Second Sitting of South Africa-Uganda Joint Trade Committee to Review Achievements – Minister Davies

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says that the second sitting of the South Africa-Uganda Joint Trade Committee (JTC) which will be taking place in Pretoria from 29-30 January 2018, will be reviewing progress achieved since the establishment of the JTC in Uganda in November 2015, and to also map out areas of future cooperation between the two countries going forward.

The JTC was established for the primary purpose of strengthening bilateral economic relations between South Africa and Uganda. The JTC will culminate in a ministerial meeting which will review and adopt the outcomes of the senior officials’ discussions.

Davies outlines that both SA and Uganda have since agreed on the importance of fast-tracking and implementing joint-projects under the JTC agreement. This, he says, will be achieved through sharing and exploration of new trade, investment and technical cooperation opportunities, as well as removing obstacles to equitable trade.

“It was at the first sitting of the JTC where it was found that even though South Africa and Uganda enjoyed cordial trade relations, there existed certain areas that required improvement in order to conform to standards to enable for an increase in exports between ourselves,” says Davies.

Davies adds that it was due to a need to improving these areas that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between SA trade and investment facilitation institutions and their respective Ugandan counterparts in order to strengthen bilateral trade relations.

“This two-day programme will comprise of a review of interventions undertaken and progress reports from South African trade and investment facilitation institutions and their respective Ugandan counterparts. There will also be discussions surrounding activities of the Forum of South African Business in Uganda (FOSABU) and a Programme of Action for the Joint Ministerial Meeting,” says Davies.

Investments by South African companies in Uganda will also form part of the discussions as this is a priority of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), through its Trade Invest Africa division.

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

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Experts to deliberate on pathways to economic diversification in Central Africa

A brainstorming session dubbed “Pathways to economic diversification in Central Arica” has been scheduled for 31 January 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Yaounde, Cameroon. Participants will deliberate on the operationalization of the Douala Consensus.

The Consensus, which was reached during the 33rd Intergovernmental Committee of Experts for Central Africa (ICE2017) in September 2017, underscores the urgent need to accelerate the process of diversification of Central African economies through the promotion of industrialization based on natural resources – especially agricultural – and driven by trade and urbanization.

The Douala Consensus also argues for a paradigm shift “from a resource model for infrastructure to a resource model for industrialization (R4Id)”.

Antonio Pedro who heads the sub-regional office of the Economic Commission for Africa in Central Africa ( ECA/SRO-CA) explained that the meeting is in keeping with a promise made by the ECA during ICE2017.

“ECA affirmed its willingness to support Member States and the Regional Economic Communities of Central Africa in the implementation of the Douala Consensus through the organization of regular meetings with all stakeholders and sharing experiences from other regions of the African continent.”

During the one-day brainstorming session, said Mr. Pedro, a discussion paper prepared by ECA/SRO-CA will be presented to stimulate the exchange.

“Participants will reflect on the modalities of the operationalization of the Consensus, by identifying key intervention areas for the development of strategies oriented towards economic diversification and the development of a competitive industrial fabric for the structural transformation of the subregion,” added Mr. Pedro.

Commenting on the expected outcome of the meeting, the ECA/SRO-CA director said, “This brainstorming session will prepare a roadmap, setting out clear actions and roles to guide the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and strategy to accelerate the process of economic diversification, industrialization and structural transformation in Central Africa.”

The meeting will bring together representatives of Cameroon’s Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT); representatives of the Regional Economic Communities; former ECA officials and consultants residing in Cameroon as well as senior economists from UNDP offices in Central Africa. The private sector, civil society, universities and research centers of the subregion will also be represented.

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

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Sisterly Duel for South Africa’s Young Entrepreneur Award Looms

A sisterly duel for top honours is in the offing in the fifth South African Premier Business Awards. Three of the country’s young entrepreneurs will battle it out for the top prize in the Young Entrepreneur Award during the awards ceremony that will be hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African at the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday, 30 January 2018. The theme of the awards is Rewarding Business Excellence.

The spotlight will shine on the all-female trio of finalists, Ncebakazi Mhlaba (28) from the Eastern Cape, Leboneng Mathebula (28) from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal’s Phumzile Manana (26).

Mhlaba, who established a construction company Sikuphiwe Trading in 2013, says for her to be chosen as one of the country’s top three young entrepreneurs in a national competition is a great source of encouragement.

“The national exposure that we are already receiving as a result of this nomination will boost our company profile significantly. The nomination confirms that the future is bright and I should continue growing from strength to strength despite the challenges that I have to contend with as a woman trying to make her mark in the male-dominated and highly competitive environment. I hope it will also open doors for more opportunities for our company so that we can grow and contribute in creating jobs for other young people,” says Mhlaba who is based in Port Elizabeth.

Mathebula’s Johannesburg-based company Gridbow Engineers and Technical Services, which she established in 2009, specialises in electrical infrastructure projects.

“It is really inspiring for someone to recognise your work. Just making it to the top three is a big achievement for me and all our employees. It is a confirmation that we are on the right track and we should continue with what we are doing,” says Mathebula who already has four different awards under her belt.

Her company is also doing work outside South Africa. It has already successfully completed projects in Benin and Zimbabwe for a client based in the United Arab Emirates. It is currently in the process of starting another project in Zambia.

Mathebula believes that expanding her client base beyond South Africa by exporting services and skills to other countries will enable her to contribute meaningfully in creating employment for other young people in South Africa. Currently she employees more than 40 people per year in various projects that the company rolls out.

Manana, who established a food-manufacturing company, Mpilo-ende Fortified Foods in 2012, believes that the judges could have been impressed by the noticeable strides she has made as a young woman in a male-dominated agro-processing industry.

“I was humbled and honoured for being nominated for such a prestigious award, when I consider the competitiveness of other young people, especially women, nominated in this category. I am happy that other young women entrepreneurs and those who aspire to be entrepreneurs will be motivated by our nomination. It will be a sisterly competition and I believe all three of us are already winners just by receiving this kind of national recognition and exposure. We will all be inspired to continue working and contributing to changing the lives of other young people for the better by creating more employment opportunities for them,” adds Manana.

According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, the awards were established in 2013 with the aim of recognising South African enterprises that invest in human and technical resources in various programmes that remain domestically and internationally competitive and create employment opportunities for South Africans.

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

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United Nations Secretary General set to attend African Union Summit

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will this weekend attend the African Union Summit that started in Addis Ababa on January 22.

The summit will be held under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

Some of the SG’s activities include a high-level breakfast on Equal Access of African Women in High Level Positions at the African Union and in the United Nations Systems and bilateral meetings with Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and a host of African heads of state and government.

Mr. Guterres will also participate in other high-level meetings including the committee of the African Union on Libya; Renewed Partnership to end hunger in Africa by 2025 – Five Years Later: Taking stock of progress and lessons in light of the Sustainable Development Goals; and participate in a meeting of the Peace and Security Council which will be held under the theme “Towards a comprehensive approach to combat the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa”.

During his time in Ethiopia, the UN Chief will also swear-in Ms. Vera Songwe, the new Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa. Ms. Songwe has been in office since August 2017.

Mr. Guterres will be accompanied by Ms. Songwe and Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia, and other UN staff in his meetings with African Union leaders and others.

African Union Heads of State will meet from January 28 to 29 for their 30th ordinary session.

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

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