Issue 191 | 08 October 2015
         
 
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MINISTER NKOANA-MASHABANE ADDRESSES FIRST ORDINARY SESSION OF THE FOURTH PAN-AFRICAN PARLIAMENT (PAP)
 
“I would like to assure you of our continued support to the PAP and we remain available for engagements on issues you may wish to raise with us at all times.”
 
 
On 5 October, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, addressed the opening of the First Ordinary Session of the Fourth PAP in Midrand.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said that the PAP’s oversight role was important in the pursuit of peace and security, promotion of democracy and good governance, as well as fostering economic growth and prosperity in Africa.

“You are an integral part towards the realisation of a vision of the African Union (AU) forbears. 

“It is common knowledge that the organ has a broader scope of work, which transverses and complements other AU organs’ functions. This is evidenced by the variety of activities that you have undertaken throughout the 11 years of existence. These include fact-finding missions, regional parliamentary meetings and election observer missions, among others.”

She referred to the 2014 AU Mid-Year Summit’s adoption of the reviewed PAP Protocol, which the Minister said would enhance the PAP’s mandate once it entered into force. 

“South Africa undertakes to embark on a national process, which will enable us to ratify this protocol and would like to encourage other AU member states to do the same. This is the only way we can accelerate the entry into force of the protocol, thereby demonstrating our commitment to transform the PAP.

“The AU requires stronger organs in order to achieve its continental political and economic integration agenda.”
 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER LANDERS UNDERTAKES OFFICIAL VISIT TO MADAGASCAR
 
 
The visit by Deputy Minister Landers consolidated political and economic relations between the two countries through bilateral consultations with Minister Atallah. The two principals also shared views on the possible establishment of a Bilateral Mechanism between the two countries.
 
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Llewellyn Landers, undertook an Official Visit to the Republic of Madagascar from 4 to 6 October 2015. The Deputy Minister presided jointly with the Malagasy Foreign Minister, Beatrice Atallah, in a seminar on the theme: "Madagascar-South Africa Relations, Past, Present and Future”.

South Africa's bilateral relations with Madagascar are cordial. South Africa strongly supports national reconciliation in Madagascar, both from a bilateral point of view, as well as within the framework of South Africa’s former role as Chair of the Southern African Development Community Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

South Africa and Madagascar enjoy sound bilateral economic relations. In 2014, total bilateral trade amounted to approximately R3 billion with South African exports totalling almost R1,7 billion and imports amounting to approximately R1,4 billion, which have grown at a rapid pace over the last decade.

To date, nine bilateral agreements have been signed, while 16 are under consideration.
 
 
MINISTER DAVIES IN TURKEY FOR TRADE TALKS
 
 
Under the multilateral trading system, the discussions focused on the implementation of the Bali Package and the importance of delivering a successful outcome for the 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference to be held in December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.
 
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, was in Turkey on 5 and 6 October where he participated in the G20 Trade Ministers Meeting and the G20/OECD Global Forum on International Investment (GFII) 2015.

“The G20 Trade Ministers Meeting focused on the slowdown in global trade and how to make the multilateral trading system work better.

"The discussions focused on the implications of the global trade slowdown for the future of trade and at policy options to further integrate SMEs into global value chains,” said dti spokesperson, Sidwell Medupi.

The Bali Package is a trade agreement that resulted from the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013. It is aimed at lowering global trade barriers and is the first agreement reached through the WTO that is approved by all its members.

Kenya will be the first African country to host the WTO Ministerial Conference. Ministerial conferences are held every two years and is the highest decision-making body of the WTO.

The G20/OECD Global Forum on International Investment 2015 was held under the theme “International Investment Policies in the Evolving Global Economy”. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
WORLD TOURISM LEADERS AGREE TO GROW JOBS AND SKILLS
 
“This declaration will consolidate our efforts to sustain employment and improve training in tourism,” said Minister Hanekom.
 
 
South Africa recently joined global tourism leaders in adopting a declaration to create more jobs and strengthen skills development in the tourism sector.

The Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, attended the meeting of T20 countries in Antalya, Turkey, where the declaration was adopted unanimously. The T20 group represents the tourism ministers from G20 countries, which include some of the world’s strongest economies.

“I am particularly pleased that it refers specifically to measures to enhance gender equality, to promote the value of small enterprises, and to create more jobs for the youth in the tourism sector,” said Minister Hanekom.

The Antalya Declaration noted that tourism accounted for about 10% of the world’s gross domestic product, it was one of the fastest-growing and most resilient economic activities, and played a major role in international trade. Forecasts indicate that global tourism is expected to grow further, with international tourist arrivals reaching 1,8 billion in the next 15 years.

The declaration acknowledged that tourism supported robust and inclusive growth and created jobs within the sector and in the diverse value chain, which included agriculture, construction, handicraft, financial services and communications technology. Tourism is estimated to account for one in 11 jobs in the world.

The T20 members agreed to enhance research on tourism employment and identify skills needed in the sector. This will allow countries to develop policies that promote decent jobs, entrepreneurship, gender equality and employment for the youth.

The declaration commits the T20 countries to promote stronger links between their private sectors, public sectors and education institutions to address the gap between training needs and market requirements. It also encourages increased investment in education and training in tourism.

Minister Hanekom said that the Department of Tourism had already started to implement some of the strategies detailed in the declaration.

“For example, we are conducting a study to establish the needs of small enterprises, which will help us to develop supportive programmes that match their needs,” said Minister Hanekom.

“Signing the declaration has reaffirmed that we are on the right track in South Africa, and we will now accelerate our efforts to achieve the aims of the declaration which the 20 countries have agreed to,” said Minister Hanekom.
 
 
 
BRICS MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MEET
 
The ministers paid tribute to all those who fought against fascism and militarism and for freedom of nations.
 
The BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs held their regular meeting on 29 September 2015 in New York on the margins of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, which marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN) and the end of the Second World War.

The meeting discussed a number of issues.

Among others, the ministers reiterated their intention to contribute to safeguarding a fair and equitable international order based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as stated in the Ufa Summit Declaration.

They reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative and efficient.

The ministers discussed the current state of the global economy and finances. They recognised the significant contribution of BRICS countries to the global economy and expressed full confidence in their economic prospects.

They also highlighted the importance of decisive and effective actions to accelerate global growth. They reiterated the urgency of unblocking International Monetary Fund reform as a measure to reform global economic governance consistent with the interests and needs of the developing countries.

The ministers stressed the importance of closer economic, financial and trade cooperation, particularly through policy coordination, timely implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, and the full functioning of the New Development Bank and its African Regional Centre.
 
 
POTENTIAL IN SA, CHINA RELATIONS
 
Economic cooperation and trade between China and South Africa which have developed fast, have potential for growth, says Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies.
 
 
“Economic cooperation and trade between South Africa and China have developed fast and have great potential. Total trade between South Africa and China have experienced an upward trajectory since 2009, growing from R118 billion to R271 billion by the end of 2013, but decreased to R261 billion by the end of 2014,” said the Minister recently.

Between 2009 and 2014, total trade growth rate's highest peak was 36% in 2011, due to China’s increased appetite for South Africa’s raw commodities.

This as China has set up more than 80 companies in South Africa since 1998, bringing its foreign direct investment (cumulatively) to nearly US$6 billion.

This figure includes an investment of approximately US$5,5 billion by China’s ICBC bank that purchased a 20% stake in Standard Bank in March 2012.

Meanwhile, South African investment in China is valued at approximately US$ 700 million.

Speaking at the National Day celebrations of the People’s Republic of China, Minister Davies said that there were exciting opportunities for China to increase its investment in South Africa.

“We will encourage China to support South Africa’s industrial agenda and explore investment in the development of science and technology and industrial parks, as well as in key areas such as marine transport and manufacturing, white goods, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, agroprocessing, mining and mineral beneficiation, renewable energy, finance and tourism,” he explained. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
SA, NETHERLANDS STRENGTHEN BILATERAL COOPERATION
 
“Working with the Netherlands on joint ventures and partnerships as well as sharing best practices will assist us greatly in unlocking the true potential of our cooperatives,” Minister Zulu said.
 
South Africa and the Government of Netherlands have been working together to identify areas for collaboration in the area of cooperatives development, says Small Business Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu.

Speaking recently at a Cooperatives Seminar in Pretoria, she said the two governments had been working on strengthening its bilateral cooperation for the past two years.

“The sharing of experiences and joint ventures’ opportunities will positively contribute to the development of our small-scale cooperatives,” the Minister said.

She said a large number of cooperatives in the country were small and vulnerable.

“It is, therefore, important for us to review and design our support interventions in a manner that will improve the sustainability of our small cooperatives to unlock their economic and social potential,” she said.

Government has amended the Cooperatives Act to address legislative challenges and to reduce the cost of doing business for especially small-scale cooperatives.

“The South African Government has identified cooperatives as one of the central pivots to reduce poverty, unemployment and high levels of inequality and accelerate empowerment and development for the benefit of especially the previously disadvantaged majority,” Minister Zulu said.

The Cooperatives Seminar was held under the theme “Support Interventions to Place Cooperatives Development on a Higher Growth Path”.

The objective of the seminar was to allow players in the area of cooperatives development the opportunity to exchange views with international experts and to agree on areas to further bilateral cooperation with the Netherlands on the development and growth of cooperatives in South Africa.
– Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
SA, ANGOLA TO WORK ON EDUCATION
 

According to the department, the objective of the agreement is the development of cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of education, more specifically on higher education.

 
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, and his Angolan counterpart, Adoao Gaspar Ferreira do Nascimento, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work jointly in the areas of education.

Minister Nzimande was in Angola on a Ministerial Visit.

According to the agreement, the parties will cooperate by enhancing technical support on the basis of mutual interest in the agreed areas, including, but not limited to, quality assurances, evaluation and accreditation of courses, teacher education and training.

This agreement will also include soliciting third parties for funding of scholarships, e-learning, capacity-building in Education Management System, and higher education planning.

“Promotion of direct cooperation and partnerships in our institutions of higher learning such as in the research work, publications, exchange of educational information and expertise will be pursued,” Minister Nzimande said.

A joint Technical Committee, consisting of three officials from each party, will be established consistent with the agreement to monitor the implementation of its elements based on the plan of action from the agreement.

The committee will meet once a year alternating between the two countries for the next three years. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
OPERATION PHAKISA IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTs) IN EDUCATION LAUNCHED
 
 
According to the department, the objective of the agreement is the development of cooperation between the two countries
in the sphere of education, more
specifically higher education.
 
 

On Friday, 2 October, President Jacob Zuma launched Operation Phakisa in ICTs in Education, which aims to enhance the country's standard of basic education.

The Operation Phakisa in Education, which was launched under theme “ICT in Education: Leveraging ICTs to Improve Basic Education”, is anticipated to, among other things, address the need to train and prepare teachers to integrate ICT in their classrooms and change their teaching practices aligned to the ICT resources.

 
 
SA PERFORMS BETTER IN WEF COMPETITIVENESS INDEX
 
The index analyses the factors driving productivity and prosperity in 140 countries.
 
Brand South Africa has welcomed the 2015/16 results of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Global Competitiveness Index, which has seen South Africa rise seven places from 56 to 49 of 140 countries.

“Building a country’s competitiveness is a collective endeavour involving the collaboration of government, business and civil society. Ultimately, it involves all South Africans to coalesce around this national objective,” said Brand South Africa’s Chief Executive Officer, Kingsley Makhubela.

South Africa’s biggest improvements come in the areas of: infrastructure (up eight places), health and primary education (up six places), labour market efficiency (up six places), technological readiness (up 16 places), and innovation (up five places).

South Africa has also improved in the areas of macro-economic environment (up four places), higher education and training (up three places), and business sophistication (up two places).

According to the report, South Africa has dropped in the area of institutions (down two places), goods market efficiency (down six places), financial market development (down five places) and market size (down four places).

“The results of the 2015/16 Global Competitiveness Index show that South Africa has made significant improvements towards ensuring we are a globally competitive destination. The report resonates with our own assessment that we must work towards strengthening, among others, the education and health sectors to ensure our sustained competitiveness.

The National Development Plan outlines the steps we need to take to achieve this,” explained Makhubela. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
 
MEDIA URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN SADC MEDIA AWARDS
 
“It is important for all media houses to ensure that they participate in and profile the awards. Editors should encourage their reporters to participate in these awards to focus our efforts on interrogating and telling our stories.”
 
 
The Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, has called on media houses to encourage their reporters to participate in the annual Southern African Development Community (SADC) Media Awards.

“It is important too that the media give the awards prominence in radio, television, newspapers and magazines going forward.

The GCIS (Government Communication and Information System) will launch the 2016 SADC Media Awards in January, calling for entries in print, radio and television,” she said.

Minister Muthambi was speaking at a dinner to celebrate the winners of the 2015 SADC Media Awards at Freedom Park. This year’s winners were also recognised at the 35th Summit of SADC Heads of States and Government in Gaborone, Botswana, in August.

She used the dinner to call on SADC member countries to step up efforts to market and promote the important competition. She said the 2016 SADC Media Awards would promote excellence in the fields of print, radio, television and photojournalism.

“I challenge you to give the SADC Media Awards deserved recognition in the media and newsrooms as they are meant to honour media practitioners who bring our communities together to foster regional integration,” she said.

Launched in 1996, the annual SADC Media Awards promote regional integration through information dissemination as well as promoting journalism excellence in the region. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
SA HAS SIXTH-MOST SHOPPING CENTRES IN THE WORLD
 
 
The council has almost 2 400 members and more than 1 600 delegates attended the 19th annual congress, which took
place in Durban recently.
 
Retail and retail property are among the most exciting and the most challenging property categories at the moment, according to Nomzamo Radebe, newly appointed president of the South African Council of Shopping Centres.

“In order to survive, we have to rethink retail and how to reinvent the industry,” she said at the opening of the congress. It is the largest congress of its kind in the property industry in South Africa and in Africa, according to Radebe and a platform to look at all the big issues in the industry.

“Happy customers mean happy retailers and that leads to happy shopping centres. That is why working with retailers is becoming more and more important.”

She pointed out that there were currently more than 2 000 shopping centres in South Africa and the country had in fact the sixth-highest number of shopping centres in the world. – Source: Fin24
 
 
YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS SOUGHT FOR US FELLOWSHIP
 
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders, opened in 2014, is the flagship programme of President Barack Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali). It seeks to empower young people through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.
 
 
Young African leaders who are interested in gaining skills training in the United States of America (USA), are encouraged to apply for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Yali was launched in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa. According to its website, applications for the fellowship are open from 1 to 31 October.

Those who apply must have leadership qualities and demonstrate knowledge, interest and professional experience in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.

These young leaders must also have the desire to plough back into the continent what they have learned abroad. – Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
SAA OPENS NEW DOMESTIC LOUNGE AT OR TAMBO
 
 
South African Airways (SAA) passengers can now enjoy a stylish new domestic departures lounge, called the VIA lounge, at OR Tambo International Airport.
 
Following months of extensive refurbishment, the airline said the new facility had been appropriately named VIA lounge, as the lounges are a transition point for travellers as they travel via the airport to the destination of their choice.

SAA business class, Voyager Lifetime Platinum, Platinum, Gold and Silver members, SAA Voyager/Nedbank Premium Credit Card, Star Alliance Gold members and Investec Private Bank Account card holders have access to the lounge.

Operating hours for the lounge are 04h30 until 21h00 (weekdays) and 05h00 – 21h00 (weekends).

The lounge features include "ample and comfortable seating areas, quality, fresh cuisine, a rotating art gallery showcasing South African artists, a kids’ area, the Junior Pilots, runway views and high-speed Internet".

"The lounge will offer a fantastic pre-departure experience displayed through warm hospitality that has become synonymous with the SAA brand,” said Sylvain Bosc, SAA Chief Commercial Officer. – Source: www.news24.com
 
 
SOUTH AFRICANS CAN NOW APPLY FOR PASSPORTS AT THEIR RESPECTIVE BANKS
 
The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, launched the innovative initiative in Newtown, Johannesburg, outlining the new application process available from Standard Bank, FNB and Nedbank.
 
 
South Africans will now be able to apply for their passports and Smart Card IDs at their respective banks as the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) tries to improve turnaround times and convenience for applicants.

DHA spokesperson, Thabo Mokgola, told Traveller24 that the department was close to finalising a similar process with Absa and once finalised, a separate announcement would be made.

The partnership will also accelerate the replacement of the green bar-coded ID books, which currently still pose a risk of ID fraud.

Mokgola confirmed that the application process would be the same as if applying at DHA itself, with collections also being processed at the respective banks. – Source: Traveller24
 
 
MADIBA INDUCTED INTO RUGBY HALL OF FAME
 
 
“He saw sport as a great tool to build and unite a nation. He embodied all values of fair play in sport: passion, respect, discipline and integrity – values that are core to the world of rugby. He demonstrated these values in how he fought against an unjust system and how he led South Africa as its first democratic president,” said the Minister.
 
Former President Nelson Mandela was posthumously inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame ahead of South Africa’s clash with Scotland at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, on Saturday.

“This game coincided with an all-important ceremony to honour former President Mandela,” said the Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula.

“World Rugby informed us of their intentions and plans to honour our global icon, a legend and father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, by inducting him in the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

“It’s not by coincidence but by consistence that World Rugby decided to honour Nelson Mandela in Scotland which, with its biggest city Glasgow, was the first to offer him its Freedom of the City,” said Minister Mbalula.

Minister Mbalula said with his love for sport and visionary leadership, Madiba entered the Ellis Park Stadium in 1995 donning the Springbok jersey not to just watch the game, but to unite and reconcile a divided nation.

“It is for these reasons and more that World Ruby decided to honour Madiba.”

Deputy Minister Gert Oosthuizen represented the country at the ceremony to honour Mandela.

The Springboks beat Scotland 34-16 in Newcastle. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
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