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Green business awards launched in Zimbabwe

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe anticipates to ignite its green economic revolution with the recent launch of the green business awards expected to be presented to outstanding winners in November 2013, according to Sebastian Zuze, Chairman of the awards. The awards recently launched in Harare under the theme:Greening the economy for sustainable national prosperity are an initiative of Xhib-it Events company and are meant to celebrate excellence in green practice,strategy and products, complimenting the Ministry of Environment’s efforts on greening the economy.They seek to recognize the most innovative,ambitious and effective initiatives by Zimbabwean business and individuals for achieving environmental sustainability and implementing smart business practice.

Launching the award, Zuze said going green is the idea of making sure that in any activity that is conducted by individuals,communities and business,the environmental impacts are assessed and minimized to ensure sustainability.

He added that the effects of not managing the environment include loss of bio-diversity and long term damage to ecosystems,pollution of the atmosphere and the consequences of climate change,damage to aquatic ecosystems,land degradation,the impacts of chemicals use and disposal,waste production and depletion of non-renewable resources.

“On the other hand, good environmental practice ensures increased productivity in our factories,reduction of waste, improved efficiencies,enhanced national image,better utilization of resources and development of environmentally friendly technologies,” Zuze said.   Through the awards, Zimbabwe seeks to explore various approaches to attain sustainable growth in the global market place.

“Goals for the awards are simple, but bold, to fill heads with practical knowledge,ideas,new trends,helping transform business as usual by partnering with extraordinary visionaries,forward thinkers,creative industry leaders and companies committed to building profitable and sustainable enterprises while solving some of the world’s toughest problems,” Zuze said.

Some of the award categories include;the overall green business award,the green leader award,the green entrepreneur award,the green supply chain award,the green building award,the green residential building award,the green energy award,the green professional services award,the green travel initiatives award,the waste to business resource award,the green retailer award,the green school/college award,the green SME award,the green manufacturer award,the green product award,the green innovation award,the green local council award,the green community award,the green healthcare award,the green entertainment and leisure award,the green communications award, the green financial institution award,the green corporate citizen award, the Minister of Environment’s award for environmental excellence, the minister of tourism’s award for eco-tourism excellence and the ministry of mines green mining award of excellence.

Awards chairman Zuze says many factors are impacting on local, regional and international trade.”Managing the environmental impact of manufacturing,mining and the activities involved during the provision of services to markets is assuming significance of enormous proportions especially in Zimbabwe,” Zuze said.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis Nhema said threats to the environment in Zimbabwe are arising from the construction industry, infrastructure development, mineral resources exploration, waste disposal, packaging and branding, communications, natural resource consumption, energy and water consumption.

“The precautionary principle is therefore crucial to apply that business should operate in a way that does not threaten the future of our existence by continually seeking alternative means and ways of operations that are sustainable,” Nhema said.

Nhema added that his ministry envisions using platforms like the Green Business awards,the merging of business and the environment through behaviour change known as sustainable business or green business to present opportunities for new business that is future oriented.

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The Anatomy of a Logo

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Africa Business


By Chemory Gunko


MD & Creative Director


Dsignhaus (Pty) Ltd






Perhaps it’s because marketing invades and pervades every aspect of our lives. Perhaps it’s because the tech revolution has made the creation of marketing collateral so easily accessible.



Whatever the reason, marketing is not a field where the experts will ever be left to do what it is they do, the way they know how best to do it – especially when it comes to something as subjective and personal as logo design.



So, before you sign off on that near perfect logo you’ve had commissioned, here are a few things to consider when making your choice.




The Ribbon Device. The Golden Arches. The Swish.



Open Happiness. I’m loving it. Just Do It.



Each and every one of these elements has become an iconic representation of the brand it represents – and even on its own, you know it: it takes you to the heart of the brand, and further reinforces your connection to the product and the idea that that product sells.



Another key aspect of each of these elements is their simplicity – every one of them is a simple, easily replicable, clean and scalable vector shape. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, yet still distinctive and easily recognisable.


Logos vs. Diagrams



While many would agree that your logo element in some way needs to represent what you do, there really is a limit to how far you should take this.



A logo should be simple, stylised, a representation containing the essence of the idea you want to represent. All too often though, clients want to include an amount of detail better suited to a diagram or graphic.



Diagrams are fantastic things, and when you look at a well-laid out diagram you can comprehend immediately how a well-laid out visual representation can encapsulate and simplify a product or service offering in a way that makes it easy to absorb and understand.



Likewise, it’s easy to understand why a client would want a diagrammatical representation to be the most often seen element of their company.



However, a key differentiation between diagrams and logos is size: while you expect to see a diagram full page, any logo element is only ever going to take up one to five percent of the page size – and this is among the largest representations of your logo that you’ll see on a regular basis.



Effectively this means that all that detail that you worked so hard to incorporate will not be visible to the majority of the people that see your logo.


Embroidery & Favicons



Logos get used in a number of places, at a number of sizes, in a wide variety of different formats – from billboards metres high to icons less than half the size of a 10-cent piece.



For me, the litmus test of a good logo has always been embroidery and favicons.



Regardless of what your business looks like now, chances are that your product and service offering are going to change over the coming years, shaping into a completely unique offering that no one else in the world can replicate.



This is one of the reasons marketing will never be a cookie cutter job – every client requires an expert to sit down with them and find out their unique offerings and what sets them apart, and then craft an identity unique to that specific offering.



And while there may be similarities to the offerings proffered by your competitors, your product and service range – and how you go about conducting your day-to-day business – will still be unique to you.



In a nutshell, what this means is that you have no idea where your business is going to go in the next ten years – and you have no idea what collateral uses you’re going to run into.



So while embroidery of your logo onto uniforms may not be an issue right now, in a few years from now, it very well might be – and if your logo is not simple enough to be embroidered, are you going to stop production and redo all your marketing collateral?



Likewise favicons. For those of you that don’t know, a favicon is that little image that appears in the tab of your browser, to the left of the page display name.



Absolutely tiny little binary images, favicons have a very limited amount of space to work with, and yet some logos are still instantly recognisable and look amazing as favicons.



The takeaway from this is that whatever the size, whatever the usage – your logo should always be able to be utilised, and should instantly be recognisable as yours.


Speaking of small…



Logos do not always have to stay in one shape or orientation.



In fact, especially if it is a more complicated logo, it’s a good idea to have a different stack for different size views. Likewise, it’s a good idea to have single-colour options prepared.



The thing is, you really have no idea where, when and how you will be using your logos going forward. And with today’s current trend of cooperative marketing between partners and suppliers, there will often be situations where you do not have final say over the artwork and layout.



This could be for a number of reasons – the other party is the main advertiser, and they have final sign off, or the ad mostly features them.



The purpose of a logo at the end of the day is to create a favourable and memorable impression of your business, products and services.



More importantly though, the purpose of a logo is to put your company name across in a way that makes it easy to read and remember, so that when somebody has a need in your area, they remember you.





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Towards a New Economic Model for Tunisia: Identifying Tunisia’s Binding Constraints to Broad-Based Growth –

Posted on 30 April 2013 by Africa Business

The Government of Tunisia, the African Development Bank and the United States Government have released a report


TUNIS, Tunisia, April 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Government of Tunisia, the African Development Bank ( and the United States Government have released the report entitled “Towards a New Economic Model for Tunisia: Identifying Tunisia’s Binding Constraints to Broad-Based Growth”. The report, aims at identifying the most binding constraints to growth in Tunisia in order to identify areas where policy reforms are most needed. The study attempts to identify these constraints, both as they were manifested in the years leading up to the revolution and today. The methodology starts from the widely accepted proposition that private sector investment and entrepreneurship are ultimately the keys to sustained economic growth and follows the Growth Diagnostics approach proposed by Ricardo Hausmann, Dani Rodrik and Andrès Velasco.

The application of the methodological framework has revealed two broad categories of binding constraints to economic growth in Tunisia:

First, a lack of effective institutions to ensure public sector accountability, the rule of law, and checks and balances on power in Tunisia results in weak protection of property rights and barriers to entry. Property rights and investment freedoms are fundamental to the development of entrepreneurship and to investment, innovation and risk-taking, and therefore to achieving growth in productivity and the higher wages and living standards that accompany it.

Establishing a sound framework of economic governance including institutions that provide investors with a clear and transparent set of rules and assurance that they will be able to reap the fruits of their investments will require a sustained effort.

Second, although social security programs and labour protections are intended to enhance the pay, benefits and economic security of workers, many measures currently in place in Tunisia have been counterproductive in achieving these aims for all but the most fortunate Tunisian workers. Rather than enhancing the provision of acceptable jobs, they result in reduced investment, greater informality, lower worker pay, higher unemployment, and increased economic insecurity. Firms remain small and use a variety of means to circumvent the formal requirements of employing workers, including informality or under-declaration of employees.

Their inability to adjust employment according to market conditions discourages them from growing to attain economies of scale and from investing in worker training. These responses in turn reduce innovation and productivity growth and make Tunisian firms less competitive internationally. Tunisia’s slow growth in labour productivity relative to other middle-income countries reinforces the pressure to reduce private sector wages. Alternatives for designing social security systems and labour market protections should be considered with the aim of protecting people rather than specific jobs.

These binding constraints operate on a national level and therefore have negative consequences both in faster growing and lagging regions. While a lack of investment in infrastructure and poor school quality are widely believed to reduce investment and employment opportunities in lagging regions, the lack of demand for the products and workers emanating from those regions is primarily driven by national and international markets. Indeed, the constraints identified in this diagnostic may be even more binding on the growth of lagging regions.

The identified constraints affect exporting firms and foreign-owned firms to a somewhat lesser extent than firms primarily serving domestic markets. Exporters enjoy exoneration of social charges and other taxes for several years and, given their larger scale and higher productivity, are better able to adhere to formal labor requirements. They also appear to have been less subject to infringement of property rights under the prior regime. However, the identified constraints are still likely to dampen investment and employment creation by exporting firms as well. Meanwhile, the constraints present a tremendous barrier for Tunisian firms serving the domestic market – some of which would otherwise supply exporting firms or export directly but under current circumstances cannot expand or innovate to the degree needed to compete internationally. Although Tunisia has relied upon an industrial policy and various tax breaks to promote innovation and competitiveness, without removing these fundamental obstacles further government efforts to directly subsidize or promote innovation are not likely to succeed in transforming the economy.

In addition to the two binding constraints identified above, risks have emerged since the revolution that could become binding constraints if not effectively addressed. First is the risk that social unrest becomes persistent and pervasive, in which case it would deter investment in the coming years. Related to this is the risk of macroeconomic instability that could emerge if internal social and economic pressures override the government’s commitment to fiscal sustainability. In addition to this risk, the analysis highlights the problematic nature of the financial sector; the low quality of primary and secondary education, particularly in lagging regions; the need for improved water resource management; and the limits of Tunisia’s current seaport capacity and management. Although not currently binding constraints, these problems could become more important constraints in the future.

Based on the outcomes of this analysis, the African Development Bank and its partners will support Tunisia in overcoming these constraints to achieve a stronger and sustainable broad-based growth.



African Development Bank (AfDB)

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MTN Uganda holds a 3 day Internet Expo in Mbarara as part of a drive to increase data usage in the regions

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Africa Business

MTN Uganda has launched Regional Internet Expos in a continued effort to give back to its customers and give them an opportunity to enjoy the best of what mobile telephony has to offer.

The first of a series of planned Regional Internet Expos to be held around the country, was hosted at Agip Motel in Mbarara from 25th to 27th April.

“Until now, most operators have concentrated their data initiatives largely in Kampala. After two years of successful investment in a state of the art data infrastructure, MTN believes this is the opportune time to make data access available to every customer, even in the most remote part of the country. The purpose of this expo is to bring data connectivity to all and demystify data. This expo will provide us a platform to introduce our customers and potential customers to the numerous uses of data and how the use of MTN data services can completely enrich our customers’ lives. These bold steps give testimony to MTN’s leadership and commitment to driving the data revolution in Uganda,” said Shaibu Haruna, General Manager Sales and Distribution.

The event in Mbarara gave MTN customers in the region a hands on experience of MTN’s new digital world in line with the company’s promise of making their customers’ lives much better. Customers who attended the Expo had the opportunity to experience the various data solutions on offer for both business and consumer segments. Customers also had the opportunity to interact with the latest devices and experienced the speed of MTN data services. The toast of visitors was the free wifi, where customers could bring along their devices to experience high speed internet.

Mbarara Mayor Wilson Tumwine opens the MTN Expo in Mbarara Standing left is MTN's head of sales and distribution Shaibu Haruna

Over the last two years, MTN has made major investments to its data infrastructure in Uganda, expanded the mobile distribution foot print, and greatly enhanced the mobile core, radio capacity and Network infrastructure.

“These Expos will give our customers in the regions an opportunity to experience our improved data services,” Shaibu added.

MTN Uganda has just launched its 4G LTE network, making it the first in Uganda and one of the first on the African continent. Whereas MTN’s LTE service will initially be available in greater Kampala, other towns will follow in the very near future. This will further support the drive to push data in the different regions of Uganda and will be supported by MTN’s robust distribution network that provides a dedicated team.

MTN’s vision is to lead the delivery of a bold, new Digital World to our customers. MTN Uganda is embracing this vision through constant enhancements to its Data Network to deliver World-class Internet and make its customers’ lives a whole lot brighter.

Since MTN was launched in Uganda in 1998, it has made major investments in the country. In 2012 alone, its CAPEX investments exceeded USD 80 million. This investment was mainly in expanding the network infrastructure to support the mobile subscriber growth as well as the rollout of new innovative products and digital solutions. MTN Uganda plans to invest an additional USD 70 million in 2013 towards further infrastructure development.

In 2012, MTN Uganda delivered strong results in a competitive environment with an increase in revenue, customer numbers and market share. Data and Mobile money particularly performed well. As a result, the groundwork was established to increase the contribution of data and mobile money to overall revenues.

“MTN Uganda’s road map for the next two years has positioned Data and Mobile Money as key drivers for MTN. We are committed to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers and that is precisely why we embarked on this new drive to reach all our customers, where ever they are,” he concluded.

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“Africa is the second largest continent in the world, yet it is the least computerised.”

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Africa Business

Exclusive interview with Gideon van Niekerk, MaraMedia CEO.  MaraMedia is a gold sponsor at the upcoming African Education Week.

1)  What would you say the main challenges are to creating a more e-friendly learning environment in South African/African schools?
“Education in our country is suffering as the lack of suitable learning material seems to be that elephant in the room that everyone tries not to notice.” Africa is the second largest continent in the world, yet it is the least computerised.

South African / African Schools face a number of obstacles in their quest for quality education in a digital format. Certain prerequisites, such as reliable power supply to operate the computers, a well functioning telephone network to transmit data, financial ability to import the technology, and computer literate personnel, are necessary for successful use of IT remain inadequate in many African countries.

The last century has seen tremendous revolutions in all industries, except education. Learners need to be prepared for the demands that a future with new problems, opportunities and challenges will hold.

Knowledge is everywhere, available at the click of a button with Google as many educators’ first port of call. Content experts and great teachers set aside mandated learner manuals every day in favour of their own materials and those they have culled from the best resources available. Textbooks as we know them are an anachronism. However, the choosing, culling, and creation of appropriate course material is an arduous task – one that MaraMedia has taken on gladly.

2)  How will technology change the way learners are taught, do you think?
Learners are destined to evolve from passive recipients of knowledge to active participants in a life-long learning process. By taking charge of his/her own learning through a digital platform, any child can be the master of his/her learning. Exploring the global classroom is made possible through the marriage of great educational material with an intuitive technology interface in the form of mobile tablets. A migration to a more digital workspace must be effected at a pace that teachers and learners are comfortable with.  Using mobile learning devices like tablets enables learners to store assets, homework and other documents and facilitates collaborative learning through enhanced communication by forum. Using tablet computers, learners have easy access to knowledge. They use their devices as supportive educational tools. By using the MaraMedia IDMs, they now have access to embedded videos, photo galleries, diagrams, articles, essays and relevant academic information written for the South African market with reference to actual news events that can vastly improve their performance in the classroom.

Until now, most people relegated “education” to a finite time in their lives: entering school at around five years old and attending school institutions all the way to university. Education is getting increasingly interspersed with our daily activities. This necessitates an innovative new merging of e- and m-learning, and will most probably be one of the ways in which Information Communication. Not only do learners have access to their entire school curriculum on their mobile learning devices, but they now have access to industry experts too. Learners can read reviews and blogs by field experts. They can follow conferences and “webinars” and even have a chance to interact with professionals from their homes or classrooms.

3)  What is your vision for education?
High quality digital and mobile education in Africa may appear presumptive: in areas of drought or malnutrition it is hard to persuade some people that education is a venture that necessitates monetary investment. But education is about information, and information is needed to help cure illness and bring food, bolster production and build stable societies. Information is needed to allow Africa to find its own ways forward. Our vision is that digital education can put South Africa at the forefront of the African Renaissance in education. In order to create true 21st century learning environments, today’s schools will need to evolve beyond traditional methods of instruction. Digital learning allows for exactly that to happen. Using mobile tablet device technology to enhance the learning experience and to break down the school walls, paves the way for a gigantic shift of the traditional learning paradigm. In opposition to the rather rigid, culturally ‘neutral’ learning material MaraMedia’s educational solution has the flexibility to adapt to the pupil’s cultural environment and to his/her personal learning style.

Technology is to develop even further in the future. Mobile information and communication technologies are important enablers of the new social structure. One only needs to look at the growth of the social media industry (and I think here particularly of Facebook) to realise that today’s youth more often than not deal with real-time as well as virtual personas on a continuous basis.

It is therefore imperative that learners are reached through the same portals when we enter the sphere of education. Interactive activities support large-scale learning and allow learners to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Most educators note that each learner requires different pedagogies or strategies for learning. Through using mobile learning devices with proper relevant and comprehensive content learners are able to learn in their own way. They can now personalise and enjoy learning.

The digital age has created a new relationship between teachers and learners. Research conducted by the London School of Economics found that children are typically the Internet experts in the family, and described this situation as a “lasting reversal of the generation gap”. This also leads to a “flip classroom” scenario whereby learners can research topics related to the curriculum themselves. The always-available nature of mobile learning empowers learners to take the initiative and direct their own learning activities, while teachers can guide this process, instill proper research methodologies and help learners to gauge the relevance and accuracy of e-content. The ability of teachers to understand and respond to digital learning opportunities is vital. Maragon Private Schools’ teachers are interested and able to provide Maragon learners with excellent learning content, learning management and support. To support Maragon Private Schools’ teachers, MaraMedia has arranged for a series of training sessions and workshops to assist teachers in what would otherwise be a very daunting task.

The MaraMedia IDMs fits many diverse learning styles: reading text and graphics, video, animation, working through decision trees, listening to audio tracks, contributing to discussions, researching on the internet, choosing the correct answer, interacting with the screen through swiping, tapping, panning, zooming or rating skills on a diagnostic… are all processes for offering learning on mobile learning devices. This enables differentiation between the different types of learners, engaging auditory-, visual- and tactile learners alike.  MaraMedia demonstrates the need for and the availability of technology capable of supporting the evolution towards the e-learning world of tomorrow while taking into account the richness of the past by following a blended approach to learning.

4)  What surprises you about this sector?
The last true educational revolution was with the invention of the blackboard by James Pillans in the 1800’s – mankind invests billions into countless sectors, but the educational sector that serves as the driving force for all of these has hardly seen any innovation in more than two hundred years.

The idea of tackling the same educational problems with the same ineffective solutions and expecting a different (better) outcome is the very definition of insanity.

5)  What will be your message at African Education Week?
Africa’s richest resource is not its gold, silver, diamonds or platinum, but its human resources – its children. As one of the few continents with an overall population growth, it is imperative that Africa stands up and be noticed in the educational sphere – we owe it to our children and to their future. The distinguishing feature of our society at the beginning of the 21st Century is the rapid rate of technological and social change.  Smartphones and tablet computers have become commonplace in most households. These devices are fundamentally altering how we approach our shared knowledge sources by keeping us continually connected to near-infinite volumes of raw data, knowledge resources and communication.

6)  Why did you decide to become a gold sponsor at this event?
MaraMedia is passionate about education, about our great nation and the powerful impact that education has on our youth. We emulate the meaning of ex-president Nelson Mandela’s statement: “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to shape our future”

7)  Anything you would like to add?
Without the help of imaginative, appreciative learners and teachers, textbooks are reduced to a jumble of words. There is no guarantee that a learner will interact with the subject content, moulding it into internalised knowledge. MaraMedia digital books provide the necessary resource to assist teachers in enlivening the content being taught.

Considering that the textbook is to the teacher what the hammer is to a carpenter or a knife to a chef, it is quite evident that the implementation of the latest possible technology as a fundamental classroom tool is essential.

The digital books allow for educators to ensure the maintenance of appropriate standards. Photo galleries, interactive mind-maps, high resolution colour images, embedded video footage, animations and sound clips take teaching and learning to a whole new level.
Content is enriched, augmented and enlivened by the integration of different media, bringing the world into the classroom.

Using a tablet device opens a legion of different teaching and learning opportunities. A scientific calculator, science lab, textbooks, workbooks and study notes for all subjects are all carried in a single device, smaller and lighter than a diary!

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Posted on 18 March 2013 by Africa Business



Notwithstanding the prolonged reforms of the legal and regulatory framework governing the energy sector in Nigeria, especially due to the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), international and local companies continue to find and take advantage of several investment opportunities. Such opportunities arise amidst substantial legal risks and regulatory challenges. How has the industry capitalized on the opportunities and dealt with the legal risks and regulatory challenges? Looking ahead, what are the options to be considered in creating a fair and effective legal/regulatory framework in the mid and long-term to enhance investments and growth in the industry? At this two day event to holding at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria, between 9th and 10th April 2013, from 9:00am daily, representatives of oil and gas as well as Power companies will meet with Nigerian financial, legal and insurance experts to discuss some of the perennial challenges facing the sector today, and point the directions for their future closer interface in a robust and reformed energy industry. Legal Blitz publishers of Esq Legal Practice Magazine hereby invites you to participate at this all important event.



Issues to be discussed include:

What are the implications of the extant legal and regulatory uncertainties on international petroleum industry expansion and volatile oil prices, including the shale oil and gas revolution e.t.c. for Nigeria?,

How can Nigeria continue to attract investments and sustain the growth and development of its energy sector amidst competition from other Sub-Saharan African countries?,

What are the opportunities and relevant challenges in a viable and robust Nigerian energy industry?,

How can the law and governmental policies effectively sustain investments and operations in the offshore and frontier acreages?

What are the challenges and solutions needed for a viable domestic refining and petrochemical sub-sector?

What role will the local players play in the future prosperity of the energy sector in Nigeria?

How are the proposed reforms in the Gas Sector built to ensure liberalisation and ultimately industrialization.

How will the emerging legal and regulatory regime affect producers, transporters, distributors and large-scale users of gas?

What developments are being proposed and being made with respect to infrastructure.

With Power in the hands of private investors, is Nigeria set for industrialization?

How will the industry capitalize on the opportunities and deal with the legal risks and regulatory challenges?

Looking ahead, what are the options to be considered in creating a fair and effective competition regime amongst the successor companies and meet the challenges of capacity?

How attractive is the market to retain international finance?

Are Nigerian Banks truly equipped to play a major role in the sector?

How do we address the legal risks and regulatory challenges in the Nigerian Power Sector in the light of the current legal and business environment?

Given the long lead times and infeasibility of storing electricity, raising capital for power projects creates a bottle neck. What viable options are open to investors to source funds for power projects in the financial and capital markets in Nigeria?


This event will feature in-depth discussions, essential updates and debates on all critical issues affecting the energy sector today and provide arrays of options to maximise stakeholder’s interest in the industry. The summit will consist of keynote addresses and special paper presentations with a heavy weight panel deliberating on the paper before opening up the floor for further discussions. The high profile speakers and panellists will share their well researched thoughts.

LIST OF SPEAKERS (Acrobat Reader .pdf)

Please visit website:

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AfricaRice: Average rice yield in SSA has jumped 30% after rice crisis

Posted on 16 March 2013 by Africa Business

COTONOU, Benin, March, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ An analysis by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) has revealed that the paddy rice production growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) shot up from 3.2% per year before the rice crisis (2000–2007) to 8.4% per year after the rice crisis (2007–2012).

The analysis also showed that average rice yield in SSA jumped by about 30% from 2007 to 2012 and that it is increasing at a faster rate than the global average.

“This is very encouraging news,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr Papa Seck. “The surge in SSA’s rice production and yield is a result of key investments made by farmers, governments, the private sector, the research community and donors to develop Africa’s rice sector.”

Dr Seck underlined that it is crucial to maintain this trend, because rice consumption continues to increase in SSA at an annual rate of 5%.

High rice prices in late 2007 and 2008 had sparked food riots in several African cities. As a result of this “rice crisis,” African governments, assisted by the international donor community, embarked on ambitious programs to boost their rice production capacity.

To find out the domestic production responses to these measures, AfricaRice analyzed trends in rice production across the African continent, placing particular emphasis on the periods before and after the 2007/2008 rice crisis. All data were retrieved from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (, accessed 7 February 2013).

“We were pleased to learn that paddy rice production in SSA increased by 2.8 million tonnes from 2000 to 2007, and then accelerated, increasing by 4.7 million tonnes in the period 2007–2012,” said AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr Marco Wopereis.

“But what’s more important, the analysis revealed that average rice yield in SSA increased by about 11 kg per ha per year from 1961 to 2007 and by a spectacular 108 kg per ha per year from 2007 to 2012, despite drought and floods in several African countries in 2011 and 2012.”

He explained that such growth rates are comparable with cereal yield growth rates after the Second World War in the UK and the USA. Rice yield worldwide – driven by the Green Revolution in Asia – increased by 52 kg per ha per year over the period 1960–2010.

“Currently, 71% of the increase in paddy rice production in SSA can be explained by yield increase and 29% by area expansion, whereas before the rice crisis, only 24% of production increase could be attributed to increases in yield and 76% to increases in harvested area,” Dr Wopereis added.

“This is evidence of increased use of technological innovation, such as improved varieties and improved crop management in general.”

More information on this analysis is provided in Dr Wopereis’ blog piece. A forthcoming AfricaRice publication, to be published by CABI, entitled Realizing Africa’s Rice Promisewill present a detailed analysis.

The results of this study will also be discussed at the Third Africa Rice Congress, which is planned to be organized by AfricaRice and the Government of Cameroun in Yaoundé, Cameroun, 21–24 October 2013.



Africa Rice Centre (WARDA)

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Posted on 12 March 2013 by Africa Business


Gone are the days when packaging was just a standard container used to safeguard and transport items. Western Cape printing and packaging powerhouse, Colourtone Aries has seen demands in packaging evolve over the years. Packaging now plays a crucial part in the marketing mix and one that receives considerable attention from marketers.


According to Colourtone Aries, packaging has been inextricably linked to the evolution of consumer demand and the influence of society on the corporate world. Marketers have embraced the positive role that packaging can play in consumer decisions. Today companies use packaging as a key marketing tool in the race for consumer space.


Colourtone Aries Sales Manager, Ryan Bywater, says, “It is not just about sustainability and shelf space anymore. It is about the value that packaging adds to the brand and its impact on the lives of the consumer. Increasingly more sophisticated consumer products are being introduced, and the way they are packaged has become more complex over and above its vital link in the delivery chain. Packaging in itself is, of course, not a new concept, it is just a lot more sophisticated than before.”


The history of packaging as we know it can be traced back to before the Industrial Revolution.


Packaging, it can be said, has been around since consumers occupied rural spaces long before the Industrial Revolution. Packaging was basic then, a simple container to transport goods. A single solution fulfilled a number of roles like carrying wood, food and even tools. These were receptacles and not near the sophisticated packaging we use today; they were simple means to transport goods.


The consumer mindset of those times was more in line with users of resources. Consumerism was not conceptualised yet in its sophisticated modern format we know today. The Industrial Revolution introduced mass production, bringing about developments in modes of transport, and this gave considerable impetus to a demand for complex packaging.


Suddenly the market widened for producers and transporting goods to distant destinations demanded different packaging. Barrels were needed to transport liquids and boxes for ease of storage and transportation. Essentially packaging was used to protect products and was not a means of communication and definitely not a part of a more sophisticated brand strategy…yet.


On arrival at stores, storekeepers would unpack products, weigh or count them and wrap or place them in bags or boxes for the customer. Yes, hygiene was not yet a concern for consumers then but they were present when the storekeeper packed their goods.


Little did the customers of those days know that they were in the beginning stages of consumerism and the way we would purchase and receive goods would take them on a journey that excited marketers and consumers alike.


The end of the Second World War saw packaging evolve to the needs of the consumer. Product distribution evolved further and slowly supermarket concepts began to change our lives. Products were individually packaged to allow consumers to pick them off supermarket shelving. “Self-service” began to grip the market.


Marketers saw the need to print information on the packaging as the buying process speeded up. Storekeepers could no longer advise the consumer on all products and with the influx of consumers into his super store, did not have the time or resources to serve his customers individually.


The rise in population across the world saw a considerable increase in consumption of goods; this was the age of the Baby Boom. Packaged products were now in great demand and forward thinking marketers of the 1950s and 1960s were setting trends. This also coincided with the proliferation of advertising since the introduction of television in the early 1950s, and much later only in South Africa in the 1970s.


Plastic became a popular form of packaging goods and the industry emerged strongly from this era. Quality received significant attention driving advancements in technology. Packaging, as we know it, was on the move.


The pace at which consumers moved raced, as did the demand for complex packaging. This pace continues today, but the modern era now brings additional challenges that were not a focus at the beginning of packaging history. Sustainability has gripped the attention of consumers and marketers and is set to challenge packaging companies in the search for total environmentally friendly solutions.


Ryan says, “The future of packaging is here. The principle role of packaging cannot be ignored, but neither can the marketing opportunities it presents. Protection of products is key but modern solutions offer so much more. Notwithstanding the legal requirements of packaging, its role has evolved to provide the consumer with an extension of the brand experience.”


The race is on as marketers compete for consumer attention using packaging as a means to grab the consumer’s eye. With technology now capable of achieving the near impossible, marketers and designers, equally with the skills of the future, are pushing the boundaries of packaging design.


“We truly are in the era of the package,” concludes Ryan. “The evolution of packaging continues to be driven by consumer demand.”


Colourtone Aries can be contacted on 021 929 6700, or visit

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Posted on 12 March 2013 by Africa Business



We are sitting on the edge of a revolution in security software and hardware applications and it is journey on the wild side. Just as technology development has raced ahead and returned with the future, security applications are revolutionising the way we protect our assets and ourselves.


Security professionals at JIST, a leading security software engineering company, say we are heading for a transformation in the industry. Control is being wrested back into our hands, literally, managed from a laptop and even a mobile handset. Michael Gelderbloem of JIST says, “Threats to our security is on a steep upward trend and the future of this war is here, right now. The fight has been brought to the desktop as programmers venture online to block out these threats.”


The saying: if you do not know who the sucker in a room is, it is probably you, can be applied to your own security. If you do not control your own security systems, it will control you. We are at risk of having a generation of technology suckers, a bunch of people who can operate a laptop and mobile phone but who do not understand the power they have at their fingertips.


From a security perspective, this is dangerous.


Gelderbloem continues, “The lack of understanding of the tools available to provide the ultimate in security just boggles the mind and this is the biggest barrier for business. IT departments are unable to grasp the simplicity that can create the most complex security system that is by far the safest there is today.”


It comes down to stigma, reckons Gelderbloem. Across the world, open source development has been making significant strides in security applications and it is exposing a revolution that only a few understand. This is a hindrance to our security. The fear of the unknown in a simple environment is astonishing. “Simplicity is what business demands on top of absolute security,” he says. “And it is available for every organisation. The need for complicated systems with endless edge devices, monitors and security personnel is being done away with and replaced with the simplicity of a tailored, highly effective and streamlined solution that has at its core, open source programming integrated seamlessly with old and new technology edge devices.”


JIST has proven that with the right approach to software and hardware integration, a simple solution that provides total protection is within reach of South African business. Security has been caught in the IT revolution and there is a danger that companies may just be vulnerable to threats.


The wave of criminal intent simply cannot be met with mediocrity and a false sense of security from a horde of cameras and semi-functional hardware integrated with limited software. “This is not a case of thinking out the box,” says Gelderbloem. “It is a matter of identifying the threat and adapting proven, secure software to integrate with state-of-the-art devices together with older, but adaptable, hardware.”


It is the quality of the security system that dictates the effectiveness of security. On top of this, understanding the value of the system in the hands of business is critical, and surprisingly simple.


Don’t let IT-speak throw you into a state of panic. Simple solutions that are easy to understand and control are available. Just speak to the right people!

Please visit:

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Posted on 11 March 2013 by Africa Business

The future of the world’s technology is here and a common element in modern communication is Customer Experience Management (CEM). The 2nd CEM Summit to be held at the Upper East Side Hotel in Cape Town from 24 – 25 April 2013 turns the spotlight onto enhancing the customer experience through innovative IT solutions.


While customer experience management is at the forefront of enterprise strategies, the industry faces a number of challenges including multiple channel integration through social media and mobile platforms. IT solutions are becoming increasingly innovative, embracing opportunities to emerge with a competitive edge. Brands caught in the grips of the modern technological revolution simply cannot afford to overlook investing significantly in the future of customer interaction.


According to CEM Summit organisers, Kinetic Events, the summit comes at an exciting time in the industry. “It brings together the industry’s greatest pioneering minds,” says joint managing director, Shannon Mackrill, “and offers an opportunity to discover the latest industry trends and developments including technological advancements supplying end-user enterprise-specific software.”


The summit’s objective is to provide a platform for all industries to connect, discover, share and engage with international thought leaders. It also provides an exclusive opportunity for delegates to be introduced to state-of-the-art enterprise solutions for effective customer experience management strategies and share experiences with industry peers.


Mackrill continues, “The summit also showcases how your enterprise can effectively manage potential risks and reduce costs while engaging in exclusive networking opportunities to advance your goals of customer service excellence. Some of the world’s top industry experts will address the summit and powerfully demonstrate the value of effective IT innovation and the productive alignment of business with technology.”


Guest speakers at the CEM Summit include:


  • Chris Moerdyk – Moderator
  • Alderman Demetri Qually, Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services, City of Cape Town – Opening address
  • Paul Galatis, Director, Yuppiechef
  • Alastair Tempest, COO, Direct Marketing Association SA
  • Johnny Goldberg, Labour Attorney, CEO, Global Business Solutions
  • Loane Sharp, Labour Market Analyst, Adcorp
  • Helene Lindsay, Head of Strategy, New Media Publishing: Digital
  • Marisja Kocznur, Client Experience Manager, Allan Gray
  • Pia Mitri, Digital & Relationship Marketing Manager, Brandhouse
  • Justin Cornish, Senior Technical and Outsourcing Attorney, Latham Watkins
  • Annie Moyo, Head of Recruitment, Direct Axis
  • Judy Robison, National Learning & Development Manager, Mazars
  • Danny Gounden, Head: Central Operations, Virgin Active
  • Natasha Anthony, Retail Mass Market Communications, Old Mutual
  • Yugeshree Naidoo, Group Customer Services Operations – Shared Services, Edcon
  • Mohammed Parker, Senior Manager, Business Intelligence, Wesgro
  • Roslynne Harrington, Customer Service Manager, Engen Petroleum
  • Teshlin Akaloo, Head, Strategic Client Management, Momentum
  • Sumesh Ravendra, Head of Marketing, Sub-Saharan Africa, DHL
  • Thabang Ramogase, Marketing Manager, Nando’s


The summit, with a line-up of industry-respected experts, will provide delegates with an exclusive opportunity to network with top minds from all over the world. Registration for the summit can be done online at


For more information on the summit, visit, contact Kinetic Events on +27 21 555 0866 or email  Follow @KineticEventsSA on Twitter for updates and news feeds.

Summit Contact information

Kinetic Events

+27 (0) 21 555 0866

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