Daily Archives: July 11, 2018

African Bicycle Contribution Foundation Contributes its 290th Bamboo Bicycle, at Girls Model School, in Nabdam District, Upper East Region, Ghana

NABDAM DISTRICT, Ghana, July 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF), a U.S.-based 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, today announced that it has recently distributed 50 additional Ghanaian-made bamboo bicycles, in the Nabdam District, northeastern Ghana. Forty of the bicycles, manufactured by the Kumasi-based Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (GBBI), were contributed to girls, ages 13-18, who attend the recently established Girls Model School in the District; an additional four were distributed to farmers, four were contributed to teachers, and two bicycles were given to healthcare workers. The Nabdam District event included ABCF’s 290th bicycle distributed in Ghana, since the foundation’s inception.

Map of Ghana with ABCF/GBBI icons marking bamboo bike distribution sites (July 10, 2018).

Ghana’s Nabdam District, which is bordered on the north by Burkina Faso, and on the east by the Republic of Togo, is the least urbanized region in Ghana. Less than 16 percent of the population resides in urban areas, and about 28.5 percent of adults in the region are classified as illiterate. Additionally, 84.9 percent of the employed population is engaged in skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery occupations, and 50.3 percent of the population is self-employed.

Notably, nearly one-third of the local residents live approximately 15 miles from the closest hospital, and the students at the Girls Model School travel a minimum of 9.3 miles each day, on foot, to and from school. Also notable is the fact that, in Nabdam, the proportion of males who have attended schools is consistently higher than that, for females, at all levels.

A UNICEF report on the impact that bicycles have for school-aged Ghanaian girls, found that 95 percent of rural girls attend school more regularly after having gained access to a bicycle, and 70 percent of those who received bicycles demonstrated higher academic performances, in their subsequent school work.

Headmistress of the Girls Model School speaking at the ABCF/GBBI bamboo bike distribution event.

Commenting on the Nabdam District event, the Foundation’s executive director, Patricia Marshall Harris, stressed the important role GBBI CEO Bernice Dapaah, and her leadership of her Ghana-based company, with a predominately Ghanaian female workforce, can play in inspiring young women at the Girls Model School to achieve Ghana’s national aspirations for academic, economic and social advancement for women across the country.

“While Ghana continues to make impressive strides towards building a globally respected democracy and a strong sub-Saharan African economic profile,” said Ms. Marshall Harris, “we at ABCF and GBBI join Ghana’s government and economic leaders in recognizing  that the full realization of the country’s potential can only be achieved when Ghana’s young girls and women are provided improved access to educational opportunity, and are challenged to join as partners and leaders in all that the country wants to achieve.”

At the event, which was held at Kongo, in the Nabdam District, remarks were presented by Mr. Timothy Naasal Yuornuo, district director of education; by Kongo-Sapaat-Nab Namaalteng, chief of Kongo; by Mrs. Meiri Seidu, director, Health Directorate; and by Mr. Amos Agyapong, production manager, GBBI. The event, which also included a Girls Model School Cultural Display, was moderated by Mr. Francis Sapaat and the opening and closing prayers were offered by Rev. Martin, a Roman Catholic priest.

A group of the 40 ABCF/GBBI bamboo bike recipients at Nabdam District’s Girls Model School, shortly after receiving their new ABCF/GBBI bamboo bicycles.

In his remarks, Mr. Sapaat, budget/NGO officer, Girls Model School, said, “The distribution of bicycles was timely considering the daily distance they cover to and from school. It is a high relief to pupils and parents, since students will now be early to school and back home.”

Who is ABCF?

The African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF) is a 501©3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to generate funding to underwrite the distribution of bicycles to under-resourced students, teachers, and transport-dependent small farmers and healthcare workers, in Ghana. The Corporation has made a commitment to finance the free distribution of 2500 bicycles in Ghana, over its first five years of operation.

Kongo-Sapaat-Nab Namaalteng, chief of Kongo, speaking to students, teachers and family at the ABCF/GBBI bamboo bike distribution, at Nabdam District’s Girls Model School.

ABCF works in partnership with the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, which produces the iconic Eco-Ride bamboo bicycle; the Bright Generation Community Foundation, the Respect Alliance, and the U.S.-Ghana Chamber of Commerce. Included among the foundation’s corporate and charitable non-profit sponsors are Independence Blue Cross, the Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Dr. and Mrs. Colon A. Romero.

For further information about ABCF, please contact the ABCF offices: info@africanbike.org.

Contact: A. Bruce Crawley
African Bicycle Contribution Foundation
www.africanbike.org
Tel: 215-751-0140
Email: abcrawley@africanbike.org

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717009/Ghana_Map.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717010/Headmistress.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717011/girls_on_bikes.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717012/chief_of_kongo.jpg

SOUTH AFRICA’S BUSINESS CONFIDENCE DECLINES SLIGHTLY IN JUNE – SACCI

PRETORIA– South Africa’s Business Confidence Index declined by 0.3 index points in June, dropping below the level of a year ago.

Releasing the June Business Confidence Index (BCI) on Tuesday, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said the BCI declined by 0.3 index points in June 2018 and measured 93.7 compared to 94 in May 2018.

For the first time this year, the BCI was below the level of a year ago, namely 1.2 index points lower than the 94.9 in June 2017, said the BCI.

SACCI noted that the average for the BCI in the first six months of 2018 was 97.6, compared to the average of 95 in the first half of 2017, and 93.7 in the second half of 2017.

Four of the 13 sub-indices of the composite SACCI BCI positively affected the business climate on a month-on-month basis in June, while two sub-indices were neutral. Meanwhile, seven sub-indices reflected negativity in the business environment.

The biggest negative month-on-month influences on the business climate were the weaker trade-and-investment-weighted rand exchange rate, lower real retail sales, the decreased real value of building plans passed, and the higher, less stable, cost of energy supply.

Higher merchandise import and export volumes and increased new vehicle sales made positive month-on-month contributions to the business climate.

Increased new vehicle sales, lower inflation and the increased real value of building plans passed, were the sub-indices that contributed positively to the SACCI BCI year-on-year in June 2018.

SACCI noted that there were indications that although fiscal challenges remain, government debt is showing signs of being contained, albeit at a high level.

Rating agencies suggest negative factors are mitigated by government’s debt structure, and a sound banking sector. Financial challenges of state institutions, however, remain substantial and government debt must be stabilised.

SACCI noted that South Africa has of late experienced a sharp weakening in the balance of payments position (BoP). This has resulted in a larger deficit on the current account, as well as net selling of bonds and shares by non-residents. This led to additional volatility and weakening of the rand exchange rate.

In its June Quarterly Bulletin, the Reserve Bank announced that South Africa’s current account deficit widened to 4.8% in the first quarter of 2018.

SACCI said the risk of trade wars has alerted certain industries in the country.

They [industries] have already indicated it would affect industries and employment negatively, while knock-on effects have been cited by complementary industries and their export performances.

It has become imperative that structural economic matters hampering inclusive economic growth should be addressed with economic rationality. Uncertainties surrounding economic policy direction and position should be clarified so that investor and business confidence can reaffirm itself, said SACCI.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Four Umbilo robbers arrested in Chesterville

It is alleged yesterday, 10 July 2018, at 08:50, four unknown suspects entered the business premises and held the victim at Bartle road, Umbilo. At gunpoint they robbed the victim of cash, cigarettes and cellphone before fleeing the scene in their getaway Nissan Almera.

The Umbilo SAPS responded to the complaint and the owner of the vehicle was traced in Chesterville area. Whilst the police were busy with their investigation, two suspects entered the house and were identified as the same suspects involved in the robbery. Upon further investigation two more suspects were arrested. All four suspects were apprehended and they were found in possession of two unlicensed firearms, ammunition as well as the cellphone that was taken from the victim.

The suspects aged between 23 and 47 will appear in the Durban Magistrates’ Court soon on charges of robbery, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

Source: South African Police Service

Home Affairs on live-capture system upgrade and it’s impact on ID and passport services

Media Statement on the live-capture system upgrade and it’s impact on ID and passport services

Before we move to the subject of the day, I want to share information on the setback experienced yesterday with regard to power interruption at the building hosting our identification system. The service interruption was caused by the uninterrupted power supply (UPS) which failed. This affected our back office systems, which meant our offices were not able to assist clients with most services. Disaster recovery efforts are underway, and we expect our systems to be fully online by the end of business today. We apologize to all affected clients for the disruption.

The Department of Home Affairs has reached another milestone in rolling-out its flagship programme of Modernisation, which began in 2010. We are now moving to a paperless process for birth, marriage and death registration in a phased-in approach, as well as the printing of parents’ details in the children’s passports. This is another way of ‘meeting the future’, by rising to opportunities created by technological advancements for maximising client satisfaction.

Today’s media briefing was convened to announce this latest development � the automation of the Births, Marriages and Deaths (BMD) system. To do this, requires a major system upgrade, commencing on Friday afternoon, 13 July 2018.

System upgrade: Phase 1

Birth registration for children 0 to one year will be automated, meaning that clients will no longer complete paper forms for birth registration. This will be more convenient for our clients, and will reduce opportunities for corruption and fraud.

Marriages and deaths: This entails reprints of marriages and death certificates for clients that are already registered in the national population register (without filling paper forms).

Printing of parents’ details in passports: Once we have completed the upgrade and fully implemented in the identified offices, the details of parents will be printed in the children’s passports. In this way, the department will have delivered also on the earlier Cabinet concession of easing travel with children.

However if a child is not travelling with parents (one or both), written consent is still required. Those with valid passports do not have to reapply for new passports for children.

Phase 2:

Birth registration for children one year and above will be automated in the new financial year.

Marriages and deaths: This entails new registration of marriages and deaths without filling paper forms.

This system upgrade is a part of ongoing enhancements of the live-capture system, to improve service quality, by modernising processes. It entails minimal interruptions in the provision of ID and passport services between 13 July (from 14h00) and 20 July (till 16h00), with provinces affected at different times and degrees.

The end-product will be the automation of the way Home Affairs offices capture birth registration and issue certificates for births, marriages and deaths. Documents will now be saved electronically and be easily retrieved upon request, as opposed to the old paper-based legacy system.

The live-capture system upgrade is scheduled to start on Friday 13 July 2018, and, on this day, modernised offices � which are those office which accept smart ID card applications � will be unable to receive applications for IDs and passports, from 14h00 to enable system back-up. However, offices will attend to people whose applications are already in the process.

Schedule of Implementation:

Monday 16 to 17 July: Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal & Participating Banks.

Wednesday 18 to 19 July: Limpopo, North West & Eastern Cape.

20 July: Mpumalanga, Free State & Northern Cape.

During the implementation of this upgrade services for smart ID cards and passports will not be available in the 184 modernised offices, including at the department’s eHomeAffairs partners, in the banking sector, with the exception of large offices. All other services will be available, except for smart ID cards and passports.

Importantly, as indicated, only 184 modernised offices will be affected, again with the exception of large offices. Clients needing ID and passport-related services may visit large offices in their provinces as these will be fully operational. Large offices would have been attended to on Sunday 15 July 2018, with no impact on services. Work in the Gauteng Province will also be carried out over the weekend of 14-15 July 2018, which means no office in Gauteng will experience disruption.

This arrangement is meant to minimise service delivery disruptions as we upgrade systems. Public Notices were dispatched to all DHA offices, to prepare our clients for the upgrade.

Conclusion

We apologise for service interruptions during the upcoming upgrade. All this is intended to improve service delivery, as part of our quest to build a capable state.

Source: Government of South Africa

Treasury on conclusion of SADC Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment meeting

The Southern African Development Community (SADC)* Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment, under the chairship of the South African Minister of Finance Honourable Nhlanhla Nene, met on 11 July 2018 in Ekurhuleni to discuss areas of cooperation and improving regional financial coordination. The Ministers were joined by Central Bank Governors for the Peer Review of Macro-Economic Convergence of the Region. The objective of the Convergence is to promote economic stability to ultimately contribute to growth and job creation.

The Finance Ministers agreed that regional integration within the finance and investment sector should be deepened. With an expanding regional integration agenda, Ministers are spearheading a process to deliver, in the medium term, additional financial resources for the region through the SADC Resource Mobilisation Framework. In addition, having adopted the Financial Inclusion Strategy in 2016, Ministers are now focusing on ensuring its implementation. Further, Ministers emphasised the need to develop the financial sector by, among other things, centralising the bond markets in SADC.

The SADC Project Preparation and Development Facility has performed well since its operationalization in 2014, and the meeting reaffirmed its commitment to financial regional integration.

The meeting welcomed the progress made with the implementation of the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS). This platform facilitates the clearance of transactions amongst SADC member states instead of using a corresponding bank. The Ministers also emphasised the importance of harmonising tax regimes in the region to facilitate economic growth.

SADC member states must work tirelessly to maintain macroeconomic stability and implement the structural reforms that will raise growth and lift people out of poverty, the meeting also reinforced.

South Africa is the current chair of SADC from August 2017 until August 2018. The theme for the country’s Chairpersonship of SADC is: Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains. A series of meetings between ministers in various portfolios take place in between Heads of Government Summits. The meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment is but one of the meetings that take place when a country has the Chairmanship of SADC.

*SADC member states are: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source: Government of South Africa