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South Africa is ‘Country of the Future’

first_imgNew Mercedes Benz cars await export on the docks of the harbour in East London in the Eastern Cape. (Image: Media Club South Africa) MEDIA CONTACTS • Manelisi Wolela Media Liaison Officer Department of Economic Development +27 71 313 4192 RELATED ARTICLES • Team SA to call for investment • Africa rising • African integration on Brics agendaLucille DavieSouth Africa has been named African Country of the Future 2013/14 by fDi Magazine, a London Financial Times publication.“A worthy winner, South Africa has consistently outperformed its African neighbours in FDI [foreign direct investment] attraction since fDi Markets records began in 2003,” says the magazine in its August/September edition. South Africa has the continent’s biggest economy, with gross domestic product (GDP) at $5,8-billion or R3-trillion.Morocco is ranked second for FDI, with Mauritius in third position, followed by Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana, Tunisia and Namibia. South Africa also took the top prize in two other categories: best economic potential, and best business friendliness. “The South African economy has grown since 1994 almost exactly at the average for middle-income economies excluding China – and three times as fast as in the 1980s,” writes Neva Makgetla, the deputy director-general in the Department of Economic Development, in the Sunday Times of 20 October.Kenya has done particularly well, climbing from 10th position in 2011/12 to fifth position this year. It is an innovative country that strives to diversify its economy. Its use of M-Pesa mobile phone payments, for example, have encouraged new investment opportunities.Attracting investmentThe magazine indicates that South Africa attracts about a fifth of all FDI into Africa, more than double the second biggest FDI destination, Morocco. In 2012, that amounted to $4.6-billion, with almost 14 000 jobs created. Johannesburg, the commercial heart of the country, in Gauteng, was the top FDI destination on the continent in 2012.According to fDi Markets, this means that South Africa now ranks as the 16th top FDI destination country in the world. Since the global economic crisis of 2008, FDI globally has dropped 20%. In 2012, the figure improved slightly, settling around 14.3%. Seen against this background, Africa has fared better than other world regions, with FDI on the continent only down 7.9% in 2012. However, in the first five months of 2013, FDI in Africa fell, levelling out at about the same as global averages, down 27%, compared to 28% for the rest of the world.“Unrest, corruption and severe income disparities persist in Africa, though an emerging middle class with increased disposable income, a marked improvement in governance and the availability of natural resources present an attractive opportunity for investors,” indicates the report. “Despite a slight decline of 3.9% in 2012, South Africa increased its market share of global FDI, which further increased in the first five months of 2013 as the country attracted 1.37% of global greenfield investment projects.”In addition, South Africa has attracted more research and development investment than any other African country, the magazine points out, and it accounts for the largest number of patents registered on the continent.According to a recent report by the African Development Bank, Africa’s economy is growing faster than that of any other continent. Of the 54 African countries, almost half, or 26, have now achieved middle-income status, with countries like South Africa, Morocco and Mauritius leading the pack.Gauteng province contributes 40% of the country’s GDP, with Joburg at its heart. The city is the top destination for FDI in Africa, and in the first five months of 2013, was one of five African cities that attracted more investment compared to the same period of 2012. “South Africa has sustained democracy for close to 20 years and with it higher growth rates, solid employment creation and improvement in social and economic services for most people,” says Makgetla. She stresses that with democracy comes a commitment to real, if gradual, change. And it is only if the country lives up to that commitment, that it will establish a “positive investment climate or a cohesive and peaceful society”.Brics partnersIn 2012, FDI in South Africa fell just 3.9% compared to its Brics partners of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which experienced an average 20.7% decline.In its submission for fDi Magazine’s report, Trade and Investment South Africa stressed the importance of the country’s attachments to its Brics partners. “South Africa’s participation in the Brics grouping is significant… as it provides important opportunities to build South Africa’s domestic manufacturing base, enhance value-added exports, promote technology sharing, support small business development and expand trade and investment opportunities.”Nigeria and Botswana are the new entrants in the magazine’s top 10, ranking in seventh and eighth place respectively. Africa has experienced significant growth in the past decade. However, this must be viewed against the fact that its countries are expanding off a low base, with living standards and business environments taking longer to catch up to world standards.“Yet this represents an opportunity for future growth. If the region continues in its efforts to tackle poverty, corruption, inadequate infrastructures and political issues, Africa’s competitiveness on a global scale can only get better,” reads the report.last_img read more

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Couple Sacrifices Electricity in Smart Meter Dispute

first_imgAssya and Mario Pascalev could easily have afforded the $14 month fee their local electric utility wanted in return for opting out of a smart meter installation at their Bethesda, Maryland, home. But the couple, both philosophy PhDs, have gone on a temporary protest and are sweating their way through the hottest time of the year without air conditioning or lights.Two years into the dispute, their unpaid power bill stands at $635 and the Pascalevs are using an LED lantern to make their way around their steamy home at night, at least when they’re not holed up at a local hotel to escape the heat, according to a story in The Washington Post.Like a number of other consumers around the country, the Pascalevs have resisted the switch to a wireless meter that regularly sends data on electricity consumption to the utility. Power companies say smart meters help manage the grid more effectively, but the Pascalevs say the meters are a violation of their privacy, and could pose health and safety concerns.The Maryland Public Service Commission says health worries are unfounded, and even the Pascalevs say the evidence is inconclusive. But the couple, who met as university students in Bulgaria in the 1980s, are sensitive to compromises in personal choice, The Post said.“We’re probably more sensitive to limitations on individual liberties,” said Assya Pascalev, a university professor in biomedical ethics.Only 2% of Pepco’s customers don’t have smart meters. Customers can opt out, but not for free. The original $75 opt-out clause got the Pascalev’s attention, and the $14 monthly fee Pepco uses to pay for maintenance of the old analog meters pushed them over the edge.The couple is apparently nearing the end of their protest, in part because their dog is suffering in the heat and they want the AC turned back on. Still, the experience has been useful.“You know the thing they said about the unexamined life?” Mario Pascalev asked. “We’re thinking about stuff.”last_img read more

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RIL seeking global partner for bridging urban-rural gap: Nita

first_imgIndian corporate giant Reliance Industries is seeking partnership with global players for a new venture aimed at bridging the gap between urban and rural India, Group Chief Mukesh Ambani’s wife Nita Ambani has said.Noting that India is capable of becoming a USD 30-40 trillion economy by 2040, Nita Ambani, Chairperson of RIL Group’s philanthropy arm Reliance Foundation, said that the milestone would make the country poverty-free.Delivering the Champben & Jamnadas Modi/K R Narayanan PhD Fellowship lecture at the London School of Economics in London on Friday  night, she elaborated on the Reliance Group’s plan to build bridges between the rural and urban India.”It will be a unique partnership of private, public and the citizen sector and we seek global partnership in this venture,” she said.”We all have a big dream for India. It has the potential to become a staggering USD 30 to 40 trillion economy by 2040 and when this dream comes true, India will be poverty-free,” Ambani noted.”This will be India’s third and real freedom, freedom from poverty. If 1947 was the first freedom, to my mind 1991 (rpt) 1991 was the 2nd freedom – economic freedom – freedom that unleashed our entrepreneurship to compete in the world.”She said the freedom from poverty is possible “if we energise our youth and build an economic system, and institutions that provide an opportunity to realise the full potential of our 1 billion plus people.”Remembering the time when she met Mukesh, she said: “In the late 1970s and early 80s when Mukesh and I met, India was considered a third world country. It has been fascinating to see the journey from third world country to the third most powerful country in the world.”advertisementThe topic of the lecture was “Towards an Indian Renaissance: Building Institutions of Excellence.”Noting that India’s advantages can be summarised as 3 Ds – Democracy, Diversity and Demographics, Nita Ambani, also chairperson of Dhirubhai Ambani International School and Sports JV IMG-Reliance, said the real explosion would happen when the 4th ‘D’ of discipline would get integrated.”Discipline will bind the country and align it in its pursuit to become a truly advanced economy.”After arriving here with Mukesh Ambani on Friday afternoon in their special chartered flight, Reliance I, the couple also attended a dinner hosted by Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics at the LSE.The dinner was attended by Britain’s Secretary of State for Business Dr Vince Cable, Lord Megnad Desai, Barry Gardiner, MP, and Manoj Ladwa, a leading solicitor.In her hour-long lecture, which was repeatedly applauded by the packed gathering, Ambani said “India is now changing and regaining its lustre and it is coming of age.”Describing the radical transformation, she said, “India’s economy is growing at a trail blazing rate of around 8 to 9 per cent annually and promises to do so for many years to come. We will soon be the fastest growing economy.”Neeta Ambani added, “Mukesh often talks about our right to win. India has now earned its right to win. People speculate that this century is Asia’s century and in my heart of heart I know India will lead the way.”It will not only lead the way but also be a shining example and show the path to the rest of the world. While the world is still reeling under the aftermath of the financial crisis, India has come out stronger and has demonstrated that financial innovations can not be done at the cost of the common man.”According to her, India knew a unique developmental model, which is different from the rest of the world.”India’s unique strength lies in its soft power – the soft power will be central to making it a super power.”Talking about her association with the businesses of Reliance Group, Nita Ambani said her role in building Jamnagar Refinery was to “make the development process people-centric, infuse a soul into the creation; my role was also to ensure excellence is ingrained in this asset that will serve India and its people for a long time.”She said her most important job was to create one of the biggest green belts standing in 1800 acres in Jamnagar where they planted over 2 million trees.”Part of the desert has now been transformed into Asia’s largest mango-growing orchard. Today the refinery is not only exporting petroleum products but also mangoes,” she said.She also referred to her role in transforming the Mumbai Indians, the IPL team led by Sachin Tendulkar, “greatest cricketer in the world”.advertisementShe said that the Group was now expanding its sports vision through IMG Reliance Joint Venture. “It is a world class initiative in sports development under which 29 most deserving young sports stars have been identified from across the country and they will be sent on a one-year scholarship to IMG academy in Florida.””This joint venture will build most advanced sport infrastructure in the country. Most importantly it will groom future champions of India.”With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

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Some Aunt Jemima products being recalled for possible Listeria contamination

first_imgOTTAWA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Pinnacle Foods Canada Corporation is recalling Aunt Jemima Frozen Waffles and Frozen French Toast Slices due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.The CFIA says distributors, retailers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes should not sell or use the recalled products.The CFIA says the recalled products were sold to food service accounts nationally, but there have been no reported illnesses.The recalled items are Aunt Jemima Waffles, 144 count, 3.57 kilograms, with UPC code 1 00 19600 43575 1; Aunt Jemima Original Thin French Toast, 144 count, 6.1 kilogram, with UPC 0 00 19600 05870 0; and Aunt Jemima Thick French Toast, 72 count, 4.86 kilogram with UPC 0 00 19600 43560 0.Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness.The CFIA says the recall was triggered by a voluntary recall in another country.last_img read more

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Victor Arcos pushes on the lever that allows the c

first_imgVictor Arcos pushes on the lever that allows the concrete to pour from the bucket. June 27, 2001Today construction poured some of the last walls of Phase V’s 1st floor with the rented formwork. While we will be returning most of it at the end of this month, we will continue using about 1/3 of it to complete the first floor over the course of the next month or two. Here resident Ray Shong helps guide the crane bucket into place.[Photos and text by Ivan Fritz] Tasuku Matsuyama and Takashige Koga help the concrete pour from the cement truck into the crane bucket.last_img read more

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