Issue 173 | 11 June 2015
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The 25th African Union (AU) Summit is being hosted by South Africa for the first time since the formation of the AU in Durban in 2002.
African leaders from across the continent have gathered in Pretoria and Johannesburg for the 25th Summit of the AU, which runs until 15 June, under the theme: "Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063".

It follows the World Economic Forum on Africa, which was held in Cape Town from 3 to 5 June. According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), it is an opportunity for South Africa to showcase to the world a country that embodies the spirit of partnership and commitment to Africa's socio-economic development through Agenda 2063.

The summit began with the 30th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), which convened at DIRCO’s OR Tambo Building in Pretoria on 7 and 8 June.

On 8 June, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, addressed the media on the week-long event.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said that although South Africa was hosting the summit in the form of providing facilities and creating a conducive environment for fruitful deliberations, it did so while adhering to the established practices and norms of the AU.

“The Republic of Zimbabwe was elected at the January 2015 Summit to be the chair until the January 2016 Summit and, as such, the Republic of Zimbabwe is presiding over the summit as chair, starting with the meeting of the PRC which is currently underway in this very building, to be followed by the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, both of which will be held in Johannesburg. A detailed programme has been made available to yourselves and is available on the DIRCO website.”

“This summit is retaining the theme of the January Summit, which is “2015: Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. The theme is in line with our aspirations as a continent as contained in Agenda 2063, and is also very relevant considering that it takes place midway through the decade 2010-2020, which has been declared by the AU as the 'Decade of 'Women'."

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said that some of the matters that were expected to be discussed included:
  • Agenda 2063 and its first Ten-Year Implementation Plan
  • the state of peace and security on the continent
  • women’s empowerment and development (in line with the theme)
  • continental integration
  • operationalising the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the United Nations (UN) and the deadline for the UN millennium development goals. It is expected that the AU will use the occasion of its 25th Summit to reiterate the call for the UN to reform, paying particular attention on the role and level of representation of African states in the UN system.

“The summit will be attended by Heads of State or Government, including Presidents, Deputy Presidents, Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers. Others who are also expected to attend include Ministers, Special Envoys and Ambassadors. The leaders of Cuba and Palestine, countries that are known to be friends of the African continent, through thick and thin, have confirmed attendance.   
“As the host country for the summit, we are confident that all arrangements are in place and that the environment is conducive for what we believe will be a successful summit.

“I wish to conclude by reiterating that South Africa is ready to welcome the AU and the leaders of the African continent. We have made available all the necessary arrangements for fruitful discussions; and we are ready as a country to also take up our seat among the other member states of the AU and make a contribution towards a united, prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist Africa.”

During the summit, members of the media were invited on tours that profiled South Africa as a country with a rich history of diverse cultures, a land of possibility and opportunity, as well as a proud heritage that continues to shape South Africa's journey to a thriving democracy. The goal was to show South Africa's competitive strengths, including its culture, heritage, archeology, science, technology and innovation.
"It has been a successful forum and it was one of the best World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa meetings. We can confidently say we are happy as South Africa because we have achieved something for ourselves. The message was clear that South Africa and the African continent are ideal investment destinations and they are open for business,” said President Zuma at the close of the forum.
The WEF on Africa has been described as a tremendous success by President Jacob Zuma.

He said WEF Africa, which was held in Cape Town, would have a positive impact on South Africa and the African continent.

The South African delegation, which comprised Cabinet ministers, premiers, deputy ministers, mayors, Brand SA ambassadors and businesspeople, marketed the country well.

"WEF organisers and participants from across the globe have praised South Africa for the manner in which we had hosted this forum. The WEF itself has said the participants in this forum were more active and forthcoming than in any other forum and this showed that many people were interested in South Africa and they were taking South Africa as a serious global player.”

The meeting also showed that interest in Africa was growing. “The continent is now able to speak more clearly about investment, there is now more clarity on infrastructure projects that are awaiting investment,” the President said.

The WEF on Africa meeting, which was attended by political leaders, businesspeople, youth and civil-society leaders from across the globe, discussed important issues of investment and infrastructure development in Africa.

The President said infrastructure had taken centre stage in many international forums and the forum on infrastructure development in particular received attention.

"During the forum, there was a strong view that no country can develop optimally without proper infrastructure.

“Investors and governments are able to see that there is better coordination of infrastructure delivery and development finance institutions are coming on board and there's political commitment by African leaders to invest more in infrastructure.” – Source:
The deal between the East African Community, Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa will create a market of 26 countries with a population of 625 million and a gross domestic product of more than $1 trillion.
The launch of a free trade agreement by the three African economic blocs in Egypt this week was an important step towards a potentially game-changing common market spanning the continent, supporters say.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was inaugurated at a summit of heads of state and government in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, on 10 June after four years of negotiations to establish a framework for tariff preferences and other commitments.

"The launch of the TFTA is a significant milestone for the African continent," said a South African government statement.

"We believe that this sends a powerful message that Africa is committed to its economic integration agenda and in creating a conducive environment for trade and investment."

The move was welcomed by business leaders at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town last week, with participants highlighting the fact that just 12% of African countries' total trade is with each other – compared to about 55% in Asia and 70% in Europe.

Member states will range from relatively developed economies such as South Africa and Egypt to countries, including Angola, Ethiopia and Mozambique, which are seen as having huge potential growth. – Source:
The South African High Commission in Accra, Ghana, is in contact with authorities in Ghana and is on standby to assist if there are any South African nationals identified in this horrific incident.
On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma has conveyed a message of condolences to the Government and people of the Republic of Ghana following an explosion at a petrol station in Ghana's capital, Accra, that has killed at least 150 people who had been sheltering from torrential rain on Wednesday, 3 June 2015.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Ghana in the aftermath of the catastrophic explosion and the torrential rain that overwhelmed and devastated the people of Ghana. On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, I send my deepest condolences to the Government of Ghana and to everyone affected, particularly to the families and friends of those killed and injured in the unprecedented explosion at the petrol station," said President Zuma.
This follows a two-day meeting held from 4 to 5 June 2015 in Paris, France. The meeting was facilitated by the United States (US) and South African governments with their respective industry associations, which resulted in a breakthrough after several months of industry-to-industry negotiations.
South Africa has agreed to resume the importing of chicken from the United States into the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said.

“South Africa and the US agreed on a framework to restore market access into the South African market for US bone-in chicken cuts,” said the dti on 7 June.

South Africa has for some time had in place an anti-dumping duty on chicken portions coming to the US.

The dti said the agreement between the two countries would secure the continued participation of South Africa in the reauthorised 2015 Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that is being extended by the US Congress for a further 10 years.

AGOA is a legislation that provides duty-free market access to the US for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries by extending preferences on more than 4 600 products.

The South African poultry industry was represented by the South African Poultry Association and the US industry by the National Chicken Council and United States of America Poultry and Egg Export Council.

The framework agreement follows enhanced engagement between the two parties towards resolution of concerns raised by the US regarding South Africa’s inclusion and continued participation in AGOA. It entails a rebate on the anti-dumping duty for a specified volume of US bone-in chicken cuts into the South African market.

“The South African Government commits to facilitate the implementation of the framework agreed to by the two industries after following due process,” said the dti.

Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, who was in Paris to attend the informal World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, met with the delegations and received feedback on the outcomes of the negotiations.

He commended the South African poultry industry for engaging positively in the negotiations in the interest of securing South Africa’s continued participation in AGOA.

“This is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved with strong partnership between government and industry in finding solutions that benefit the South African economy,” said the Minister. – Source:
The first bilateral chair under the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), the Swiss-South Africa Global Environmental Health Research Chair, will assess the impact of pollution on health and look at how many cancers, for example, are caused by environmental and industrial pollution.
The Minister Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, and the Swiss State Secretary, Dell Ambrogio, launched the first bilateral research chair on Wednesday, 3 June, in Cape Town. The joint chair will focus on pollution-related diseases in South Africa.

The event was attended by Swiss Ambassador to South Africa, Christian Meuwly, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Max Price, and Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Marcel Tanner.
Following the construction of the telescope, the town had gone from having two bed-and-breakfast establishments to having more than 40
options for accommodation.
The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) has placed South Africa and the continent on the global science map, but there have also been collateral benefits.

The tiny town of Sutherland had been stagnant in terms of socio-economic development before the construction of SALT, explained Sivuyile Manxoyi, from the South African Astronomy Observatory (SAAO). Manxoyi was speaking at the five-day SALT conference, taking place at Stellenbosch University until 5 June. The event was opened by Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor.

"Sutherland has become a tourist destination, something that would have been unheard of before SALT," Manxoyi said. "Now, between 10 000 and 12 000 tourists visit the area every year."

More importantly, SALT had presented an ideal opportunity to promote Astronomy, Mathematics, Physical Science and Chemistry as subjects for study and career options. Manxoyi said the SAAO was providing guidance to teachers all over the country on the teaching of Astronomy and building enthusiasm for Mathematics and Science.

The observatory was also interacting with thousands of pupils, taking them to observatories and involving them in science clubs and star-gazing events. Through creating awareness about astronomy, the future of the impoverished region would be vastly improved.

Speaking earlier at the conference, Minister Pandor said astronomical sciences were an important facet of South Africa's strategy for research, development and innovation, and that astronomy partnerships presented unique and invaluable opportunities.

"Such partnerships build infrastructure for astronomy and for wider use.

"Big telescopes require high-speed research networks and computing resources, which, in turn, enable our life and climate scientists to share and analyse huge data sets – a precondition for the development of new drugs and vaccines – as well as effectively combating and adapting to climate change."

Astronomy partnerships had also helped to popularise the study of astronomy in Africa and further afield.

"As a result of the various human capital development programmes associated with Africa's SKA [Square Kilometre Array] initiatives, new astronomy programmes have been established at several African universities, including in Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique," the minister said.

"Under other programmes, several postgraduate students from Africa are studying at European universities, contributing to Europe's knowledge generation, while leading European and American astronomers have taken up positions in Africa, for example through the South African Research Chairs Initiative."

She said astronomy was expanding Africa's future workforce of scientists and engineers. "South Africa pursued the SKA project by using the lessons learned from SALT as the basis for our planning and partnerships. The links we developed through the SALT project allowed us to build on existing networks and partnerships to secure the iconic SKA, an extremely important strategic initiative that puts science and technology to work for the benefit of all Africans." – Source: Department of Science and Technology
Unilever’s Khanyisa household care products is one of the four manufacturing plants in South Africa and is the company’s largest investment globally worth about R1,4 billion.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, recently launched Unilever’s multibillion rand factory in Boksburg.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Davies said the investment showed the confidence that Unilever had in South Africa and the continent as a whole.

Minister Davies said the company had benefitted from the dti’s 12i Tax Allowance Incentive Scheme with a qualifying investment value of R1,2 billion, an investment allowance of R350 million as well as a training allowance of R7 million for the Khanyisa plant.

The objective of the incentive is to support investment in manufacturing assets, improve the productivity of the manufacturing sector and the training of personnel, and improve labour productivity and the skills profile of the labour force.

Unilever has invested about R40 billion in manufacturing plants in the country and has received nearly R1,981 billion in incentives from the dti.

The investment has created about 1 000 jobs altogether.

The British High Commissioner, Judith Macgregor, said investments such as these contributed to the increased trade relations between South Africa and Britain. She said it was important to increase cooperation in areas of skills development and job creation and that a lot of work was already being done in those areas. –
The purpose of the visit was to explore strategic programmes for cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, hosted Miao Wei, the Minister of Industry and Information Technology from the People’s Republic of China on Monday, 8 June 2015.

The ministers signed a Plan of Action between the two countries.

Transnet has embarked on its biggest recapitalisation to date, which includes a R50-billion programme to procure 1 064 locomotives. China plays a large role elsewhere on the continent in financing infrastructure and for many years has attempted to secure similar arrangements in South Africa.
Transnet recently broke new ground when it became the first state-owned company to secure significant financing from China. It signed a R30-billion loan agreement over 15 years with the China Development Bank to fund its locomotive build programme.

Acting group CE Siyabonga Gama hailed the loan as "a significant milestone" in the company’s funding strategy and said 92% of the funding for the locomotive procurement was now secured. While he could not disclose the terms of the financing, "it is in line with our weighted average cost of capital", he said.

"It is a very good deal … and we are very happy that it keeps our costs in check," he said. By accessing Chinese state finance, Transnet was able to preserve its domestic credit lines.

Transnet will draw on the first tranche of the loan – R18 billion – immediately. The Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, said the loan was "a new day" in Transnet’s history.

"This state-owned company is starting an association with the China Development Bank, which I am sure will open the door for other state-owned companies to emulate," she said. – Source:
Minister Oliphant’s address focused, among other issues, on decent work; women empowerment in a world of work; positive utilisation of technology to improve productivity; and skills provision for women and youth. 
The Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, on Monday, 8 June, addressed the 104th International Labour Organisation (ILO) International Labour Conference (ILC).

The ILO’s ILC was held under the theme: “Building a Future with Decent Work”. The conference was attended by worker, employer and government delegates from the ILO's 185-member states.

This year’s agenda focused on labour migration and employment strategies, ways out of informality and strengthening ILO Convention 29 on forced labour.
The event, which was part of the global activities to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, was organised by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director for United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the co-chair of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015.
On 2 June, the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Hlengiwe Mkhize, addressed a UN digital workshop on empowering women through information and communications technologies (ICTs).  

The event was organised in collaboration with social media site Facebook, which conducted training on the day.

The Deputy Minister highlighted government’s e-commence programme, focusing on women empowerment, including efforts to increase the number of young girls pursuing ICT careers.

The objective of the workshop was to help the 200 participants reach their business goals by equipping them with knowledge on how to use social media, particularly Facebook, and other ICTs to improve their businesses and to drive up sales.
Iziko Museums, a group based in Cape Town, says more than 400 African slaves were on board the vessel when it sank. About half the people on the ship died.
South African and American researchers recently held a memorial in Cape Town for slaves who died when the Portuguese ship that was carrying them into bondage sank while sailing to Brazil in 1794.

The memorial took place on a Cape Town beach near where the Sao Jose sank.

Artefacts from the ship were recovered this year. Iziko Museums worked with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on the project.
The theme, which was declared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was centred on the well-being of humanity, the environment and the functioning of the economy, which ultimately depends upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources.
The Department of Environmental Affairs partnered with the Northern Cape to celebrate World Environment Day under the theme “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

“Faced with the real threat of climate change, sustainable development becomes more pertinent and significant from the South African and worldwide perspective.

“Our challenge as a nation, which is a developing state, is to find a healthy balance between the three pillars – economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability,” Department of Environmental Affairs Spokesperson, Albi Modise, said.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, was joined by the Premier of Northern Cape province, Sylvia Lucas, MEC of Environmental and Nature Conservation, Tiny Chotelo, as well the Francis Baard District Municipality Mayor to lead the World Environment Day celebrations in Kimberley on 6 June.

“World Environment Day is celebrated annually around the globe. It was established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly at the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment to present an opportunity for everyone to realise their responsibility to become agents of change,” he said. – Source:
The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme set up by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in the early 1970s with the aim of improving the interaction between people and their natural environment, on a global scale.
The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s MAB has added 20 new sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, bringing their total number to 651 sites, including 15 transboundary sites, in 120 countries. Among these are two sites from South Africa.

The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve in the southern part of South Africa covers an area of 3 187 892 hectares. The reserve is divided into four connected sectors ranging from sea level to 2 240 m. It is the only place in the world where three recognised biodiversity hotspots (Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Maputoland-Tongoland-Albany) converge.

There are a great many endemic plant species. The site is on the migratory route of large mammals such as the leopard and serves as a nursery for marine species. The area is critical for water resources. With over 200 000 inhabitants, the area is facing socio-economic challenges. One promising solution envisaged to reduce youth unemployment consists of establishing local business models in the biosphere reserve and developing jobs linked to the biodiversity economy.

The Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 357 870 hectares, between the cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The site lies at the interface of two great African biomes: the Central Grassland Plateaux and the sub-Saharan Savannah. Its rich biodiversity includes 443 bird species, constituting 46,6% of total bird species in the southern African subregion. In addition, the area is exeptionally beautiful, with unique natural features, rich cultural heritage, and archaeological interest with the Cradle of Humankind, which is part of the World Heritage site with for million years of history.

Over 260 000 people live in this region, adjacent to a major urban infrastructure impacting an economy that is dominated by agriculture, mining, urban development and tourism. The biosphere management plan aims to stimulate conservation and promote, among other things, tourism, farming and sustainable practices (such as solar power and water saving).

Biosphere reserves are places for learning about sustainable development aiming to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources. New reserves are designated each year by the International Coordinating Council of the Programme. The council brings together representatives of 34 UNESCO member states, which are elected to that office. – Source: UNESCO
Katlego competed for the title of Miss Teen World against scores of other beautiful young ladies from all around the world.
The 15-year-old Katlego Ncala was crowned Miss Teen World during a pageant in Turkey in May.

While she is excited about her new title, Katlego's dreams are bigger than the modelling ramp. "I want to study law," the 15-year-old Grade 9 pupil from Crawford College tells News24.

Walking the ramp on 16 May was the most nerve-wrecking thing she had ever done.

"It was the most stressful night of my life. I do not usually stress because whatever I do and how I perform will show in the results I get. I understand that when I do my best, I will get the best results," she said.

Asked what made her stand out, Katlego said the judges were probably drawn to her personality.

"I think my friendliness stood out. The way I interacted with the other girls. It's basically about how you walk the ramp, the way you talk and interact with others and your talent," said Katlego. For her talent, she did the South African Kwela dance.

"This was a glamour pageant. It was nothing I was expecting. I saw a side of me that I did not know existed," she said.

She takes her new role very seriously.

"The title has more value than the prizes it came with," she said, adding that she would be featured on several European magazines and would be styled by an international designer.

"I would really like to work with diabetic children ... I think this topic has not been given attention like cancer and HIV and the reality is it can happen to anyone," Katlego says. – Source:
World Oceans Day (WOD) is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) celebrated annually on 8 June, with an aim of raising awareness about the significance of the marine environment. The day also promotes the role of the oceans and the importance of conserving and protecting the marine environment.
The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thomson,  on Monday, 8 June, led the annual WOD celebration in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

This year’s WOD was celebrated under the UNEP’s pertinent theme: “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”. The Department of Environmental Affairs has strategically customised the theme to “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet: Enabling Sustainable Ocean Economy Development,” as a way to highlight the Government’s commitment to sustainable ocean economy through Operation Phakisa.

The department used the WOD celebrations to engage members of various communities in and around the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality in an effort to increase awareness about the role and importance of oceans to the people of South Africa.
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