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APO Group - Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

Press releases from
APO Group - Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa
  1. Wits Business School to be Exclusive Academic Partner for the South African Premier Business Awards

    The Wits Business School (WBS) will be partnering with the South African Premier Business Awards (SAPBA) as the exclusive academic partner in 2017. Now in their fifth year, these popular Awards aim to recognise and reward South African companies and their contribution to growing and transforming the country’s economy.

    Presented by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African, these Awards are also supported for the second consecutive year by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

    The Director-General of the dti, Mr. Lionel October says, “We are thrilled to have WBS coming on board as a partner. The institution’s reputation as an excellent school with world class programmes means it is the perfect match for our prestigious Awards. With their focus on recognising and honouring the spirit of success and innovation and acknowledgement of enterprises which create jobs and demonstrate good business, we believe that these Awards are a great fit for WBS as an institution renowned for graduating the country’s new business leaders of tomorrow. It means a lot to have the support of such a prominent business school on board.”

    WBS will be sponsoring approximately R1 million worth of executive education courses to this year’s winners. Dr. Timothy Hutton, Executive Education Director at WBS says, “We are delighted to be working with the South African Premier Business Awards. We believe they highlight the best South Africa has to offer while showcasing how so many innovative businesses across all sectors are positively contributing not only to job creation in South Africa, but to the country’s global reputation as a hub of business excellence.”

    The SAPBA seal of approval, which can be used by all winners on their labelling, packaging, marketing and other collateral, is a sign of quality, innovation and a commitment to job creation and economic development in the country.

    The gala event will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 7 December 2017.

    Categories include:

    • Manufacturers Award
    • Exporter Award
    • Enterprise Development Award
    • Women Owned Business Award
    • Investor of the Year Award
    • Proudly South African Enterprise Award
    • Play your Part Award
    • SMME Award
    • Young Entrepreneur Award
    • The Black Industrialist Award
    • Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Entries are currently open in the following categories and will close on 27 October at midnight for online submissions and 15h30 for hard copies. Hard copies can be hand delivered to Proudly South African, 23 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank.

    For more information and entry submissions, visit

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

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  2. At current rates of reduction, it will take over 100 years to end child marriage in West and Central Africa

    Unless progress is seriously accelerated, it will take over 100 years to end child marriage in West and Central Africa, with far-reaching, life-altering consequences for millions of child brides and crippling impact on the region’s prosperity, UNICEF said today.

    A new UNICEF report card Achieving a future without child marriage: Focus on West and Central Africa reveals that, as a result of rapid population growth and high prevalence, even a doubling of the rate of the current decline would not be sufficient to reduce the number of girls marrying each year.

    “We need to shake ourselves up,” said Fatoumata Ndiaye, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director. “We cannot continue to let so many of our girls miss out on their health, education, and childhood. At current rates, our report shows, it will take over 100 years to eliminate child marriage in the region – how is this acceptable?”

    The new projections, released during a high-level meeting on ending child marriage in Dakar this week, aim to bring the spotlight on the region of the world where girls face the highest risk of marrying in childhood.

    While the prevalence of child marriage in West and Central Africa has declined over the past two decades, progress has been uneven, and still four in 10 women are married before the age of 18 and, of these, one in three before the age of 15.

    West and Central Africa includes six of the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world: Niger; Central African Republic; Chad; Mali; Burkina Faso and Guinea.

    The report also highlights that progress is possible – even in high prevalence countries – when the right mix of strategies is in place, such as empowering girls, mobilizing families and communities to change attitudes and behaviours, providing adequate services to girls at risk and to married girls and putting in place consistent laws and policies to protect and promote the rights of girls.

    Five countries in the region – Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Ghana and Rwanda – stand out with declines in the practice ranging from 40 to 60 per cent over the past 25 years.

    Getting girls to school and keeping them there for as long as possible is one of the best strategies to delay child marriage because educated girls are able to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to make decisions about their choices in life. The longer a girl stays in school, the less likely she is to be married before the age of 18 and have children during her teenage years.

    “Getting girls to schools should be our top priority,” said Ndiaye. “Not only because it equips girls for life, but it also helps to lift their families, their communities, their countries out of poverty.”

    Child marriage, the marriage or union of children under the age of 18, is a harmful practice which violates the rights of children. Child brides are less likely to finish school, and are more likely to be victims of violence and become infected with HIV. When children get married, their prospects for a healthy, successful life decline drastically, often setting off an intergenerational cycle of poverty. Also, child brides often lack the skills needed for employment.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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  3. Trade liberalization without enhanced production is a recipe for disaster

    Trade liberalization without enhanced production is a recipe for disaster, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Southern Africa regional director Said Adejumobi has observed.

    Speaking at the official opening of the Ad-hoc Expert Group Meeting (AEGM) on “Deepening Regional Integration in Southern Africa: The Role, Prospects and Progress of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), Mr. Adejumobi said without production, trade and market liberalization is meaningless.

    A developmental approach to regional integration was adopted by the TFTA anchored on three main pillars namely; market integration, industrial and infrastructure development.

    Mr. Adejumobi said the industrial pillar seeks to boost the productive capacity of member-states, promote value addition and benefication, and enhance economic diversification.

    He said the infrastructure component is aimed at easing the challenge of doing business, and allowing the free flow of goods and services.

    “The TFTA (apart from the CFTA) represents the most ambitious attempt at integrating African economies in creating a free trade area for 26 African countries of 632 million people, representing 51 percent of Africa's GDP and constituted by three regional economic communities-COMESA, SADC and the EAC”, Mr. Adejumobi added.

    Mr. Adejumobi also noted that the TFTA provided the architecture of development that would be crucial in realizing the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030.

    “The TFTA, if well implemented, has the capacity to promote trade, enhance production, spur economic competition and thereby improve the quality of goods and services across the regions, encourage creativity and innovation, create more jobs, reduce poverty and ensure that nobody is left behind in the development train with better economic opportunities for all” he said.

    He emphasized the need for the industrial pillar of the TFTA to promote the development of indigenous capitalist or entrepreneurial class that would increasing assume a multinational character.

    He noted the need to prioritize the small and medium scale enterprises as they are usually the hubs for job and wealth creation in developing economies; and need for greater harmonization in the industrial policies of the three RECs. He further added that the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap of 2015, the COMESA Industrialization policy and EAC industrial policy agenda must all coalsce together to avoid discontinuities in the industrial focus of the three organizations and their member-states.

    He also noted the need to extend the free movement for business persons in the TFTA to include all citizens of the TFTA of all the three regional blocks. He called for deconstructing of Africa's national borders which will not only make for good economics but also good social and political re-engineering of our Continent as contained in the Pan-African ideals.

    Meanwhile, the Government of Zimbabwe is committed to regional integration and that its current economic blue print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, recognizes the importance of industrialization and trade in transforming its economy.

    Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Willard Manungo, said regionalism is an important trend in the modern world as it contributes to the opening of markets, enhancing the development of regional value chains, and increases intra trade, stimulating economic growth and lifting people out of poverty.

     He expressed confidence that Prospects and Progress of the Tripartite Free Trade Area was moving in the right direction, though at a slow pace.

     Mr. Manungo further noted that regional integration in Southern Africa is built on three pillars of industrial development, infrastructure development and market integration.

    However, Mr. Manungo noted that the region has suffered from a critical deficiency in infrastructure, particularly, regarding access to electricity, transport, information and communication technology, water and sanitation and irrigation, among others.

    “To bridge the funding gap for infrastructure, the Government of Zimbabwe established a Joint venture unit housed in my Ministry to facilitate public-private partnership initiatives and is currently putting a framework to implement Special Economic Zones in pilot areas such as Bulawayo, Sunway City in Harare and Victoria Falls”, he said.

    Mr. Manungo said that at regional level, the Government of Zimbabwe was involved in cross border infrastructure collaboration, notable projects include; rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam Wall Governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia, jointly mobilized resources; and the opening of the One Stop Border Post at Chirundu.

    He commended ECA and the Inter-Governmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for championing the agenda for deepening regional integration through trade facilitation and infrastructure development. He hoped that the deliberations were going to proffer concrete, focused and workable recommendations on developing infrastructure that would facilitate smooth trade, thereby strengthening the regional integration agenda.

    Participants at the AEGM includes experts in regional integration, senior government officials and representatives of regional economic communities, research institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, who will deliberate on the theme and identify the opportunities from enhanced integration.

    Recommendations towards addressing the challenges regarding the implementation of the TFTA milestones will be made.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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  4. Statement by Ambassadors and High Commissioners in advance of Kenya’s new presidential election

    Statement by Ambassadors and High Commissioners in advance of Kenya’s new presidential election:

    As friends, we want Kenya to succeed. We share with Kenyans their desire for a peaceful, prosperous, democratic, and well-governed country, where everyone can build a better life for themselves and their families. Indeed, we know Kenyans have fought for these things with great courage, as we were reminded powerfully on Mashujaa Day. All the nations that we represent have had their struggles in building democracy. Kenya is one of the international family of democracies.

    Holding a successful new presidential election, as ordered by the Supreme Court on September 1, will help Kenya achieve these goals. Unfortunately, the deteriorating political environment is undermining preparations for the new presidential election. Inflammatory rhetoric, attacks on institutions, and growing insecurity all make holding a credible and fair poll more difficult. IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and former Commissioner Roselyn Akombe raised serious concerns that deserve attention and require action. Kenyans - and particularly Kenya’s politicians - should be careful not to destroy things built over years of hard work and sacrifice. It is easier to tear down than to build up. But it is dangerous, and it must stop.

    This is particularly true for the Constitution. Kenya’s Constitution is remarkable, and it enshrines fundamental values and guarantees the rights of citizens. It came out of a period of deep pain for the country. Many of today’s politicians and leaders had crucial roles in drafting it and explaining it to the Kenyan people.

    Solutions to Kenya’s current challenges must be found in its Constitution, not outside it. Only the Constitution guarantees rights and justice for all, and can build a country that is fair for everyone, not just those with wealth and power. This election must be held in accord with the Constitution and laws, as interpreted by the courts. Attempts to change the law at the last moment are also not helpful, and we call again on President Kenyatta not to sign the electoral law amendments that are now on his desk.

    While time is now extremely brief, we again urge all parties to engage in serious dialogue with the IEBC and to cease any interference in its operation. Following the Supreme Court decision, the IEBC has made changes in personnel and procedures that address many of the concerns raised and that strengthen its technical ability to conduct an election. We urge all parties to work collaboratively and in good faith on any additional changes that will further strengthen this essential institution and allow the best possible election.

    We respect the right of NASA candidates Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka to withdraw their candidacies, but regret their decision. We have been engaged in efforts to find a way that will encourage them to rejoin, and continue to hope they will do so in light of the progress made at the IEBC and our shared commitment to the democratic electoral process. The new election must be carried out in accordance with the Constitution and court order, but it is vital that it be credible and be held in a competitive, peaceful, and participatory environment.

    Respect for the law is vital for every Kenyan. Once again, we strongly urge the security services to protect the rights of demonstrators and to use minimum force when seeking to protect lives and property. We believe it is essential that police supervisors and officers who commit wrong-doing be prosecuted and punished. Similarly, while demonstrators have a right to have their voice heard, they must do so peacefully and with full respect for others’ welfare and property.

    Attacks on IEBC staff must cease now. No-one is obliged to stand for office, or to vote if they do not wish to. But no-one should use violence or intimidation to disrupt the right of others to vote or to participate. Doing so is profoundly undemocratic, and leaders must tell their supporters to refrain from such actions.

    In the coming days, the whole world will be watching Kenya and its every step in this electoral process. In particular, we are following closely the actions of leaders and politicians. Those who incite violence or undermine democracy should be held to account for their actions.

    Kenyans are fortunate in having the right to choose their leaders. This is one of the great things about being a Kenyan. Not everyone in the world enjoys this right, and it is precious. When this election is held, Kenyans may choose to vote or not; to support whichever candidate they choose, or none; to express their views peacefully to whomever will listen, in whatever forum they think best. Now and after the election, we urge Kenyans to renew and redouble their national dialogue about how to unite the country, end ethnic and tribal conflict, and allow everyone to share in the country’s bounty.

    Above all, in the days ahead, we urge Kenyans to choose Kenya - to work in word and deed for the common good of this great country. We stand with you in that important work.

    This statement has been signed by the following Heads of Mission in Kenya:

    Nic Hailey (High Commissioner for the United Kingdom), Robert F. Godec (Ambassador of the United States), Stefano A. Dejak (Ambassador of the European Union), Victor Conrad Rønneberg (Ambassador of Norway), Mette Knudsen (Ambassador of Denmark), Jutta Frasch (Ambassador of Germany), Ralf Heckner (Ambassador of Switzerland), Anna Jardfelt (Ambassador of Sweden), Mauro Massoni (Ambassador of Italy), Tarja Fernandes (Ambassador of Finland), Frans Makken (Ambassador of Netherlands), Antoine Sivan (Ambassador of France), Nicolas Nihon (Ambassador of Belgium), Frantisek Dlhopolcek (Ambassador of Slovakia), Herald Gunther (Ambassador of Austria), Dr Vincent O’Neill (Ambassador of Ireland), Javier García de Viedma Bernaldo de Quirós (Ambassador of Spain), Pavel Rezac (Ambassador of the Czech Republic), Quinton Devlin (Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Australia), Luisa Fragoso (Chargé d’Affaires of Portugal).

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of British High Commission Nairobi.

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  5. Economic Partnership Agreements Should Support Regional Integration - Deputy Minister Magwanishe

    The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Bulelani Magwanishe has emphasised the importance of ensuring that the Economic Partnership Agreements concluded between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) contribute to regional integration. Deputy Minister Magwanishe was speaking at the 15th Joint ACP-European Union (EU) Ministerial Trade Committee meeting (JMTC) in Brussels, Belgium.

    He said “that the member states, which include South Africa, of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) managed to keep the custom union together as all the Members of the Union are part of the EPA thus safeguarding the common external customs tariff”. He further stressed that the “EPAs should support regional industrialisation and the development of regional value-chains”.

    The EU has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the ACP countries, in different regional configurations, since 2002. The SADC – EU Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC EPA), of which South Africa is part, is the first full EPA to be concluded and it provisionally entered into force on 10 October 2016.

    The JMTC meeting also discussed the EU’s proposal for a Multilateral Investment Court. Deputy Minister Magwanishe indicated during the discussion that it may be premature to support the establishment of the Court as the reform of investment policy, including discussions on an appropriate dispute settlement mechanism are on-going globally.

    “In our view the best way to attract investment is to clearly identify list of investment projects, provide targeted incentives, promote policy coherence and facilitate investment through, for example, a one stop shop. In this regard South Africa has established Invest South Africa that operates as a one stop shop for investors into South Africa;” added Deputy Minister Magwanishe.

    The EU and ACP countries also exchanged views on the upcoming 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11) that is scheduled to take place from 10 – 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In this regard, the meeting reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing trade for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth and development. They further agreed on the objective of ensuring that the WTO functions as an efficient and effective negotiating forum covering issues of interest to its Members with development at the centre of negotiating outcomes.

    Earlier the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, highlighted the need to assist SMMEs to make use of the market openings created by the SADC EPA, especially to enable them to meet the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and standards requirements to enter the EU market. Minister Davies attended the 20th ACP Ministerial Committee meetings also in Brussels, Belgium. The ACP consists of 79 countries from the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions.

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

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