Monthly Archives: April 2017

AFRICA VAN BOOST ITS GDP BY BRIDGING INFRASTRUCTURE GAP, WORLD BANK SAYS

ACCRA, Africa can greatly increase its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) if it is able to bridge the huge infrastructure gap in sectors of its economy, says the World Bank in its latest Africa Pulse report.

The 15th edition of the semi-annual analysis of growth in sub-Saharan Africa, released ahead of the Spring meetings of the Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C. from Friday to Sunday, says that closing the infrastructure gap which still persists in sub-Saharan Africa holds tremendous potential for increased growth.

Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report, still lags behind other developing regions in virtually all dimensions of infrastructure performance, although trends vary across key sectors. The energy sector and road and railroad densities are among the worst performing sectors.

Although access to electricity has more than doubled during the period 1990 to 2014, only 35 per cent of the population has access to electricity. Road density also declined during 1990 to 2011.

By contrast, telecommunications infrastructure has improved dramatically; the number of fixed and mobile phone lines per 1,000 people increased from three in 1990 to 736 in 2014, and the number of Internet users per 100 people increased from 1.3 in 2005 to 16.7 in 2015.

Albert Zeufack, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, says the gains made in telecommunications infrastructure have come on the back of technology, high political will and the right kind of regulatory reforms. It is important for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to look at how to replicate this success in other sectors.

Africa’s GDP growth will increase by 1.7 per cent per year if it is able to catch up to the median of the rest of the developing world and 2.6 per cent per year if it is able to close the infrastructure gap relative to the best performers. Closing the gap in electricity generation in Africa alone would put sub-Saharan Africa on its way to catching up with the rest of the developing world.

African governments need to enter into more public private partnerships (PPPs) to ensure that Africa catches up with the world.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Nigerian Anti-graft Activists Want Further Action From Buhari

Anti-corruption activists in Nigeria say the president’s suspension of two top officials is only a first step and must be followed up with more action.

On Wednesday, Buhari suspended national intelligence agency chief Ayo Oke, who was linked to more than $40 million found in an empty Lagos apartment, and the secretary of his government, David Babachir Lawal, who allegedly collected money on a phony contract.

Abdulkarim Dayyabu is chairman of the Movement for Justice in Nigeria, a non-governmental organization. He says the suspensions are overdue.

“This should have been done a long time ago,” Dayyabu told VOA’s Hausa Service on Thursday. “Someone like Buhari ought to take immediate measures against any official accused of corruption; he should not wait for too long.

Abdulmajid Dan Bilki Kwamanda is a member of the ruling APC coalition who recommends the president move against other aides.

Buhari is finally fighting corruption from within. He must continue to look inwards and confront his senior officials who are accused of corruption head-on,” he said.

Another activist, Naja’atu Mohammed, is skeptical that the suspended officials will be held accountable, saying the administration shielded Lawal previously when senators accused him of corruption.

We are looking for results,” she told VOA.

There have been calls, including one from Nigeria’s Senate, for the removal of Lawal over his alleged complicity in the mismanagement of funds meant for a presidential initiative on northeastern Nigeria

Rholavision Engineering, a company owned by Lawal, received payments of about $500,000 from a contract he awarded for the clearing of invasive plant species in Yobe state.

Oke, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), is embroiled in the discovery of $43 million in cash by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

So far, no one has claimed ownership of the money, which was in both local and foreign currencies.

Ownership of the apartment complex in which the funds were found, Osborne Towers Lagos, is still unclear, but the building is occupied by many powerful Nigerians including the former chairman of the opposition party, Ahmadu Muazu, whose PDP ruled Nigeria for years under former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Government spokesman Femi Adesina said the government has launched an investigation into the funds.

Another presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, told VOA’s Umar Farouk Musa in Abuja that Buhari has given two probe panels, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, two weeks to investigate and submit their findings.

The suspensions follow recent discoveries of large amounts of money by the EFCC in strange places, including homes of senior government officials.

Last month, the EFCC found about $1.25 million abandoned in large bags at the Kaduna airport.

Earlier, nearly $10 million was seized from the home of a former head of Nigeria’s National Petroleum Company, NNPC, in the northern state of Kaduna.

The EFCC also uncovered yet another unclaimed $1 million in two shops at a shopping mall in Victoria Island, Lagos.

A new government initiative to reward whistleblowers is encouraging many Nigerians to reveal the secret locations of money stashed away by corrupt officials. The EFCC, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, has offered to give up to 5 percent of amounts recovered to the informants, whose identities it protects.

Source: Voice of America

Condolences for Philip Kgosana

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has extended his heartfelt condolences on the passing of Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) stalwart, freedom fighter and former Tshwane Metropolitan councillor, Philip Ata Kgosana.

The Presidency on Thursday said Kgosana led more than 30 000 anti-Pass Laws protestors from Langa, Cape Town, in a march to the apartheid Parliament in the 1960s.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of this former freedom fighter, who dedicated his life to the liberation of the people of South Africa.

We wish to convey our deepest condolences to the Kgosana family and his political home, the Pan Africanist Congress. May his soul rest in peace, said President Zuma.

Kgosana was born in 1936 in Makapanstad in the then northern Transvaal. He graduated from Lady Selborne High School in Pretoria in 1958 and was awarded a bursary to study commerce at the University of Cape Town. In January 1960, when he became regional secretary of the PAC for the Western Cape, he dropped his studies to do full-time political work.

When the PAC regional chairperson was arrested on the eve of the Anti-pass Campaign in March 1960, 23-year-old Kgosana inherited local leadership of the organisation.

He emerged as the spokesperson for 30 000 African demonstrators, who marched into the centre of Cape Town on 30 March 1960. In return for a promise that leaders would be given an interview with the Minister of Justice, Kgosana persuaded the crowd to disperse. Instead of honouring their promise, police arrested him later the same day.

Tried for incitement with other PAC leaders, he fled South Africa while on bail in late 1960 and later resumed his university studies in Ethiopia.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Government, private sector partner to grow economy

Randfontein � The Gauteng Provincial Government is working with the private sector in an effort to inclusively grow the economy and create jobs, says Premier David Makhura.

As government embarks on the sixth National Imbizo Focus Week of the current administration, Premier Makhura on Thursday visited the manufacturing and beverage industries in the West Rand.

Premier Makhura said the mining sector in the area is not growing, which meant that the West Rand needed to diversify in order to get other sectors of the economy such as manufacturing and tourism to stimulate growth in the local economy.

Government has committed to developing a new city, improving the road infrastructure as well as investing in bulk infrastructure which include sewer, water and energy in the West Rand.

We are also making available land that government controls for industrial development to get the West Rand economy out of over reliance on the mining sector, which has been seeing a decline. Mining is not growing – we have to diversify this West Rand economy, Premier Makhura said.

Earlier this year, mining houses agreed to make land available for the development of West Rand.

What we are doing in the West Rand we are also doing this in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and in the Vaal but each area has its uniqueness and we are capitalising on those different sectors of the economy.

As we address black economic empowerment, we must give opportunities to women and the youth. This is part of our policies to drive the National Development Plan in action, Premier Makhura said.

He was speaking at Busmark in Randfontein, where he was accompanied by Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and Finance MEC Barbara Creecy on a tour of the manufacturing plant.

Busmark is a South African company which manufactures buses, steel components and fibre glass.

At the West Rand manufacturing plant, Busmark employs about 1400 people.

Busmark Chief Executive Officer Patuxolo Nodada said his company wants to build the West City Commercial Hub. A feasibility study in this regard has been done in partnership with the provincial government and the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).

The proposals of the West City Commercial Hub include an industrial park, an airport and a logistics hub.

If we work together we can develop a new city in this region, which we will call West City. This is one of the key things that we want to drive and then we will grow the economy of this region, Nodada said.

The industrial park will create a demand for building houses as well as other industries such as retail sectors.

Nodada has been advised by the Department of Trade and Industry to get the area to be declared as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The department further committed to contribute 50% towards the infrastructure.

Premier Makhura has instructed government officials who were at present at the event to assist Busmark with applying for an SEZ.

As part of his visit on Thursday, the Premier also conducted a site visit to a Shoe Factory Cooperative, Chemical Incubator Training Centre as well as the SAB Brewery and Depot Tour.

The event formed part of Imbizo Focus Week, which is themed ‘Together we move South Africa forward: Our future � make it work’. It seeks to promote public participation and ensures that voices and perspectives of communities are heard.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said: Government remains committed to have constructive dialogues with citizens. Community members are encouraged to take part in these izimbizo and participate in dialogues and engagements.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson: Address during clean-up campaign and hand over of waste trolleys

Deputy Minister Ms Barbara Thomson’s speech during the clean-up campaign and hand over of waste trolleys at Mooiriver, Mpofana Local Municipality

Programme Director, you will recall that President Zuma in his address to the nation declared 2017 as the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo. It is because this year marks the centenary of the birth of the late President and National Chairperson of the ANC, an international icon and hero of our liberation struggle.

Tambo’s virtues and legacy has helped to shape the society we now enjoy. His qualities and values found expression in our constitution which we also celebrate this year in its 20th year of existence and which contain the promise of a united, prosperous, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic country, a vision passionately pursued by ORT.

Our constitution is the product of a long and bitter struggle. It is the supreme law of our land and people’s contract to heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and human rights.

One of the fundamental human rights contained in the Constitution is the right to a clean environment. Oliver Tambo would no doubt have endorsed the view that environmental policies and laws must ensure that no group or community is made to bear a disproportionate share of the harmful effects of pollution or environmental hazards because it lacks economic or political influence.

The Department of Environmental Affairs is mandated to pursue the implementation of this fundamental human right. As the department will lead the struggle to create a clean environment but we will need the active support of communities if we are to defeat the harmful effects of pollution and other environmental hazards. Communities must be willing to do their bit if we are to achieve our objective of a clean and healthy environment as a lasting legacy of that which OR Tambo believed in.

I want to challenge you, as we gather here to revive that sense of community responsibility epitomised by OR Tambo and join in a collective effort to clean up your local municipality. The leadership of your municipality is concerned over the negative impact, which a dirty environment has on you as a community, which is why they have decided to join hands with the Department of Environmental Affairs in this cleanup initiative.

Programme Director, everyone has a responsibility to protect our environment and initiatives such as this cleanup campaign is an important tool to sensitise the local community on the sustainable benefits of cleaning and taking care of the environment.

Cleaning up the environment does not only create a more pleasant place to live and work in, but also creates a good impression on prospective employers, investors and tourist who may visit our municipality. A clean environment will also make us feel good about ourselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know a dirty environment arises mostly from poor general waste management.

We live at a time and in a society that produces more trash than any other to date. Many retail and food items are packaged in an unnecessary amount of paper and plastic. While these types of packaging may be designed to protect the product or help the product to maintain a longer shelf life, it produces a significant amount of waste.

According to the last study conducted on waste generation in South Africa (in 2011) South Africans generated approximately 108 million tons of waste. To give u a sense of the enormous amount of waste we generate, 108 million tons is roughly equivalent to the combined weight of 10 million double deck buses.

More worryingly is the fact that 98 million tons of waste was disposed of at landfill sites. This means that only 10% of all waste generated in South Africa in 2011 was recycled. Given the high costs of building new landfill sites and the scarcity of available land for landfill sites close to urban areas, it is clear that we need to focus more and more on alternative waste disposal mechanisms such as recycling.

Recycling has enormous economic potential. Conservative estimates put the financial value of the formal South African waste sector at R15 billion. It is time that we wake up to this economic potential of recycling.

Recycling offers job creation opportunities with the potential to reduce unemployment and poverty. I therefore want to call on our local businesses and entrepreneurs to explore the economic opportunities provided through waste recycling and involve our youth and women in such interventions as they are most affected by unemployment and poverty.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no better time to seize the economic opportunities provided by the waste sector than now. We have entered an era where the focus of our ANC-led government is on radical economic transformation.

In essence this means transforming the structure of the economy through industrialisation, broad-based black economic empowerment and through strengthening and expanding the role of the state in the economy.

It means overturning the economic status quo, which continues to be characterised by economic disempowerment of the majority of black people and the shockingly huge disparities in annual average household incomes between white and black households.

Going forward this situation cannot be tolerated any further. As government we must and will utilise to the maximum the strategic levers that are available to the state. This includes legislation, regulations, licensing, budget and procurement to nudge the private sector in the direction of transformation that benefits all South Africans, the majority of whom are black and female.

As participants in the waste sector you must position yourselves so as to take advantage of the new economic opportunities. You must dream big because government, through its radical economic transformation agenda is creating the environment for you to grow from being a waste picker to a black industrialist.

This surely is the vision that OR Tambo had for our country and the time has arrived for us to make OR Tambo’s vision a concrete reality.

I thank you

Source: Government of South Africa