AfricanBrains Africa Education Innovation Technology Investment Networking Events News Social Media Blogs Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:55:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 South African Business Delegation Off to Algeria for African Investment and Business Forum Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:25:45 +0000 .

Algeria has been South Africa’s largest export trading partner in the North Africa region

A delegation of over 80 South African business people has been invited to participate in the African Investment and Business Forum taking place in Algiers, Algeria from 3 to 5 December 2016. The forum will be attended by over 2000 delegates from different African countries.

The Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies says the main objective of participating in the forum is to strengthen bilateral economic relations between South Africa and Algeria.

“Algeria has been South Africa’s largest export trading partner in the North Africa region, having accounted for 43% of SA’s total trade with North Africa in the period from 2011 to 2015. The value of trade between the two countries reached over R13.4 billion, from 2011 to 2015. South African exports estimated at R13 billion while imports from Algeria were R463 million,” says Davies.

In 2011 roughly 72% of all South Africa’s exports to North Africa were destined for the Algerian market.

He highlights that the composition of South Africa’s top five exports to Algeria included vehicles, prepared foodstuffs, vegetable products, machinery, base metals and other products. Meanwhile South Africa’s top five imports from Algeria consisted mainly of mineral fuels, chemicals, ceramic products, vehicles and other products.

Davies says despite a trade balance that is skewed in favour of South Africa, a closer analysis of bilateral trade trends illustrates that the volume and value of trade is generally declining. He adds that this indicates that South Africa is gradually losing its import market share in Algeria.

“In 2011 roughly 72% of all South Africa’s exports to North Africa were destined for the Algerian market and in 2015 the figure dropped to only 24% which is the lowest record in the past five years. Algeria is seeking more trade and foreign investment to diversify its economy especially in light of the current low oil prices, which have adversely affected Algeria’s GDP growth rate in the past years,” says Davies.

He emphasises that taking part in this forum will afford South African companies first-hand opportunity to network, identify partners for joint ventures, and create opportunities for the export of value added goods and services to Algeria and the North Africa region.

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The British High Commission, Pretoria to host a at the Science Forum South Africa – “Making International Engagement Work for Africa”, chaired by Pofessor Robin Grimes, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:24:18 +0000 british embassyThe British High Commission, Pretoria invites you to attend a plenary panel discussion – “Making International Engagement Work for Africa”, chaired by Professor Robin Grimes, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The discussion aims to challenge the current status quo and explore how to improve partnerships so that they really work for Africa.

Time: 11am

Date: Thursday 8th December 2016

Venue: CSIR Convention Centre, Diamond Room.

The event brings together a strong panel, drawn from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, India and the UK, with expertise covering: research, health, science policy, private sector and development across the globe. The panellists will share their diverse views, before 50 minutes of interaction and dialogue with the audience.

International sources of funding for collaborative research are continuing to grow, from public sources (UK’s £1.5 Billion Global Challenge Research Fund and £750 million Newton Funds; the EU’s Horizon 2020), private Foundations (Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust) as well as private sector investment into R&D. But it is vital that this international collaboration works for Africa

Professor Robin Grimes, UK Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office said:

“We are looking forward to a discussion that will raise some of the issues surrounding international collaboration in Africa and explore how the international community can help address these to ensure that these partnerships really work for Africa.”

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Secretary’s Remarks: Signing a Memorandum of Understanding With Foreign Minister of Egypt Sameh Shoukry Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:24:04 +0000 .

The first agreement in the Middle East or North Africa regarding the protection of antiquities

Secretary’s Remarks: Signing a Memorandum of Understanding With Foreign Minister of Egypt Sameh Shoukry:

John Kerry
Secretary of State
The Treaty Room
Washington, DC
November 30, 2016

They are the antiquities that belong to the world, that have been protected and should be protected by an old civilization
(The memorandum was signed.)

SECRETARY KERRY: My great pleasure to welcome the foreign minister of Egypt here today, and I think both of us would express our pleasure at signing this U.S.-Egypt cultural property agreement. This has been years in the making. It represents the first agreement in the Middle East or North Africa regarding the protection of antiquities. And it’s a real challenge on a global basis, so this is groundbreaking. I think it’s a good moment for Egypt, the United States, for the region, for us to make it clear that these antiquities are priceless treasures that do not belong to traffickers and crooks and should not be sold illegally and bought by wealthy people to hide away somewhere. They are the antiquities that belong to the world, that have been protected and should be protected by an old civilization. And so I think this is a great step forward, and Sameh, I thank you for joining in this effort. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY: Thank you, Secretary Kerry. I’m delighted to be here on this occasion to sign this important agreement of the maintenance and protection of our heritage, both for the Egyptian people but for humanity at large. This is a common heritage that we share and it is important to protect and maintain people’s understanding of the commonality that binds us together. So we are grateful for the cooperation that the United States has shown and the understanding on this important issue, and we hope that it becomes a roadmap for the protection of these antiquities to preserve them for generations to come and to preserve them against the treachery of those who want to destroy them and to wipe out this commonality of our humanity. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. (Applause.)

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SA: Department committed to integrating communities Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:30:56 +0000 Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu
Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu


Pretoria – Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu says government is on track with building integrated communities.

“We are very much committed to integrating our communities, the basis is laid in our policy and evident in the work we do. It might take time but we are on track and the results which include COSMO City and Cornubia are there for everyone to see that integration is central in our work,” said Minister Sisulu.

The Minister briefed the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on Tuesday on South Africa’s participation at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).

The conference ended with the adoption of the New Urban Agenda.

Habitat III is hosted by the United Nations every 20 years to secure a renewed global commitment to addressing housing and sustainable urbanisation through the adoption of a forward-looking, action-orientated outcome agreement expected to be implemented by all member states including South Africa.

As part of implementing the New Urban Agenda, South Africa will over the next few years be expected to ensure that transformation is realised, among other things.

The transformative commitments include sustainable urban development for social inclusion and ending poverty, sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all, and environmentally sound and resilient urban development.

Minister Sisulu said the department continues to work towards to reducing economic inequalities.

“We are transforming the economy through Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) development. For instance, our intervention in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro; we have been paying our contractors within 14 days,” the Minister said.

Over the last few months the department has been paying over R16 million to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro contractors on a weekly basis.

The Minister informed portfolio committee members that 61% of South Africans now lived in urban areas.

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Advancing outward investments an important element of South Africa’s strategy towards industrialising Africa Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:50:03 +0000 matabogeSouth Africa’s promotion and facilitation of outward investments is an important element that contributes in advancing industrialisation priorities for Africa. This was said by the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Trade Invest Africa, Ms Lerato Mataboge at the Africa Industrialisation Day celebration in Pretoria yesterday.

“The good news for us is that the rest of Africa is very much part of the South African growth story. There is growing recognition across the world that Africa is the next growth frontier after Asia ahead of some other parts of the emerging world. This bodes well for South Africa. What is now required is to ensure that Africa’s growth is underpinned by real infrastructure and industrial development, removal of barriers to trade and investments and policy cohesion. South Africa stands ready to invest in the rest of the continent for mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships on our continent,” said Mataboge.

The good news for us is that the rest of Africa is very much part of the South African growth story.

She added that South Africa could contribute to increasing the levels of intra-Africa trade by facilitating SA’s exports of value-added goods and services, whilst also robustly creating sourcing relationships for imports from other African markets into SA.

Mataboge stated that the next level was the inclusion of the concept intra-Africa investments in the African growth narrative, in a similar manner in which intra-Africa trade was spoken about. Ensuring African participation in projects being executed in Africa was necessary for the transformation of African economies and societal inclusion, she added.

The Director of Africa Industrialisation at the dti, Mr Themba Khumalo said the continent requires coordination of the multiple industrialisation approaches at regional and continental level.

“In order to achieve structural transformation of African economies, based on building productive capacity through regional integration and dependent on ancillary infra-structure targeted capacity-building programmes need to be created and rolled-out,” said Khumalo.

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Eskom strengthens Western Cape network Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:32:08 +0000 eskomBy –

Pretoria – Eskom has strengthened its Western Cape network by commissioning the Kappa-Sterrekus 765 kV line.

“The line was commissioned on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 and the Western Cape is now connected to the 765 kV network over and above the 400 kV network. The 765 kV is one of the highest voltages used for electricity transfer in the world,” said Eskom in a statement on Thursday.

This line connects Sterrekus 765 kV substation through the 765 kV network to the north. The substation is equipped with all the latest switchgear and protection schemes.

Sterrekus will be the new hub for Transmission Western Grid, as it connects to Koeberg and other major substations in the Peninsula.

The 400 kV network to the Western Cape was established in 1974 with only two lines from the North to the Western Cape. Following that, a third and a fourth in-feed was established.

“This is the first major change to the transmission network since 1974, giving the Western Cape a much-needed secure supply from the major power stations in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.”

Eskom said the line between Kappa near Touwsrivier and Sterrekus posed severe challenges to the construction teams, as entry to some of the mountainous areas could only be achieved by helicopter with construction taking place mostly by hand.

Eskom said that it was also difficult to obtain the servitude as the line had to cross the Ceres and Tulbagh Valleys and required extensive public and stakeholder engagement.

“Eskom, together with its contractors, were able to accomplish this milestone in the face of these challenges and we are truly proud of this achievement,” said Eskom.

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SA: No certificates for unaccredited schools Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:18:30 +0000 umalisuBy –

Pretoria – Umalusi has taken a decision not to issue certificates to learners who are enrolled at independent schools that are not accredited by the council.

CEO of Umalusi, Mafu Rakometsi, said the decision was informed by the need for all independent schools to be accredited by Umalusi before they can offer qualifications that fall within the council’s mandate.

“The decision will come into effect in January 2017 following a notice given by Umalusi to all unaccredited schools to apply for accreditation before 31 October 2016,” Rakometsi said.

The requirements for the registration of independent schools as examination centres state that “in order for an independent school to be registered as an examination centre by either an accredited private assessment body or the state, such a school, besides being registered as a school, must also be accredited by Umalusi”.

Rakometsi said from 2017 onwards, Umalusi will certify only the learners who sit and fulfil the requirements of the National Senior Certificate at accredited independent schools or independent schools that have made considerable progress in their application for accreditation with Umalusi.

“Part of Umalusi’s mandate is to ensure that learners attend schools that are recognised by law so that they can obtain credible qualifications from those institutions.

“We are doing this to protect unsuspecting learners and parents from unscrupulous people,” he said.

Umalusi Council sets and monitors standards for general and further education and training in South Africa in accordance with the National Qualifications Framework Act No 67 of 2008 and the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act No 58 of 2001.

The council is tasked with the development and management of a sub-framework of qualifications for general and further education and training and for the attendant quality assurance.

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Ghanaian president commissions China-funded modern market in Cape Coast Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:35:47 +0000 john-mahama-potriatby Justice Lee Adoboe

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama commissioned on Tuesday a China EXIM Bank-financed modern market project for traders in ancient capital Cape Coast, 150 km west of the capital.

The new Kotokuraba project, which took about four years to complete, has several facilities including a 200-capacity car park, surface and overhead water tanks, a solar system for emergency lighting, and a generator set. It also has a fire hydrant to deal with the outbreaks of fire, public address systems, and CCTV security cameras.

During the commissioning, Mahama, who celebrated his 58th birthday on Tuesday with a vigorous re-election campaign, assured traders who used to ply their trade in the old structure of first consideration in the allocation of shops and stalls with no bias or favoritism.

“A list of the women and other traders who were trading in the market before the reconstruction are going to be served firstly afterwards, if there are more stores, others will be attended to,” the president said.

The market construction undertaken by China Railway Construction Engineering Group is expected to ease the congestion in the former Kotokuraba (Crab Village) market.

It is one of the projects financed by the 1.3 billion loan government of Ghana contracted from the EXIM Bank of China for infrastructural development in the country.

The previous market structure has suffered two major fire incidents with wares of traders destroyed and depriving most of them of their livelihoods.

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Digital technology: the new leveller in education Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:25:33 +0000 technologyFor a country with one of the most uneven playing fields, technology is one of the great levellers – particularly with our cellphone penetration rate of nearly 90% – ahead of India and China with respective rates of 84% and 76%. And when it comes to education, let’s face it, learning from a mobile phone or any other electronic device is a lot more appealing than listening to a teacher talk, or trawling a textbook. After all, teachers are no longer the primary source of information. Just as well, given the grave shortage of motivated, qualified and experienced teachers that has only exacerbated South Africa’s endemic education crisis, says IQ Business.

Sineliso Sithole is a grade 10 learner from Dumabezwe Secondary, outside of Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal. This hilly area is renowned for its poor mobile network coverage. Therefore, Sineliso’s teacher regularly drives him and a few of his classmates to the top of a nearby hill so they can successfully sign up for Intelligent Practice – technology that aims for mastery through practice, and is adapted to learners’ individual needs. Using algorithms, each customised practice session aims to push learners to achieve an exercise success rate of 70% (at an appropriate level of difficulty).
In under six months, Sineliso has gone on to practise over 15 000 mathematics and science exercises.

He says his love of Intelligent Practice stems from his marks having improved so rapidly, as well as the acknowledgement he receives from Siyavula that makes him feel “excited and proud” of himself.

Globally, digital learning is being embraced by schools as well as higher institutions of education. But when it comes to Africa’s challenges around education, solutions are probably best sought in Africa itself.

With the explosive growth of technology, the world has changed and will continue to do so. And for education to achieve its objectives in South Africa, content – and how it’s made available – needs to be viewed in the context of learners’ needs, and adapted accordingly.

Digital services such as Mxit and Siyavula are empowering South Africans with instant educational content. In 2011 Siyavula partnered with instant messaging app Mxit to ensure widespread access of learning material. The goal was to provide a digital-focused solution through interactive digital textbooks and learning aids for grade 8-12 pupils. Within the first 48 hours of the content having been released on Mxit, Siyavula recorded an impressive 150 000 subscribers.

Today, Siyavula provides over 10 million digital textbooks to South African learners, and Mxit affords 500 000 learners the opportunity to access digital education. Research indicates an average increase of 14% in users’ mathematics marks, since using Siyavula. Then there’s Quizmax, an interactive Web site accessed via Mxit. It’s a godsend for Grade 10 – 12 learners, who are now thriving on account of this revision tool for maths, physical science, and life sciences. It enables learners who are active Mxit users to do revision at their own pace. They’re presented with questions that are adapted to their own mastery levels. And the system provides valuable feedback to schools and institutions through detailed online reporting.

Africa has a teacher-to-learner ratio of 2.2 teachers per every 100 learners – amongst the lowest in the world. Add to that the fact that a mere 7% of South Africa’s public schools’ libraries are stocked, with textbooks regularly failing to reach some of our learners. With e-learning, which has the potential to provide quality education to the masses, even those in inaccessible locations who are often deprived of the relevant resources can benefit.

Several countries around the world have banned the use of cellphones, citing reasons like potential health threats from radiation, cyber-bullying, cheating during exams, impact on student performance, and even equity (in bring-your-own-device policy schools, especially, the devices belonging to the more affluent kids might cause a feeling of inferiority amongst the rest). South Africa is one of the few countries around the globe that hasn’t banned the use of cellphones in schools. And we’re realising as a nation, the true value of a ‘digi-life’, with government now having also come on board in the digital education space, through the roll-out of tablets and other digital devices in schools. South Africa’s “paperless” classroom focus is being driven through e-learning platforms and digital academic material. And the roll-out in Gauteng alone is estimated to cost R17 billion over five years – underscoring government’s commitment to digital being a key role player in South Africa’s educational future.

With South Africa’s Gini coefficient being among the highest in the world – around 0.65 according to the World Bank – quality education is a sure priority. So, why not leverage the most obvious leveller: technology?

Transformed service delivery through digital technology can be so much more than the story of Sineliso and a few others – it can be about how all South Africans are afforded easy access to education.

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Joint Norwegian-Ethiopian Conference on Health and Higher Education Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:00:20 +0000 aauThe main objective of the conference was to promote Ethiopian-Norwegian collaborations within health and higher education as well as creating a space for relevant actors to meet and share experiences

Conference on Health and Higher Education held at the Desalegn Hotel. The conference brought together 120 participants from Ethiopia, Norway and elsewhere. The main objective of the conference was to promote Ethiopian-Norwegian collaborations within health and higher education as well as creating a space for relevant actors to meet and share experiences. The conference was hosted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Addis Ababa, in collaboration with Oslo University Hospital.

As one of twelve focus countries for Norwegian development cooperation, Ethiopia has become an important partner and recipient of Norwegian aid.

Many important institutions were present at the conference such as Oslo University Hospital, Haukeland University Hospital, Black Lion Hospital and Addis Ababa University, to mention just a few. The partnerships between Norwegian and Ethiopian institutions are working to promote and build better health facilities and broader access to health-services by enhancing the capacity of institutions and health personnel. Ethiopian-Norwegian partnerships have laid the groundwork for better access to cancer treatment, neurosurgery, treatment of burn injuries and deformations, qualified nursing and so much more.

Black Lion Hospital and Addis Ababa University are the main partners to Norwegian institutions, but there are also collaborations with Jimma University, Hawassa University, Mekelle University and Yekatit Hospital, among many. Many representatives from these partner institutions were present at the conference.

As one of twelve focus countries for Norwegian development cooperation, Ethiopia has become an important partner and recipient of Norwegian aid. Furthermore, the Norwegian Government has made global health one of its major priorities and is currently supporting numerous global health initiatives. Several of these contribute to improved service delivery within the national health sector in Ethiopia, and build fundamental infrastructure to improve resilience against pandemics.

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