Sports Briefs

first_imgBrazil, Uruguay qualifier still on in Recife MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) Uruguay will go ahead with a World Cup qualifier scheduled next month in Recife, the Brazilian city at the centre of an outbreak of the Zika virus. “For the moment, we have no qualms about the location,” Eduardo Belza, the national team’s sports director, told The Associated Press. “But it’s a fluid situation, and we’re very aware of what health officials in Brazil and Uruguay are saying.” The match will be played in the northeastern city on March 24. Belza said players have been told to use mosquito repellents, bring long-sleeve shirts and avoid being out in the early morning or evening when mosquitoes are more prevalent. Belza said he’s already been to Recife and has chosen a hotel with tightly sealed windows and a ventilation system that keeps insects out of the building. Neymar urged to come clean MADRID (AP) The Brazilian company that says it hasn’t been properly compensated for Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona wants him to come clean and put an end to his judicial problems in Spain and Brazil. The co-founder of Grupo Sonda, which invested in Neymar early in his career, issued a public message to the player in a news conference yesterday in Madrid, saying he risks having his career tainted by a crime. “You are an exceptional player and I wouldn’t like to see you going down in history marked by a crime,” Delcir Sonda said. “Hopefully, you will show the same maturity that you have on the field and will put an end to your judicial problems in Brazil and Spain. No one deserves this.” DIS, the investment group that belongs to Sonda, has claimed in court that it was financially damaged because Barcelona, Neymar, and Brazilian club Santos withheld the real amount of the player’s transfer fee in 2013. DIS was entitled to 40 per cent of the total transfer amount. Neymar and his father appeared before a judge in Madrid on Tuesday to testify in an investigation into the transfer. Former and current Barcelona presidents also were questioned by a judge this week, as well as representatives of Santos. They have all denied wrongdoing. The Brazilian club claims it also has been hurt in the transfer.last_img read more

New Lesotho High Commissioner pledges relationship in energy and trade

first_imgCaretaker President David Granger on Wednesday accepted the letters of credence from Ralechate Lincoln Mokose, accrediting him as the first High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Lesotho to Guyana.Lesotho High Commissioner Ralechate Lincoln Mokose with President Granger, Mrs Mokose and a Foreign Affairs Ministry officialIn his remarks at the Ministry of the Presidency, the new envoy said his country is interested in forging bilateral relations in a number of developmental areas, including trade and energy.Perched in the continent of Africa, the country has promised cooperation in “a wide range of areas, including but not limited to water, environment, education, agriculture, energy, trade and investment, transport and tourism”.Lesotho and Guyana are two small, geographically distant countries. Being the first ever High Commissioner of Lesotho to Guyana since our established relations, “I feel it’s a great privilege to me to be accorded an opportunity to kick-start our bilateral cooperation,” he added.Meanwhile, President Granger said that he noted that both nations are inclined towards global issues and mitigating climate change.“We have worked to develop our countries and improve the lives of our people. Our countries share common views and are consistent advocates on various global issues such as maintaining international peace and security and adapting to the threat of climate change. We have worked closely at the multilateral level under the auspices of the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Non- Aligned Movement,” Granger said.The caretaker President noted that additional emphasis will be placed on preservation of natural resources, protection of the environment, and renewable energy.“We look forward to sharing experiences in building climate-resilient economies and collaborating on important developmental issues such as education, the environment, the economy, the eradication of poverty and the improvement of the livelihood of our people,” Granger said.Guyana and Lesotho Kingdom established bilateral relations in 1979. Last week, Ambassadors from the European Union (EU) and Mexico were accredited. At that time, Guyana said it is seeking to lean on Mexico’s support in building a more robust agriculture sector and learning from the country’s experience in disaster management.On the other hand, Guyana has been supported by the EU to maintain and rehabilitate its sea defences, which become more relevant as the harsh effects of climate change take its course.Some other countries which have deployed ambassadors to Guyana for 2019 include Suriname, Japan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Ireland and Finland.alast_img read more

Emery insists he remains in the dark over Ivan Gazidis’ Arsenal future

first_img revealed 3 Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? tense Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? 3 Gazidis oversaw the appointment of Emery as Arsenal’s manager earlier this year The 54-year-old has worked for the Gunners since 2009 and played a major role in introducing roles such as head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat.Those appointments wrestled some power away from Wenger, whose 22-year tenure came to a close at the end of last season.Emery has since taken the reins and has won his last two Premier League games after defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea at the beginning of the campaign.But the Spaniard admits he is in the dark as to whether Gazidis will soon depart his post, bound for Serie A giants Milan.“First of all, every conversation with him is speaking about us and about our work here every day. I don’t know any other news from him,” Emery said ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Newcastle on Saturday. whoops England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Most read in Premier League AC Milan have been trying to tempt Gazidis to Italy Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City silverware Guardiola-inspired tactics: Is this how Arsenal will line up under Arteta? Unai Emery has revealed Ivan Gazidis has made no indication he is to leave his role as Arsenal’s chief executive.Gazidis has been linked with a move to AC Milan throughout the summer, having overseen Emery’s appointment as replacement to Arsene Wenger earlier this year. Ozil retired from the Germany national team after their disastrous World Cup center_img predicted “Every conversation with me is speaking about us. About our performance. About our ideas. Our process. Then, for his future we didn’t speak. I think it’s one question for him.”Arsenal return to action at St James’s Park following the international break, with Emery’s squad carrying no fresh injury concerns.Emery is hopeful the club can now reap the benefit of Mesut Ozil’s international retirement.The 29-year-old retired from Germany duty under a cloud following their poor performance at the World Cup and politics within the camp. Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion SORRY Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT gameday cracker 3 latest REVEALED changes How Everton could look in January under Ancelotti with new signings He has been able to train with Arsenal throughout the recent international break and – ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle – Emery feels he has enjoyed a rest from playing.“The players have the habits to play in the international break, in important matches, defending their identity and when one player is finishing that, I think it is also good for them to focus only on their team,” he said. The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update “The reason for Mesut is important for me also, this focus every day with us, a relaxing three days off at the weekend. Mesut, like other players, works very well here and also working the ties and also together to improve things. Mesut, I look at him with the focus totally here.”last_img read more

SOARING HEAT, SNOW AND A LANDSLIDE – ALL IN A DAY’S WORK FOR THE DONEGAL ROADERS!

first_imgThe lads cross a road just hours after it had been covered and then cleared by a landslide.The Donegal Roaders are still on the road despite a near miss with a landslide.The boys who traveled to the Arctic last year are currently tackling searing heat and terrifying road conditions.We drove into the Amazon Jungle on Tuesday and from there drove the North Yungas Pass aka The Death Road, the most dangerous road in the world. There they encountered thousands of feet drops off the edge, the road the width of the jeep, waterfalls falling on the road and to end it all 5km from the end a land slide.“We had to wait for an hour until the workers cleared the debris and then we were the first to drive over the temporary road they made (and yes, we nearly s*** ourselves),” admitted Paul Doherty.The water in Bolivia has given some of the Donegal team magical jumping powers!On Wednesday they travelled 400km towards Chile and stayed in a mud hut in a village of a tribal community to get ready to ascend the volcano on Thursday.“After a lot of hard work and trogging, swearing, spinning and almost wrecking the good land cruiser from Kellys Toyota we made it to the summit shelf at 17,541ft where it was no longer possible to go further. It was a magnificent achievement to reach this altitude in an unmodified Toyota Land cruiser. “We went from 23degrees at the bottom to snow at the top and there’s not many clothes you could wear at both temperatures but Carhartt proved that they are top quality and performed brilliantly.”At the top they were faced with the challenge of coming down again but thankfully made it back down to the village and the Toyota Land cruiser didn’t give a moments trouble which leads us to believe that Toyota are the best built cars in the world!We followed the motto of our sponsor “Travel the roads less travelled” and we certainly did that!The lads travel beneath a waterfall in their Toyota given to them by Kellys. SOARING HEAT, SNOW AND A LANDSLIDE – ALL IN A DAY’S WORK FOR THE DONEGAL ROADERS! was last modified: April 23rd, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BoliviadonegalKelly’s ToyotaThe Donegal Roaderslast_img read more

72 days that shaped South Africa (2)

first_imgJust how “miraculous” was South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy? How close did the country really come to civil war?Check out our press clipping snapshots of the 72 days leading up to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as SA’s first democratically elected President – and see how heavily the odds were stacked against “the rainbow nation”.7 MARCH 1994Bop looks poised to registerBophuthatswana looks poised to register for the April elections, notwithstanding Friday night’s registration deadline – while the right wing faces turmoil over whether to go to the polls.Bophuthatswana government sources said yesterday a crucial meeting would be held today to decide whether to register the homeland’s ruling Christian Democratic Party for the elections.Indications yesterday were that the Afrikaner Volksfront was still divided over whether to join the election process, and pressure was mounting within and outside the AVF to take part.The Star, Monday 7 March 19948 MARCH 1994Mangope calls out troops as unrest flaresTensions in Bophuthatswana rose yesterday after the homeland’s government decided against registering for the election and the ANC called for a blockade of the territory.Police vehicles were set alight, ANC offices were petrol-bombed and police teargassed striking public servants and the offices of Lawyers for Human Rights.The Bophuthatswana Defence Force was called in as the homeland tried to contain unrest as the public servants’ strike entered its fourth week.Business Day, Tuesday 8 March 1994End looms for two despised lawsThe writing is on the wall for two of SA’s most despised laws – Section 29 of the Internal Security Act and Section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Act.The Transitional Executive Council’s law and order subcouncil yesterday recommended that Section 29 be repealed immediately. It said 75% of the subcouncil’s members favoured abolishing Section 29 immediately, while the minority favoured retaining it after an SAP report had recommended that it should not be scrapped until after the election.Business Day, Tuesday 8 March 1994TEC turns to flag question as time runs outPretoria – With time running out for a final decision on a flag for the new SA, the Transitional Executive Council today considers designs for the first time.There have been suggestions that the peace flag be used until the government of national unity can deal with the matter after the elections. However, a management committee member said this was not an option.The ANC expected that about 100 000 new flags would have to be made for the new government’s inauguration. Local manufacturers, alarmed at the delay, have urged quick action.Business Day, Tuesday 8 March 19949 MARCH 1994TEC bares teeth at BopThe Transitional Executive Council (TEC) last night threatened strong action against the Bophuthatswana government.The range of threatened measures, including the cutting off of funds to Bophuthatswana, came as the protest and strike crisis in the homeland deepened yesterday.There were also reports last night of security forces firing live ammunition in an attempt to disperse the “raging masses”.The Star, Wednesday 9 March 1994Arms theft: SAP move inPolice are understood to be questioning a South African Air Force flight sergeant in connection with the theft of weapons from 10 Air Depot at Voortrekkerhoogte at the weekend.Sources said several other men – all believed to be SAAF employees – are being sought for questioning.The ANC has expressed its “serious concern” about the theft and the regularity of such raids on SADF arms depositories.The Star, Wednesday 9 March 1994Businessman’s cellular phone launchedCoinciding with an international launch, OfficeMart has introduced the Nokia 2110, which it claims is the smallest, lightest and most feature-packed digital cellular unit on the market.Capabilities include 125 memory locations, speed dial memory slots and high-speed wireless data/fax support. It costs R4 199.The Star Business, Wednesday 9 March 199410 MARCH 199440 wounded as Mangope’s men open fireMmabatho – About 40 people were shot and wounded, three critically, when police opened fire on demonstrators in the Bophuthatswana capital yesterday.As tensions heightened, the public servants’ strike widened.President Lucas Mangope took a hardline stance, rejecting Independent Electoral Commission chairman Judge Johann Kriegler’s plea for free political activity in the homeland, and firing the staff of the Bophuthatswana Broadcasting Corporation, closing down two television stations and three radio stations.Business Day, Thursday 10 March 1994Inkatha, Freedom Front fail to submit candidates’ lists to IECConfusion reigned at the Independent Electoral Commission’s offices in Johannesburg yesterday as the 4.30pm deadline for the submission of candidates’ lists passed, and IEC chairman Judge Johann Kriegler conceded that his “final” deadline could be amended retrospectively if there was political agreement.However, the Inkatha Freedom Party, General Constand Viljoen’s Freedom Front and the unknown Realist Party had failed to submit their lists three hours after the deadline. Twenty-six parties beat the deadline to confirm their participation in the April election.Business Day, Thursday 10 March 199411 MARCH 1994SADF heads for BopMmabatho – The South African Defence Force began roling towards riot-torn Bophuthatswana before dawn today amid reports that heavily armed rightwingers had mobilised to assist the homeland’s troops.Foreign Minister Pik Botha said today that the government had ordered SADF troops to the South African embassy in Bophuthatswana.Heavy rioting has now spread to most parts of the homeland, and gunfire could be heard throughout the night.The Star, Friday 11 March 1994Mangope flees homeBophuthatswana’s leader Lucas Mangope fled the homeland’s capital in a helicopter last night. Tracing the route of his escape from Mmabatho, Sowetan has confirmed that his helicopter first landed at his rural home at Motswedi and later at Sun City.Sporadic shots could be heard in Mmabatho last night after a day of widespread looting. The movement of armed members of the AWB near Ventersdorp was also reported.Earlier, thousands of singing residents took to the streets of the capital waving ANC and SACP placards. Police presence was at an absolute minimum, with only three police cars seen scurrying towards the massive show of popular support for Bop’s reincorporation into South Africa.The Sowetan, Friday 11 March 199412 MARCH 1994Horror slaying of 3 AWB men“Please God help get us some medical help”, pleaded the bearded member of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB).They were his last words before a Bophuthatswana soldier calmly stepped up and pumped six bullets into the bearded, khaki-clad man and two colleagues in Mmabatho yesterday, reports an eyewitness, Reuters photographer Kevin Carter.At least 60 people have been killed in Bophuthatswana and 300 wounded or injured in three days of continuous rioting, looting, burning and fighting, mostly around the capital Mmabatho.Thousands of heavily armed right-wingers made to leave Bophuthatswana after fierce fighting with the Bophuthatswana Defence Force (BDF).But as they pulled out from the BDF airstrip in a 400 vehicle convoy, they were again confronted by troop carriers of the BDF.The Citizen, Saturday 12 March 1994Front makes cut-off: IFP misses outA Freedom Front delegation submitted its candidates’ list at the Independent Electoral Commission’s Johannesburg office minutes before yesterday’s midnight deadline.But IEC official Norman du Plessis said the Inkatha Freedom Party had failed to register in time for the midnight cut-off.Du Plessis said this meant the IFP “comes off the ballot”. Technically, this meant the party would no longer be able to contest the election.Weekend Star, Saturday 12 March 199413 MARCH 1994TEC, SA to take over in BopA joint Transitional Executive Council (TEC) and South African government delegation flew into Bophuthatswana last night to begin taking control of the homeland.This followed an emergency meeting of the TEC management committee to discuss President Lucas Mangope’s refusal to give Independent Electoral Commission head Justice Johann Kriegler satisfactory assurances that he would allow free and fair elections in the territory.Sunday Times, Sunday 13 March 1994The story continued …1 – 6 March 19947 – 13 March 199414 – 20 March 199421 – 27 March 199428 March – 3 April 19944 – 10 April 199411 – 17 April 199418 – 24 April 199425 April – 1 May 19942 – 8 May 19949 – 11 May 1994Research, photos: Ndaba DlaminiWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

SA’s children get football fever

first_imgChildren waving the national flag for the country’s team Bafana Bafana. (Image: Bongani Nkosi)With South Africa counting down the days to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, a sports day recently held in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township kicked off a campaign to spread both excitement and lifeskills among the country’s young people.On 23 November more than 80 youngsters, ranging from four to 14 years old, gathered for a football workshop with a difference at the township’s Football for Hope Centre.They were there to pick up tips on how to “bend it like David Beckham”, as well as learn about national pride and the values of “ubuntu” – a Southern African philosophy of fellowship and community. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the 200 days remaining until the tournament begins.The event was a joint initiative of Play Soccer South Africa (PSSA), the local arm of a US-based NGO, which gives life skills and football training to children from disadvantaged areas; the International Marketing Council (IMC); and Heartlines, which promotes good values in society.“This is a contribution made by the three organisations to say that children deserve to celebrate. It’s about introducing them to the 2010 hype,” said Kenny Hlabahlaba, PSSA’s programme manager.“It’s 28 Fridays to go,” Heartlines’ Mzamo Moloi told participants. “We’re here to play football with you, but at the same time we’re here to teach you love and respect.”They were each handed plastic vuvuzela trumpets and South African flags, after Moloi taught the crowd about the significance of its colours. “The white represents the racial diversity of South Africa,” he said.“The whole point is to partner with Play Soccer to use soccer as a means to instill values in the children. It’s about using soccer as a tool for social change.“South Africans should grab opportunities presented by the current excitement about the much-anticipated tournament to create a strong spirit of doing good for their communities.”It would be unrealistic to do this just for the month of the World Cup, he said. “We’re saying let’s build a movement to work for our communities even after the final, because life will go on.”Life lessons through footballPSSA is well established in Alexandra and hosts scores of children at the Football for Hope Centre every Monday. “We use football to teach them about HIV and Aids. Children should know about such things. They also learn their rights and responsibilities,” said Hlabahlaba.The organisation does the same kind of work in seven other areas in Gauteng, including the communities of Lawley and Fine Town, south of Johannesburg.Play Soccer’s clinics have helped 18-year-old Sello Mahlangu, an Alex youngster appointed to train the children, adopt a healthier lifestyle. “It takes us away from many bad things. Play Soccer has done a lot for Alex … we learn a lot and we play soccer,” he said.“It’s all about developing talents and unleashing the potential of the individual,” Hlabahlaba said.Drumming up support for BafanaThe timing of this initiative is perfect, as it’s preparing all South Africans to welcome the world in 2010, said IMC chief financial officer Moeletsi Mabuku. “The best we can do is welcome the people with the spirit of ubuntu, the spirit of humanity.”The IMC is also behind two other campaigns to drum up support for the World Cup and national football squad, Bafana Bafana.Replicas of the national flag have been handed out to communities across the country through the Fly the Flag for Football drive, which was launched in April. “[The campaign] is powerful and it’s growing. People want the flag. They’re flying it from their cars and everywhere,” said Loyiso Stofile, the IMC’s marketing services coordinator.South Africans are also being encouraged to wear football shirts to work at the end of each week as part of the Football Fridays concept to build spirit for next year’s tournament. “Companies are coming through and supporting it,” he added.“That people can wear the gear of any team, be it Moroka Swallows, Brazil or Russia’s Rubin Kazan, is quite relevant to the World Cup. We have people coming here and we have to show that we are a supportive nation,” said Stofile.“And as for Bafana Bafana, it really does need the nation to rally behind it,” Mabuku said. He believes the two campaigns will do a lot to inspire the team to do its best in 2010.“The only way we can support our squad is by wearing their jersey and flying the South African flag with pride,” said Mabuku. “As we consolidate our support, we hope the coach and the players can tap into that.”The IMC is supporting most “events that are milestones towards 2010”, he said.At the Alex workshop I asked nine-year-old Lebogang Molapo about his opinion of Bafana Bafana. “Bafana Bafana will win it [the World Cup],” he said proudly. “Will we beat Brazil with its champion player Kaka?” I challenged. The youngster was in no doubt as he replied: “Yes, because Bafana Bafana has Teko Modise and Siphiwe Tshabala.”last_img read more

South Africa: economy overview

first_imgAbundant resources, an advanced industrial sector, robust financial systems, a progressive legal framework – and the gateway to other African markets.The country remains rich with promise. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South African reporterWhile much of the world staggered in the wake of the global financial meltdown towards the end of the first decade of the new millennium, South Africa managed to stay on its feet – largely as a result of its prudent fiscal and monetary policies.The country is politically stable and has a well capitalised banking system, abundant natural resources, well developed regulatory systems as well as research and development capabilities, and an established manufacturing base.Ranked by the World Bank as an “upper middle-income country’, South Africa is the largest economy in Africa. In 2014, the World Bank listed its GDP at $350.1-billion (R5.416-trillion) and its population at 54 million. Per capita GDP is $6 483, according to the World Economic Forum.The country remains rich with promise. It was admitted to the BRIC group of countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China (now known as BRICS) in 2011.With a world-class and progressive legal framework, South African legislation governing commerce, labour and maritime issues is particularly strong, and laws on competition policy, copyright, patents, trademarks and disputes conform to international norms and standards. The country’s modern infrastructure supports the efficient distribution of goods throughout the southern African region.The economy has a marked duality, with a sophisticated financial and industrial economy having grown alongside an underdeveloped informal economy. It is this “second economy’ which presents both potential and a developmental challenge.Positive outlookIn its 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum ranked South Africa 49th in its Global Competitiveness Index out of 140 economies, up from 56th in the previous reporting period. It ranked the country first for strength of auditing and reporting standards as well as financing through local equity market. South Africa was also ranked 12th for financial market development; it ranked 29th for market size, 33rd for business sophistication and 38th for innovation, out of 140.In its 2014-15 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum ranked South Africa second in the world for the accountability of its private institutions, and third for its financial market development, “indicating high confidence in South Africa’s financial markets at a time when trust is returning only slowly in many other parts of the world’. The country’s securities exchange, the JSE, is ranked among the top 20 in the world in terms of size.Diversity and growthSouth Africa’s success in reforming its economic policies is probably best reflected by its GDP figures, which reflected an unprecedented 62 quarters of uninterrupted economic growth between 1993 and 2007, when GDP rose by 5.1%. With South Africa’s increased integration into the global market, there was no escaping the impact of the 2008-09 global economic crisis, however, and GDP contracted to 3.1%.The World Bank reports that while the economy continues to grow – driven largely by domestic consumption – growth is at a slower rate than previously forecast. Real GDP growth is estimated at 2.0% for 2015 and the same for 2016 “due to a combination of domestic constrains and external headwinds arising from the fall in commodity prices and slowdown of the Chinese economy”.But the bank predicts a slight recovery in 2017 with real GDP growth estimated at 2.4% as new electricity supply comes on line.According to figures from the National Treasury, total government aggregate spending will reach R1.56- trillion in 2017/18. This represents more than a doubling in expenditure since 2002/3 in real terms.To ensure that there is a similar improvement in service-delivery outcomes, the government is putting in measures to strengthen the efficiency of public spending and to root out corruption.It is allocating resources to South Africa’s core social and economic priorities while containing aggregate expenditure growth. Spending plans give effect to the priorities of the National Development Plan and the medium-term strategic framework. Spending on infrastructure investment and core social programmes has been protected.Under its inflation-targeting policy, implemented by the South African Reserve Bank, prices have been fairly steady. In November 2015, the annual consumer inflation rate was 4.8%, rising from October’s 4.7%. However, this was down from an annual average in 2014 of 6.1%. Stable and low inflation protects living standards, especially of working families and low- income households.South Africa has a diverse economy, with key sectors roughly contributing to GDP* as follows:Agriculture: 2.2%Mining: 10%Manufacturing: 13.3%Electricity and water: 2.6%Construction: 3.9%Wholesale, retail and motor trade, catering and accommodation: 14.6%Transport, storage and communication: 9%Finance, real estate and business services: 20.7%Government services: 17.6%Personal services: 5.9%* Note: Percentages based on third quarter 2015 GDP data from Statistics SA. The country’s outlook is affected both by national concerns, such as unrest in and pressure on the mining industry, as well as international sluggishness, with Europe as one of South Africa’s chief export destinations.However, trade and industrial policies encourage local firms to explore new areas of growth based on improved competitiveness. China, India and Brazil offer significant opportunities. Infrastructure, mining, finance and retail developments across Africa are helping to fuel a growth trajectory in which South Africa can participate.ChallengesSouth Africa’s economy grew by a marginal 0.7% in the third quarter of 2015, according to preliminary estimates of real gross domestic product (GDP) released by Statistics SA in November of the year, following a 1,3% contraction in the second quarter.Three of the 10 main industry groups shrunk in size: agriculture, mining, and electricity, gas and water supply. Manufacturing has posted an uptick in growth. Agriculture, mining and manufacturing, traditionally labour intensive sectors that employ unskilled workers now account for 19% of total employment, down from about 30% in 2000; the services sector now accounts for 72% of total employment.As the National Treasury is at pains to point out, development is not just the pursuit of growth – it is also about creating a more equitable future. The South African government is determined to address its key challenges through the economic integration of its previously disadvantaged majority.Unemployment, at a rate of 25% (compared to an average of 11% for upper middle income countries, according to the World Bank), remains the most challenging of South Africa’s hurdles: it is at the top of government priorities and at the heart of its economic policies.The New Growth Path, launched in November 2010, builds on plans to restructure the economy to ensure more inclusive and sustainable growth – and sets a target of creating five million new jobs by 2020. The road map to do this is provided by the Industrial Policy Action Plan, which proposes multisectoral interventions across agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and other high-level services to create substantial employment.South Africa’s dream of growing an inclusive economy by drawing on the energies of its people is given voice through the National Development Plan 2030, launched in August 2012.The plan outlines two main strategic goals: to double GDP by 2030 and eliminate poverty, and to reduce inequality, as measured by the income Gini coefficient, from 0.70 to 0.60 by 2030 through expanding economic opportunity for all by:Investing in and improving infrastructure, as well as supporting industries such as mining and agriculture;Diversifying exports;Strengthening links to faster-growing economies;Enacting reforms to lower the cost of doing business;Reducing constraints to growth in various sectors;Moving to more efficient and climate-friendly production systems; andEncouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.View the National Development PlanRead more: “Jobs at heart of SA’s development plan’ and “South Africa’s plan for a better future’Since 1994, South Africa’s working-age population aged 15 to 64, has grown by 11 million, according to the World Bank. The age group comprises 65% of the country’s total population of 54.9 million in 2015. More than half of the working-age population is under the age of 25, and the sector is expected to grow by another nine million in the next 50 years.This is a “window of demographic opportunity” the bank says in its report, South Africa Economic Update: Focus on Jobs and South Africa’s Changing Demographics. The country could double its per capita income and eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 by generating jobs for its high and growing number of young workers.Green economyOne of the most important elements of the New Growth Path is a green economy, and the potential the creation of a lower-carbon economy has as a job generator as well as a spur for industrial development.President Jacob Zuma has committed South Africa to slowing its growth in greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020, and by 42% by 2025.In 2009, South Africa created its world leading Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which put in place a target of 10 000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy.It is targeting onshore wind, concentrated solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, biomass solid, biogas, landfill gas and small hydro power plants.By May 2012, the government had approved 19 wind, solar and hydropower proposals worth R73-million to help boost clean energy.By April 2015, the Department of Energy had approved 79 REIPPPP projects with 5 243MW being added to a national grid desperately in need of power, at a capital cost of R168-billion. The project winners had to supply all their own capital. About 40% of the spend is local content and thousands of jobs have been created.Since 2011, the department had procured the renewable electricity in bid windows 1 to 4 of the REIPPPP and connected 37 projects, with a capacity of 1 827MW, to the national grid. On average, 15% of this energy was delivered to the power system during system peak periods, alleviating pressure on the power system.The energy contribution should grow to approximately 7 000 gigawatt hours a year with the first 47 renewable energy independent power producers fully operational and producing at full capacity by mid-2016.In 2011, the government entered into the Green Economic Accord, which aims to create 300 000 jobs in the next 10 years through investment in the green economy. In 2012, the Treasury allocated R800-million over two years to the Green Fund, which aims to provide finance for high-quality, high-impact, job-creating green economy projects around the country.Download the Green Economy Accord [PDF]InfrastructureOver the past decade, substantial increases in government social service spending have helped reduce poverty, but now the government has begun to place a greater emphasis on infrastructure, employment and economic growth.South Africa will spend R813-billion on infrastructure over the next three years, and in the 2015/16 financial year, its capital expenditure programme will come to R274- billion.In a massive public-sector investment, in the previous three-year budget cycle it spent R642-billion on infrastructure development – and it plans to spend more than R827-billion over the next three years to improve access to export markets and reduce costs in the economy.In the 2015 budget, South Africa included an update on its infrastructure plan, saying infrastructure spending has been quite high for some time. Between 2009 and 2014, the country spent just over a R1-trillion on infrastructure.In this fiscal year, most infrastructure spending will be on transport and logistics at R339-billion, followed by energy at R166-billion, and water and sanitation at R117- billion, over the next three years. At national government level, infrastructure spend will come to R451-billion over the medium term framework.Most of the infrastructure projects undertaken by national government (83%) are co-ordinated by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission.InvestorsThe overall investment environment remains encouraging. A G20 country, South Africa is considered a low-risk investment destination for investors looking for a foothold into Africa. As the continent’s largest African investor, South Africa sends more than 25% of its manufactured products into the continent.Through investment incentives and industrial financing interventions, the government actively seeks to encourage commercial activity and attract foreign capital.Global foreign direct investment slowed by 16% to $1.23-trillion in 2014, according to the 2015 World Investment Report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, released in June 2015. In line with this, the report said foreign direct investment flows into South Africa dropped by 31.2% to $5.8-billion in 2014, down from $8.3-billion in 2013.This was off earnings of about R42-billion in foreign direct investment in 2011, which was more than four times the amount in 2010.Principal international trading partners of South Africa (besides other African countries) include: China, the United States, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.Chief exports are metals and minerals. Machinery and transportation equipment make up more than one-third of the value of the country’s imports. Other imports include automobiles, chemicals, manufactured goods, and petroleum.RatingsSouth Africa is the second highest-ranked African country, after Mauritius, and third-placed among the BRICS economies in the World Economic Forum’s 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Index, ranking 49th out of 140 countries surveyed while placing first for strength of auditing and reporting standards as well as financing through local equity market, and 12th for financial market development.South Africa is ranked 73rd out of 189 countries for ease of doing business according to Doing Business 2015, a joint publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.In December 2015, Fitch Ratings downgraded South Africa’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Rating to “BBB-” from “BBB” and to “BBB” from “BBB+”, respectively, and said the outlooks were stable. The issue ratings on South Africa’s senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds were also downgraded to “BBB-” from “BBB” and “BBB” from “BBB+”, respectively. It said key drivers for the rating decision included further weakening of GDP growth performance and estimates of growth potential. There had also been additional delays to the availability of new electricity generation capacity. However, Fitch also said electricity constraints had eased somewhat, that the banking system was strong and that the structure of government debt was highly favourable.Also in December 2015, Standard & Poor’s credit ratings agency revised the outlook on the South Africa to negative from stable, although it affirmed the long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on South Africa at “BBB-/A-3”; it also affirmed the “BBB+/A-2” long- and short-term local currency ratings. The agency said the negative outlook reflected its view that GDP growth might be lower than it expected, for instance, as a result of persistent electricity shortages, continued weak business confidence, or labour disputes escalating again. In June, S&P acknowledged that South Africa had several strengths, including broad political and institutional stability, policy continuity, and fiscal prudence, which would help to contain the country’s fiscal and external balances and deep financial markets.“While S&P noted that growth in 2015 would be limited as a result of electricity supply shortages, the agency said it expected growth to increase over 2016 to 2018 as electricity supply, domestic consumption and net exports improved. [The] government has committed to redouble the efforts to deal with the challenges identified by S&P,” the Treasury said in response.Updated December 2015Sources:National TreasuryDepartment of Trade and Industry Oxford Business GroupStatistics South AfricaInternational Monetary FundWorld BankWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

MERS Situation More Serious but Not an Emergency Yet, WHO Panel Says

first_imgAn international committee advising the World Health Organization (WHO) today called on countries on the Arabian Peninsula to improve their hospital hygiene and help in carrying out much-needed studies on how the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus spreads. But the panel stopped short of declaring the deadly new disease, which emerged 2 years ago, a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).There has been a dramatic rise in reported MERS cases recently, and calling the outbreak a PHEIC would have given WHO the power to issue travel advisories and other recommendations under the International Health Regulations. It would also increase political pressure on the affected countries.But after a 5-hour telephone conference yesterday, the panel decided that the criteria for a PHEIC haven’t been met, Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, announced at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, today. “They believe the situation had increased in terms of its seriousness and urgency but did not at this point constitute a PHEIC,” Fukuda said.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Preben Aavitsland, a Norwegian epidemiologist who helped draft the International Health Regulations, criticizes the decision. “I personally think from the information that is publicly available that the event should be declared a PHEIC,” Aavitsland tells ScienceInsider in an e-mail. “MERS is an international concern, it spreads to other countries, and there is a need for an international response.” But to David Heymann, a former executive director of communicable diseases at WHO and now head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, it seems “a sound decision.” “We have to trust the international bodies,” Heymann says.The emergency panel was established in July last year and it has met four times before, most recently in December. After each of those meetings it expressed concern but concluded it was too soon to call an emergency. The group will be asked to make a new assessment in a couple of weeks, Fukuda said.In its most recent update, WHO puts the number of MERS infections at 536, including 145 deaths. But that official count lags behind the numbers announced by country governments; Saudi Arabia alone has so far announced 157 deaths. Travelers have also exported the virus to more than a dozen countries where MERS is not endemic. The United States announced a second imported case on Monday, and the Netherlands reported its first today.”Suboptimal infection control practices” in hospitals and overcrowding in emergency rooms have contributed to the rise, Fukuda said. The number of infections acquired outside the hospital has also increased, he added; reasons for that were still unclear. But he stressed that there is “no convincing evidence right now for an increase in the transmissibility of this virus,” which was one of the main reasons the emergency committee did not declare a PHEIC. The committee evaluated genetic information available from five recent infections, three in Jeddah, one in Greece, and the first U.S. case. “The genetic sequences of these more recent viruses looked very much like the sequences of older viruses,” Fukuda said.Aavitsland says the escalating case numbers could lead some countries to unilaterally introduce restrictions for travelers from the Middle East. “By declaring a PHEIC, WHO could put itself in the driver’s seat and give recommendations against such measures, which are very unlikely to be beneficial,” Aavitsland writes. “If someone [issues] travel restrictions against Saudi Arabia now, then Oman or Lebanon may not declare if they have new cases tomorrow.”Declaring a PHEIC could also put increased political pressure on Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region to fully confront the crisis. The world is still waiting for critical research, such as a case-control study, to find out how the virus makes its way from the animal reservoir—likely camels—to humans, Heymann says. “That is the real issue: The study has not been done to show whether this can be prevented by simple efforts.” But declaring a PHEIC just to facilitate such studies would have been irresponsible, Fukuda says. “I hope the increased sense of urgency pushes aside any barriers,” he writes in an e-mail.People should not interpret the panel’s decision to mean everything is under control, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. “It’s not.” There is clear evidence that some individuals, called supershedders, have infected a large number of other people on the Arabian Peninsula, Osterholm says. “If that emerges elsewhere, the world will take a very different view on this.”last_img read more

BJP, Congress set for great Agusta face-off in Rajya Sabha

first_imgBoth the BJP and the Congress were busy keeping their gunpowder dry for Wednesday when the Rajya Sabha is set to debate the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal. The ruling party managers are convinced they have sufficient material at hand to corner the Congress party, which too flexed its muscles saying it had nothing to hide.The VVIP chopper deal finalised and cancelled during the previous UPA is being seen by the BJP strategists as yet another opportunity to target the opposition party, particularly its leadership. “It is going to be a full-fledged attack on the Congress,” said a senior BJP strategist. “We want the debate to take place… We are ready for it,” Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said.The Congress, however, registered its protest over a breach of privilege against the government saying the Defence Ministry files were being selectively shown to journalists and were finding their way in some newspapers before the debate. “We raised the issue in House and submitted a privilege notice against it… The defence minister is showing file notings to his journalist friends two days before the debate,” said Ramesh.The Congress has already submitted another privilege notice against the Defence Ministry over a statement issued over the Agusta Westland deal last week, which was basically a counter to the points raised by the Congress. Sources said the situation may get worse in the House if the BJP speakers try to drag the name of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi during the debate as was attempted by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Congress managers said their defence is strong and their speakers will try to put the government on the mat over the issue.advertisement”We have nothing to hide and want all facts related to the deal to come out in the open,” said Ramesh. Anand Sharma and former defence minister AK Antony may speak on the debate from the Congress side.Sources said the Congress managers are banking on the assumption that the BJP government did not pursue the CBI and ED probes ordered by the UPA in the chopper deal and therefore would not have much to showcase in terms of fresh evidence. After the short discussion, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will either reply or make a statement on the chopper deal. Ahead of the debate, the Congress did not let the upper house to function over the scam in the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation when PM Modi was the chief minister of the state.Also read: MK Narayanan grilled in VVIP chopper case, Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo next IAF may divert choppers to VVIP travel in AgustaWestlandlast_img read more