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News Blog

A collection of longer form stories, submitted, sourced, or written by our team, that would not make sense to cover in a traditional broadcast news format, but which we wanted to share with you anyway.

(please note that views and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of Radiowave).

 

Speech at Namibian Chamber of Environment launch

The Namibian Chamber of Environment was launched this morning at an event attended by many from the wildlife and environment fields. At the event the MD of B2Gold, Mark Dawe, made a speech that I felt I had to share with you - not because he is saying anything new necessarily but because it is perhaps good to be reminded from time to time just how much of an impact humans have on the planet, especially when the person doing the reminding is not a scientist off in an ivory tower or academia but someone who lives and breathes in our very own country.

NCE LAUNCH 5 TH APRIL 2016
 
M DAWE
 
I’d like to kick off by giving some perspective.
 
I’m an earth scientist. In the earth sciences we like to speak in eons and era, on a geological time scale. An era is a subdivision of geological time that divides an eon into smaller units of time. These era are separated by catastrophic extinction boundaries. The P-T boundary between the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic, the K-T boundary between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. The common school of thought is that catastrophic meteorite impacts played a major role in demarcating the differences between the eras.
 
The Hadean, Archean and Proterozoic eons were as a whole, formerly…(for us oldies), called the Precambrian. This covered 4
billion years of the earth’s history prior to the appearance of hardshelled animals. After this, as the fossil record shows, organisms
became more and more complex and wonderful….and then came man.
 
While our ancestors have been around for about six million years, the modern form of humans only evolved about 200,000 years ago. Civilization as we know it is only about 6,000 years old, and industrialization started in earnest only in the 1800s, a mere 200 years ago. So we’ve been around for 200 000 years but for 6000 years we’ve been working hard at dominating and subduing our planet.
 
Whether or not you believe the bible, and if you do, I hope you believe it to allegorical and not literal. How anyone in this day and age could be a bible literalist stumps me. The world was not created in 7 days. Genesis 1:28; “As for you, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground”. So for 6000 years we’ve been trying to do that. We apparently started with 1 and then when Eve came along there were 2, thanks to Adam for generously giving up a rib. And now there are 7.5 billion of us. And our population has doubled over the past 35 years !!
 
If current rates of human population growth were to continue unchecked, there will be about 27 billion of us by 2100. This is clearly unthinkable and unsustainable for our planet.
 
So for the past 200 years we’ve learnt how to multiply and subdue the earth really well….with machanised, oiled efficiency.
To put it all into geological perspective, if we measure the period the earth has been around in cm, and the earth has been here for a 100cm (a metre) of time, modern humans have been here for 1.3mm of time.
 
And what have we done in the 1.3mm since we’ve been around?
 
EXTINCTION AT THE HAND OF MAN
 
Google tells me our species caused 322 animal extinctions over the past 500 years, with two-thirds of those occurring in the last two centuries, according to a paper published in a special issue of the journal of Science. And many animals are threatened with humancaused extinction right now.
 
Ecologists, zoologists and other scientists believe that, without urgent steps to stem the losses, we are facing a global scale tipping point from which we may never look back or recover. Humans are killing off species thousands of times faster than nature
creates them, new research finds. The modern rate of extinction across species is 1,000 times that of the background rate before humans began altering the globe and thousands of times faster than the creation of new species.
 
Humans are on the verge of causing a sixth mass extinction on Earth.
 
We have to ask ourselves some pretty serious questions. Are humans evil ? Do we kill indiscriminately?
 
Yes and No. Animals and nature do matter to people, but on balance, they matter less than food, jobs, energy, money, and development. But there are a lot of people out there that care, more than they care for all of the trappings of our modern lives. All of you care, that’s why you’re here.
 
In mining and geological circles, we say that Namibia is rich in poor deposits. We will be the second largest Uranium producer in the world (after Kazakhstan) when Swakop Uranium starts up this year, but we produce Uranium from the lowest grade deposits in the world.
 
Our mine at B2Gold produces 400kg of gold each month from ore that contains 1.5 grams of gold in every tonne of ore, and to get a tonne of ore you need to mine 5 tonnes of waste, so in 6 tonnes we get 1.5g. That means that in each 100 tonne truck we have 25 grams of gold or 985 USD per truck. What we do with the 1000 USD in each truck load of rock is what counts.
 
I have been lucky enough to be associated with companies that genuinely want to make a difference on our planet. To take from
the earth, but to give back to the earth. This is not window-dressing. It’s far bigger than that. Altruism exists in the world. They cynic would say….we can’t make a lasting difference, because in the greater scheme of things mankind will be wiped out anyway, so why even try.
 
I say, we CAN make a difference and we can turn around a trend.
 
B2Gold is truly an exceptional example of giving back to the earth. And giving back to the earth also means giving back to people. If we are going to have any chance of turning around our 6th extinction event, we need to focus on our biodiversity and protect it with everything we have. We cannot do that without big business. We must not shun the miners and industrialists among us, accusing them of the environmental destruction in the first place. We must embrace them in a partnership, as members of the same species, seeking to make the world a better place for man and for beast. We need each other, desperately.
 
Houston, we have a problem!
 
And just as we need minerals for everything we do, so people need nature, but the nature of man dictates that “nature must pay”. All of you here know better than I do that unless the communities benefit from the preservation of our spectacular wilderness vistas and the wonderful creatures that inhabit them… with which we’re so uniquely blessed, it will all disappear. And it won’t take geological time to disappear. It is happening before our eyes.
 
The stats show that 73 percent of visitors to Namibia are nature-based tourists, with their money accounting for 14.2 percent of that nation's economic growth. This money needs to be spread more equitably. There is no reason for anyone to be poor or hungry in this country.
 
As I mentioned, Namibia is rich in poor mineral deposits. But we are RICH in monumental individuals…story-book characters. We punch well above our weight with epic Conservationists and Environmentalists who have selflessly dedicated their lives to the unique wilderness of this country. There are too many to mention by name. We can be proud to say that many of them are here today.
 
And these are the men and the women that will sit on Council of this new Chamber. It is our dream that these specialists in their various fields of conservation, environment and social investment will take this Chamber forward with passion and dedication and they will decide which projects are more worthy and which less worthy of support. It is our dream that this Chamber becomes the conduit for big industry to put its money and its heart where its mouth is.
 
CSI is fashionable, but good, sustainable and meaningful CSI is rare.
 
I have no doubt that any support generated by this Chamber will be well deserved and it will make a lasting difference for all future generations to appreciate.
 
As B2Gold, we have taken a decision that the lion’s share of our Conservation and Environmental pillar of our CSI programmes, and a significant portion of our Livelihoods and Communities pillar, will be channelled through the NCE.
 
As initial seeding capital, I hereby announce on behalf of my company that we have donated N$1 000 000 to the NCE. This is just a start, and I know other companies are grappling with each other to follow suit.
 
This Chamber was borne of B2Gold, but it distances itself from any corporate identity. It is fully independent and democratic, and fully aligned with the objectives of our MET.
 
I am grateful for the unflinching support of one of our doyens of conservation, Dr. Chris Brown. I’m also grateful to the MET and
especially the PS Dr. Malan Lindeque, for believing in this Chamber and for partnering with us on this venture. A big thanks to Frauke Kreitz of New Media Consult and the Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS) for handling all of the PR and documentation surrounding NCE, including our new website. Most of her work was pro-bono.
 
At this stage of our lives we all know that for any project to become successful, it must be driven by the passion and imagination of one individual. Charles is that individual. I am grateful to you Charles, for this proud moment. Your baby is in good hands.
 
Thank you !

Wiser Saving In Your Own Interest

With the threat of rising interest rates and food prices it has become essential to find new ways to save money, no matter what your age.
 
“In laymen’s terms, saving means that you are putting away money for a specific purpose.  Either for something you want to buy, something you want to do like a holiday or an overseas trip or just for when something unforeseen happens. Saving essentially means deferring spending until a later time,” says Bokkie Cloete Manager: Business Development: Traditional Banking Channels at Bank Windhoek.
 
For many saving means finding creative ways to decrease spending. Be that on ordinary consumption or cutting expenses. To assist with this draw up a budget and stick to it.
 
“If something unforeseen happens, and you do not have savings, you will need to borrow money, and pay unnecessary interest,” says Cloete.
 
When you save for a specific goal, like visiting friends and family it motivates you to take control and responsibility of your finances.
 
“When you invest your money in the right places, your money starts working for you, by earning interest and growing the balance,” said Cloete.

Prime Minister's speech at commemoration of International Women's Day

KEYNOTE STATEMENT
 
BY
 
RIGHT HONOURABLE SAARA KUUGONGELWA-AMADHILA, PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
 
AT THE
 
COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
 
SAFARI HOTEL, WINDHOEK, MONDAY, 7 MARCH 2016 08h30
 
Director of Proceedings
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers present
UN Representative
Fellow Presenters and Moderators
Gender Activists
Researchers and Scientists
Esteemed Invited Guests
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
It gives me great pleasure to officiate at this auspicious event where we commemorate the Annual International Women’s Day – this year under the theme of “Pledge For Parity!”.  I thank the House of Women for their kind invitation to me to attend this event, and I also acknowledge the other support partners: Hanns Seidel Foundation, Sister Namibia Magazine, and Namibia Institute for Democracy for their important roles in hosting this event.
 
This week, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which remains the world’s best blueprint for achieving gender equality and empowering women.  The review of this visionary roadmap is an opportunity to celebrate the world’s progress toward ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls, and also to renew and reinvigorate commitments to achieve gender equality.
 
What this Day is trying to achieve is to bring together women of all backgrounds to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women in our country – and simultaneously in many other places around the world – and to consider ways in which we can accelerate gender parity by playing a part in the pledge for parity.  This theme reflects not just education or advocacy in support of women, but also the importance of taking active steps to support women across Namibia, through parity pledges expected from the participants today.
 
In 2015, the World Economic Forum predicted that it would take until 2133 to achieve complete global gender parity.  That is 117 years from now – too long for anyone gathered here today to witness.  This is not only worrying, but shocking indeed.  Then, in terms of the Africa Union Agenda 2063, all Member States have agreed that by 2063, all forms of violence and discrimination (social, economic, political) against African women and girls, including sexual violence in conflict situations, should cease to exist and they should fully enjoy all their human rights.
 
I would like to this morning, highlight Namibia’s strides made to narrow the gender gap on various fronts, and its ambition to maintain this progress going forward.  Hopefully, we will achieve gender parity much earlier than the forecast by the WEF and the commitment of the AU Agenda 2063.
 
Namibia has made good progress in creating laws that establish that women and men have equal rights and in ratifying relevant regional and international treaties dealing with the elimination of discrimination against women.
 
Article 10 of the Namibian Constitution protects the rights of all persons including women from any form of discrimination. In order to give effect to this clause, a comprehensive legal framework has been developed, which includes:
 
The Married Persons Equality Act, 1 of 1996, that lays down clear rules to achieve equality between husband and wife within marriage;
The Affirmative Action (Employment) Act, 29 of 1998, that provides for affirmative action measures to achieve equal opportunity in employment for racially disadvantaged persons, women and persons with disabilities;
The Labour Act, 11 of 2007, that, amongst others, protects employees against unfair labour practices and disallows an employment decision based on gender between employees who do work of equal value;
The revised National Gender Policy (NGP) that is designed to create a society in which women and men enjoy equal rights and access to basic services and to provide opportunities for all to participate in and contribute to the political, social, economic and cultural development in the country;
The latest addition being the Public Procurement Act that provides for priority attention to formerly disadvantaged groups including women.  
NEEEF that is currently in the pipeline will give effect to the Constitutional mandate to enact legislation to redress the effects of past discriminatory laws.
 
While Namibia has legislated gender parity in the workplace, this may not fully translate into “Equal Pay for Equal Worth of Work”. We need to learn from best practices around the world where some countries have adopted Codes of Good Practice on Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value.
 
I must hasten to add, however, that the translation of equality before the law into equal outcomes is not automatic.  Entrenched inequalities, discriminatory social norms, customary biases, or plain ignorance of the law, as well as dominant patterns of economic development, can undermine their implementation and positive impact.
 
That notwithstanding, let me briefly take stock of our achievements in narrowing the gender gap.  As at March 2015, female civil servants represented 61% of all employees in OMAs/RCs1.  However, the pace in terms of employing women at management levels is slower with women filling up 42% of management positions.  In the private sector only 40% of employees are females2. The positive thing in all this is that, two years ago the ratio of women at management level in the public sector was 38%.  A rigorous affirmative action drive and giving preferential exposure to female colleagues in terms of management, administrative and functional training has brought about such gradual shift in gender balance in the public service.
 
It is also encouraging to note that 58% of all professionals and 54% of all technicians and associate professionals in the private sector are women3. 
 
Alongside economic policies that can create decent jobs, measures are needed to challenge persistent occupational segregation and gender pay gaps.  According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey for 2013, women’s monthly mean wages (in Namibia Dollar) are on average 16% less than that of men.  This pay gap is experienced in advanced regions as well as such the EU.
 
In its Global Gender Gap Report of 2015, the World Economic Forum measures the Global Gender Gap Index for 145 countries4.  This Index examines the gap – rather than level of parity – between men and women in four fundamental categories (or sub-indexes):
 
Economic Participation and Opportunity,
Educational Attainment,
Health and Survival, and
Political Empowerment.
 
Namibia ranks in 16th position compared to 38th position ten years ago.  This achievement is primarily due to two factors:  Namibia has fully closed the gap on (a) the Health and Survival indicator, and on (b) the Educational Attainment indicator.
 
Namibia is lagging in the 27th position in terms of the Economic Participation and Opportunity Indicator, mainly as a result of its low rank in terms of Wage equality between men and women where Namibia is ranked 57th out of 145 countries. 
 
In terms of the Political Empowerment indicator, Namibia is ranked 33rd mainly as a result of its 10th position with regard to Women in Parliament.  We should persist in our efforts to consolidate these successes and further build upon them.
 
Before concluding, let me once again condemn the vice of violence against women and girls.  Violence against women, disempowers women, but also impoverishes families.  We need to strengthen partnerships at community level to enforce our laws in order to have peace at family level.
 
To enhance socio-economic empowerment and reduce household poverty, we need to promote partnerships between women and men, between employees and employers, between previously disadvantaged and previously advantaged persons.  If we continue to polarise our society along these lines, our nation will fail dismally.
 
Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly.
To this end, it is important to note that gender equality does not mean women ruling over men, but it rather guarantees a level playing field absent of all forms of discrimination that prevail against women.  Women empowerment makes absolute sense, since an ancient Ethiopian proverb suggests that “Where a woman rules, streams run uphill”.
 
On that note, I extend my best wishes to you all for a happy International Women’s Day, and call upon all women and men of Namibia to work together in partnership in order to address the challenge of poverty and move into a transformed and prosperous era.
 
I thank you.