Africa In Focus

Africa In Focus: "The mainstream thinking now is that Africa is different and we could get it right if we want. The choice is fully ours, and it is now time for us to define what we want."

African Development Bank (AFDB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

#Failure: Walking the line, Taking chances

 “When I was a young man, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. I didn't want to be a failure, so I did ten times more work.”
-         George Bernard Shaw.


Former United States President, Abraham Lincoln, once  told this story to a delegation at the White house:

“Years ago, a young friend and I were out one night when a shower of meteors fell from the clear November sky. The young man was frightened, but I told him to look up in the sky past the shooting stars to the fixed stars beyond, shining serene in the firmament, and I said, “Let us not mind the meteors, but let us keep our eyes on the stars.”

Like the young man in Lincoln’s story, most of us, as it is in the nature of human being, are naturally “precautious”. We have the tendency to always toe the line when unexpected crisis/situation arises. This is because we are afraid to fail.

Most of us have been somewhat afraid to take a leap of faith in a particular cause of our live (either in business, career, personal relationship with others etc) because we are afraid of the inevitable.

While some have taken the plunge to dive into the “river” of situation around them – giving it their all, others have either dip a tip of their toe into the river or in another case, just sit at the edge of the river bank inorder not to get wet – for fear of the unknown.

Of course, we shield ourselves against the inevitable (or who will see a boiling water and then dip his/her hand into it without caution :-)) but one way or the other we find ourselves at one point in our cautious life walking the line of “possible failure.”

And when we find ourselves in this uncomfortable situation, we ask ourselves, “Can I rise above this situation (failure)?

Whether we like it or not; in life, there is got to be a silver lining in our big blue sky. This silver lining comes in form of obstacles that we tag as failure.

Failure comes in big or small stuffs. It can be as a result of not meeting up the cut-off mark for a school admission, carryover in examinations, a long-time/short-time relationship that ended up broken, failure to secure a contract or to meet up with the required standard of our friends, families and the society.

Sometimes, we measure our success and triumphs with that of our friends, colleague, spouse or celebrities/achievers we see or hear of. And if we are unable to measure up to these standards, we tag our self as failures in that regard. Well, that (comparing yourself with others) is a no-no because you are you and I am me. Always have it in mind that though your situation may be similar to that of your neighbor, your success story can never be the same.

As a youngster, I have experienced my share of failures (which I know doesn’t end so far I am living) but one thing that has kept me going is to bring out a LESSON from each situation. I must confess that I have not always readily embrace tough situations around me, but at least I try to look past that fear of failing. And whenever I encounter a sort of “failure”, I try to look back to see where I have missed it to bring out a lesson or two from such situations. 

This lesson(s) have in turn shape me one way or the other.

I am not alone in tasting the bitter-sweet pill of failure, others have tasted, swallowed and relish it. And I have envisaged is that those that have become successful one way or the other in this world, have been able to learn lesson(s) from their past failures/shortcomings – contributing to a large part of their success.

We admire those that have been able to rise above their failure but we are still wary of embracing it ourselves. But one thing has holds true and it has stand the test of time: “Failure can in turn bring insurmountable and untold blessing.”

Therefore, since we cannot prevent failure from happening, we might as well embrace it and learn from them to be a better person than we were yesterday.

The only way to walk the line of failure is to convert it (failure) into success is by learning from them.

South Africa ex-President, Nelson Mandela, once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Go ahead and grow through your failure. Somehow, somewhere; the strength will come for you to push forward.

When you embrace your failure; you exhibit the attitude of moving on, stepping up (rising above it) and then learning from the cause of the failure. If you are not able to learn from the cause of your failure, it will be like the proverbial dog that goes back to its vomit. In other word, you keep repeating the same mistake and the failure syndrome continues.

So, make the best of bad situations. Don’t bother wasting time grieving on past failures for the long haul, instead, LEARN and MOVE ON to achieve success from the disappointment you have experienced.

Jim Stovall in his book “The Ultimate gift” says: “If we are not allowed to deal with small problems (failure), we will be destroyed by slightly larger ones. When we come to understand this fact, we live our lives not avoiding problems, but welcoming them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future.”

When failures come your way, it strengthens you to stay balanced under pressure. It also gives you the criteria you need most to work it out –patience.

Remember, failure are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

Failure is part of life, embrace it.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Nigeria Business Relations With Brazil To Hit $18 Billion By 2015


Nigeria is planning to double its trade volume with Brazil from the current $9bn (N1.422tn) to $18bn (N2.844tn) by 2015.

Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, disclosed over the weekend in Abuja at a Nigeria-Brazil trade forum that both countries had agreed to strengthen trade and investment ties by leveraging areas where they had competitive and comparative advantage.
 “The volume of trade has increased significantly over the years. Today, it is $9billion and we can do much more. We are working on how we can double that by 2015.”
 Brazil is our number three trading partner in terms of crude oil exports after the United States of America and India. So, the country is very important to our economy, knowing that crude oil sale is 90 per cent of our export.
In terms of imports from Brazil, most of our rice, sugar and automobiles come from Brazil and we are working to improve upon what we have at the moment.”
“So, Nigeria has had a good trading relationship with Brazil for a very long time now. The Brazilian Minister of State, Ministry of Development, Industry and its Foreign Trade, Mr. Fernado Pimentel, and I will work together to double the trade volume between Nigeria and Brazil by 2015,” he said.
Aganga said both countries had also agreed to put in place mechanism that would accelerate trade development between them.

He said the Federal Government had opened discussions with Brazil to have a direct flight from Nigeria to Brazil, adding that when approved, the move would help to facilitate trade.
As part of the mechanism to be put in place to facilitate trade ties, the Minister said a direct flight from Nigeria to Brazil will soon be launched.

“We will have a direct flight from Nigeria to Brazil. Today, a flight that should take six hours is taking us 24 hours. That is not good for business; it is not good for investment. We have a trade commission in place that will accelerate that process as quickly as possible,” the minister said.

Nigeria Top SMS Volumes In Africa

Nigeria is leading in the use of Short Message Services (text messages) in Africa; Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Director-General, Cleopas Angaye said on Thursday at the inauguration of the Cloud Computing services by Business Connexion Data Centre in Lagos.

He adjudged that the development signifies the readiness of the country to continue taking leadership position in the application of information communication technology (ICT) tools to its daily lives.

“(This means that) Nigeria is ready for e-mobile. It is not about being bad or good, what we are saying is that Nigeria, as country in sub-Saharan Africa, is ready to capture the (market). We have many applications for mobile computing. We can even utilise SMS and save the stress of going from Lagos to Abuja or to Maiduguri to know aht is there,” Angaye said.

He added that SMS growth in the country was one of the successes recorded in the industry following the liberalisation of the telecoms sector and the establishment of NITDA.
Angaye credited the current status to the success recorded in the country’s telecoms sector in the past decade as Nigeria now have 113 million active telephone lines compared to the meager 400,000 lines in 2001.

The NITDA boss noted that while the country has recorded significant growth in voice telephony and subscribers base; it is necessary to know that the country stood ahead of its other African counterparts in SMS usage.

“At the beginning of the IT revolution, Nigeria had one of the lowest telephone densities (main lines per 100 inhabitants) not only in West Africa, but also in the whole of Africa. The teledensity in Nigeria was about 0.5, while that of South Africa was 10.1; Egypt, 5.6; Algeria, 4.8; Gambia, 1.9; and Senegal, 1.3.”

“The Internet connectivity index showed the same trend as for telephones.”

A Price Water House Cooper (PwC) statistics had recently revealed that Nigerians subscribers sent 1.8 billion SMS in 2012. The report says Nigerians in 2012 spent about 22.3 billion minutes on telephones.

The PwC’s report revealed that while the minutes of telephone calls in Nigeria showed an increase of over five billion from 17 billion in 2011 to reach 22.3 billion at the end of 2012, SMS volume also increased by three million, rising from 1.5 billion to 1.8 billion during the same period.

Speaking on the cybercrime bill pending before the National Assemby, Angaye said the bill was a 'baby of necessity' as the nation was becoming notorious for cybercrimes in the community of nations.

“There is the cybercrime and the cybersecurity issue. The cybersecurity part of the bill spells out penalties for that will be meted out to the people who contravene the bill. Security is about how we prepare ourselves and make sure that we secure our cyberspace against crime."

“Nigeria is rated as one of the worst cybercimes (nations in the world). If you go to the internet (and click) cybercrime Nigeria, you will see that Nigeria is either one of the four (leading cybercrime countries of the world). It becomes of utmost concern when you count the US and may be China and the UK and Nigeria is there. We shouldn’t be there. Nigeria is not as advanced as these other countries. We want to be advanced in other areas but certainly not in crime. So, we are concerned. We want our cyberspace to be free,” he said.

FCMB Invests In Eko Atlantic Project

First City Monument Bank (FCMB), on Thursday in Lagos, pledge support for the development of Eko Atlantic City, a reclamation project on the Lagos Atlantic that had reclaimed 500 million square metres.
Speaking at the project dedication ceremony by President Goodluck Jonathan, Deputy Managing Director of FCMB, Mr. Segun Odusanjo, said the bank and two others, as well as some foreign banks are supporting the project that started in 2008 financially.
His words: “Our own involvement in the project is to support the promoters of the project by giving them our support both in terms of funding and also financial advisory.  For us to be supporting the project we have done our due diligence and analysis and we believe in it.
“This is a project that we strongly believe in. it is a project that we believe will have a lot of impact on both the economy of Lagos State and that of Nigeria in general. There is also the environmental positive impact”.
Speaking on the benefits of the project, Odusanjo said aside the positive environmental impact, the project has the capacity to provide employment to a sizeable number of Nigerians and It will boost the  tourism potential of Lagos State and Nigeria.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, in his address said the reclamation project is a significant victory over nature as it has taking back the land that was taken by nature from years of ocean surge.
Eko Atlantic City,  a new city  designed to provide the space and infrastructure to  house 250,000 people and become the workplace for s further 150,000 in Lagos, has achieved a major development milestone with the reclamation of 500 million square metres of land, which is 50 per cent of the initial project.

Culled: Daily Independent

Tanzania Students Urged To Embrace Entrepreneurship As Solution To Unemployment


Tanga Regional Commissioner, Chiku Gallawa has advised Tanzania youths to create jobs themselves instead of depending on government for employment.

According to her, Tanzania has many job creation opportunities which are not yet tapped.
“Foreigners see those opportunities and that is why many of them scramble to invest here,” she said at a programme sponsored by Voice of America (VOA) in Tanga city.
She said it was astonishing to see graduates complaining that there were no jobs, while when foreigners come within short time they see the opportunities and utilize them by establishing big projects that could earn them huge profit.
"This is a matter of changing your mindset; if you think that after graduation you will be employed and if you do not get employment, you will be totally discouraged, and start complaining against the government ...while the same government has opened the chance for you to invest."
She added that the government has minimal chances to employ all the graduates; therefore, the best permanent solution was for the graduates to use their academic skills, create jobs because there are abundant resources in their localities.
Students complain that they have been facing challenges when it comes to the question of employment after graduation; citing lack of experience, corruption and favouritism in terms of "who you know and not what you know" in job seeking as some of the major challenges they face.
Meanwhile, a lecturer from Eckernforde University based in Tanga, Ancyfrida Prosper, said, entrepreneurship skills should be taught from primary school level as a subject, in order to prepare youths for self employment.
According to her, many graduates do not know how to prepare business plans, thus it is harder for them access loans, as financial institutes need such documents before releasing the money.

Additional Report: Tanzania Daily News

Friday, 22 February 2013

Praekelt Foundation launches Johannesburg’s First Tech Incubator- Jozihub


Praekelt Foundation in partnership with Omidyar Network, Google and ISlabs has created Johannesburg’s first tech incubator, JoziHub, which will foster entrepreneurship and innovation.

Jozihub  aim to transform the technology industry by connecting potential entrepreneurs and developers with the critical resources they need. It intends to be the facilitator for interactions and collaborations among various stakeholders such as research, private sector and public institutions, providing a dynamic and far-reaching eco-system for entrepreneurs to drive their initiatives.

Emphasis is placed on the development of Internet, social media and mobile technologies that address the country’s most pressing social challenges.

There will be various content streams that will focus on particular market segments; Entrepreneurship; Developers; Health; Arts; Education; Environment & Sustainability; Women in Tech; and Government and Transparency.

“Technology hubs can play a pivotal role in fostering the emergence of a new generation of African tech entrepreneurs,” says Gustav Praekelt, founder of the Praekelt Foundation.

“By providing the training, support, facilities and networks required to enable entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses, incubators such as JoziHub can make an immediate and lasting impact on local innovation and development.”

Praekelt  says Johannesburg has a vibrant community of innovators and world class thinkers whose ideas can transform the country, and indeed the African continent.

“At JoziHub, we are seeking to harness this energy and allow its vast potential to be realised,” he said.

Jozihub has joined the clique of those rocking African innovation space such as Kenya’s iHub, Nigeria’s ccHub and Uganda’s Hive Colab. The hub plans to apply to join AfriLabs, a networking organisation that supports the growth of communities around African technology hubs.

Omidyar Network Partner Stephen King posits that the hub will give the city’s entrepreneurs a quicker path to innovation.

“For Johannesburg tech entrepreneurs, today the world just became smaller and the path to innovation shorter,” he said.

King added that Omidyar’s experience in Silicon Valley, as well as its support of technology hubs in Nairobi and Lagos, demonstrates the vital role JoziHub will play as an open, living lab where collaboration among social entrepreneurs and technologists will spark new ideas, nurture innovation and create socially minded ventures.

Google, one of JoziHub’s core funding partners, is committed to helping the tech start-up ecosystem grow across Africa, as part of their efforts to create an accessible, relevant and sustainable internet ecosystem across the continent.

Google's goal is to enable tech hubs like JoziHub by providing them with funding, technical content, business tools, and infrastructure upgrades so that the hubs can support developers and start-ups.

During JoziHub’s 3 month launch period, it will be free for entrepreneurs to join and utilise the JoziHub.  As demand grows, certain services such as the shared space, hotdesks, access to mentors and events will be charged for accordingly,Gadget reported. 

Meanwhile, JoziHub will regularly host events that bring together the continent’s leading thinkers and agents of change within each of these sectors.

The first event will be the TED2013 Live Stream on February 27th, 2012.

Blue Key Software Solution: What factors affect the cost of implementing SAP Business One?

 Bluekey Africa

How much does SAP Business One cost to implement? This is a question we at Bluekey Software Solutions need to answer on a regular basis. The highly experienced Bluekey team, consisting of more than 100 employees, has implemented more than 220 SAP Business One sites in 16 different countries. While there is no set formula to provide you with a 100% accurate price for the implementation of SAP Business One, we can provide you with some information to understand what SAP Business One implementations costs are likely to be and what expenses you can expect to see.
Obviously, one has to take into consideration hardware, operating system, support and SAP Business One software licence pricing.

The cost of implementing SAP Business One is dependent on many variables: number of branches and companies, number of users, customer internal capabilities and responsibilities, quantity and quality of data, level of integration required, extent of customisation, business rules and workflow requirements, reporting and stationery needs, and the amount of training required.

Choosing a reputable and experienced SAP Business One partner will ensure you get a complete solution configured to your business processes and can significantly reduce your implementation costs. You can assess the complexity, and the implementation costs, for your business by considering:

1. How many branches will be implemented? – Is the implementation for a single branch or head office, or are there multiple branches or companies that need SAP Business One implementations? If you have multiple branches or companies, will you require inter-company/branch and data consolidation?

2. Geographics – Is the SAP Business One implementation going to cover multiple cities or expand into neighbouring countries? If so, there are likely to be different set-ups and configuration requirements based on the different legal and fiscal requirements for each country.

3. Data conversion – Unless your business is a start-up, it is highly likely you will want to convert data from your legacy system. Data conversions are categorised into two broad categories – master data and historical data. From a pricing/implementation point of view, you should consider whether you will be able to extract, clean and validate the data sets internally or whether the consultant will be required to assist with this process. Another question is whether there is a requirement to export historical data and whether it needs to be imported in summary or detail format.
4. Reporting – The number and complexity of reports to be written to your specific requirements will have an impact on the days (and therefore price) required to implement SAP Business One. You should, however, seriously consider keeping custom reports to a minimum if you want to reduce implementation time.

5. Training – How many people need to be trained as SAP Business One users? Will training be on-site or off-site, and will site-specific user notes be required? Many companies adopt a “train the trainer” approach, where the SAP Business One partner is responsible for training super users of the customer. These super users then pass down their knowledge and train other users in the team. This approach helps reduce implementation pricing for remote and distributed sites by reducing the amount of training days required.

6. Business processes – This is something that sounds obvious but is sometimes overlooked. If your business processes are industry-specific and your requirements extend beyond the standard functionality or configurability offered by SAP Business One, then extra consultancy, customisation or development will be required. The suggestion is always to try and keep the initial implementation as simple as possible and add functionality as your business develops.

7. User skill set – The skill level of users (including accounting, business knowledge and general computer skills) are all factors in determining how long it will take to implement SAP Business One in your business and how long it will take for your SAP Business One users to efficiently adopt the solution.

8. Project and change management – Sound project management, change management and a proven project management methodology is the basis of all successful ERP implementations. It is important to make sure you have a project manager dedicated to your project, preferably with proven experience in successful SAP Business One implementations. The amount of project management required will vary depending on the topics discussed above and also what change management/project management resources are available within your business to facilitate the transition.
Based on our analysis of your requirements, we provide an estimate of the services and costs you should expect to implement SAP Business One. In the absence of this investigation, you can estimate your implementation costs to be between 80% and 140% of your software costs. Bear in mind that if you add users or change the project scope during the implementation process, you should budget for a commensurate increase in implementation costs.

Press release

Lesson From A Determined Nigeria Business Man - Olufemi Durojaye

Chief Executive Officer of Femmirate Global Ventures Limited, Olufemi Durojaye is a Computer technology graduate from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
His company, Femmirate Global Ventures Limited has various subsidiaries which includes Femmirate Travels; Femmirate Electronics; Femmirate Information Technology Department; Courier Services Department and Femmirate Furniture.
Durojaye recently spoke with Nigeria’s local newspaper, Vanguard on what motivated him to start his business, the challenges and how he has been able to survive in the Nigerian business terrain.

Durojaye was motivated to start his own company as a result of his desire to be self-reliant as he had never believed I was going to work for government or go around searching for job.
According to him:
"I realised that in Nigeria today, everybody wants to rely on government to do everything for them. Everybody wants to be a civil servant, nobody wants to be self-reliant, or productive so as to help the economy of the country. They just go about complaining and these complaints have not brought any solution, rather, they have made things worse. I believe so much in myself, my abilities and my goals. I believe that I do not have to depend on government to help me or rely on government to get a job.”
I know the statistics of unemployment in the country. I have an idea about how many students graduate from the universities every year and how many of them are absorbed in the civil service. So I believe in what I can do. I have business ideas, all I had to do was equip myself with the right tools and techniques and here we are."

Some of the challenges he faced include unfavourable government policies, lots of other challenges that come up in businesses day in day out.

“This happens in every country but I think the determination of business owners to overcome those challenges is what will make them succeed in business rather than focusing on the challenges,” he said.

Self-Reliance in Language Learning: 5 Lessons from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We pay so much attention on keeping our overhead cost very low and this has helped us remain in business,” he said.
Nigerian Education and Self-reliance In Nigeria
Asked if Nigeria's educational system is really tailored towards preparing the youth to be self-reliant, Durojaye said;
"I understand why you are asking the question. I schooled in Nigeria and I am self-reliant, same educational system. I think this has to do with individuals. Of course, I am not denying the fact that there are still a lot of work to be done when it comes to our curriculum and the way we go about teaching. But at the same time, this really has more to do with individuals. The youth have to realise that they are the hope of this nation, they have to realise that it is all about them, not about the government, not about government jobs, they have to take the challenge upon themselves irrespective of all the odds and unpalatable situations."
Advise to the youths

"Do not depend on the government for everything, take a bold step today, start with what you have passion for, in no time you will gain mastery of your chosen vocation. Remember that intelligence is never a substitute for experience."

Personal Lesson learned
The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.

Health Care Takes Precedence In Nigeria’s Hierarchy Of Needs

The Business of Health

Compared to the situation ten years ago, Nigerians now spend more on luxury, health and non essentials; statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows.
According to the CPI report, price of consumer goods and services purchased by households, indicates that healthcare spend rose by 3 percent, from 13.6 index value  in 2003 to 30.04 in 2012.
The CPI report specifically shows that spending on food as a percentage of income has dropped to 50.7 percent from 63.7 percent in 2003.
It indicated an increased spending by Nigerians on clothing with a 76.5 weighting (7.65%) from 32.1 (3.2%) from ten years ago.
Spending on furnishing and household equipment followed, with a 50.2 weighting from 38.2 in the period under review. Other high areas of increased spending include education and health.
The rise in healthcare weighting indicates that more and more Nigerians are purchasing healthcare products on the back of growing non-communicable diseases among the middle class. Disease conditions like cancer, hypertension, diabetes and obesity have been on the increase lately, due to new consumption habits which now take a portion of Nigerians spend on food, , Business day reported.
Doyin Salami, an economist and member of faculty at the Lagos Business School (LBS), said, “Nigerians are spending less on food, which reflects the changing hierarchy of needs, as we move away from a subsistence economy to a living economy .”
“There is an increase in lifestyle and recreation spending,” he said, adding that Nigerians are increasingly heading to private hospitals and schools for better healthcare and education, which is invariably leading to higher spending on those items.
Dayo Shobamowo, a physician and healthcare management consultant, the increase of CPI for healthcare is as a result of increases in the prices of drugs and others.

“I believe that the increase of CPI for healthcare in Nigeria from 1.3% to 3% is a result of increases in the price of drugs, medical equipment and other hospital overheads like power, rather than an increase in the remuneration of medical workers in Nigeria. Most drugs and other medical equipment used in Nigeria are also imported with foreign exchange and their increasing prices are a consequence of the lowering value of the Naira over time,” Shobamowo said.

Statistics made available at the recently concluded education fairs of both Canadian schools and British universities, show that Nigerians are estimated to spend between N200 billion and N300 billion yearly on foreign education for their children. Nigerians are also estimated to spend about $8 billion U.S. dollars annually on medical tourism.

Increased urbanisation is also driving the changing spending patterns. It is estimated that by 2016, over 500 million Africans will live in urban centres, according to McKinsey, a business intelligence and research firm and the number of cities with more than 1 million people is expected to reach 65, compared with 52 in 2011,with many of them located in Nigeria.

For additional Report read here

Thursday, 21 February 2013

South Africa To Launch Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Programme

Electric car - Zero emissions

South Africa is set to launch a programme that will usher in the use of Zero Emission Electric Vehicle in the country.
Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, will launch the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Zero Emission Electric Vehicle (Ev) Programme, commonly known as DEA GREEN CARS at Gerotek Test Facilities, WF Nkomo Rd, Pretoria Weston 26 February 2013.
The introduction of the DEA Zero Emission Electric vehicles, a ground breaking pioneering initiative for the South African automobile market, also referred to as the DEA Green cars, seeks to ensure that South Africa practically contributes to the reduction of environmentally harmful gases, by promoting the use of cleaner sources of fuel by the automotive industry.
This initiative is one of the practical outcomes of COP17 hosted by South Africa recently. A unique feature of DEA’s fleet of Zero Emission Electric Vehicles is that they are fully powered by solar energy, from a high-tech assembly of solar tracking panels, housed at the department’s head office, rather than power from the national grid.
The high tech solar panels powering the vehicles generate enough electricity to power the fleet and feed back into the national grid, further incentivising the move for other government departments and ordinary citizens to consider travelling green.
Economically, the Zero Emission Electric Vehicle (Ev) Programmeis also meant to ensure that South Africa keeps the pace of the technological developments in automotive manufacturing against her international counterparts. This initiative will simultaneously address other global concerns such as energy security as oil wells are expected to dry up in the next 50 years.
The DEA believes that a transition to electric vehicles in South Africa is one of the best solutions to cut down on CO2 emissions, in line with the aims of the National Climate Change Response policy and ensure implementation of the resolutions of many Climate Change conferences. South Africa seeks to provide an environment that encourages the domestic automotive industry to prepare for transition into alternative propulsions systems operation and production.
This initiative is a multi-stakeholders partnership program aimed at sustainability for many decades to come and it includes the following Departments: Trade and Industry, Transport, Energy, Science and Technology, South African Bureau of Standards, Nissan South Africa and other car makers, South African Revenue Service (SARS), Eskom, private sector and municipalities, amongst others. Distinguished guests from these stakeholders are expected to attend the launch.
These and other stakeholders are key enablers who will ensure greater feasibility and roll-out of the Electric Vehicles (EV) and localisation opportunities. Although the domestic electric vehicle industry is at its infancy stage and little is known about the Electric Vehicles, the government will roll out an effective consumer education and awareness campaign to popularise the uptake of the EVs.

Winners of the Apps4Africa 2012 Announced

The U.S. Department of State has announced the winners of Apps4Africa 2012: Business Challenge, an Africa-wide competition to develop sustainable technology-based solutions to youth unemployment.
Selected from nearly 300 applications from 27 countries by an international panel of judges, the winning teams are:
SliceBiz (from Ghana): a web and mobile investment platform that uses crowdsourcing to connect promising startups with young investors in Africa.
Prowork (from Nigeria): a web and mobile project management tool that enables businesses to create and assign tasks and track project status in real-time.
Ffene (from Uganda): a low-cost business management platform that helps small and medium-sized businesses simplify accounting, generate reports, and manage customer relations.
These young technology entrepreneurs—and the many others who competed this year—are the faces of a growing trend of innovative African start-up companies.
Winners are awarded $10,000 each with the possibility of top-up funds if the winners meet set targets. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Cosatu Supports Ban On Public Servants Doing Business With State

The Congress of South African Trade Unions celebrates and fully supports the proposal by Public Service and Administration Minister, Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu, to completely ban civil servants from doing business with government, and to blacklist those found guilty of corruption or financial misconduct from working in the public service.
COSATU has been campaigning for years for a ban on public servants holding directorships or being involved in companies that do business with the state, and is delighted that this is now government policy. It is based on the principle that public servants have to choose between serving the public or running businesses but never both at the same time.
Concern over civil servants benefiting from government procurement was highlighted in 2010, when the Auditor-General revealed that tenders worth more than R624m went to companies with links to civil servants, their spouses or family members.
As the minister says: "We are very worried about the incidents or overlap of people doing business with the State (when they) are employed by the State... If we cut that umbilical cord, we might succeed in making sure that we are creating a cadre of the public service who is concerned and only concentrating on the job and not doing the job but at the same time benefiting from the State."
The federation also applauds the minister’s plan to establish an office of standards compliance, headed by a super director-general, to monitor and discipline poorly performing directors-general and provincial heads of department, and to keep a database of all government officials found with their hands in the till.
This reflects her concern about officials who resign from one department only to join another as soon as they are under internal investigation for fraud. “You will be unemployable.” she said, “because you've been found guilty of serious fraud and corruption. This is one of the ways in which we are going to be able to deal with this matter".
COSATU hopes these moves will help stop the looting of public funds by State employees and will do everything possible to assist the minister to implement her proposals and strike a blow against the scourge of corruption.

Source:Patrick Craven
Congress of South African Trade Unions(National Spokesperson)