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Latest News May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Business growth remains high on the African boardroom agenda despite economic and socio-political headwinds

    Africa’s CEOs are confident that the outlook for business on the continent remains positive notwithstanding the unpredictable economic and socio-political climate. PwC’s (www.PwC.com) Africa Business Agenda report shows that 85% of African CEOs (Global: 85%) are confident in their own company’s prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months. Despite the fact that only 30% of CEOs in Africa (Global: 29%) believe the global economy will improve in the next year, no less than 97% (Global: 91%) are confident about the prospects for their own company’s growth in the medium term.

    Hein Boegman, CEO for PwC Africa, says: “This level of optimism is the highest recorded since we started our research on Africa CEOs in 2012. However, in the past year we have seen a change in the outlook for some countries as external developments impact many of the drivers of Africa’s growth.

    “As countries around the globe try to make sense of the increased levels of risk and uncertainty that have gripped the world, Africa needs to continue rising by capitalising on all the opportunities that lie ahead.”

    The report suggests that one of the reasons for such optimism on the Africa continent is that CEOs have learned to look for the upside and seize on opportunities that may arise in the face of uncertainty. In the wake of climate of muted growth, CEOs have also acknowledged that while they focus on organic growth and cost reductions, they also need to prioritise investment in new strategic alliances and joint ventures to expand their markets and grow their customer bases. According to the survey, organic growth (Africa: 80%; Global: 79%) and new alliances (Africa: 69%; Global: 48%) are the top activities CEOs are planning in order to drive corporate growth or profitability.

    The Agenda compiles results from 80 interviews with CEOs across 11 countries in Africa and includes insights from business. The results are benchmarked against the findings of PwC’s 20th Annual Global CEO survey of 1 379 CEOs in 79 countries conducted during the 4th quarter of 2016. The Agenda provides an in-depth analysis and insights into how businesses are adopting to meet the challenges of operating in Africa.  

    Notwithstanding the current climate and challenges, it is notable that there remains a significant amount of potential to unlock more growth on the continent. African CEOs are looking to international markets for opportunities, with the US (31%), China (28%) and the UK (24%) considered the top three countries for growth. Johannesburg (36%), Lagos (16%) and Cape Town (14%) are considered the top three African cities for growth opportunities.

    Main risks to doing business in Africa

    Although the returns for doing business on the continent can be high, so too can the risks. Africa’s CEOs are working in difficult times – finding the right talent for their business, dealing with hurdles that come with working with governments, and managing expansion plans across the continent.

    In addition, infrastructure remains a challenge as it lags well behind that of the rest of the world. More than two-thirds of African CEOs (69%) are concerned about inadequate basic infrastructure (Global: 54%) and a stronger focus on expanding power supply is required to solve one of the biggest challenges in the business environment.

    Other clouds on the business horizon include exchange rate volatility (Africa: 90%; Global: 70%); social instability (Africa: 85%; Global: 68%); geopolitical instability (Africa: 79%; Global: 74%); unemployment (Africa: 79%; Global: 45%); and climate change and environmental damage (Africa: 64%; Global: 50%). For most of these factors, the level of concern among African CEOs is higher than the global average. In addition, over-regulation features on the list of concerns this year, with almost half (46%) (Global: 42%) of African CEOs saying they are “extremely concerned”.

    CEOs also believe social instability resulting from inequality, an increasing tax burden, a lack of economic diversity with an overdependence on natural resources, and corruption remain problems in many countries.

    Globalisation

    Overall, globalisation has benefitted connectivity, trade and mobility. However, just over half of African business leaders say globalisation has done nothing to promote equality, in particular in closing the gap between rich and poor – in fact, this gap may well be widening.

    A number of CEOs think it is vital to address social challenges. CEOs believe the corporate community can assist in spreading the benefits of globalisation more widely. The majority say the best way is to collaborate, particularly with government. “While Africa’s potential is undoubted, its achievement remains in question. Business, government and civil society will need to work harder to turn potential into tangible gains against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world,” Dion Shango, CEO of PwC Southern Africa adds.

    Talent and technology

    The forces of globalisation and technology are increasingly transforming the workplace. Over half of African CEOs (53%) are exploring the benefits of humans and machines working together in the workplace. Over a third of African CEOs (36%) are considering the impact of artificial intelligence on future skills needs.

    In some sectors, automation has already replaced some jobs entirely. “As automation takes deeper root in the workplace, companies in Africa will have to increasingly focus on achieving the right cognitive re-apportionment between man and machine,” Shango adds.

    However, as CEOs develop their services, they are finding that human interaction in the workplace is still important and place the investment in talent as a top business priority. Just over half of African CEOs (51%) plan to increase their headcount in the next 12 months. Conversely, 23% plan to cut their company’s headcount over the coming year, with more than two-thirds of expected reductions being attributed to automation and other technologies.

    According to the survey results, no less than 80% of African CEOs (Global: 77%) see the availability of key skills as the biggest threat to growth (ahead of volatile energy costs and cyber threats). They are finding it particularly difficult to source soft skills – adaptability, problem solving, creativity and leadership.

    Technology & trust

    Technology has brought about a number of advancements in efficiency and the ease of doing business in Africa. No less than 91% of African respondents (Global: 90%) believe technology has changed competition in their industry in the past five years.

    While the digital era offers a host of opportunities, it also creates significant challenges and constraints in the arena of privacy and security. Organisations are holding increasingly large volumes of personal data about their customers, suppliers and employees. According to the survey results, 71% of African CEOs (Global: 61%) say they are concerned about cyber threats. Furthermore, the vast majority of African CEOs (93%) (Global: 91%) believe that cybersecurity breaches affecting personal information or critical systems will negatively impact stakeholder trust levels in their organisations in the next five years. A high 96% of business leaders are also concerned that IT outages and disruptions could impair trust in their respective industries over the next five years.

    As disruptions gain more speed, the ability to ensure trust, security and privacy across all interactions will become critical to businesses’ competitiveness. But almost two-thirds of African CEOs (61%) (Global: 59%) are concerned that they are not prepared to respond to a crisis in their business, should one arise.

    “In the face of economic and socio-political uncertainty, we remain confident that the outlook for business in Africa remains positive. But to succeed, businesses need to adapt swiftly to change,” Shango concludes.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

    Media contacts:
    Sandy Greaves Campbell: Managing Director, Change the Conversation, South Africa
    Office: + 27 11 028 7753/54
    Email: Sandy@ChangeTC.co.za
    OR
    Sanchia Temkin: PwC Head of Media Relations, South Africa
    Office: + 27 11 797 4470
    Email: Sanchia.Temkin@PwC.com

    About PwC:
    At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.PwC.com.
    PwC has a presence in 34 Africa countries with an office footprint covering 66 offices. With a single Africa leadership team and more than 400 partners and 9000 professionals across Africa, we serve some of the continent’s largest businesses across all industries. 
    PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.PwC.com/structure for further details. ©2016 PwC. All rights reserved

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  • UN rights expert visits Sudan to follow up implementation of his recommendations

    United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, will carry out his fourth mission to the country from 11 to 21 May to continue his engagement with the Sudanese authorities and discuss the implementation of his recommendations.
     

    “I will follow up with the Government of the Sudan on issues of concern that I identified during my mission in February 2017, and  discuss the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in my report of September 2016 to the Human Rights Council,” Mr. Nononsi said.

    During his eleven-day mission, the expert will also follow up on the implementation of the recommendations made by other human rights mechanisms, including those from the Universal Periodic Review*.

    The Independent Expert will meet with relevant stakeholders, including the Sudanese authorities, civil society actors, academia, community leaders, members of the diplomatic corps, and UN entities in order to ensure that all relevant information is reflected in his next report to the UN Human Rights Council.

    Mr. Nononsi, who visits Sudan at the invitation of the Government, will hold meetings in Khartoum and Blue Nile.

    On Sunday 21 May at 2:00 pm, the expert will hold a press conference at the United Nations Development Programme Office (UNDP) in Khartoum, to share with the media his preliminary observations on the visit. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

    The Independent Expert on Sudan will present his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.

    (*) The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States by other States, in order to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur. While ensuring equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed, the UPR provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. The UPR process reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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  • President Faure expresses condolences to Tanzania following school bus crash

    Following the school bus crash in the United Republic of Tanzania in Arusha which claimed thirty five lives many of which were children, President Danny Faure on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Seychelles has sent a message on condolence to H. E. Dr. John Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

    In his message, President Faure expressed his deep sorrow following the loss of so many innocent lives. “May all those affected by this disaster find the strength and courage to cope at this most difficult time,” said the President. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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  • Press Statement by Peter Lundberg, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator a.i on the release of 82 Chibok girls
    The United Nations welcomes the release of the 82 Chibok girls in northeastern Nigeria and appeals to all Nigerians, including the families and communities of the liberated girls, to fully embrace them and provide all necessary support to ensure their reintegration into society.  
    Over 100 of these school girls are still unaccounted for, and the United Nations urges the international community to continue supporting the Government of Nigeria in its efforts to ensure the release, rehabilitation and reintegration of all the children, women and men who are victims of Boko Haram. 
    Despite this encouraging news, insecurity continues to affect millions of people living in six states in north-eastern Nigeria amid a deepening humanitarian crisis. Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, where 8.5 million people are in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection, are the most directly affected by conflict and mass forced displacement. The United Nations and partners are committed to supporting the Government of Nigeria to providing much needed relief to these vulnerable people. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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  • Joint Media Advisory: Continental Workshop for the Validation of the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa

    What: Continental Workshop for the Validation of the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa 
    When: May 11-12, 2017
    Who: African Union Commission and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
    Where: African Union Commission HQ, Small Conference Room 4, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Background
    The African Union Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture has partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to develop a framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization for Africa (SAMA). The objective of SAMA is to contribute to promoting investments and the intensification of agricultural mechanization in Africa, as well as its integration in agricultural development strategies at country level. After several rounds of consultations, a draft strategy Framework document has been prepared. This document will be reviewed and validated at the workshop, which will bring together farmer associations, agro-enterprises and other private sector actors; public sector representatives from AU Member States, technical and financing institutions and other development agencies, civil society organizations, AUC, the NEPAD Agency, and Regional Economic Communities, among others.

    Journalists are invited to cover the opening ceremony on May 11, 2017 at 09:00 a.m.

    For more information please contact: 

    • Tezeta Meshesha: Tezeta.Hilemeksel@fao.org, Tel. +251 11 6478888, Ext. 193
    • Mark Fynn: FynnM@africa-union.org. Tel. +25115182849
    • Carol Jilombo: Jilomboc@africa-union.org, Tel. +25115182875
    • Abebe Demissie: Abebe.banjaw@fao.org, Tel. +251 11 6478888, Ext. 214

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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  • Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Nigeria

    We welcome the release of an additional 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgent group in April 2014.
     

    We remain deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of the schoolgirls and other victims still in captivity.

    We appeal to all Nigerians, including the families and local communities of the liberated girls, to fully embrace them and provide all necessary support to ensure their reintegration into society. We also urge the international community to continue supporting the Government of Nigeria in its efforts to ensure the release, rehabilitation and reintegration of all Boko Haram victims.

    We also call for the provision of urgent financial support to prevent the worsening of the food security situation in the northeast of Nigeria and other parts of the Lake Chad Basin, and reiterate the continued commitment of the United Nations in this regard. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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  • IPAP Is Critical to Radical Economic Transformation – Minister Davies

    The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) is critical to achieving Radical Economic Transformation. Minister Davies was speaking at the launch of the ninth iteration of IPAP which took place in Sandton today.

    IPAP is firmly entrenched in government’s overall policy and plans to address the key challenges of economic and industrial growth and race based poverty, inequality and unemployment. The plan, which is a key component of the Nine Point Plan, aims to develop a more competitive and diversified economy with a higher global share of products.

    Emphasising the importance that government attaches to Radical Economic Transformation and inclusive growth for the SA economy, Minister Davies outlined new initiatives that are part of concerted efforts to shift the productive base of the economy in order to create decent and sustainable jobs.

    “In the simplest terms, Radical Economic Transformation means putting coherent initiatives together that can begin to shift the productive base of our economy away from the inherited colonial division of labour and create decent sustainable jobs – particularly for the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in our society. It means unequivocal and urgent support for programmes such as the Black Industrialists Programme, which are increasingly being strengthened and deepened, to ensure that ownership, management and control of the economy is increasingly in the hands of black people,” said Minister Davies.

    He added unless South Africa secured the necessary steps towards structural change in the economy and secure much higher levels of investment in the productive sectors of the economy, Radical Economic Transformation may become a hollow phrase and a moveable feast for any manner of ill-considered economic recipes.

    “Radical Economic Transformation is essential. But it is not about quick fixes and big bangs. It is hard, painstaking work. It needs pragmatism. It requires dialogue. It requires policy certainty and programme alignment. It requires a collaborative effort with the private sector. It needs a willingness to accept trade-offs and sacrifices that can deliver social consent and stability,” said Minister Davies.

    He identified Radical Economic Transformation as one of the focus areas and key priorities of IPAP 2017/18-2019/20. This will comprise of upscaled efforts to secure shared and inclusive growth with respect to transformation of ownership and management control; empowerment through decent jobs, especially in labour-intensive sectors.

    Minister Davies also stressed the need for a step-change to secure a higher impact, lazer-focussed industrial strategy which can secure much higher levels of investment, especially in manufacturing, to lead the country’s economy out of its current trajectory and to address poverty, unemployment and inequality.

    He added that IPAP 2017/18-2019/20 will focus on the following key themes which inform the work both of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and act as a roadmap in general for the industrial effort:

    • Growing the economy by working closely with the private sector to secure and support investment in a modernised and competitive manufacturing and export sector.
    • Strengthening efforts to raise aggregate domestic demand, mainly through localisation of public procurement and intensified efforts to persuade the private sector to support localisation and local supplier development.  
    • Stepping up South Africa’s export effort, with a focus on key existing exporters, emerging export-ready firms and strong support for new black industrial entrepreneurs.
    • Strengthening ongoing efforts to build a less concentrated, more competitive economic and manufacturing structure in which barriers to entry for new entrants are lowered.  
    • Pressing ahead with technology-intensive, value-adding beneficiation projects which fully leverage SA’s comparative resource endowment advantage into a global competitive advantage. 
    • Optimising technology transfer and diffusion and a greater effort, working closely with the Department of Science and Technology to commercialise ‘home-grown’ R&D in key sectors.     
    • Supporting the further strengthening of energy-efficient production and carbon mitigation efforts and measures in a manner that allows for sustainable adaptation by all the energy-intensive sectors of the economy.  
    • Ensuring that the foreseeable effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and emergent disruptive technologies are understood, and adapt SA’s productive and services sectors to meet the challenges, including those relating to employment displacement.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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  • Kagame and African ministers of foreign affairs meet to put reforms in action

    President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, his AU reform advisory team and close to 40 African Ministers of Foreign Affairs met yesterday in Kigali, Rwanda, to discuss the implementation of the African Union (AU) reforms adopted in January 2017.   

    In July 2016, at the 27th African Union Summit, member States of the AU entrusted President Paul Kagame of Rwanda with the mandate to lead the African Union reforms to enable the Union to better meet its mission’s goal and truly serve African citizens.

    In January 2017, the proposed reforms were accepted by all Head of States and Governments. The reforms aim to make the AU more efficient politically, operationally and financially, so that the African multilateral organisation is better positioned to meet its mandate to member states and African citizens.

    The African leaders are committing themselves to: 

    • Focusing on key priorities to ensure that the AU efforts are not dispersed and that the AU is focused on priorities that will make a real difference to African citizens. This will also enable a clear division of labour between the AU and member states.
    • Realigning the AU institutions to deliver against these priorities and ensure that the Union Commission structures, organs, and specialised technical agencies focus on the agreed priorities.
    • Managing the AU efficiently at both political and operational levels, to allow the members to create an efficient and effective Commission staffed by the best African professionals. This would also strengthen the working methods of the AU Summit to improve the quality and impact of decision-making whilst ensuring the timely implementation of Assembly decisions; and
    • Financing the AU  and sustainably to strengthen the African Union’s financial management and accountability. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Consultative Meeting on African Union Reforms, Kigali.

    Media contact:
    Mimi Kalinda
    MKalinda@AfricaCommunicationsGroup.com 

  • Advancing the Key Sectors of Water, Energy and Climate Change in Africa: PAU Student Call 2017 Now Open

    The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES) (http://PAUWES.Univ-Tlemcen.dz) in Algeria contributes to promoting higher education and applied research in the fields of water, energy and climate change – a key contribution to sustainable development in Africa. The admissions process for its four master programs (engineering and policy) starting in September 2017 is now open. All AU citizens (including diaspora) are encouraged to apply, especially candidates from under-represented regions at PAUWES and women.

    A new generation of African leaders who are capable and committed to face the challenges of the continent is crucial for Africa’s development. Themes such as secure water supply, renewable energy sources and climate change need to be addressed in order to ensure sustainable development. Higher education has an important role to play in fostering innovation systems and providing a highly skilled workforce. The Pan African University (PAU), a key initiative of the African Union Commission, is dedicated to this mission. The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES) is hosted by the University of Abou Bekr Belkaïd in Tlemcen, Algeria. Since its establishment in 2014, a total of 152 students from 25 countries across Africa have enrolled in the programmes. Another 80 candidates will be admitted in Fall 2017. PAUWES benefits from its numerous international research and teaching collaborations and the support from the German cooperation programme with the African Union.

    Today, PAUWES offers four, two-year post-graduate Master programmes in the fields of Water and Energy. Students striving to be future engineers have the choice between the Master of Science (MSc) in Water Engineering and the MSc in Energy Engineering. Students interested in governance can choose between the MSc in Water Policy and Energy Policy. The language of instruction of all courses is English.

    PAUWES strives to balance theory and practice through international internships, case studies, field trips and summer schools. To provide the students with specific technical skills in their field of interest, a broad range of electives (e.g. solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energies, water and sanitation, integrated water resource management, policy analysis and research or ethics and leadership).

    Graduates from PAUWES benefit from a wide variety of career prospects. Equipped with theoretical and practical knowledge, they are ready to become leaders in public administration, policy-making, research, private enterprise, consulting or civil society organisation. The access to the Institute’s international network of experts provides additional momentum to the graduates' careers. Career-promotion programmes are offered for job entry. All PAUWES students receive full scholarships (covering tuition and living expenses) following a competitive admission process.

    PAUWES students come from all different regions of Africa, which creates a unique possibility to study in a Pan-African environment of highly motivated and engaged scholars. To further develop its vision of diversity, PAUWES particularly encourages women, applicants with disabilities and candidates from under-represented regions to apply (Southern Africa, Central Africa, Northern Africa).

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Pan African University, the Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES).

    General media enquiries
    Prof. Abdellatif Zerga, Director 
    PAUWES c/o Abou Bekr Belkaid University of Tlemcen 
    B.P. 119, 13000 Tlemcen, Algeria
    Email contact@PAUWES.Univ-Tlemcen.dz
    Phone +213 40 91 31 88

    Admissions and financial aid
    Email admission@PAUWES.Univ-Tlemcen.dz
    Phone +213 40 91 31 88

    Scholarship information
    https://PAU-AU.net/en/scholarships/scholarship-information 

    Application 
    Interested students are invited to apply until May 31, 2017 under the following link: 
    https://PAU-AU.net/en/admissions 

    Follow us:
    Facebook www.Facebook.com/PAUWES1/?fref=ts; www.Facebook.com/pauafrica/?fref=ts   
    Twitter @PAU_AfricaUnion; @PAUWES 
    Youtube https://Youtu.be/8pLndLjLgJE 

    About:
    Pan African University

    In 2008, the African Union Commission (AUC) set up the Pan African University (PAU) (https://PAU-AU.net) to strengthen higher education and research in areas that pose particular challenges for Africa. PAU addresses five thematic areas: Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation; Life and Earth Sciences (including Health and Agriculture), Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences; Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES); and Space Sciences. The thematic areas are assigned to five flagship institutes hosted by existing universities of excellence across Africa’s five geographic regions. For more information: https://PAU-AU.net.  

    PAUWES 
    As an integral part of the Pan African University, the Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) (PAUWES) (http://PAUWES.Univ-Tlemcen.dz) in Tlemcen, Algeria, contributes to advancing higher education and applied research in the fields of water, energy and climate change – a key contribution to sustainable development in Africa. PAUWES, which is supported by the German government, currently offers four master programmes in the fields of water and energy, covering both engineering and policy. For more information: http://PAUWES.Univ-Tlemcen.dz.  

    German Cooperation
    Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) – www.GIZ.de
    KfW Development Bank – www.KfW-entwicklungsbank.de

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