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Fi Istanbul’s Success Demonstrates Unlimited Market Opportunities in Turkey, the Middle East & North Africa

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

Staggering 3,000 Visitors + 150 Exhibiting Brands and Record Re-Booking Volumes for the 2014 Event

Yes, we’ve got a lot to shout about and so we would like to start with a huge thank you to all of our exhibitors who helped to make Food ingredients Istanbul such a great success. As the only dedicated food ingredients event in the region, last week’s highly successful show demonstrates that this region is thriving and thirsty for the very latest ingredients, solutions, innovations and networking opportunities.

We are delighted to announce that Food ingredients Istanbul exceeded all forecasts and expectations with the impressive amount of 3,000 visitors and a 94% rebooking rate. As a launch event, Fi Istanbul welcomed attendees from over 80 different countries, filling all aisles and bustling exhibitor stands.

It is clear that the industry responded well to this launch event. Building on the high growth rates that the food industry is experiencing in this region, Fi Istanbul provided a strong platform for all food and beverage manufacturers to source from over 150 local, regional and international food ingredients suppliers.

The response from the exhibitors was overwhelming! Many claimed to have had one of the best shows ever, with a high quality of visitors, a steady flow of traffic during the 3 days and a good mix of visiting companies, including food manufacturers from dairy, ice cream, confectionary, meat, poultry and many more.

Turkey, for a global company, is a very important market for us to be close to our customers. Food ingredients Istanbul has been a great experience to meet new customers in 3 days and share projects, prototypes, concepts and innovations” Luis Fernandez , Vice-President Global Applications, Tate & Lyle

Natasha Berrow , UBM’s Brand Director, also commented, “Last week’s event really did surpass even our expectations! The positive response to this launch event, the new Fi branding and signage provided the innovative environment that such a growing region deserves.”

She continued “the record re-bookings are further indication that exhibitors see Fi Istanbul as the place to continue to meet their customers and to expand into this booming region. I’d like to express our appreciation for the tremendous and ongoing support of all our customers.”

“We are very impressed by the quality of visitors; quality is more important than quantity. We found a lot of good customers that we’ll probably start new business with” Stella Wu , International Sales Manager, JK Sucralose

Visitor feedback also surpassed all expectations. The great mix of local, regional and international food ingredients suppliers was complimented by many attendees looking to source new ingredients from companies they never heard of.

“I want to know new suppliers and I want to see some different varieties of products that I can use for my customers. This is the first year for this exhibition and it feels like it has being a successful opening and I’m sure it will get greater and bigger in the coming years.” Meleknur Tuzun, Sales Manager, Agrana

Fi Istanbul is a key part of the Food ingredients Global Portfolio strategy to extend the its brand into new regions, offering exhibiting clients a platform to engage with new customers and present their new business growth opportunities. With the key focus on business development, innovation and trade, in a region with one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world, Fi Istanbul proved to be one of the most cost-effective platforms to source new ingredients, grow market share and act as a stepping stone to this vastly and yet close to untouched food industry.

 

About Fi ingredients Global – the trusted route to market since 1986

Food ingredients first launched in Utrecht, The Netherlands in 1986 and its portfolio of live events, publications, extensive database, digital solutions and high-level conferences are now established across the globe to provide regional and a global meeting place for all stakeholders in the food ingredients industry. Over 500,000 people have attended our shows over the years, and billions of Euros of business have been created as a result. With over 25 years of excellence, our events, digital solutions and supporting products deliver a proven route to market with a truly global audience.

About UBM Istanbul

UBM Istanbul was established in April 2012 to connect people and create opportunities for companies wishing to build business between Europe and Asia, meet customers, launch new products, promote their brands and expand their markets. Premier brands such as Fi Europe, CPhI, IFSEC, Black Hat, Mother & Baby Show , Jewellery and many others and will become an integral part of the marketing plans of companies across more than 10 industry sectors.

About UBM

UBM plc is a global events-led marketing services and communications company. We help businesses do business, bringing the world’s buyers and sellers together at events and online, as well as producing and distributing specialist content and news. Our 5,500 staff in more than 30 countries are organised into specialist teams which serve commercial and professional communities, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently.

For more information, go to http://www.ubm.com

SOURCE UBM Live

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“World’s Best Service” Awarded To Crystal Cruises By Travel + Leisure

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

Magazine Readers Vote Luxury Line #1 of All Large Ships

Waiters prepare the Crystal Dining Room for dinner. (PRNewsFoto/Crystal Cruises)

LOS ANGELES /PRNewswire/ – Travel + Leisure magazine readers have voted Crystal Cruises as having the “World’s Best Service” of all large size cruise ships for 2013. With a #1 score of 95.41, this is the second year in a row the luxury cruise specialist has won the esteemed guest service award in its ship size category. A complete list of all hotel, resort, airline, and cruise line service winners is published in the periodical’s June issue.

Crystal has maintained exceptionally high service scores throughout its history, even after including gratuities as part of its all-inclusive enhancements a little over a year ago.

“We’re so pleased with the incredibly high-quality execution of our all-inclusive experience. Readers’ service scores mirror the ratings we’ve received from our own guest surveys,” says Crystal President Gregg Michel . “Our crew thrives on delivering the best Crystal Experience possible, down to the smallest detail, so it’s incredibly gratifying to see sophisticated travelers recognize that.”

Crystal is continually refining the guest experience and has made numerous enhancements to its Six-Star service over the past year. Gratuities, fine wines and premium spirits are now all included. Certified Master Sommeliers, Cheese Sommeliers, and Mixologists are always on hand to recommend perfect pairings. New Boutique Adventures and Private options have expanded onshore choices. New associations with Hollywood‘s Magic Castle and USC‘s School of Cinematic Arts offer additional learning and entertainment opportunities. New Fast Track Check-In has eased embarkation hassle. New VIP Airport Services simplify airline travel to and from ships. Maiden calls and new itineraries, including more local overnights and shorter voyages, have increased travelers’ cruise options. And, thanks to a five-year, $100 million investment in extreme makeovers of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, guests always have a plethora of chic, yet comfortable, spaces in which to enjoy Crystal’s luxurious service.

Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history, including, over the past year, Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Large-Ship Cruise Line (17th consecutive year); Conde Nast Traveler‘s Best Mid-Sized Cruise Line (19th year) and Cruise Ships (#1 and 2); and eight Travel Weekly Magellan Awards.

The 922-guest Crystal Symphony and the 1,070-guest Crystal Serenity sail to all seven continents, with voyages of 5-108 days in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, British Isles, Scandinavia/Baltic & Russia, North Cape & Arctic Circle, Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, South America, Antarctica, New England/Canada, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and a sumptuous annual World Cruise. Until June 28, all-inclusive, value-priced “Book Now” fares start at just $1,630/person.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

SOURCE Crystal Cruises

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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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Twelve African Energy, Mining and Industry Ministers confirm attendance at the Africa Energy Forum 2013 in Barcelona

Posted on 16 May 2013 by Africa Business

A recent report from the World Bank indicated that the GDP of a third of African countries grew by at least 6% last year, despite the estimate that power outages cost African economies on average around 2% pa of their GDP.

African Ministers, heads of utilities, regulators and international energy companies will address this and other pressing issues concerning Africa’s power sector at the Africa Energy Forum in Barcelona, 18-20 June. Over 800 delegates are expected to attend this international investment Forum for Africa’s power industry to compete for partnerships and deals.

Bruno Cockburn, AEF’s Programme Development Director, commented; “We are delighted the forum remains an important investment tool for proactive African stakeholders looking to address the power and infrastructure investment gap head on. The international community’s response has been extraordinary this year already.”

The latest government official to confirm his attendance at EnergyNet’s Africa Energy Forum 2013 is Hon. Salvador Namburete, Minister of Energy in Mozambique.

He will join Ministers from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Tunisia in Barcelona.

To view the full list of speakers please visit

http://africa-energy-forum.com/#tab-countryParticipants

Event dates:

Pre-conference workshops: 18th June 2013

Conference & Exhibition: 18-20th June 2013

Website: www.africa-energy-forum.com

For more information:

Marketing Director: Liz Owens

Tel: +44 (0)20 7384 7807

Email: liz.owens@energynet.co.uk

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IMF Concludes Article IV Mission to Cameroon

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Mario de Zamaróczy, visited Cameroon during April 29–May 14, 2013 to conduct the 2013 Article IV Consultation. The mission met with Prime Minister Philémon Yang, Minister Secretary General at the Presidency Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, Minister of Finance Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning, and Territorial Development Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, several other ministers, the Vice Governor and the National Director of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), other senior officials, and representatives of the private sector, labor unions, civil society organizations, and development partners. The discussions focused on recent economic and financial developments, the 2013 budget, and the economic outlook for 2013 and beyond. At the end of the mission, Mr. de Zamaróczy issued the following statement:

“Recent macroeconomic developments were broadly in line with the projections made at the time of the previous mission in fall 2012. Growth reached 4.4 percent in 2012 (from 4.1 percent in 2011), thanks to a rebound in oil production. Inflation has been moderate, with a 2.4 percent consumer price increase in 2012. Credit to the economy remained subdued and rose by about 2.6 percent.

“Looking ahead, gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to accelerate to about 4.8 percent in 2013 and to rise to 5.5 percent a year in the medium term, fuelled by an expected rise in oil production and projected increases in public investment in infrastructure. However, growth would need to be sustained at a higher level for Cameroon to reach its objective of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2035.

“The discussions between the authorities and the mission focused on efforts to spur reforms and set Cameroon on a higher growth path, while mitigating risks to macroeconomic and financial sector stability. The mission recommended closely monitoring public investment in infrastructure to improve its effectiveness and governance. At the same time, the business climate needs to be improved to promote private sector involvement. The mission was encouraged by steps taken to set up the National Public Debt Committee to oversee the financing strategy of public investment plans.

“The mission recommended better allocation of public spending to help close the financing gap in 2013, and improved public finance management to preserve medium-term sustainability and rebuild fiscal space.

“The mission expressed its concern regarding fuel price subsidies. The mission believes that those subsidies are excessively costly and hard to justify, given that only a small share of these subsidies actually benefits the poor. Consequently, the mission encouraged the authorities to phase out these subsidies and replace them with better-targeted social transfer programs.

“The Cameroonian financial sector is saddled with some smaller-size banks that require prompt resolution. The mission encouraged the authorities to move swiftly in cooperation with the regional supervisor, the Commission Bancaire d’Afrique Centrale (COBAC), to protect depositors while minimizing the fiscal cost. The mission encouraged the authorities to accelerate reforms to improve the lending climate. The mission was heartened by the creation of a credit assessment database that will be available in June.

“The IMF’s Executive Board is expected to examine the report on the 2013 Article IV Consultation with Cameroon in June 2013. The mission would like to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality, excellent cooperation, and constructive dialogue.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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SA tooling and Manufacturing tackle revival challenge

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

South Africa’s tooling and manufacturing sectors are aggressively tackling skills challenges, and modernising and growing their operations, with a view to taking on global manufacturing giants.

AfriMold, is the 4th annual manufacturing trade fair and conference for the design, precision engineering & machining, automotive component, tooling, tool making, production and application development sectors, and is taking place 4 – 6 June at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg.


Speaking ahead of this year’s AfriMold manufacturing trade fair from 4 – 6 June at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg, key industry players said South Africa’s manufacturing sector is experiencing a new spirit of revival, on the back of an aggressively modernising and growing tooling sector.

Dirk van Dyk, CEO of the National Tooling Initiative Programme, and representative of the Tooling Association of South Africa (TASA), noted that statistics released by ISTMA (International Specialized Tooling and Machining Association at the recent World Tooling Conference in Toronto, Canada, indicate that up to 50% of any manufactured component’s cost competiveness is governed by Tooling. However, the local TDM sector only provides approximately 20% of the local manufacturing sector’s tooling requirements. “The opportunity is there for the local TDM sector to increase this percentage significantly,” he said.

“There are more than 500 local Tool, Die and Mould manufacturing companies involved in local support of the manufacturing value chain ranging from 1st to 4th tier suppliers. The local tooling sector is gearing up for growth, presenting a positive outlook for manufacturing, and with it – job creation.”

Skills development is a key component of the tooling and manufacturing industry’s growth plans, says industry heads.

Van Dyk said the TDM Powered Pilot project, which started in 2010 as part of the turnaround strategy for the distressed tooling industry, has entered its 4th year of piloting with 408 students on Level II and Level III of the Apprenticeship Programme at 12 FET institutions in the country.

The National Skills Fund has allocated funding to Instimbi through the dti to fund another apprenticeship programme with 650 students at 12 FET institutions in the country.  It is envisaged that these students should be placed by May 2013.

In addition, enterprise development is reaching companies country wide through benchmarking exercises (based on international best practice and comparison to peers) to guide local Tool, Die and Mould manufacturing companies towards increased competiveness. Intervention projects are launched to aid companies on this journey.  A new round of benchmarking will start with 30 companies in April 2013.

Coenraad Bezuidenhout, Executive Director of Manufacturing Circle, says the Manufacturing Circle is launching two important initiatives to support government’s local procurement initiative and set an important example to the private sector, and to broaden its membership. The organisation plans to rapidly increase the approximately 200 000 manufacturing jobs that the Circle membership gives direct representation to today, and to include many more smaller and medium-sized manufacturers in the Manufacturing Circle. On 16 May, the Manufacturing Circle will launch its 2013 Q1 Manufacturing Circle Quarterly Survey on manufacturing business conditions, with a new component that will provide an indicator of the measure to which manufacturers procure locally, as well as the degree to which government’s local procurement impacts on manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the automotive sector, seen as a potentially promising growth area for local manufacturing, is seeking greater engagement with local organisations.

Roger Pitot, Executive Director of the National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) says: “We must double vehicle production volumes to over a million, and we must significantly increase local content from the present dismal 35%.”

Pitot says NAACAM members employ almost 50,000 people with a turnover last year of R57 billion. The total automotive sector, including vehicle assemblers, employs over 100,000 in manufacturing and 200,000 in sales and service operations.

“Unfortunately, the automotive trade deficit has been growing and reached an all-time high of R49 billion in 2012, mainly due to a record 72% of all cars sold in South Africa being imported. Exports in 2012 at R87 billion almost recovered to the record achieved in 2008, but the outlook for the future depends largely on the global economic situation, particularly in Europe, our biggest market.  The local auto industry has to compete globally, therefore our focus is on improving our competitiveness through efficiencies and cost reductions.”

Pitot adds: “Areas of uncompetitiveness include certain materials such as steel, wages, logistics and, increasingly, electricity. So opportunities lie in improving our efficiencies and our technological capabilities. These include manufacture of higher-level tooling, more local R&D and developing capabilities to produce the lighter and greener components that will form part of vehicles in future.”

The challenges and potential growth areas for design, precision engineering & machining, automotive component, tooling, tool making, production and application development sectors will come under the spotlight at the 4th annual AfriMold conference and trade fair. The event, a partner of the highly successful EuroMold trade fair, is endorsed by major industry bodies, as well as by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Ron MacLarty, Managing Director of AfriMold, says: “AfriMold 2013 will continue to innovate and push boundaries for the manufacturing industries’ continued growth and improved competitiveness as we strive for collaboration and cohesion on the home front.”

Bob Bond, Chairman of the Plastics Institute of South Africa (PISA) Northern Branch and AfriMold Conference Convenor, says the event’s theme, ‘Enabling For Tomorrow with a focus on precision engineering and tooling as a key enabler for the South African manufacturing sector, was chosen in light of the renewed drive for competitiveness.

Among the issues to be addressed at the conference are:

· What the SA Automotive sector expects from the local tooling industry

· Industrial Design: The Competitive Edge for Tooling and Manufacture

· Solutions for super profitable tool rooms

· How to fund equipment with IDC money

· Initiatives to boost Toolmaking Enterprises Development.

The AfriMold Trade Fair and Conference will also include the PISA/ AfriMold Student Design Presentations and PISA Member Awards.

For more information about AfriMold, visit www.afrimold.co.za or contact Terri Bernstein at Tel: +27 83 635 3539 or terri@afrimold.co.za

 

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IFC Promotes Mobile Financial Services in Cote d’Ivoire to Encourage Inclusive Development

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation today convened key financial industry players to build further momentum for mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The event recognized the market’s enormous potential, especially for increasing access to finance for low income households, small scale businesses and in hard-to-reach areas.

 

Mobile phone penetration in Cote d’Ivoire is more than 90 percent, while only 14 percent of Ivoirians have access to financial services. Mobile network operators have registered more than two million mobile financial services customers in the past three years. The Ivorian market for mobile financial services is the largest and the most dynamic in the West African Economic and Monetary Union region.

 

Cassandra Colbert, IFC Resident Representative in Cote d’Ivoire,

said,”Improving access to finance is important for supporting shared prosperity in Cote d’Ivoire. IFC and The MasterCard Foundation want to help local financial institutions realize the opportunity in Cote d’Ivoire for the development of agent banking and mobile financial services that will accelerate the reach of financial services to those currently without banking services.”

 

At the seminar in Abidjan, IFC highlighted the business case for engaging in mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The workshop marked the beginning of the implementation of a four year program by IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to contribute to the development and expansion of mobile financial services in the country.

 

IFC and The MasterCard Foundation consider access to financial services a key tool in poverty alleviation that can dramatically change the lives of the economically marginalized.

 

About The Partnership for Financial Inclusion In January 2012 IFC and The MasterCard Foundation launched the $37.4 million Partnership for Financial Inclusion to bring financial services to an estimated 5.3 million previously unbanked people in Sub-Saharan Africa in five years. The program aims to develop sustainable microfinance business models that can deliver large-scale low-cost banking services, and provides technical assistance to mobile network operators, banks and payments systems providers in order to accelerate the development of low-cost mobile financial services.

 

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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SA ECONOMIC GROWTH HIT BY MINING SECTOR

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

Will the Chinese purchase divested mining interests?

South Africa’s economic growth is lagging somewhat behind that of its peers in the developing world. IMF forecasts for 2013 indicate that emerging and developing economies will grow by 5,5% while SA’s GDP is expected to grow between 2,5% and 3%.

Global ranking

Country Name

GDP in Millions of US dollars (2011)

27

South Africa

408,237

39

Nigeria

243,986

60

Angola

104,332

88

Kenya

33,621

105

Zambia

19,206

One of the key reasons for slower growth is SA’s foreign trade structure and reliance on Europe. President Zuma used the opportunity at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year to ensure foreign investors that South Africa is on the right track.

2012 will be remembered for the negative impact of labour unrest and resultant production stoppages in the mining sector. Mining reduced GDP by 0,5% in the first three quarters of the year. This excludes the biggest slump in the sector during the fourth quarter 2012.

Other significant features of the growth slowdown in 2012 were the slowdown in household consumption spending, poor growth in private fixed investment spending and a slump in real export growth.

South African’s inflation rate slowed to a five-month low in January 2013 after the statistics office adjusted the consumer price basket while food and fuel prices eased. In December, the inflation rate fell to 5,4% from 5,7% Statistics South Africa stated.

Government cut the price of fuel by 1,2% in January 2013, as a stronger rand in the previous month helped to curb import costs. Since then, the currency has plunged 4,8% against the dollar and fuel prices are on the rise, with prices increasing in March by a further 8%, adding to pressure on inflation.

South Africa’s strengths

· South Africa is the economic powerhouse of Africa, leading the continent in industrial output and mineral production, generating a large portion of the continent’s electricity.

· The economy of South Africa is the largest in Africa, accounting for 24% of the continent’s GDP in terms of PPP, and is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the world bank.

· The country has abundant natural resources, well developed financial, legal and transport sectors, a stock exchange ranked amongst the top 20 in the world, as well as a modern infrastructure supporting efficient distribution of goods throughout the Southern African region.

South Africa’s weaknesses

· South Africa suffers from a relatively heavy regulation burden when compared to most developed countries.

· Increasing costs for corporates with rising wages.

· Poverty, inequalities sources of social risk mixed with high unemployment and shortage of qualified labour.

Mining

Output in the mining sector remained weak in December with total mining production down by 7,5% y-o-y after falling by a revised 3,8% (previously -4,5%) in November. On a monthly basis production rose by a seasonally adjusted 1,2% compared with 12,0% in November. Non-gold output was down by 5,0% y-o-y, while gold production slumped by 21,2% in December. For the fourth quarter, total mining production fell by a seasonally-adjusted and annualised 4,6% q-o-q as output of most minerals dropped.

For 2012 as a whole, mining volumes fell by 3,1% after contracting by 0,9% in 2011. Mineral sales were down by 15,6% y-o-y in November after falling 13,7% in October. On a monthly basis sales rose by a seasonally-adjusted 2,3% in November, but sales were down by a seasonally-adjusted 10,2% in the three months to November after declining by 6,8% in the same period to October. These figures indicate that the mining sector is still reeling from the devastating effects of widespread labour strikes in the third and early fourth quarters.

Prospects for the mining sector remain dim as the industry faces headwinds both on the global and domestic fronts. Globally, commodity prices are not likely to make significant gains as demand conditions remain relatively unfavourable. Locally, tough operating conditions persist. Rapidly rising production costs, mainly energy and labour costs, are likely to compel mining companies to scale back operations or even halt them in some cases.

This will have a negative impact on production, with any improvements coming mainly from a normalisation of output should strike activity ease. These numbers, together with other recent releases, suggest that GDP growth for the fourth quarter was around 2,0%, with overall growth of 2,5% for the year as a whole. Overall economic activity in the sector therefore remains generally sluggish while upside risks to inflation have increased due to the weaker rand.

Retail

Annual growth in retail sales slowed to 2,3% in December from 3,6% in the previous month. Over the month, sales rose by a seasonally-adjusted 1,0%, causing sales for the last quarter of 2012 to decline by 0,2% following 2,1% growth in the third quarter.

As a whole, 2012 retail sales rose by 4,3%, slightly down from 5,9% in 2011. Consumer spending is likely to moderate during 2013 as weak consumer confidence, heightened worries about job security and high debt, make consumers more cautious about spending on non-essential items. The overall economic outlook remains weak and fragile, while inflation may increase due to the weaker rand.

Manufacturing

Annual growth in manufacturing production slowed to 2,0% in December 2012 from 3,7% in the previous month, versus the consensus forecast of 2,9%. The increase in output was recorded in seven of the ten major categories. Significant contributions came from petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products. Over the month, total production fell by 2,2% on a seasonally adjusted basis following a 2,6% rise in November.

On a quarterly basis, however, production improved by 1,6% in the final quarter of 2012 following two quarters of weaker growth. Both local and international economic conditions are expected to improve only moderately during 2013. A weak Eurozone will continue to hurt the large export-orientated industries.

The recent recovery in infrastructure spending by the public sector will probably support the industries producing capital goods and other inputs for local projects. But the growth rate will be contained by slower capital expenditure by the private sector in response to the bleaker economic environment both locally and internationally.

Therefore, while a moderate recovery in manufacturing production will continue in 2013, no impressive upward momentum is expected. Overall economic activity remains generally sluggish while upside risks to inflation have increased due to a weaker rand.

Infrastructure

A new economic plan, the National Development Plan (NDP), is likely to be adopted in 2013 promoting low taxation for businesses and imposing less stringent employment requirements. This a measure that the ANC is pursuing ahead of the 2014 national elections. The NDP will encourage partnerships between government and the private sector, creating opportunities in petrochemical industries, metal-working and refining, as well as development of power stations.

Construction companies are especially likely to benefit from government plans to invest $112-billion from 2013 in the expansion of infrastructure as part of the NDP. Some 18 strategic projects will be launched to expand transport, power and water, medical and educational infrastructure in some of the country’s least developed areas.

Energy companies will also benefit, following the lifting of a moratorium on licences for shale gas development. Meanwhile, there will be significant opportunities, especially for Chinese state-owned enterprises that have recently made high-profile visits to South Africa, to acquire divested assets in the platinum and gold mining sector as large mining houses withdraw from South Africa.

According to government reports, the South African government will have spent R860-billion on new infrastructure projects in South Africa between 2009 and March 2013. In the energy sector, Eskom had put in place 675 kilometers of electricity transmission lines in 2012, to connect fast-growing economic centers and also to bring power to rural areas. More than 200 000 new households were connected to the national electricity grid in 2012. Construction work is also taking place in five cities including Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, Durban and Pretoria to integrate different modes of transport.

Business Climate

Due to South Africa’s well-developed and world-class business infrastructure, the country is ranked 35th out of 183 countries in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s Doing Business 2012 report, an annual survey that measures the time, cost and hassle for businesses to comply with legal and administrative requirements. South Africa was ranked above developed countries such as Spain (44) and Luxembourg (50), as well as major developing economies such as Mexico (53), China (91), Russia (120), India (132) and Brazil (126).

The report found South Africa ranked first for ease of obtaining credit. This was based on depth of information and a reliable legal system.

Foreign trade

SA’s trade deficit narrowed to R 2,7-billion in December from R7,9-billion in November on account of seasonal factors. The trade balance usually records a surplus in December due to a large decline in imports. Exports declined 9,8% over the month. The decrease was mainly driven by declines in the exports of base metals. Vehicles, aircraft and vessels (down R1,1-billion), machinery and electrical appliances (down R0,9-billion) and prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco (down 0,8-billion). Imports dropped 15,8% m-o-m.

Declines in the imports of machinery and electrical appliances (down R3,3-billion), original equipment components; (R1,8-billion), products of the chemicals or allied industries (R1,5-billion) and base metals and articles thereof (R1,2-billion) were the main drivers of the drop.

The large trade deficit for 2012 is one of the major reasons for the deterioration in the 2012 current account deficit forecast to 6,2% of GDP from 3,3% in 2011. South Africa’s trade performance will remain weak in the coming months on the back of unfavourable global conditions and domestic supply disruptions. Weak global economic conditions will continue to influence exports and growth domestically.

Skills and education

The need to transform South Africa’s education system has become ever more urgent, especially given the service delivery issues that have plagued the system. While government continues to allocate a significant amount of its budget to education (approximately 20%), it has not been enough to transform the schooling system. Coface expects the government to continue to support this critical sector, but that an opportunistic private sector will take advantage of government inefficiencies.

South Africa’s education levels are quite low compared to other developed and developing nations. South Africa began restructuring its higher education system in 2003 to widen access to tertiary education and reset the priorities of the old apartheid-based system. Smaller universities and technikons (polytechnics) were incorporated into larger institutions to form comprehensive universities.

Debt

The total number of civil judgments recorded for debt in South Africa fell by 9,8% year on year in November 2012 to 35 268, according to data released by Statistics South Africa. The total number of civil judgments recorded for debt decreased by 15,2% in three months ended November 2012 compared with the three months ended November 2011.

The number of civil summonses issued for debt fell 23,9% year-on-year to 70 537. During November, the 35 268 civil judgments for debt amounted to R414,1-million, with the largest contributors being money lent, with R142,5-million. There was a 21,9% decrease in the total number of civil summonses issued for debt in the three months ended November last year compared with the same period in 2011. A 23,9% y-o-y decrease was recorded in November.

South Africa maintains respectable debt-to-GDP ratios, although these grew to 39% of GDP by end-2012, substantially higher than the 34% for emerging and developing economies as a whole. When Fitch downgraded SA earlier this year, it specifically mentioned concerns about SA’s rising debt-to-GDP ratio, given that the ratio is higher than the country’s peers.

South Africa is uniquely exposed to foreign investor sentiment through the deficit on the current account combined with liquid and deep fixed interest markets. SA’s widening deficit on the current account is a specific factor that concerns the rating agencies and is one of the metrics the agencies will use to assess SA’s sovereign risk in the near future. Further downgrades are the risk – potentially driven by foreign investor sentiment about political risks.

Political landscape

Persistent unemployment, inequality and the mixed results of BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) intended to favour access to economic power by the historically disadvantaged populations have led to disappointment and resentment.

Social unrest is increasing. Recent events weakened the ruling coalition which came under fire for its management of these events. Tensions could intensify in the run up to the 2014 presidential elections. South Africa has a well-developed legal system, but government inefficiency, a shortage of skilled labour, criminality and corruption are crippling the business environment. South Africa also has a high and growing youth unemployment, high levels of visible inequality and government corruption so we would keep an eye on the escalating service delivery protest trends.

Labour force

The unemployment rate fell to 24,9% in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 25,5% in the third quarter, mainly reflecting an increase in the number of discouraged work seekers. Over the quarter, a total of 68 000 jobs were lost while the number discouraged work seekers rose by 87 000. The formal non-agricultural sector lost 52 000 jobs over the quarter, while the informal sector, in contrast, employed 8 000 more people. The breakdown shows that the highest number of jobs were lost in the private households category (48 000), followed by the trade and transport sectors, which shed 41 000 and 18 000 jobs respectively.

The agricultural sector led employment creation over the quarter, adding 24 000 jobs. Both local and international economic conditions are expected to improve only moderately during 2013.

Weak confidence and high wage settlement will make firms more cautious to expand capacity and employ more people this year. Government is likely to be the main driver of employment as it rolls out its infrastructure and job creation plans. The unemployment rate will therefore remain high in the short term.

Although the reduction in the unemployment rate is good news, it mainly reflects the large number of discouraged work seekers. Overall economic activity remains generally sluggish while upside risks to inflation have increased due to a weaker rand. Coface believes that this will persuade the Monetary Policy Committee to keep policy neutral over an extended period, with interest rates remaining unchanged for most of 2013. A reversal in policy easing is likely only late in the year or even in 2014.


 


Issued by:                                                                              Sha-Izwe/CharlesSmithAssoc

ON BEHALF OF:                                                   Coface

FURTHER INFORMATION:                                  Charles Smith

Tel:          (011) 781-6190

Email: charles@csa.co.za

Web:       www.csa.co.za

Media Contact:

Michele FERREIRA /
SENIOR MANAGER: MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION
TEL. : +27 (11) 208 2551  F.: +27 (11) 208 2651   M.: +27 (83) 326 2268
michele_ferreira@cofaceza.com

 

BUILDING D, DRA MINERALS PARK, INYANGA CLOSE

SUNNINGHILL, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
T. +27 (11) 208 2500 –
www.cofaceza.com

About Coface

The Coface Group, a worldwide leader in credit insurance, offers companies around the globe solutions to protect them against the risk of financial default of their clients, both on the domestic market and for export. In 2012, the Group posted a consolidated turnover of €1.6 billion. 4,400 staff in 66 countries provide a local service worldwide. Each quarter, Coface publishes its assessments of country risk for 158 countries, based on its unique knowledge of companies’ payment behaviour and on the expertise of its 350 underwriters located close to clients and their debtors. In France, Coface manages export public guarantees on behalf of the French state.

Coface is a subsidiary of Natixis. corporate, investment management and specialized financial services arm of Groupe BPCE.. In South Africa, Coface provides credit protection to clients. Coface South Africa is rated AA+ by Global Ratings.

www.cofaceza.com

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Mobile Technologies to Fast Track Financial Transactions for the Unbanked in Asia

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

4th Annual Summit on Mobile Payments & Banking Greater Mekong/ Emerging Markets will be taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 12-13 June 2013.

Singapore, Singapore –(PR.com)– 1. Mobile technology is fast becoming the first choice for many consumers to access financial services especially among the economies of the unbanked population. At the 4th Annual Summit on Mobile Payments & Banking Greater Mekong/ Emerging Markets which will be taking place in Phnom Penh in Cambodia on 12 – 13 June 2013, key industry stakeholders from the financial institutions, mobile operators and solution providers will congregate to discuss the latest developments in mobile payments in the growing affluent economies of South East Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia, Middle East and Oceania.

2. This year summit’s will have a special focus on emerging economies of Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Key issues include an assessment of the growing opportunities in the region, success stories on how to design, establish and operationalize mobile payments solutions, evaluation of the various technology and challenges, discussion on IT strategies to drive revenue opportunities, cost efficiencies and the future transformation of the customer retail banking experience.

3. Companies expected to speak at the summit include: National Bank of Cambodia, Department of Finance, (Philippines), VeriFone, Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, Quezon Capital Rural Bank, Hattha Kaksekar, ACLEDA Bank Plc, Viettel Telecom, Globe Telecom Inc / G-Xchange Inc, BICS Asia, Maybank, Chunghwa Telecom, Western Union, Standard Chartered Bank, Alpha Payments Cloud, Bank Mandiri, Etisalat, ControlCase, EPIC Lanka Group, Ayeryarwady Bank, Vodafone, FINTEL Fiji, Bank of the Lao PDR, Bank of Ayudhya and more.

4. EPIC Lanka Group, a world class software solutions provider in its core technology areas of Secure Electronic Payments and Information Systems Security is the summit’s Associate Sponsor.

5. Exhibitors at the summit include SecureMetric, the fastest growing digital security technology company and ControlCase, a United States based company with headquarters in McLean, Virginia and PCI center of excellence in Mumbai, India.

6. The CEO of the conference organizing company, Magenta Global Pte Ltd, Singapore, Ms Maggie Tan, said: “A new report from Juniper Research finds that over 1 billion phone users will have made use of their mobile devices for banking purposes by the end of 2017, compared to just over 590 million this year. The emerging economies in this region are likely to see a huge increase in mobile subscribers who are mostly unbanked. Banks must implement at least one mobile banking offering either via messaging, mobile browser or an- app based service. Some banks are already doing so with larger banks deploying two or more of these technologies. This Summit has been specially convened to take the industry forward.” She invites all telco operators, financial institutions and technology service providers to join this Summit and contribute to the greater development of the banking and financial services sector in this region.

7. The event will be held at the NagaWorld Hotel.

Notes for Editor

About Magenta Global – Organizer

Magenta Global Pte Ltd is a premier independent business media company that provides pragmatic and relevant information to government & business executives and professionals worldwide. The organization provides the opportunity to share thought-provoking insights, exchange ideas on the latest industry trends and technological developments with thought leaders and business peers. With a strong focus in emerging economies especially in Africa, Middle East & Central Asia, Magenta Global works in partnership with both the public and private sectors.

About EPIC Lanka Group – Associate Sponsor

Established in 1998, Epic is a trendsetter and renowned for innovative software solutions in the region. The company has successfully implemented pioneering mobile banking solutions in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and several other countries winning an unprecedented number of national and international accolades in the recent past including APICTA Gold Award for Asia pacific’s best banking solution. Time and again Epic has proved their technological dominance, product supremacy and entrepreneurial excellence at Asia Pacific level.

About SecureMetric – Exhibitor

SecureMetric is one of the fastest growing digital security technology company. Our products and solutions have been successfully shipped and implemented in more than 35 countries worldwide. As a multinational company, SecureMetric’s technical team consist of top security experts from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and United Kingdom. Cross region and cross culture exposure has made SecureMetric a company that is always ahead. With our innovative products and services, we are poised to help our customers to be the best in their industry.

About ControlCase – Exhibitor

ControlCase provide solutions that address all aspects of IT-GRCM (Governance, Risk Management and Compliance Management). ControlCase is pioneer and largest provider of Managed Compliance Services and Compliance as a Service and a leading provider of Payment Card Industry related compliance services globally.
Magenta Global
Merilynn Choo
65 6391 2549
Contact

http://www.magenta-global.com.sg/GreaterMekongMobilePayments2013/

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Denmark to launch new development programme for Zimbabwe

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Wallace Mawire

Denmark is planning to launch a new development programme in mid 2013 with substantial increase in budget  support for Zimbabwe, according to State Secretary of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr L.B.Petersen who recently visited the southern African country.

Petersen’s visit which marked the highest ranking visit from Denmark in years was meant to facilitate high-level consultations covering a range of issues.  “The visit is also an opportunity to launch the first case of direct support from a traditional donor to the government of Zimbabwe.Denmark will on a pilot basis launch direct support to the Judicial Service Commission in their rehabilitation of magistrates courts,” Petersen said.

Denmark is one of the major bilateral donors in Zimbabwe with a long history in the country going way back to the Nordic solidarity during the struggle for independence.

Petersen said that his government plans to spend approximately $40 million a year to support the government of Zimbabwe in various areas.

“We are currently in the process of formulating a new Denmark-Zimbabwe partnership programme for 2013-2015. The increased size and budget of the new partnership programme is a testament of our continued support to development in this country,” he said.

He added that a key priority in the programme is to contribute to the reduction of gender based violence in Zimbabwe.

“We do this through support to projects and programmes which address specific needs and concerns of women exposed to gender based violence,” Petersen said.

Some of the support will be channeled towards the agricultural smallholder sector,employment creation,value chain creation,promotion of good governance,rule of law and support to civil society.

According to Petersen, the Danish government has previously supported the government of Zimbabwe with $15,2 million for infrastructure rehabilitation under the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (ZMDTF).

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