Daily Archives: September 8, 2017

Former President Barack Obama to Join Bill and Melinda Gates and Other Leaders at Goalkeepers Event in New York

Inaugural Gates Foundation Events to Highlight Progress Against Global Poverty and Disease, Showcase Innovative Solutions to Advance the Global Goals

SEATTLE, Sept. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Former President Barack Obama will join Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at the inaugural Goalkeepers Event on Sept. 20 in New York City to celebrate progress toward eliminating disease and poverty around the world, and inspire a new generation of advocates to work on behalf of these causes.

The 44th president of the United States and Bill and Melinda Gates will be joined by activist Malala Yousafzai, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, and others to be announced soon, to recognize the remarkable advances in global health and poverty reduction over the past 25 years.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed will co-host the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards dinner with Melinda Gates on Sept. 19.

Participants at the Sept. 20 event will share data and innovative solutions to ensure progress continues and the ambitious targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals) are met. Partnerships focusing on women’s empowerment, digital financial inclusion and community health workers will be announced as “Accelerators” and tasked with speeding up progress to achieve the goals.

Goalkeepers will bring together a new generation of influencers and leaders from all corners of the world—from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Afghanistan, from Canada to China—who will discuss and devise innovative solutions to achieve the Global Goals. Confirmed participants in Goalkeepers 2017 so far include Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder and editor in chief of MuslimGirl.com; Jack Andraka, inventor, scientist and global health researcher; Memory Banda, founder of Girls4Change; Richard Curtis, screenwriter, producer and film director; Minda Dentler, athlete, polio survivor and health advocate; Stephen Fry, actor, writer and presenter; Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and leader of Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace; Jerome Jarre and Jaunpa Zurita entrepreneurs and members of Love Army, George the Poet, artist and rapper; Bina Maseno, champion for women and youth leadership; Dr. Denis Mukwege, world-renowned gynecological surgeon; Kennedy Odede, community organizer in Kibera; Dr Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health and 2017 TED Prize winner; Isha Sesay, anchor for CNN; Astro Teller, X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory; Laurel Weldon, Distinguished Professor, Purdue University; and will.i.am, global music artist.

The Sept. 19 Global Goals Awards dinner, co-hosted by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and Melinda Gates, will honor outstanding activists and groups who have demonstrated a positive impact on people’s lives and are inspiring others to accelerate progress. The co-hosts will be joined by Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann. As part of the evening, there will be a special performance by musician Lily Allen.

The Gates Foundation will livestream the Sept. 19 and 20 Goalkeepers events.

On Sept. 13, Bill and Melinda Gates will launch their inaugural Goalkeepers report, analyzing health and development indicators and providing statistical projections. The report was created in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to showcase advances made since 1990 and warn of the lives at stake if progress falters.

Press should contact media@gatesfoundation.org for more information.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Goalkeepers
Goalkeepers is the foundation’s first annual report and global event dedicated to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Goals, we hope to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable and drive action to achieve the Goals.

About the Global Goals
On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

Project Everyone, co-creators of Goalkeepers, was founded by writer, director and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis with the ambition to help achieve the Global Goals through raising awareness, holding leaders accountable and driving action. Find out more at www.project-everyone.org

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa: National Economic Development and Labour Council Summit

Address by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of the 22nd Annual Nedlac Summit, Emperor’s Palace, Ekurhuleni

Programme Director,

Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant,

Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel,

Deputy Minister of Labour, Nkosi Patekile Holomisa,

Executive Director of Nedlac, Mr Madoda Vilakazi,

Members of Parliament,

Representatives of organised business, labour, government and community,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to address this 22nd Annual Summit of National Economic Development and Labour Council Summit (NEDLAC).

We must commend our social partners in Nedlac for choosing to focus in this summit on good governance and the fight against corruption.

Good governance is a pre-requisite for an effective developmental state and more sustained investment, both of which are needed to fuel growth and job creation.

As the centre of social dialogue in our economy, Nedlac is strategically positioned to build consensus among government, labour, business and community on promoting the values of our Constitution and tackling corruption in all its forms.

In his 1998 lecture on ‘Economics in Government’, renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz warns against the use of public interests for private advancement.

He defines corruption as a threat to public trust and confidence.

He decries the culture of wrongdoing and secrecy in the state, which frustrates public accountability.

He says:

In a world of secrecy, you will always suspect that some interest group is taking advantage of the secrecy to advance their causes over yours, to steal, if not directly from you personally, more broadly from the public

Making government processes more open, transparent, and democratic, with more participation and more efforts at consensus formation is likely to result not only in a process that is fairer, but one with outcomes that are more likely to be in accord with general interest.

In South Africa, it is appropriate to reflect on Stiglitz’s insights at a time when we are seeing the first green shoots of what will hopefully be a sustained recovery of our economy.

As we shake off the psychological and material constraints of a technical recession, we recognise that progress has been made in several areas of our economy.

While we have cause for hope, we remain conscious that business confidence is at its lowest level in 32 years.

At the same time, our unemployment levels remain little changed, with more than half of our population living below the poverty line.

These realities require that sound policy choices and effective implementation be accompanied by the use of public funds solely for the benefit of the public.

Our National Development Plan says a developmental state comprises efficiently coordinated state institutions with skilled public servants who are committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high quality services, while prioritising the nation’s developmental objectives.

It pays close and critical attention to efficient spending and the achievement of value for money � money that comes from the hard work of citizens.

As social partners, we proceed from the understanding that public budgets are a democratic instrument by which we can better the lives of citizens, stimulate growth and provide socio-economic infrastructure.

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure should therefore not be viewed only through the prism of administrative efficiency, but through the prism of social development and shared prosperity.

Corruption impedes growth and redistribution.

We are only now beginning to understand the depth and scale of corporate capture of public institutions and its devastating effect on the economy.

While many are bewildered by the audacity of some of the alleged schemes, the dreadful reality is that the poor of this country have been made even poorer.

Our economy has been weakened.

Several components of the state have been undermined.

The features of government failure identified by Joseph Stigliz include the inability of public accountability mechanisms to appropriately effect oversight.

If we fail, as a country, to ensure the integrity of our public institutions, if we do not hold those responsible for public resources accountable, then we risk the erosion of the state and the economic damage that would inevitably accompany it.

Today, we find our country at an inflection point.

Either we confront corruption decisively and deliberately and thereby nurture the green shoots of an economic recovery, or we allow corrupt practices to continue unchecked and consign our people to poverty for generations to come.

Unless we tackle corruption, patronage and state capture now, we will not be able to radically transform our economy, stimulate growth and create jobs.

This is the time when we must take a stand as business, government, labour and community to end wrongdoing, punish those responsible and recover stolen resources.

The dividends of confidence and growth must be earned through our investment in ethical renewal across the public and private sectors and in the conduct of every individual South African.

By demanding openness and transparency, we must deepen democratic participation in governance in our country.

We must promote the broad participation of citizens in the direction and exercise of political power.

We must create opportunities for citizens to make meaningful contributions to decision making.

All South Africans must take an active interest in governance and scrutinise performance in all sectors of our society and economy.

As a leader of society, Nedlac has a critical role to play in the promotion of ethics, values and socio-economic transformation.

This national endeavour should foster unity because corruption and unethical conduct threaten our shared future.

Nedlac should position itself as the spearhead of an ethical economy.

The policy discourse in South Africa, and by extension at Nedlac, has been in the spotlight in the year under review.

Of particular concern has been our responses to the challenges of poor economic growth challenges and its impact on labour market stability.

Though we have done relatively well to respond to the post-2008 economic environment, we are now encumbered with sub-investment sovereign ratings.

Our unemployment levels are unacceptably high, with more than 9.3 million people unemployed.

Close to 4 million of those unemployed are young people.

The casualisation of employment is trapping many people in jobs with few benefits or prospects for development.

This means that we are in danger of creating a future where young people do not have the skills or experience to participate in the fourth industrial revolution.

We must therefore equip young people with suitable skills to unlock their latent potential.

Our agreement on a national minimum wage is a significant milestone for the country.

It is something that should be celebrated as an example of what is possible when social partners work together for the national interest.

It is an achievement that was carefully considered and balanced against the urgent need for the country to accelerate employment creation efforts through inclusive growth.

It is a measure that will lead to greater stability of the labour market.

Our emergence from a technical recession should spur us to continue to work together to entrench growth and long-term prosperity.

The rise in GDP to 2.5% in this quarter is a clear sign that we can, when focused, rebuild and working collectively to reap better outcomes.

This is only the beginning.

Our progress must be measured against the equally devastating reality that inequality and poverty are still on the rise.

We need to respond to this in a planned and accelerated manner to ensure stability and progress.

We have the tools at our disposal to improve our fortunes.

For instance, the 10 point plan that was adopted in the mining sector in 2015 is a good example of the measures we can develop to take strategic sectors of our economy to a higher level.

Through that plan, we have been able to delay retrenchments, enhance productivity and relieve crippling austerity measures.

Working together we have also played an active role in business rescue and helped facilitate the sale of distressed mines and mining assets.

We must sustain our implementation of the Nine Point Plan announced by President Jacob Zuma in the State of the Nation Address in February 2015.

We are working to foster greater competition and facilitate market entry for new enterprises.

We are building a strong cohort of black industrialists to expand and diversify our manufacturing base.

As government, we have taken measures to reduce the regulatory burdens of investing in the country and improve the ease of doing.

We are, for example, implementing a lower ports tariff strategy with a view to grow the oceans economy.

Through Operation Phakisa, we have thus far facilitated an estimated R24.6 billion in investment in the oceans economy, with government contributing R15 billion of this amount.

The Department of Trade and Industry is currently providing incentive support of R428.9 million for various investment projects in ports, marine manufacturing and aquaculture.

Significant progress has been made to leverage ICT, energy and transport infrastructure programmes to promote manufacturing and localisation.

Through a collaborative effort, government and business have agreed to set up a Youth Employment Service to provide opportunities for one million young people to gain work experience.

Instruments like the Employment Tax Incentive and the Jobs Fund are contributing to the growth of employment.

Sectors are targeted for localisation and designation to leverage public expenditure for industrial development.

As part of improving the skills of workers, the post-schooling sector is focused on increasing the number of learnerships and apprenticeships, alongside increasing access to, and improving quality in, TVET colleges.

Through these and other programmes, government is working to create an environment that encourages investment in various areas of economic activity.

Yet, it is ultimately through the work of the social partners that progress will be achieved, for it is the social partners that represent the core constituencies of our economy.

We therefore look to Nedlac to play a more assertive role in defining the economic and social trajectory of our country.

The green shoots of an economic recovery are visible.

We look to you, our social partners, to feed them, to nurture them and to see them blossom.

We look to you, our social partners to cut away the weeds of corruption that threaten to choke them.

Together, as social partners, we must work together to overcome these constraints and build an economy that serves all our people.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

Free entry at national parks

Tourism Month is in full swing, with the South African National Park (SANParks) once again opening its doors for free from Monday, 18 September until Friday, 22 September.

The initiative is part of the annual South African National Parks Week. The campaign is held under the running theme ‘Know Your National Parks’. It allows locals, with valid identity documents, a chance to spend a day at a national park of their choice free of charge.

The week-long campaign is at all national parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Boulders at Table Mountain National Park and Namaqua National Park.

Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend. For individual park dates, please visit: https://www.sanparks.org/about/events/parks_week/

SANParks Head of Communications, Janine Raftopoulos, on Friday said the objective of the week is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage.

When people start to take pride in national parks, then we believe that they will start to understand the importance of conservation, she said.

The idea of a national parks focus week is a worldwide campaign and was conceived in South Africa in 2006 after realising that the majority of South Africans were not visiting national parks.

The feature element of this campaign is the free access granted to all South African day visitors carrying their official IDs.

Persons under the age of 16 will be allowed free access without proof of identity. It should be noted that the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks.

This year’s SA National Parks Week will include exhibitions around the country at various key national parks, which will represent the different geographical regions of SANParks.

The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape.

The annual SA National Parks Week has been made possible with support from First National Bank (FNB) and Total SA.

The spin-off of this initiative is that it boosts the local communities of the areas around the parks, while creating awareness of the need to preserve our natural heritage.

I would like to encourage all South African citizens to come out in their numbers to experience our country’s natural heritage in its abundance, said Kgosi Ledimo, CEO of FNB Public Sector Banking.

Total South Africa has again stepped up to the plate to help South Africans access these beautiful acres of land across the country.

Total South Africa is proud to be a long-standing partner of the SANParks Week since its inception in 2006 – 12 years ago – and our company fully endorses SANParks’ commitment to developing and promoting a system of sustainable national parks countrywide, says Pierre-Yves Sachet, MD & CEO Total South Africa and Vice-President Total Southern Africa.

Total views environmental conservation as a key priority and we are committed to preserving the natural environment for future generations, Sachet said.

SANParks encourages all South Africans, especially educators and school groups, to diarise these dates and plan a visit to a national park nearby.

The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa, Raftopoulos said.

Source: South African Government News Agency