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2013 Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Programme full of New Highlights

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

The programme for the 2013 Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is growing, with new and exciting events joining the stable of old favourites. “Last year’s programme sported more than 100 events,” said Festival Manager Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt. “And it is already clear that we’ll top that number this year.”

The Pick n Pay Women’s Walk will take place on Sunday 7 July. The Women’s Walk is a popular event that takes place across South Africa. Bronwen Rohland Marketing Director Pick n Pay said, “This 5km event raises funds for PinkDrive, an organisation that provides free breast cancer screening and health education for women who cannot afford it.”

The Young Oyster Festival is gaining in popularity each year, providing an environment for kids to have a blast. Aside from the regular events such as cooking lessons, arts and crafts, movie screenings, sport clinics, and exciting competitions, this year will see a dedicated Kids Zone complete with popcorn, candy floss and all things necessary for exciting and entertaining kids.

“Older kids will enjoy an all-new fun fair as well as obstacle courses and exciting events and competitions at The Yard, our local skate park,” Rousseau-Schmidt said. “This age group and their parents will also enjoy an all new 10-day local food and craft market at the main venue on Waterfront Drive and details of how to enter the Miss Knysna Oyster Festival will be available soon.”

“Of course we wouldn’t have a festival if it weren’t for our oysters. This year’s Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna will truly showcase Knysna’s restaurants as they once again prepare oysters according to their own, unique recipes, with other delectable treats prepared by Pick n Pay also available on the evening.

“The oyster shucking and oyster eating competitions are always very entertaining and well attended, and this year we will combine these two fun events to both take place at the main venue on Waterfront Drive,” Rousseau-Schmidt said.

The festival has a longstanding relationship with the South African Navy, especially the local Sea Cadet unit from the Training Ship Knysna. “The Admiral’s Ball is a firm favourite on the festival’s calendar with music provided by the incredibly talented SA Navy Dance Band. Presented in co-operation with the Knysna Featherbed Company, the 2013 ball promises to be an event not to be missed,” said Rousseau-Schmidt “We are hoping to welcome two naval ships through the Knysna Heads this year – weather permitting,” she said. “The Navy also presents other fantastic events on the festival calendar, including the Right of Entry Parade which incorporates precision drilling and music from the marching band, displays by the Knysna Sea Cadets and the ever popular concert by the SA Navy Band which unofficially closes the festival.”

“This year the Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon have already sold out, and we anticipate that Knysna will be buzzing with excitement,” said Rohland, “the festival is a great opportunity for us to meet our customers and be part of an event that showcases the best the region has to offer.”

“We are looking forward to old favourites such the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour and the Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon, but we have many exciting developments on the programme to look forward to,” Rousseau-Schmidt concluded. “And what you’ve read about here is only a taste of what the 2013 Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival has on offer. Knysna is truly the place to be during the school holidays. So come along – I can guarantee that you’ll have the best ten days of your winter.”

Keep an eye on www.pnpoysterfestival.co.za for regular updates to the programme, or contact Knysna Tourism on 044 382 5510 for more information.

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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2013 Article IV Consultation with Seychelles

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

VICTORIA, Mahé, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On May 8, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Seychelles. 1

Background

In the few years since the 2008 debt crisis, Seychelles has made remarkable strides, quickly restoring macroeconomic stability and creating room for private-sector activity. Macroeconomic developments in the tourism-based island economy have been favorable, despite the challenging global environment. Notably, growth held up as the tourism industry successfully attracted arrivals from non-traditional markets as European arrivals slumped, while a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) supported construction in recent years. For the most part, inflation remained contained, and the external position improved markedly following liberalization of the exchange rate in 2008 and debt restructuring started in 2009.

In 2012, despite robust tourist arrivals, growth moderated to 2.9 percent as large investment projects were completed. Inflation spiked in July 2012 to 8.9 percent fueled by global as well as domestic developments, but has since abated as a result of successful monetary tightening. The external position continued to improve, albeit modestly. In particular, the current account deficit declined slightly, but remained high at around 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), but was fully financed by FDI and external borrowing, leading to a modest rise in reserves. Debt restructuring is nearly complete, with only one loan agreement awaiting signature.

Fiscal policy in 2012 continued to support debt sustainability. The primary surplus is projected to have risen to 6.2 percent of GDP, in part due to sizable windfall revenues which were partly saved. Buoyant revenue and grants paved the way for needed capital expenditure. Notwithstanding, public debt increased by over 3 percentage points of GDP due mostly to currency depreciation and the government assuming liabilities of Air Seychelles.

Monetary policy was tightened sharply in 2012 in response to rising inflation and an unhinging of the exchange rate, and has since been relaxed. Starting in late-2011, rising global food and fuel prices coupled with adjustments in administered prices pushed prices higher. This was reinforced by current account pressures resulting from lower exports of transportation services in the wake of the restructuring of Air Seychelles. The looming inflation-depreciation spiral was broken in mid-2012 by two small foreign exchange market interventions by the Central Bank of Seychelles and a tightening of monetary policy. By end-2012, inflation had fallen to 5.8 percent and the exchange rate had strengthened beyond its end-2011 level.

Broad-based structural reform over the past five years has worked to improve financial performance of the public sector and increase private sector participation in economic activity. Statistical capacity continues to be strengthened. Seychelles subscribes to the IMF’s General Data Dissemination Standard (GDDS) and is making progress at compiling higher frequency economic data which will support strengthened macroeconomic oversight and analysis.

Executive Board Assessment

Executive Directors commended the authorities for their strong policy implementation. Macroeconomic stability has been restored and growth has remained resilient. While the outlook is favorable, the economy is vulnerable to an uncertain global environment and domestic risks. Directors called for continued commitment to sound policies and structural reforms to preserve macroeconomic and financial stability, build policy buffers, and foster strong and inclusive growth.

Directors welcomed the steps to improve financial discipline at the central government level and the recent introduction of the VAT. They agreed that strengthening the oversight and financial position of parastatals, including through adequate price mechanisms, and further progress in public financial management will be key to ensuring fiscal sustainability. For the medium term, Directors supported the authorities’ fiscal policy stance which aims at targeting a primary fiscal surplus and reducing public debt to 50 percent of GDP. They welcomed that the debt restructuring is nearly complete and encouraged the authorities to exercise caution when contracting new external debt.

Directors called for continued efforts to improve the monetary framework in order to stabilize inflation expectations and policy interest rates. Absorbing excess liquidity over time will be important to strengthen the monetary anchor and monetary transmission mechanism. Directors considered that a further increase in international reserves, as market conditions permit, would provide a stronger buffer against shocks. Directors noted that the financial system is sound and welcomed the steps being taken to improve the functioning of the credit market.

Directors commended the efforts towards improving the business and investment climate, which is key to avoid a potential middle-income trap and to support broad-based growth. They encouraged the authorities to foster private sector-led growth by addressing infrastructure gaps, engendering lower cost and improved access to credit, correcting data weaknesses, and moving ahead with plans for greater workforce education and capacity building.

 

Seychelles: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2010–14

 

2010    2011    2012    2013    2014

Actual    Actual    Est.    Proj.    Proj.

 

(Percentage change, unless otherwise indicated)

National income and prices

 

Nominal GDP (millions of Seychelles rupees)

11,746    13,119    14,145    15,292    16,461

Real GDP

5.6    5.0    2.9    3.3    3.9

CPI (annual average)

-2.4    2.6    7.1    4.5    3.4

CPI (end-of-period)

0.4    5.5    5.8    4.3    3.1

GDP deflator average

-3.6    6.4    4.8    4.6    3.6

(Percentage change, unless otherwise indicated)

Money and credit

 

Credit to the economy

21.4    6.2    2.5    13.0    …

Broad money

13.5    4.5    -2.3    0.1    …

Reserve money

34.7    -2.7    6.9    12.3    …

Velocity (GDP/broad money)

1.6    1.7    1.9    2.1    …

Money multiplier (broad money/reserve money)

4.2    4.5    4.1    3.6    …

(Percent of GDP)

Savings-Investment balance

 

External savings

23.0    22.7    21.7    23.2    18.4

Gross national savings

13.6    12.4    17.3    15.1    15.5

Of which: government savings

7.8    10.6    14.3    12.1    11.0

Gross investment

36.6    35.1    39.0    38.2    33.8

Of which: government investment

8.6    8.1    12.0    9.2    7.8


Government budget


Total revenue, excluding grants

34.1    35.8    37.6    36.4    35.6

Expenditure and net lending

32.5    35.7    40.2    38.5    36.0

Current expenditure

27.2    27.6    28.8    28.8    27.3

Capital expenditure and net lending

5.3    8.1    11.4    9.8    8.7

Overall balance, including grants

2.5    2.5    2.4    1.8    2.0

Primary balance

8.6    5.4    6.2    5.1    4.4

Total public debt

81.6    74.3    77.3    72.0    65.3

Domestic1

32.5    28.0    27.7    25.7    18.6

External

49.1    46.2    49.6    46.3    46.7

(Percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)

External sector

 

Current account balance including official transfers

-23.0    -22.7    -21.7    -23.2    -18.4

Total stock of arrears (millions of U.S. dollars)

30.3    9.0    2.7    …    …

Total public external debt outstanding (millions of U.S. dollars)

478    490    512    558    597

(percent of GDP)

49.1    46.2    49.6    46.3    46.7

Terms of trade (= – deterioration)

-6.7    -6.4    -0.4    0.6    1.2

Real effective exchange rate (average, percent change)

4.4    -7.4    …    …    …

Gross official reserves (end of year, millions of U.S. dollars)

254    277    305    317    326

Months of imports, c.i.f.

2.3    2.5    2.6    2.7    2.7

Exchange rate


Seychelles rupees per US$1 (end-of-period)

12.1    13.7    13.0    …    …

Seychelles rupees per US$1 (period average)

12.1    12.4    13.7    …    …

 

Sources: Central Bank of Seychelles; Ministry of Finance; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1 Excludes debt issued in 2012 for monetary purposes (5.4 percent of GDP), as proceeds are kept in a blocked account with the Central Bank.

1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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Lopatka: “Africa wants closer cooperation with Austria” / State Secretary sets initiatives for economic cooperation and educational projects

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

VIENNA, Austria, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Opportunities for deepening political and economic ties to the African continent were the focus in a meeting of Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka with 25 ambassadors from African states. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Austrian Development Bank and the Austrian Ministry of Finance (soft loans) are the partners in the Africa initiative, which the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs has started with the support of the Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) and the City of Vienna. The African ambassadors showed great interest in stronger economic cooperation with Austria, including tourism projects and accessing Austrian know-how.

Good prospects exist for strengthening economic cooperation. “We are focussing on the interface between business and development. Africa offers opportunities above all for Austrian exports and we must put these to good use. The prerequisites are favourable: Austria does not have to struggle with the negative effect of a colonial past in Africa. The trust exists for intensifying trade contacts”, the State Secretary said. The priorities for Africa are to be established in coordination between the Foreign Ministry and the Federal Economic Chamber Austria.

“Our Africa initiative comprises three focal areas: The first priority for us is “more trade than aid”, secondly we are offering our support in education and training, as for example in tourism and training for diplomats and thirdly we have set our sights on a closer partnership and cooperation with African partners within the scope of multilateral organisations”, Lopatka continued.

“Austria is training engineers in the erection of solar thermal facilities in South Africa for example, and supporting coffee growers in Tanzania in the production and marketing of top quality coffee. The engineering company Waagner-Biro is building bridges in Mozambique with the help of soft loans and the Schloss Klessheim tourism school offers grants for training places”, the State Secretary said.

“We are also calling for the membership of African states in the International Anti-Corruption Academy and for a further development of cooperation in energy projects. Vienna has been able to develop a strong profile over the past few years as a location of international significance in this field. The new office for the implementation of the UN initiative “Sustainable Energy for All” in Vienna has been added to the many existing facilities of our energy cluster and it is of very high relevance for the African states in particular”, Lopatka said. The African states would be able to represent their interests at the Vienna location even better by establishing an African Union (AU) bureau in Vienna. “We are ready to support the creation of an AU representation office in Vienna with a start-up package and we hope there will soon be a green light for this project from the AU”, the State Secretary concluded.

 

SOURCE

Austria – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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IMF SAYS GAMBIA’S VAT IS KILLING THE ECONOMY, BUSINESSES

Posted on 13 May 2013 by Amat JENG

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Gambia’s newly introduced Tax collection system — the Value Added Tax (VAT)- is killing the country’s ailing economy and businesses. “The outlook for the economy is generally favorable for 2013, but there are risks. Real GDP growth is expected to accelerate, if the recovery in crop production is sustained.

Also, by accessing new markets, the potential for growth in tourism looks good. Inflation, however, has picked up, partly due to side effects from the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) at the beginning of the year. For example, although the VAT is applied to firms with a turnover of at least one million dalasis, we understand that many smaller businesses also raised their prices opportunistically. During the first quarter of 2013, government spending once again exceeded planned allocations, contributing to an uptick in Treasury-bill yields. Correspondingly high bank lending rates are discouraging private sector borrowing,” a report issued by an IMF delegation who just concluded discussions with the Gambian authorities on the first review of the ECF arrangement.

The IMF delegation led by David Dunn is also not impressed by Gambia’s recent economic performance. Inflation is on the rise while government spending is jumping the roof.

“The Gambian economy is still recovering from the severe drought of 2011. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an estimated 4 percent in 2012, led by a partial rebound in crop production and strength in the tourism sector. Inflation remained under control, ending the year at just under 5 percent, despite the depreciation of the Gambian dalasi during the second half of the year. A substantial overrun in government spending late in the year resulted in higher-than-budgeted domestic borrowing (3½ percent of GDP),” Mr. Dunn said.

Mr. Amadou Colley, Governor of Gambia’s Central Bank earlier this week tried to mislead the press and the nation by depicting a wrong picture of the economy. Colley failed to share the IMF team’s fact finding mission’s report. He instead furnished the press with a different picture of the realities on the ground. His sources are questionable—given the fact that this administration’s reputation of trying to monopolize the truth is evident on their modus operandi.

CBG's governor Amadou Kolley

“The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), the Gambia economy is estimated to have grown by 6.3 percent in 2012 following a contraction of 4.6 percent in 2011; agriculture valued-added increased by 7.5 percent, industry (6.6 percent) and services (5.8 percent). Money supply grew by 8.8 percent in the year to end-March 2013, lower than the 14.9 percent in 2012. Both narrow money and quasi money grew by 16.3 percent and 2.7 percent compared to 7.8 percent and 9.3 percent respectively a year earlier,” Mr. Colley claimed.

“While reserve money grew by 3.4 percent, lower than the 8.7 percent in March 2012 and the target of 4.8 percent, he said the provisional data on government fiscal operations in the first quarter of 2013 indicate that revenue and grants amounted to D1.5 billion (4.6 percent of GDP) compared to D1.9 billion (5.9 percent of GDP) in the same period in 2012. “Domestic revenue totaled D1.4 billion (4.2 percent of GDP), higher than the D1.2 billion (3.7 percent of GDP) recorded in the corresponding period of 2012.”

Mr. Colley admitted that Gambia’s inflation is going out of hand. As such, Colley said, prices for basic commodities, utilities, and energy are going up.

“While consumer food inflation rose from 4.8 percent in March 2012 to 6.4 percent in March 2013 driven mainly by price developments in bread cereals, the consumer non-food inflation also rose to 4.1 percent in March 2013 from 2.7 percent in March 2012 partly reflecting the increase in the cost of energy. Core inflation, which includes the prices to utilities, energy and volatile food items, increased to 5.3 percent from 4.0 percent a year earlier,” Mr. Colley told the local press here.

But IMF’S David Dunn is not optimistic about the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The country’s past crop failure is impacting negatively on the economy. He said VAT is killing the private sector. Businesses are being overtaxed.

IMF’S David Dunn

“The outlook for the economy is generally favorable for 2013, but there are risks. Real GDP growth is expected to accelerate, if the recovery in crop production is sustained. Also, by accessing new markets, the potential for growth in tourism looks good. Inflation, however, has picked up, partly due to side effects from the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) at the beginning of the year. For example, although the VAT is applied to firms with a turnover of at least one million dalasis, we understand that many smaller businesses also raised their prices opportunistically. During the first quarter of 2013, government spending once again exceeded planned allocations, contributing to an uptick in Treasury-bill yields,” Mr. Dunn stated.

While Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley is bragging about the so called performance of the banking sector, Mr. Dunn had a complete different view about Gambia’s banking industry.

“Correspondingly high bank lending rates are discouraging private sector borrowing,” Dunn said.

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MTN Uganda through the MTN Foundation has contributed UShs10million towards the unveiling of Kagulu Hill, in Busoga Region (Eastern Uganda)

Posted on 09 May 2013 by Africa Business

MTN Foundation has handed over a donation of UShs. 10 million towards the unveiling of Kagulu Hill, in Busoga Region.

In Picture (Left - Right) Hon. Speaker of Parliament and Patron of the Busoga Tourism Initiative(BTI) Rebecca Kadaga, MTNs Corporate Affairs Manager, Justina Ntabgoba, MTNs GM Corporate Services, Anthony Katamba & Hon Edward Baliddawa, MP Kigulu County North Iganga District

 

Kagulu Hill located in Buyende District and some 30km from Kamuli town is an imposing attraction that apart from its scenic splendor has deep cultural and historical significance in Busoga.

Kagulu Hill rises at 3,600ft above sea level and while at its summit, it offers a magnificent panoramic view of Busoga, Lango and Teso regions.

The combination of the majestic impression of the rock and the scenic beauty that it offers of its surroundings and the cultural heritage it signifies have for many years drawn the locals to Kagulu Hill.

“Uganda is endowed with plenty of natural and cultural resources which can form the basis for a very lucrative industry, creating employment and generating income, and as MTN Uganda, we realize and understand that tourism has the power to play a significant role this,” said Anthony Katamba, GM Corporate Services, MTN Uganda.

The Honorable Speaker of Parliament and Patron Busoga Tourism Initiative, Rebecca Kadaga, said that MTN Uganda’s contribution will go a long way in supporting the initiatives efforts in making Kagulu Hill a valued tourist attraction added to the Eastern Uganda Tourist Circuit and be able to spur socio-economic transformation of the people of Busoga.

She thanked the MTN Uganda Foundation for their support towards the drive.

As part of the effort to raise awareness to a much wider audience of this beautiful attraction in Eastern Uganda, the Busoga Tourism Initiative (BTI) is organizing an official unveiling of this jewel through a climbing competition scheduled for the 11th May 2013.

Since 2009, in the area of tourism, the MTN Foundation has partnered with Community Based Tourism Initiative (COBATI), a non profit NGO whose main purpose is to support local people in Uganda to participate and benefit from tourism and its related initiatives. MTN’s partnership with COBATI was specially designed to empower the Nubian Community in Bombo, and indeed Uganda as a whole, through rural-based tourism.

The Nubians are essentially known and reputable for preserving their cultural heritage and traditions, expressed through unique colourful handcraft, dance and culinary skills.

“We are a multi-faceted cultural country. This directly means that we have a lot to show the world. We have various traditions practices that in such colourful and beautiful ways capture our way of life which besides being a source of national pride, should be used to better our lives,” Katamba concluded.

The MTN Uganda Foundation is a not-for-profit legal entity that was inaugurated in July 2007 as a vehicle through which MTN Uganda implements its’ Corporate Social Investments (CSI). The Foundation strives to improve the quality of life in communities where MTN Uganda operates in a sustainable way. Over the past five years since its launch, the MTN Foundation has supported a number of initiatives in the areas of Education, Health, Arts and Culture, Environment, Community Development and Low cost housing.

The MTN Uganda Foundation partners with both public and non-profit credible organizations to execute sustainable projects in each of the chosen focus areas. The Foundation is committed to ensuring that the selection and approval of its projects are conducted in a manner that is transparent, systematic, efficient, and effective while promoting its mission.

In 2013 and onwards, the MTN Foundation will focus on three key areas so as to leverage scale to achieve significant development impact.

The three sectors will be Education, Health and National Priority Areas under which Tourism falls.

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60 African countries to participate in the AIM 2013

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Africa Business

Dubai, an inspiring city for African countries in their policies, strategies and sustainable development

African countries look to attract investments in infrastructure, agriculture, energy, mining and tourism during their participation

Victoire Ndikumana Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi: AIM is important platform to promote investment opportunities in our country

Gorden Moyo, Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe: AIM brings investors from all over the world and government representatives to interact and discuss investment opportunities

Hon Minister Kebba S Touray - Gambia

 

Kebba S. Touray, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia: AIM is great opportunity and platform for strategic networking, establishing partnerships, promotion and learning best practices

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The African countries sees Dubai as an inspiring city for them in their policies, strategies and sustainable development plans. 60 African countries will participate in the 3rd Edition of Annual Investment Meeting (AIM 2013). The AIM runs between April 30 & May 2 and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It is set to attract more investments to the UAE, region and enhance investment flows internationally and specially towards Africa that need FDI flows to achieve sustainable development in sectors like infrastructure, energy, agriculture, mining, tourism and many others given the attractive Return on Investment levels in Africa compared to other continents.

Victoire Ndikumana Minister of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi described the AIM as a global event focused on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). AIM 2013 will be of great importance for Burundi because it provides representatives from the private and public sector an exclusive environment to establish MOUs and exchange views on the importance of multilateral trade agreements, economic governance and strategic cooperation with economic operators in the world in general and the UAE in particular.

Ndikumana said the Burundi looks forward to exchanging with the authorities of the United Arab Emirates and other countries represented at the AIM to learn about their regulation of FDI, the strengths and opportunities of investment offered by their country and then see how to improve trade with them.

We will present foreign investors with the progress made by our country in the promotion of trade and investment and we invite them to visit Burundi in order to assess for themselves the business environment in Burundi, says the Minister. Burundi delegation will present a number of projects for partners and investors. We hope that Burundian businessmen who are participating in this conference will conclude partnership with foreign investors present here, she noted.

The Minister of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi said trade and investment between Burundi and the United Arab Emirates are doing well. Burundi has many investment opportunities which may be the subject of cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Burundi. These opportunities include agriculture, livestock and fisheries, fruit, flowers, cereals, oilseeds (oil palm), enhancement of coffee and tea production. She also highlighted the possibilities of hydroelectricity, renewable energy and industrial fishing on Lake Tanganyika, extraction and processing mining: nickel, gold, coltan. Beach tourism and water sports on Lake Tanganyika, development of housing, public buildings, hotel and lodges, marine transportation on Lake Tanganyika and development of infrastructures such as roads, railways, airports, marina and sports are among the major opportunities available in Burundi, according to Ndikumana.

About supporting UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai, the minister noted that a team of experts is analyzing all the bids, and we are waiting for their reports. The government will then take a decision in due time.

Speaking about historical background, she said that Burundi has experienced many years of war and after many years of crisis, Burundians negotiated and signed a peace agreement in August 2000. Currently, peace and stability have been restored and Burundians are rebuilding their country. The authorities of the country are striving for social reconstruction and economic development.

The main challenges the Government of Burundi now faces is the fight against poverty and unemployment, the energy deficit, transport infrastructures low cost like railway, limited access to finance for small and medium enterprises. However, all these challenges are opportunities for investment.

The Government of Burundi has made many reforms to improve the business climate. That is why the country has been ranked as one of the top ten reformers in the 2012 and 2013 Doing Business reports of the World Bank. We welcome all potential investors. We promise that they will enjoy to invest in our country, the minister noted.

The Minister noted that the trade and investment between Burundi and UAE has developed over the past years and many businessmen and women from Burundi regularly visit the United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai to make purchases of goods and services. In recent years, import from United Arab Emirates have improved strongly from $ 13.7 million in 2008 to $ 32.6 million in 2011, before falling to $ 27.6 in 2012. Burundi’s imports from United Arab Emirates consist primarily of vehicles, rice, flour, fiber fabrics, clothing, carpets, tubes, pipes, wooden furniture, powdered milk, oil, juice, panels, paper and cardboard. Exports to United Arab Emirates are made of gold in the state raw, hides and skins. The UAE’s share in Burundi’s exports has strongly increased from virtually nothing in 2003 to 13% of total exports in 2010. This increase largely reflects gold exports, Ndikumana concluded.

Gorden Moyo, Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe said AIM is an important event in the investment arena as it brings investors from all over the world and government representatives to interact and discuss investment opportunities with the aim of achieving a win-win situation. It also provides opportunities for governments to exhibit information, market their investment opportunities and at the same time learn from current international best practices in investment promotion strategies. The event provides a networking platform and it brings together participants with broader knowledge and appreciation of the importance of FDI in economic development which is important for fruitful dialogue. Dubai is viewed as one of the wonders of the world in terms of investment focus, friendly investment environment and business climates. It provides a location for focused collaboration and sharing of information on the realities and challenges of future beneficiaries.

The Minister will be presenting investment opportunities in SEPs in Zimbabwe in the Agricultural, Energy & Financial Sectors. During AIM, the delegation of Zimbabwe will provide an opportunity to strengthen the trade and investment ties with UAE and the GCC Countries. The Minister’s aim is also to market the investment opportunities in the public enterprises reforms being undertaken in Zimbabwe as the country is looking for strategic investors for two banks namely POSB and Agribank. The country is also looking for investors for the Hydro Power Generating project at Hwange Power station at a cost of US$2.1 billion and the Gairezi Mini Hydro station at a cost of US$90 million.

The Minister will explore possible Lines of Credit for our State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe as they are rehabilitating their infrastructures and building new projects. Signing of any Memorandum of Understanding with potential Strategic and Joint Venture Partners is a major priority in this important event. He noted that the emphasis at AIM should be at matchmaking major projects with possible financers or investors. The challenges faced by most countries are to market their abundant investment opportunities especially in developing countries. As the opportunities unfold it is important that information is disseminated to possible investors at the right time. A follow-up report should be produced to appraise the participants of the deals and business contracts established during AIM, says Gorden Moyo.

Kebba S. Touray, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia emphasizes that AIM presents a great opportunity and platform for strategic networking, establishing partnerships, promotion and learning best practices on international policies and strategies for FDI attraction and boost in trade for sustainable growth.

Minister Touray said Dubai is one of the greatest hubs in terms of investment, trade and finance in the world. It is a city that inspires hope and confidence and a demonstration that with the right policies, strategies and dedication, we can all achieve sustainable growth and development for our people.

The Gambia delegation will be promoting both public and private sector projects. Projects from the Government of the Gambia and Public Enterprises: Railway, Business Park Development and Management, Airport City ,tourism and real estate development according to the Minister along with projects from the private sector including Agro processing, Fisheries and ICT.

About their agenda in Dubai, the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia noted thy will discuss strategic networking both at the bilateral, regional and multilateral level to promote our national development aspirations. Also they will exchange of visions , strategies and experiences with leaders from governments, private sector and multilateral institutions to enhance our policies and strategies to boost trade and investment in Gambia and our region. Other objectives during the AIM will be promoting Gambia as one of the best locations for investment in Africa and to promote projects from the government and private sector to individual and institutional investors and financiers along with establishing/strengthening strategic alliances and partnerships.

AIM provides an excellent forum and platform to generate new ideas, enhance international policies and strategies, broker deals and establish strategic partnerships to reignite growth in the global economy through greater investment and trade with emerging and developing countries, says the Gambian Minister.

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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2012 Article IV Consultation with Cape Verde

Posted on 24 April 2013 by Africa Business

PRAIA, Cape Verde, April 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On March 8, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Cape Verde.1

Background

After recovering in 2010, Cape Verde’s growth slowed in 2011 and 2012, reflecting the difficult external environment and weak domestic demand. Growth is estimated at 4.3 percent in 2012, with foreign direct investment (FDI) having fallen significantly and confidence indicators across several sectors waning. However, tourism has remained resilient and remittances have held up well. The overall balance of payments is expected to move into surplus in 2012, aided by a significant narrowing of the current account deficit owing to strong tourism receipts and weaker imports. Accordingly, reserves are estimated to have stabilized at an estimated 3.8 months of current year imports (staff estimate 3.3 months of prospective imports). This outturn was aided by an adjustment of fiscal policy in 2012, particularly capital spending, in support of the monetary policy tightening that began in late 2011. Average inflation was well contained in 2012 at 2½ percent. Fiscal deficits have increased over recent years as the authorities have ramped up public investment on infrastructure, partly as a countercyclical policy response to the global crisis. Debt service indicators remain sustainable, although public debt levels have continued to increase, reaching elevated levels.

Cape Verde is likely to face a more difficult external environment in 2013, especially with near zero growth forecast in the euro area. Growth is expected to slow to 4.1 percent. Competition in tourism is intensifying as North African markets recover. The growth of private remittances is slowing, driven by economic stagnation in euro area countries. The prospects for higher private capital flows, including FDI, are dimmed by weaknesses in Europe. Likewise, concessional assistance flows are also under stress with the fiscal adjustment underway in Europe.

On the structural front, government’s reforms focus on rebuilding the tax administration and reforming tax policy, improving oversight over the financial system, strengthening monetary operations, and enhancing the governance of state owned enterprises to reduce fiscal risks and improve their service delivery to help boost competitiveness of the economy.

Executive Board Assessment

Executive Directors commended the authorities’ strong track record of prudent macroeconomic management, which has increased the economy’s resilience to shocks, supported economic growth, and advanced progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. They stressed that the difficult external outlook and fiscal and external vulnerabilities call for continued efforts to strengthen macroeconomic buffers, and to foster inclusive growth while preserving external sustainability.

Directors commended the authorities’ efforts to upgrade the infrastructure, using concessional assistance, but noted that the rising public debt could pose risks to debt sustainability. They therefore welcomed the authorities’ intention to undertake medium-term fiscal consolidation beginning in 2013, and advised that it be implemented in a growth-friendly manner. Directors looked forward to the planned reform of tax policy and tax administration to reverse the recent decline in tax revenue relative to GDP. They encouraged restraint on capital spending and more focus on improving the quality of public investment. They also pressed for rationalization of current spending and reforms to improve the operational efficiency and financial position of loss-making state-owned enterprises.

Directors agreed that the current tight monetary stance is appropriate, given the need to further increase reserves to a more comfortable level. They encouraged measures to strengthen the monetary transmission mechanism, including more active liquidity management, better liquidity forecasting, and reforms to increase the efficiency of the interbank market and develop the government securities market.

Directors noted staff’s assessment that the real effective exchange rate is broadly aligned with economic fundamentals. While higher reserve coverage would support the peg, Directors also called for steadfast pursuit of structural reforms to improve the business environment and boost productivity and competiveness. They welcomed in this regard the Third Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which provides a sound basis for higher and more inclusive growth.

Directors welcomed the recent measures taken to safeguard financial stability, including the drafting of new banking legislation, improvements to the regulatory and supervisory framework, and the establishment of a Financial Stability Committee. In light of rising non-performing loan ratios, they encouraged the authorities to continue to strengthen supervisory capacity and to accelerate implementation of the FSAP recommendations.

 

Cape Verde: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2011–16

 

2011    2012    2013    2014    2015    2016

 

Est.    Projections

 

National accounts and prices


Real GDP

5.0    4.3    4.1    4.5    4.7    5.0

Real GDP per capita

3.6    2.9    2.7    3.1    3.3    3.6

GDP deflator

3.9    3.5    3.5    3.1    3.1    3.0

Consumer price index (annual average)

4.5    2.5    4.0    3.3    2.8    2.5

Consumer price index (end of period)

3.6    4.1    3.5    3.1    2.5    2.5

External sector


Exports of goods and services

17.3    10.7    9.0    7.6    7.9    7.3

Of which: tourism

26.5    10.6    6.5    9.2    9.1    9.0

Imports of goods and services

17.9    0.1    10.4    0.5    0.1    2.3

Money and credit 1


Net foreign assets

-4.2    0.9    1.4    0.3    2.1    1.1

Net domestic assets

6.5    3.8    5.1    5.5    5.3    6.1

Net claims on the central government

3.0    1.2    0.8    0.5    0.2    0.2

Credit to the economy

6.3    1.7    4.3    5.8    5.8    6.9

Broad money (M2)

2.2    4.6    6.5    5.8    7.5    7.1

Reserve money (M0)

-1.3    4.3    1.6    1.4    1.8    1.7

Savings and investment


Domestic savings

20.5    21.8    21.9    23.2    24.6    25.9

Government

2.8    0.1    2.3    -3.1    -2.2    1.4

Private

17.7    21.7    19.6    26.3    26.8    24.5

National investment

36.5    32.9    35.2    34.5    33.0    32.0

Government

9.9    7.6    9.9    8.4    5.8    4.0

Private

26.6    25.3    25.3    26.1    27.2    28.0

Savings-investment balance

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

Government

-7.1    -7.5    -7.5    -11.5    -8.0    -2.5

Private

-8.9    -3.6    -5.7    0.2    -0.3    -3.5

External sector


External current account (excluding official transfers)

-19.6    -13.5    -15.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

External current account (including official transfers)

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

Overall balance of payments

-2.3    1.5    1.1    0.3    1.9    1.3

Gross international reserves (months of prospective imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.3    3.3    3.4    3.6    3.8

Gross international reserves (months of current year imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.8    3.3    3.4    3.7    3.9

Government finance


Revenue

25.0    21.8    24.9    25.6    25.5    24.3

Tax and nontax revenue

22.2    19.4    22.1    21.9    22.4    22.4

Grants

2.8    2.4    2.8    3.6    3.1    1.9

Expenditure

32.3    29.3    32.5    31.5    27.6    24.1

Overall balance (excl. grants)

-10.1    -9.9    -10.4    -9.6    -5.2    -1.7

Overall balance (incl. grants)

-7.3    -7.5    -7.6    -5.8    -2.2    0.2

External financing

9.4    9.1    11.8    8.2    5.3    1.0

Domestic financing (incl. onlending)

-0.7    -1.6    -4.2    -2.4    -3.1    -1.2

Errors and omissions

-1.4    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0

Public debt stock and service


Total nominal government debt

77.3    81.0    88.6    92.2    92.1    85.6

External government debt

56.1    59.8    67.4    71.4    72.0    68.2

Domestic government debt

21.2    21.2    21.2    20.8    20.0    17.4

External debt service (percent of exports of goods and services)

4.2    4.6    4.6    4.8    4.6    4.3

Memorandum items:


Nominal GDP (billions of Cape Verde escudos)

150.8    162.8    175.4    189.1    204.2    220.8

Gross international reserves (€ millions, end of period)

263.3    300.0    302.7    308.3    342.6    369.5

 

Sources: Cape Verdean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1 Adjusted for data inconsistency in December 2011.

1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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Statement by an IMF Mission to The Gambia for Concluding Discussions of the First Review of the ECF Arrangement

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Africa Business

BANJUL, Gambia, April 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ An IMF mission led by Mr. David Dunn visited The Gambia during April 4-10, 2013, to conclude discussions on the first review of the authorities’ macroeconomic and financial program that is supported by the IMF under its Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The mission met with His Excellency President Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Honorable Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Abdou Kolley, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) Amadou Colley, and other senior officials.

At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Dunn made the following statement in Banjul:

“The Gambian economy is still recovering from the severe drought of 2011. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an estimated 4 percent in 2012, led by a partial rebound in crop production and strength in the tourism sector. Inflation remained under control, ending the year at just under 5 percent, despite the depreciation of the Gambian dalasi during the second half of the year. A substantial overrun in government spending late in the year resulted in higher-than-budgeted domestic borrowing (3½ percent of GDP).

“The outlook for the economy is generally favorable for 2013, but there are risks. Real GDP growth is expected to accelerate, if the recovery in crop production is sustained. Also, by accessing new markets, the potential for growth in tourism looks good. Inflation, however, has picked up, partly due to side effects from the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) at the beginning of the year. For example, although the VAT is applied to firms with a turnover of at least one million dalasis, we understand that many smaller businesses also raised their prices opportunistically. During the first quarter of 2013, government spending once again exceeded planned allocations, contributing to an uptick in Treasury-bill yields. Correspondingly high bank lending rates are discouraging private sector borrowing.

“The mission welcomes the Government’s decision to tighten fiscal policy by reducing its domestic borrowing needs to 1½ percent of GDP in 2013 and then to ½ percent of GDP a year or less, beginning in 2014, which will help lower the heavy domestic debt burden. The mission also welcomes the intention of the Government to submit a fully-funded supplementary budget to the National Assembly later this month.

“The mission also welcomes the CBG’s prudent monetary policy. Targets for reserve and broad money growth have been tightened to stem potential inflationary pressures and stabilize the dalasi, which has continued to weaken against most major currencies.

“The mission was encouraged by the authorities’ determination to strengthen the Government’s revenue collection. It supported the target of the Large Taxpayers Unit of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) to achieve 100 percent compliance with taxpayers’ income tax filings in the current year, which will help broaden the tax base. This is necessary if business-friendly tax reforms—such as a reduction in tax rates—are to be considered in the future. The mission also welcomed efforts by the GRA to strengthen its audit functions.

“The mission reached agreement, ad referendum, on program targets for 2013. The IMF Executive Board could consider the completion of the review by end-May 2013.

“The mission thanks the authorities for candid and constructive policy discussions and expresses its appreciation for the excellent cooperation during its visit.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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World Conference on Hospitality, Tourism and Event Research & International Convention & Expo Summit 2013 (WHTER & ICES 2013) on 25th – 28th May 2013 at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok Hotel

Posted on 06 April 2013 by Africa Business

Siam University, International program in Hospitality and Tourism Management are proud to be the first university in Thailand hosting the World Conference on Hospitality, Tourism and Event Research & International Convention & Expo Summit 2013 (WHTER & ICES 2013) on 25th – 28th May 2013 at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok Hotel. Siam University will bring in over 300 delegates from all over the world to keep up with International academics’ view and cutting-edge ideas in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Research. This 2-in-1 conference will be themed as “Academics meet industry”.

“This is a very special occasion, because this is the first time the ICES will be held in Thailand. Moreover, it is a great honor for Siam University to be the first to hold such an event. WHTER and ICES 2013 will allow the exchange of  ideas and perspectives from industry and researchers in order to develop a better understanding of the MICE industry” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bongkosh  N. Rittichainuwat, Director Program Hotel & Tourism Management

This year’s conference features panel sessions and keynote speakers on a various topics from academic institutes and industries, such as academic professionals, Prof. Kaye Chon, Dean of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Asia Pacific Travel Tourism Association, Mr. Bert Van Walbeek, Chairman, PATA Thailand Chapter, as well as prominent journal, Prof. Chris Ryan, editor-in-Chief, Tourism Management.

 

At the same time, Siam University aims to meet international delegates from Europe, United States and Asia Pacific to share the qualities of hospitality, tourism and event research, research to create global connection. Researchers and academic professors are invited to present their papers and attend this conference. The winner of WHTER Best Paper Award & ICES Best Paper Award will have his/her paper published in the Tourism Management, the Journal of Convention & Event Tourism & International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Example journals: http://www.whterandices2013bysiamu.com/#!best-paper-awards/c46e

Siam University has chosen the Millennium Hilton Bangkok Hotel as the conference venue with its impressive meeting and dining facilities able to accommodate up to 700 people. Conference dinners will be held at signature restaurants such as Blue Elephant, Chatrium Hotel and Royal Thai Navy Hall. These venues once welcomed royal families, presidents, and prime ministers of different countries around the world.

For details concerning the paper presentation and other lodging information, please click onto the official website of WHTER & ICES 2013 at http://whterandices2013bysiamu.com

World Conference on Hospitality, Tourism and Event Research

International Convention & Expo Summit 2013

Contact : +(66) 24570068 Ext 5304

E-mail : whter.ices.pr@gmail.comm, whter.ices2013@gmail.com

Organizer: Siam University – Hotel & Tourism Management Programs


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Dubai: Annual Investment Meeting (AIM)

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Africa Business

Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai

Organized by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade: The “Annual Investment Meeting” opens doors to investments in 80 countries and gathers 5000 investors

Lubna Al Qasimi: this meeting is in line with the continuous approach to adopt innovative initiatives and programs that improve the reputation of the UAE at the regional and international levels

 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Ministry of Foreign Trade is organizing the third edition of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) scheduled from April 30th until May 2nd at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center (DICEC). With the participation of 80 countries and around 5000 investors and businessmen from the region and the world, the meeting is set to offer participants the opportunity for promoting and identifying available investment opportunities as well as identifying investment opportunities available in the participating countries.

This edition will be focused on the future of the global economy, the implications that are expected for direct foreign investments as well as growth prospects in emerging markets. AIM has been witnessing an increasing importance since its inception two years ago as the world currently faces political, economical and financial challenges that require word leaders to discuss obstacles that could be imposed by these challenges in the face of the flow of direct foreign investments while focusing on growth prospects in emerging markets at a time when the global economic power is moving from the West to the East.

Discussions shall assess the potential capacities of emerging markets as well as the long-term viability of future economic growth through increased investments and foreign trade. Discussions will also focus on matters related to successful policies and frameworks in order to overcome the challenges faced by a global economy that is dominated by recession and make growth and development prospects less negative.

Commenting on this, H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade said: “the Annual Investment Meeting is in line with the ministry’s continuous approach to adopt innovative initiatives and programs that would improve the UAE’s reputation at the regional and international levels as one of the leading countries in the Middle East”.

 

“The United Arab Emirates adopts an open door policy to attract foreign investments and the central government is taking the necessary steps to establish the rules that facilitate investments. This is the reason why the UAE was ranked second among Arab countries attracting foreign investments in the last decade after Saudi Arabia which was ranked first, according to the latest report issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)”, she added.

 

“Foreign direct investments (FDI) flowing into the UAE amounted to USD 7.7 billion of the total amount of FDI to GCC countries, which was USD 26 billion in 2011 – according to the World Investment Report 2012 issued by the UNCTAD. This is an additional incentive to push us to work better on offering the suitable environment to double this number in the years to come by taking advantage of the UAE’s competitive advantages at the global level”, she continued.

 

“The Annual Investment Meeting is a unique opportunity for investors to gather and study the current investment opportunities in emerging markets. It is designed as a unique platform where international investors interested in viable innovative projects and long term investments meet with businessmen and decision makers from many world countries. Many foreign companies and investors consider the UAE as a safe haven for investments at a time when other countries in the region are witnessing political and security turmoil. The UAE is safe and is politically stable. It also has a strong infrastructure and is considered a leading hub for trade, logistics and services in the region. Furthermore, it provides an encouraging investment environment that helps foreign companies and investors to develop their trade and investment activities in the country and expand their businesses in the markets of the region and the world starting from the UAE.” she said.

She also pointed out that the UAE is ranked fourth, globally, in EC Harris Built Asset Consultancy’s ‘Infrastructure Investment Index’, which is a report that ranks 40 countries across the globe according to how attractive they are to infrastructure funds.

“There are significant and radical changes in the source, direction and flow of foreign direct investments. According to the World Investment Report 2012 issued by the UNCTAD, the global rate of FDI in 2011 has exceeded the average that was registered prior to the economic crisis, reaching USD 1.5 trillion despite the challenges facing the global economy.  Whereas the rate of FDI increased in 2011 amongst economic blocks, developing countries attracted 45% of global investments”, H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi concluded.

 

Heads of State, Ministers of Trade and Industry, financiers and academics from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Gulf and international organizations such as the World Bank, the World Trade Center, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations World tourism Organization (UNWTO) as well as food and agriculture international organizations are getting ready to participate in this high level event which has been gaining more importance since its inception.

Please visit http://www.aimcongress.com

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