonga Cwele to host a send-off cocktail function for the first 10 students who are going to China for ICT Training in ChinaThe Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabon...

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: Bi-National Commission between South Africa and Zimbabwe

Opening Remarks by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa, on the occasion of the 1st Session of the Bi-National Commission between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimba...

Pension Fund report shows growth in 20 years

Pretoria - In the 20 years of its existence, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has shown steady growth and a sustainable investment strategy.

In its annual report released on Wednesday, the GEPF said in addition to steady growth, the fund has seen continued dedication and service to its members and pensioners.

The 20-year anniversary marks an important milestone for the GEPF as we look back on our legacy and accomplishments, said Principal Executive Officer Abel Sithole.

In the financial year 2015/16, the assets of the fund grew to over R1.6 trillion. The GEPF achieved an overall investment performance return of 4% during this time. This enabled the board to grant a pension increase of 5.3%, which was above 100% of the consumer price index (CPI) of 4.8%, as at November 2015. This is higher than the 75% increase recommended by the rules of the fund.

The GEPF's investment strategy uses a liability-driven approach that takes into consideration expected future benefit payments, the actuarial position, and other long-term objectives, as well as the risk to the overall solvency of the fund, said Sithole.

The GEPF was established in 1996 when various public sector pension funds were amalgamated into one fund. In that year, the GEPF started out with assets under management of R127 billion, which has since increased to more than R1.6 trillion.

The GEPF is currently the single largest investor in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies, with significant holdings in government bonds, listed equity, money markets, as well as investments in unlisted equity and property.

Accumulated assets have grown at an average rate of 12.09% over the past 10 years. This growth has been in tandem with an improvement in the GEPF's funding level, an increase from 72% in 1996 to 100% in 2014 (according to the actuarial valuation of 31 March 2014).

The GEPF is proud of this achievement as it is currently one of very few large defined benefit pension funds in the world which is 100% funded after the 2008/2009 financial crisis. This reflects the Fund's robust investment strategy and its ability to adapt to dynamic and turbulent market forces.

The total membership of the GEPF now stands at 1 693 078, consisting of 1 269 948 members who are still in service and 423 130 pensioners and beneficiaries.

The good news is that the benefits paid decreased by R3 billion in the current year, mainly due to a decrease in resignations from the fund. Looking back at the achievements of the last 20 years, the GEPF will continue to ensure the financial security and strive for superior levels of service for its pensioners and members.

It will be a catalyst for change in terms of securing investment opportunities locally, regionally, and globally to meet its pension liabilities, said Sithole. �

Source: South African Government News Agency

Wars and Dogs Complicate WHO’s Bid to Kill Off Guinea Worm

GENEVA � The World Health Organization's battle to eradicate Guinea worm is being hampered by conflict and infections in dogs but cases have fallen to just 17 so far in 2016, the doctor leading the fight told Reuters on Wednesday.

The debilitating parasite afflicted 3.5 million people 30 years ago, but is now endemic in only four countries: South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia and Mali.

"Globally, we have never been so close to Guinea worm eradication as now," Dieudonne Sankara said. "It will be a colossal achievement."

Victory over the worm, which grows up to a meter long before emerging through the skin and which lays its eggs in water, has been repeatedly delayed. But Mali has had no cases this year, while South Sudan has had five, Ethiopia two and Chad 10.

Although the decline in the global number of cases has leveled off, one worm can cause 80 new cases after its incubation period of 10-14 months, so keeping cases low signals the battle is being won.

But the security situation in the endemic countries is a complicating factor, as health workers and volunteers often venture hundreds of kilometers into lawless areas, said Ashok Moloo, a WHO information officer.

Another challenge was the discovery that dogs � mainly around the Chari river in Chad, but also in the other countries � were picking up Guinea worm infections, too.

That required a new fight, to control the disease among the dog population. In 2015, more than 500 dogs in Chad, 13 in Ethiopia, and one each in Mali and South Sudan, were reported with emerging Guinea worms.

Moloo said WHO was optimistic that the dog problem had peaked, although the incubation period meant it was premature to be sure, and the new challenges were unexpected.

"People warned us a few years ago: 'You're moving fast, but you will see,'" Sankara said. "And now we are seeing."

Source: Voice of America