Daily Archives: March 28, 2017

SA still a favourite with international tourists

Pretoria � South Africa has once again proved to be a firm favourite among international tourists as the sector in January recorded an increase in the number of visitors compared with the same month a year ago.

Figures released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Monday show that overseas tourist numbers rose from 14% to 245 074 in January 2017, compared with January 2016.

Visitors from France (34.1%), Sweden (28.6%) and China (28.3%) contributed to the rise.

Tourism contributes about 9% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and was allocated an extra R494 million in the 2017 Budget to help the sector grow.

In March 2016, there were 1 435 879 foreign arrivals to South Africa. In January 2015, visitor numbers fell 6.8%, with many citing the introduction of the new visa regulations as the reason for the dip. Home Affairs introduced the regulations in an effort to curb child trafficking.

After strong objection from the tourism industry, Home Affairs relaxed some of the regulations in February 2016.

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has welcomed the growth in tourist numbers, saying it was a positive start to 2017.

According to the Department of Tourism, during the first months of 2016, up to R39.3 billion in foreign direct spend was achieved in South Africa.

Source: South African Government News Agency

SA to promote Special Economic Zones in China

Pretoria – South Africa will embark on a roadshow in China to attract investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the Bank of China on Monday.

Speaking following the signing ceremony in Johannesburg, Minister Davies said the move would bear immediate results when the roadshow to promote SEZs kicks off in May.

Through the MoU on strategic cooperation, the dti and the Bank of China have agreed to cooperate on issues of investment promotion and facilitation, trade promotion and projects support.

The bank will also mobilise international and domestic resources to promote investments for South Africa in its capacity as a commercial bank.

I am pleased that there are already plans to move speedily in implementing the MoU, as there are arrangements in place for the Special Economic Zones investment roadshow that will take place in China in early May.

The main purpose of the roadshow is to promote our SEZs in China and showcase the opportunities that are available there, with the view of attracting more investment in the SEZs, said Minister Davies.

Minister Davies said China was not only South Africa’s largest trading partner but it has also emerged in recent years as a significant investor in both infrastructure and industrial projects in South Africa.

China’s investments in South Africa are important particular to the dti as they boost the department’s efforts to industrialise the country. Financial institutions like the Bank of China play a very critical role in the facilitation investment projects in the country.

We are optimistic that the MoU will strengthen cooperation between SA and China in a number of areas, including trade missions, joint marketing activities, investment and industrial finance, said the Minister.

The MoU was signed by the Director-General of the dti, Lionel October, and the General Manager of the Financial Solutions Department at the Bank of China, Ren Li.

SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country set aside for specifically targeted economic activities, supported through special arrangements (that may include laws) and systems that are often different from those that apply in the rest of the country.

The dti’s 2014/15 – 2016/17 Industrial Policy Action Plan identifies SEZs as key contributors to economic development. They are growth engines towards government’s strategic objectives of industrialisation, regional development and employment creation.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Somaliland Hospital Cares for Malnourished From Drought

ERIGAVO, SOMALILAND � As the breakaway republic of Somaliland grapples with a severe drought, medical workers are struggling to aid people left weakened by malnourishment and hunger.

A 70-year-old hospital in Erigavo, the capital of the Sanaag region, is operating beyond full capacity to treat people affected by the drought. And it’s the only hospital in the region.

The drought has left tens of thousands of children acutely malnourished. In desperate need of treatment, they are checked as they lie on the beds in this stabilization center ward.

Ismail Saleban Bowkah, the hospital’s director, said most of the children admitted for care come from rural areas.

“The drought forced most pastoralists to move from one area into another.Some came to the cities. But most of the malnourished children admitted here, are from the rural area,” Bowkah said.

Aydarus Salah, a 14-month-old boy, weighed just over six kilograms (13 pounds) when he was brought to the hospital from the Darar IDP camp. His mother, fighting back tears, said her son was suffering from severe diarrhea and malnutrition.

Dr. Abdishakur Saleban Warsame said Aydarus is improving and now weighs 7.2 kg (15.8 pounds).

“He was very weak when he was referred here. His weight and height were too low, we put him in the stabilization center as he was in the severely malnourished cafeteria,” Warsame said. “The initial phase, he could not take the feeding or the milk, so we inserted the NG tube to increase his feeding, now he still has the NG tube.”

Medical officials said some families in the drought-stricken area cannot afford to bring their children to local medical centers. But doctors encourage parents to make the trip if they can.

“In rural areas, sometimes families with malnourished children are not able to bring them to hospitals,” Bowkah said. “So, for example, if a mother has 10 kids, and five of them are malnourished, we beg her to bring the sick children to a hospital.”

The United Nations has said more than 6 million people across Somalia and Somaliland are in need of help due to the extended drought, which shows no signs of ending.

Source: Voice of America

Minister Thulas Nxesi leads small harbours and state of coastal properties development discussions, 29 Mar

The Department of Public Works, which is responsible for proclaimed small harbours in the country, is starting a consultation process with a number of municipalities across the country as part of its Small Harbours and state coastal properties development programme.

The meeting which aims to rejuvenate the local economy through small harbours will be held in East London, in the Eastern Cape.

Minister TW Nxesi will be addressing the representatives from the municipalities, potential investors and other stakeholders at a gala dinner.

The meeting aims to ensure that all role players are consulted and informed of the work to be completed as well as to engage on possible areas of partnership with various South African Stakeholders both private and within government.

The discussions will include training and skills development, economic and infrastructure development, harbour and coastline security and employment.

You are cordially invited to attend the gala, where you will be able to interact with Minister Nxesi and other senior managers of the department.

Source: Government of South Africa


JOHANNESBURG– South Africa’s business sector has urged President Jacob Zuma to swiftly provide more clarity on his decision to recall Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan from his international investment promotion to Britain and the United States just as it was about to get underway with the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry saying the move has created uncertainty in the markets.

Gordhan is expected back in the country on Tuesday morning after being instructed by President Zuma to return home. An investment promotion aimed at addressing international investors in London, Boston and New York this week has now been officially called-off. Business and labour representatives were also taking part in the roadshow.

The Treasury has confirmed that the minister and his team will comply with the President’s order to halt their investor roadshows. Following a directive from the President of South Africa, the Finance Minister and (Treasury) Director-General are preparing to return to South Africa from the United Kingdom and are expected tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Deputy Minister (Mcebisi Jonas) will no longer leave tonight in line with the directive, Treasury spokesperson Yolisa Tyantsi said Monday.

The Presidency gave no reasons for instructing Gordhan to cancel the road show. Organized business is concerned that this will deter the much needed investment in the economy. South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Allan Mukoki wants President Zuma to pronounce on his plans as soon as possible.

It is a matter of concern for us. We don’t understand. The Presidency needs to communicate a little bit more. An area such as the speculation in the media on the Finance Minister and his deputy causes a lot of instability in the financial markets and level of uncertainty that we don’t need at this point in time.

The news saw the rand shedding more than 2,0 per cent on the day. There is growing speculation that President Zuma is on the verge of a Cabinet reshuffle, which will see Gordhan replaced.

At the same time, Gupta family-owned Sahara Computers filed papers in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday demanding that Gordhan present himself in the court hearing on Monday.

The Deputy Chairperson of Business Leadership South Africa, Bonang Mohale, said the cancellation of the roadshow is a lost opportunity. The reason for roadshows with the Minister of Finance and Deputy Minister accompanied by labour and business is to demonstrate to ourselves and rest of the world that we are of the same intent.

The country averted a credit ratings downgrade into junk status last year, partly due to convincing sessions with investors during roadshows. — NNN-SABC