February 2016

This is what some Lagos traders had to say about how the Naira’s instability is affecting the price of food

Ventures Africa went to the markets in Lagos to find out how the current economic situation has affected the prices of Agricultural products such as rice, beans, groundnuts, soya beans, oil, tomatoes and plantain. This is what some traders in had to say about how the instability of the Naira has affected the price of agricultural products:

Here’s how the Naira’s instability is affecting the price of foodThis is what some traders in Lagos markets have to say about how the instability of the naira has affected the price of agricultural products such as rice, beans and plantain.

Posted by Ventures Africa on Monday, February 29, 2016

The post This is what some Lagos traders had to say about how the Naira’s instability is affecting the price of food appeared first on Ventures Africa.

What we have learnt from Buhari’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar

Last week, theNigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar as part of his efforts to resolve the current global oil crisis. President Buhari, who has been nicknamed “Gulliver” because of his frequent foreign travels since he became Nigeria’s president, is said to be seeking interventions from both the Saudi and Qatari government. He also strengthened bi-lateral relations between Nigeria and the two states by signing some key deals. Buhari was accompanied by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, NNPC Boss and Minister of state for petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Nigeria’s Minister of state for Aviation, Hadi Sirika. He was also accompanied by the state governors for Zamfara, Borno, Osun, Katsina and Ogun states. This drew the ire of Nigerians, with many claiming it was a waste of the country’s resources to travel with so many governors.

Here are some of the highlights of Buhari’s visit to the Gulf States:

Oil prices

Here is what you need to know about the current fuel scarcity across the federation.

Last week, Ventures Africa reported a looming fuel scarcity in  Nigeria and it appears fuel scarcity has fully gripped major cities in the country. Amidst other economic challenges, many are beginning to question President Buhari’s mantra of change as the country experiences the fifth fuel scarcity in just eight months. Here is what you need to know about the current fuel scarcity:

The scarcity has been attributed to scarcity of forex and NNPC being the sole importer of the product

The scarcity of foreign exchange has also impeded the efforts of major marketers to import petroleum products as expected. Of the five major marketers, only Mobil Oil and Total have been able to import petroleum products because of their foreign affiliations. Other major oil marketers find it difficult to source for the dollar at over N300 to $1, to import petroleum products, leading to an imbalance in the expected products to be distributed across the nation.

According to the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) National Chairman Comrade Salimon Akanni Oladiti, “the situation has been fragile since the NNPC assumed the role of the sole importer of petrol. There is supply gap…now, since the NNPC imports 78 percent of the petrol needs of the country, with other marketers sharing the remaining 22 percent.”

Varied pump price

How the death of two Ugandan mothers is helping entrench the right to health care

When Sylvia Nalubowa went into labour in Uganda’s Mityana district in August 2009, she was taken to a local health centre where she expected to have a normal birth, supervised by a midwife.

After she had delivered her first baby the midwife realised there was a twin on the way. The midwife recommended that Nalubowa be taken to the district hospital where a doctor could handle the second delivery.

But when she arrived at the Mityana District Hospital in Central Uganda, the nurses asked for her maternity kit. This is commonly known as a “mama kit” and contains a plastic sheet, razor blades, cotton wool or gauze pad, soap, gloves, cord ties, and a child health card. All mothers delivering babies in Ugandan hospitals and clinics are expected to bring their own “mama kits” when they go into labour.

But Nalubowa had used her “mama kit” at the first health facility when delivering her first child. The nurses would hear none of her excuses and demanded money to purchase the kit before they could attend to her.

Nalubowa and her baby died.

Jennifer Anguko died under similar circumstances. She arrived at the Arua hospital in North Western Uganda at 8.30am on December 10, 2010 but was not attended to for 12 hours by which time her condition and cries for help were out of control.

One hour later she was taken to theatre but she and her baby died during the procedure. The cause of her death listed in the post mortem report was a ruptured uterus.

Barclays Africa sets the record straight on closing operations in Africa

Barclays Africa on Monday announced that it was not closing its operations in Africa in response to viral reports stating that Barclays was leaving Africa. According to the article published on Financial Times on Friday, Barclays’ new Chief Executive, Jes Staley, was  to announce the exit of the British bank from Africa on Tuesday.

“After a review of the African business led by Jes Staley, the bank’s board decided last week that in principle it made strategic sense to get out of the continent, according to people familiar with the matter,” read the article on Financial Times.

It would be recalled that Ventures Africa also published a closely related article on Sunday, explaining probable reasons why the company may be exiting the continent as well as the possible buyers for the Bank’s operation in Africa. However, Barclays Africa sent in a tweet stressing that the company would not exit its African operations and no jobs would be lost.

The company also sent out a series of messages on their twitter page, informing people about its commitment to Africa:

What does Mugabe’s $800k birthday celebration say about the controversial leader?

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, was honoured over the weekend with ‘big shots’ rolling out the red carpet in celebration of his 92nd birthday. Despite the recent economic downturn and rising unemployment rates in the country, the ‘birthday bash’ took place in the drought-ridden Masvingo province. The very obvious contrast; farmers are lamenting over wilting crops as a result of moisture stress, while very important personalities are arriving the town, lodging in hotels and disrupting activities in the province by shutting down the area in order to celebrate a man who will not be stepping down from his ivory tower anytime soon.

According to the New Zimbabwe, Mugabe has lent his support to calls by several young people to make his birthday, February 21st, a national holiday called the Robert Mugabe Day. Although he may have been flattered by the suggestion, he has, however, deployed the decision making process to his political party and parliament.

Emergency need for grain

white_maize

Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) says Zimbabwe’s area cropped for the 2015 and 2016 season is expected to be below average due to dry conditions.

Mash Holdings experiences seven percent decline in revenue

houses- cabs

Since 30 September 2015, voids remained largely stable at 26 732 square metres, representing 25% of the lettable portfolio.

Mashonaland Holdings rentals continue to be under pressure from the subdued economic activity. Giving a trading update for the four months to January 2016, during the company’s 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM), Chief Executive officer Manfred Mahari said falling occupancy levels and downward rent reviews resulted in a 7% drop in revenue to $1.9 mln.

“We have put strategies in place to ensure that we attract new quality tenants on the market and also retain good quality tenants already in the portfolio”, he said

“In addition, new revenue streams are being actively pursued. High quality service delivery and responsiveness to customer needs will also be a priority”

Since 30 September 2015, voids remained largely stable at 26 732 square metres, representing 25% of the lettable portfolio.

Mahari said as a result voids related costs (40%) as well as provision for credit losses (23%) and property management costs (23%) were the key drivers of the company’s expenses.
The property expenses at $493 669, were up by 1% from the previous year and 11% above the current budget of $445 992.

Government puts import controls on 23 pharmaceutical medicines

antiretroviral drugs

Government estimated that the pharmaceuticals industry requires US$80 million to fund operations.

In an effort to boost the local pharmaceutical industry, Government has put import controls on 23 pharmaceutical medicines.

The industry, which employs over 1 000 people is made up of about nine companies but operations have been constrained by the current economic condition and the influx of imported drugs some of which are smuggled into the country. The sector has also been struggling to breakthrough in regional markets as some of the countries have stringent licencing conditions, which subsequently make the products uncompetitive.

Industry Minister Mike Bimha said the move to put controls would boost local industry as the medicines that were gazetted are available locally.

The controls were gazetted under statutory instrument 18 of 2016. The drugs which are on the list include Aspirin and Caffeine tablets or capsules, Cotrimoxazole suspension, syrup or dry granules, Cotrimoxazole tablets, Ibuprofen tablets or capsules, Metformin, Metronidazole, Erythromyein Capsules or tables, Paracetamol and Codeine Tablets, Paracetamol syrup, Amoxicillin capsules, Amoxicillin granules, Cloxacillin capsules or tabs, Maintelyte with Dextrose (Glucose) Intravenous (IV) Infusion fluid.

#WhereIsTheChange: Nigerian Fulani herdsmen among the five deadliest terrorist groups in the world

As Nigeria is still reeling from the Boko Haram insurgence, their numerous atrocities and the fact that the Nigerian military has been unable to defeat them, there is more bad news; the country plays host to another terrorist group yet unrecognized – nomadic pastorists. The Fulani herdsmen – cattle grazers – have been named one of the deadliest terror groups in the world amongst Boko Haram, Isis, Taliban and al-Shabaab.

Although they are overlooked in Nigeria and in certain parts of the Central African Republic, the group has wreaked enough havoc to be acknowledged by the global community as the fourth deadliest terror group in the world. The group of “Fulani militants” as they have come to be known as, is made up of individuals from the Fulani or Fula ethnic group, a tribe of over 20 million people – 70 percent of whom are nomadic grazers – who exist in at least seven West African countries.

In Nigeria, there has been ongoing tension between Fulani communities and farming communities for many years, but this tension has seen dramatical escalation in recent times to include attacks, kidnappings and killings by the nomads. Between 2010 and 2013, Fulani militants killed about 80 people in total, but by 2014, they had killed 1,229 people.

What you need to know about NCC’s latest fine on Globacom and MTN

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined MTN Nigeria and Globacom Limited a total sum of N34 million for breaking the business rules and regulations of the Mobile Number Portability (MPN).

The regulatory body revealed this in it’s report titled  “2015 Q4 Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Reports,’’ stating that of the N34 million sanction for mobile number porting breach, Globacom was fined N22 million, while MTN was fined N12 million.

Here is what you need to know the N34 million fine:

Globacom and MTN were fined over both corporate and individual port requests

MTN violated  a timer deactivation from a corporate port request of over 109 lines belonging to Nigerian Breweries Plc via lead Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number (MSISDN). In the same vein, a timer validation violation by MTN regarding four individual port requests from MSISDNs.

Globacom on the other hand, violated a timer deactivation  regarding 11 individual and one corporate port requests. Glo breached the allowable one hour for the donor to deactivate 147 ported out lines belonging to Reckitt Limited, consistent with provisions of the MNP Business Rules.

Barclays set to pull out of Zimbabwe as British bank plans Afrexit

barclays_

The Zimbabwean and Egyptian banks are now most likely to be sold as part of the new strategy.

BARCLAYS Bank Plc is set to pull out of Zimbabwe as part of an Africa-wide exit to focus on its core British and American markets, the Financial Times has reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Barclays Plc’s new chief executive Jes Staley, who was appointed three months ago, has led a review of the banking group’s Africa operations and reached a decision to divest from the continent with many sub-Saharan economies in turmoil.

Staley is expected to lay down the plans and the group’s shift to focus on high performing units at Barclays Plc’s 2015 results presentation on Tuesday.

Barclays’s assets in Africa include a 62.3 percent in Barclays Africa (formerly ABSA), which has operations in 11 African countries as well as direct subsidiaries in Zimbabwe and Egypt. A bid by Barclays Plc to sell the Zimbabwean and Egyptian banks to Barclays Africa failed last year after the parties could not agree on price.

The Zimbabwean and Egyptian banks are now most likely to be sold as part of the new strategy, the FT reported on Friday.

SB'16 Cape Town speaker lineup announced

SB'16 Cape Town speaker lineup announcedSustainable Brands Cape Town has announced its speaker lineup for SB'16 Cape Town. The conference will take place from 14-17 May 2016 at Century City Conference City.
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Zimbabwe attracts US$25 million worth of new investments in January: ZIA

ZIA Boss

Zimbabwe Investment Authority chief executive officer Richard Mubaiwa

ZIMBABWE Investment Authority chief executive officer Richard Mubaiwa has said that the quality of investment proposals has significantly improved with 13 projects valued at US$25 million having been approved by end of January.

Mubaiwa said he was optimistic that the Rapid Results Initiative, being supervised by the Office of the President and Cabinet and is in its second 100 day period ending in May, would help improve Zimbabwe’s ranking since it seeks to reform the doing business conditions in the country

“The first 100 day period of this national project that started in September 2015 registered significant progress and we are now in the second 100 day period ending in May, which we hope will bring positive results that will shift Zimbabwe’s position to at least top 100. We are also hopeful that 2016 will be a good year in terms of investments as we have been experiencing an upward trend in terms of value of investment (proposals)’, he said.

The trend in investment proposals saw ZIA approving 170 projects in 2015 valued at $3.16 billion compared to 157 projects valued at $1.142 billion for the same period in 2014.

Ariston shareholder to convert US$5 million debt to equity

images

Ariston chief executive officer Paul Spear

ARISTON shareholders on Friday approved management`s plan to increase the authorised share capital from 1,6 billion to 2,0 billion, as the company seeks to convert a US$5 million debt owed to majority shareholder Origin Global Holdings to equity.

“About US$5 million of our US$15 million debt is owed to our major shareholder who has agreed to convert it into equity or otherwise deal with it. This process has been going on for some time and demonstrates confidence in our business,” chief executive officer Paul Spear told the AGM.

“We are having a little bit of trouble concluding the exercise but after the events of this past week, we are going to see some progress,” Spear added.

Ariston Holdings revenue in the year ended 30 September 2015 declined 6% to US$11,8 million from $12.5 million in 2014 owing to a mixed performance across its units. Subsequently, the group incurred an after tax loss of $1.7 million largely due to a $2.2 million increase in finance costs.

Spear said that the group was working on improving its overall liquidity, and several banks had shown interest in the company.

CBZ after-tax profit up 7pct, debt write-off surges

CBZ Bank handsomely pays its directors.

The group had closed the year with $42.5 million cash in the bank, down from $73 million in 2014.

ZIMBABWE’S largest financial group, CBZ Holdings, on Wednesday reported a 7 percent increase in after-tax profit to $35.2 million in the full year to December 2015, but said it had written off $24 million in bad debts as the country’s deteriorating economy adversely impacts asset quality.

CBZ, which operates the country’s biggest retail bank as well as insurance and asset management subsidiaries, reduced the amount of total loans advanced to $1,021 billion during 2015, down from $1,126 billion previously. In 2014, the bank wrote off $4,45 million.

Zimbabwe’s central bank has created a special purpose vehicle to buy bad loans from the banking sector, thereby reducing the industry’s non-performing loan ratio from about 20 percent in June 2014 to 10.9 percent by December 2015. The central bank’s asset manager has so far purchased nearly $300 million bad loans from banks, improving their asset quality.

CBZ’s non-performing loan ratio did improve marginally to 7.45 percent in 2015, from 7.63 percent in 2014, with interest having been suspended on loans worth $76 million, their financial statements show. The bank’s decision to keep a huge chunk of non-performing loans in-house, as opposed to selling them off to the state asset manager, suggest they are betting on their ability to recover some value.

No more WhatsApp for Blackberry, Nokia & old Android as platform prompts device upgrade

By Nigel Gambanga

It’s a fair enough reason for WhatsApp to do this. After all, the changing landscape of instant messaging and mobile media was bound to affect earlier technology. WhatsApp, which now boasts of 1 billion users needs to add value to its growing user market, even if it means leaving behind some not-so-recent systems.

Articles appeared first on Techzim;
No more WhatsApp for Blackberry, Nokia & old Android as platform prompts device upgrade

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An estimated 10% of Zimbabwean smartphone users to be affected as WhatsApp ends support for Blackberry, Nokia

By Nigel Gambanga

It’s a fair enough reason for WhatsApp to do this. After all, the changing landscape of instant messaging and mobile media was bound to affect earlier technology. WhatsApp, which now boasts of 1 billion users needs to add value to its growing user market, even if it means leaving behind some not-so-recent systems.

Articles appeared first on Techzim;
An estimated 10% of Zimbabwean smartphone users to be affected as WhatsApp ends support for Blackberry, Nokia

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Financial Inclusion, Fintechs and Digital Disruption in Africa

By Agrippa GR Mugwagwa

Banks are going to have a ‘Uber’ moment said Anthony Jenkins after leaving Barclays as CEO in 2015. Jenkins’ message is an instructive characterization of the rise of fintechs which have gained prominence on a wave of innovation in financial services delivery in 2015. Fintechs made their impact in both the developed as well as […]

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Financial Inclusion, Fintechs and Digital Disruption in Africa

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LEED Buildings and the Zika Virus

Owners of LEED buildings should evaluate the need to apply insecticides, killing mosquitoes to protect occupants from the Zika virus.

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538 homeless after Imizamo Yethu fire

Naledi Shange, News24

Cape Town - A total of 538 people were left homeless on Saturday after their shacks were gutted by a blaze at the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Cape Town, said the city's disaster management.

A total of 128 dwellings were destroyed in the blaze which happened in the early hours of the morning.

"Emergency sheltering has been activated [at the] local community hall," said spokesperson Charlotte Powell.

The SA Red Cross Society has also provided relief, hot meals, blankets and clothing.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/538-homeless-after-imizamo-yethu-...

Snap Africa: This week in pictures February 21-26, 2016

Here is the news around Africa this week:

Author Ahmed Naji, accused of publishing a book with references to sex and drugs, was sentenced to two years in prison on the 20th of February. Due to his arrest, Egyptian writers, artists and filmmakers have launched a public campaign for greater freedom of creativity and expression.
Author Ahmed Naji, accused of publishing a book with references to sex and drugs, was sentenced to two years in prison on the 20th of February.
Due to his arrest, Egyptian writers, artists and filmmakers have launched a public campaign for greater freedom of creativity and expression.

South Africa’s economic situation forces UK’s Barclays bank to ditch it’s African unit after 100 years

According to the Financial Times, Barclays’ new Chief Executive, Jes Staley is planning to announce the exit of the British Bank from Africa on Tuesday. The board decided that it was in the best interest of the company to divest from the continent in order to refocus on its core UK and US market. A subcommittee has already been delegated to examine how and when to sell Barclays Africa. This means that several factors such as market conditions and response of regulators would be considered before Barclays PLC sells its 62.3 percent stake in Barclays Africa worth R78bn ($4.8bn). There are also speculations that Barclays is leaving Africa because of the current economic situation in South Africa, which includes the weakening rand, fall in prices of commodity and political instability. However, the timing of selling the stake is unclear but more details would emerge when the company announces its 2015 results on Tuesday.

South Africa at a glance

South Africa is currently going through a tough time. This is because of the fall in prices of commodities caused by China’s economic slowdown. This has also led to the weakening of the currency. Unemployment level in the country is on the rise due to the cutting down of staff. Thousands of jobs have been lost in agriculture, construction and mining sector. Just last week it was reported that JD Group a Furniture retailer plans to lay off about 4000 jobs which is among order job cuts in the country.

Barclays operation in Africa

R470m for Mpumalanga health facilities

Pretoria - Over the next three years, the Mpumalanga province will invest more than R470 million in the upgrading and construction of primary health care facilities.

“In 2016/17, we will commence with the construction of Kanyamazane, Pienaar, Pankop and Oakley health facilities,” Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said on Friday.

Speaking during his State of the Province Address, he said the primary health care facilities will be completed in 18 months to a total value of R385 million.

“More importantly, 24 other primary health care facilities will undergo comprehensive renovations and upgrades amounting to R89.522 million,” Premier Mabuza said.

The province will commence with the implementation of an integrated Electronic Patient Record Management System to ensure there is a seamless management of patient information across its health facilities.

This will be done to improve service delivery and patient care.

“We firmly believe that these efforts will have a considerable impact on ensuring a long and healthy life for all the citizens of Mpumalanga,” Premier Mabuza said.

Education

Furthermore, the Mpumalanga province will contribute R200 million to increase access to post school funding for critical and scarce skills that are vital for the key economic sectors.

An additional R200 million has also been allocated towards the eradication of unsafe structures in Bushbuckridge Local Municipality.

The investment will target six schools in the 2016/17 financial year

The province has also undertaken to construct an additional seven Early Childhood Development facilities in areas of most need including Standerton, Siyabuswa, Tweefontein, Ermelo, Ogies, Mbuzini, and Manzini in Jerusalem, during the 2016/17 financial year.

“Our resources have been directed towards improving infrastructure, broadening and deepening teachers’ knowledge and experience and improving learner performance,” Premier Mabuza said.

Mpumalanga allocates R545m for housing

Pretoria – The Mpumalanga Provincial Government is to invest R545 million in the roll out of integrated human settlements in various municipalities.

The investment will ensure that the province improves the living conditions and quality of life of beneficiary households, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said on Friday.

Speaking during his State of the Province Address, the Premier said the housing product mix across the settlements provides, among others, low cost housing, gap market units and social housing projects to ensure that the province caters for a broad spectrum of community needs.

“We are in the process of upgrading informal settlements such as those in Phola, Hlalanikahle and Kwaguqa and we have built 15 units for military veterans. We will also focus on upgrading informal settlements in Embalenhle and other areas like Leandra,” he said.

The province has made progress towards its target of delivering 44 000 units over the Medium Term Strategic Framework period. To date, more than 17 000 housing units have been delivered.

Premier Mabuza said R28.8 million will also be allocated for the appointment of youth-owned contracting enterprises for the completion of human settlements projects.

“We want our youth to participate meaningfully in order to acquire valuable skills in the construction sector,” he said.

Infrastructure investment

More than R4 billion has been set aside by the provincial government to deliver on socio-economic infrastructure such as roads, schools and health facilities.

“This infrastructure is critical in catalysing local economic activities that empower local businesses and create much needed employment,” Premier Mabuza said.

Last year, the province invested R2.3 billion in road construction and maintenance projects spanning the rural and urban areas of Mpumalanga.

Access to basic services

Mpumalanga prioritises service delivery

Pretoria – Mpumalanga province will continue to release more money from its salary bill to fund infrastructure and service delivery initiatives.

Speaking during his State of the Province Address on Friday, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said the province has made progress with streamlining its organisational structures to stop wastage and duplication. A moratorium on filling vacant posts has also been implemented.

“This moratorium will continue through the coming financial year, with the exclusion of scarce and critical posts in the health and education sectors,” he said.

The provincial Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport will also conduct an assessment of the pricing and service models for service providers to ensure that the province is not paying inflated rates in exchange for substandard products.

“We will consider recommendations on a new, cost-effective regional service delivery model that reduces costs and enhances efficiencies, effectiveness and public accountability,” Premier Mabuza said.

Agriculture

The province has set aside R80 million for the 2016/17 financial year to ensure that farms reach their maximum production potential.

“As part of our youth empowerment programme, it is our intention to ensure that our youth become fully active in the mainstream economy.

“In the agriculture sector, we will continue with the Mpumalanga Fortune 40 Young Farmer Incubator Programme, which is poised to make a contribution to increased agricultural production through the commercialisation of 20 farms for the youth throughout the province,” Premier Mabuza said.

He said to date, R14 million has been spent on Phase One’s farm development activities, which are centred primarily on agricultural infrastructure and skills development.

Premier Mabuza said the current drought and forecasts of climate change have reminded the province of the importance of research in the agricultural sector.

Electrification drive continues in North West

Pretoria - A total of 13 422 qualifying households in 104 villages, townships and small towns in the North West will access electricity for the first time this year, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said on Friday.

“In an effort to better our current delivery rate of 87% electrification roll out, 13 422 qualifying households in 104 villages, townships and small dorpies that never had electricity before across the province will be electrified in 2016 at an estimated cost of R279 million,” said the Premier.

This as he was delivering the 2016 State of the Province Address (SOPA).

The Premier said as part of the National Development Plan (NDP), the province has begun the process of crafting Village Development Plans for all the 767 villages of the province.

“To date, we have finalised two village development plans per municipality across all 23 municipalities and intend to complete all 767 plans by the end of May 2016.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Local Government and Human Settlements is working with the national Department of Human Settlements to implement an electronic housing needs register project to clean up and verify all housing beneficiaries across municipalities.

“The preliminary investigations have been done and they revealed that so far, no public representatives have benefited from the government housing programme.

“However, some public servants have been discovered to have unduly benefited. Confirmation with their employer departments is underway and appropriate action will be taken at the right time,” said the Premier.

Also, the province will spend just over R2.1 billion during 2016/17 in the construction of 12 581 RDP units across 7 680 sites.

- SAnews.gov.za

North West unearths rural economy

Pretoria - The North West province is to develop its villages, townships and small town economies by growing sustainable rural enterprises, says Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

“Our approach is to build an inclusive Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies (VTSD) economy that promotes enterprise and industrial development, reduces unemployment in rural areas and utilise existing capacities within rural households to promote entrepreneurship.

“This we will achieve through the development of VTSD economies by growing sustainable rural enterprises and industries characterised by strong rural-urban linkages, increased investment in agro-processing, trade development and access to local markets and financial services,” said Premier Mahumapelo.

The Premier was delivering the State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Friday.

He said often the markets fail the poor in rural areas.

“The risks and costs of participating in markets may be too high. In other instances, social or economic barriers may mean that the poor are excluded from markets. The status quo cannot forever characterise our VTSD economies.”

Several impediments in the governance system, which inhibit growth and opportunities for small business to prosper, include restrictive by-laws which will be changed, said the Premier.

Other impediments include the slow turnaround time in awarding tenders as well as poor infrastructure, among others. Plans to assist small business and individuals will be announced soon, including plans to pay all service providers within 21 days, the Premier said.

He also announced that business had made several contributions to the development of the province.

North West to finalise implementation of Platinum Special Economic Zone

Pretoria - The North West provincial government intends to finalise and implement the Platinum Special Economic Zone this year, Premier Supra Mahumapelo said on Friday.

Tabling the State of the Province Address (SOPA), Premier Mahumapelo said the province is making progress in this regard.

“The province intends finalising the design and implementation of the Platinum Special Economic Zone in 2016, based on our engagement with the relevant national department,” said the Premier.

In 2014, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Rustenburg platinum belt.

Premier Mahumapelo said the province was engaging with almost 80 international manufacturing businesses to establish manufacturing plants in the SEZ.

“There is already tremendous progress in this regard with many manufacturers having shown a keen interest in this project,” he said.

This development, said the Premier, will create thousands of much-needed jobs, especially for the youth.

He said special attention is being paid to youth unemployment which currently stands at 39.7% in the province. The general unemployment rate for the province is 24.4%.

Premier Mahumapelo said the mining industry in the province represents approximately 27% of total industry employment.

“Out of an estimated reserve valuation of economically extractible mineral resources exclusive of the energy commodities - such as coal and uranium, the province has a production share of 22.7% in production revenue,” he said.

Agriculture

The Premier said the agricultural sector currently contributes 2.6% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the province and the country respectively.

A good maize crop was obtained in 2014, with the total yield of white and yellow maize in the country being 14.25 million tons. This was the biggest maize crop obtained in the last 30 years.

The NMB hoax, MWC 2016, a Zim WhatsApp bot & the new network Viva Mobile – Podcast

By Nigel Gambanga

In this episode, we discuss the recently ended Mobile World Congress, the NMB Bank WhatsApp hoax, Viva Mobile the new Zimbabwean MVNO and a local WhatsApp bot.

Articles appeared first on Techzim;
The NMB hoax, MWC 2016, a Zim WhatsApp bot & the new network Viva Mobile – Podcast

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