Articles on this Page
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Jaguar Land Rover d...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Using telematics to...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Company news in brief
- 08/20/19--16:00: _White House mulling...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _US economists expec...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Africa Briefs
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Recognising traditi...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Zero maintenance ba...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Ghana cashes in on ...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _Construction pins h...
- 08/20/19--16:00: _'Insolvent' NBC wan...
- 08/21/19--16:00: _Hunt for raw talent
- 08/21/19--16:00: _World Cup momentum
- 08/21/19--16:00: _Pedalling buzz
- 08/21/19--16:00: _Okapale komatukodhi...
- 08/21/19--16:00: _NEPC financial woes...
- 08/21/19--16:00: _Bolster fight again...
- 08/21/19--16:00: _Olufuko launched to...
- 08/21/19--16:00: _Mashare villagers d...
- 08/21/19--16:00: _Namibians dread wor...
- 08/20/19--16:00: Jaguar Land Rover develops immersive 3D in-car experience
- 08/20/19--16:00: Using telematics to reduce fuel costs
- 08/20/19--16:00: Company news in brief
- 08/20/19--16:00: White House mulling tax cut
- 08/20/19--16:00: US economists expect recession in 2020 or 2021
- 08/20/19--16:00: Africa Briefs
- 08/20/19--16:00: Recognising traditional authorities ‘costly’
- 08/20/19--16:00: Zero maintenance bank account launched
- 08/20/19--16:00: Ghana cashes in on slave heritage tourism
- 08/20/19--16:00: Construction pins hope on national council
- 08/20/19--16:00: 'Insolvent' NBC wants bigger bailout
- 08/21/19--16:00: Hunt for raw talent
- 08/21/19--16:00: World Cup momentum
- 08/21/19--16:00: Pedalling buzz
- 08/21/19--16:00: Okapale komatukodhila taka lukilwa Ya Toivo
- 08/21/19--16:00: NEPC financial woes due to laziness
- 08/21/19--16:00: Bolster fight against hepatitis E
- 08/21/19--16:00: Olufuko launched tomorrow
- 08/21/19--16:00: Mashare villagers desperate
- 08/21/19--16:00: Namibians dread worsening droughts
Engineers are working on a powerful new 3D head-up display to project safety alerts, such as lane departure, hazard detection, satnav directions, and to reduce the effect of poor visibility in poor weather or light conditions. Augmented reality would add the perception of depth to the image by mapping the messages directly onto the road ahead.
Studies conducted in Germany, show that the use of Stereoscopic 3D displays in an automotive setting can improves reaction times on ‘popping-out’ instructions and increases depth judgments while driving.
In the future, the innovative technology could be used by passengers to watch 3D movies. Head and eye tracking technology would follow the user’s position to ensure they can see 3D pictures without the need for individual screens or shutter glasses worn at the cinema.
In a fully autonomous future, the 3D displays would offer users a personalised experience and allow ride-sharers to independently select their own infotainment. Several passengers sharing a journey would be able to enjoy their own choice of media – including journey details, points of interest or movies – and optimised for where they are seated.
The research – undertaken in partnership with the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) at University of Cambridge – is focused on developing an immersive head-up display, which will closely match real-life experience allowing drivers to react more naturally to hazards and prompts.
‘Forefront of development’
Valerian Meijering, human machine interface & head-up Display researcher for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Development in virtual and augmented reality is moving really quickly. This consortium takes some of the best technology available and helps us to develop applications suited to the automotive sector. Not only does it provide a much richer experience for customers, but it also forms part of our Destination Zero roadmap; helping us to move towards a safer, more intuitive and smarter future, for everybody.”
Professor Daping Chu, director of Centre for Photonic Devices and Sensors and director of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics, said: “This programme is at the forefront of development in the virtual reality space – we’re looking at concepts and components which will set the scene for the connected, shared and autonomous cars of the future. CAPE Partners are world-leading players strategically positioned in the value chain network. Their engagement provides a unique opportunity to make a greater impact on society and further enhance the business value of our enterprises.”
The next-generation head-up display research forms part of the development into Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Smart Cabin’ vision: applying technologies which combine to create a personalised space inside the vehicle for driver and passengers with enhanced safety, entertainment and convenience features as part of an autonomous, shared future.
Together, these efforts are driving towards Destination Zero; Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly-changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion. - MotorPress
Yet, there are some other ways in which telematics can be used to save fuel that new technological advancements are improving and making possible.
As fuel prices increase internationally, fuel siphoning is posing a major challenge across the world.
The managing director of Legratron Electronics, Itumeleng Matshego, says: “South Africa is also facing major challenges regarding fuel theft. While fuel siphoning is not a new phenomenon and attempts at stopping this have already been made, it is only in recent years that technology has advanced enough to reduce the loss on a significant scale.
“Sensors are connected to a GPS unit which measure the fuel consumed per trip completed by a truck. It can also issue an alert when the fuel is sinking faster than what it should. With estimations that US$133 billion of fuel is stolen every year, it is fool-hardy to hope your business is not affected by this,” says Matshego.
Filling in the gaps
Telematics can be used to provide accurate estimates of how long trips should take and when clients can expect drivers to arrive.
“If a driver is consistently arriving late to clients, is it because of elements outside of your driver’s control or because they take longer routes or unplanned detours that ultimately affect your bottom line? The only way to answer this question is by using telematics to track the drivers and use the information gained to take appropriate action.
“The threat of being tracked and clearly articulating the consequences of unauthorised use, should in itself be a deterrent to most drivers. There is also the benefit of improving the service you provide clients by reducing the number of late deliveries,” says Matshego. - MotorPress
BHP Group, the world's biggest miner, yesterday reported its largest annual profit in five years and posted record full-year dividends, boosted by a dramatic rally in prices for steelmaking ingredient iron ore.
BHP has handed back some US$20.9 billion to investors for the financial year that ended in June including a 78 US cent dividend announced yesterday. That stemmed from the sale of its shale gas business and was helped by surging iron ore prices following supply outages in Brazil and Australia.
While the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing has dampened global economic growth, it has not yet affected Chinese demand for BHP's commodities such as iron ore, copper and coal in China, said chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.
Mackenzie also noted that BHP has become the world's lowest cost iron ore producer, whittling costs down to US$12.86 per tonne with scope to trim them still further, as it reaped a 40% jump in realised prices to US$77.74 from US$55.62 in the first-half of the 2019 calendar year.
Underlying profit for the 12 months ended June 30 rose to US$9.12 billion from US$8.93 billion a year earlier, but still undershot expectations of US$9.4 billion from a Vuma consensus of 18 analysts. – Nampa/Reuters
Aramco asks banks to pitch for IPO
Saudi Aramco has formally asked major banks to submit proposals for potential roles in its planned initial public offering, two sources said, in what could be the world's biggest IPO.
Aramco's planned IPO, which could potentially raise US$100 billion, is the centrepiece of Saudi Arabia's economic transformation drive to attract foreign investment and diversify away from oil.
Request for proposals were sent to banks few days day ago, they said. Aramco declined to comment.
The formal IPO process follows Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's comments in June that the government remained fully committed to the IPO, expecting it to take place between 2020 and early 2021, after it was postponed last year.
Work on the deal, which proposed a listing in Riyadh and an international exchange, was halted in 2018 when Aramco began a process to acquire a 70% stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp. – Nampa/Reuters
Estee Lauder sees no slowdown in China
Estee Lauder Cos Inc on Monday forecast full-year revenue and profit above Wall Street expectations, putting to bed concerns of slowing demand in China due to trade tensions and Hong Kong protests as sales of its luxury skin care products soared, propelling its shares to a record high.
Cosmetic companies like Estee Lauder and L'Oreal are seeing a boom in their business in the Asia-Pacific region, mainly in China, as affluent millennials spend more at beauty retailers and duty-free stores at airports.
The company has been selling 10 of its brands including M.A.C and Tom Ford on Alibaba's online marketplace Tmall, in a bid to boost its presence in the Asian market.
Estee Lauder expects full-year sales to grow in the range of 7% to 8% and adjusted profit between US$5.90 and US$5.98 per share in fiscal 2020.
Overall, quarterly net sales rose 9% to US$3.59 billion, beating expectations of US$3.53 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Excluding items, it earned 64 US cents per share, beating estimates by 11 US cents. – Nampa/Reuters
Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong fall
Swiss watch exports to their top market Hong Kong fell a modest 1.3% in July amid increasingly violent anti-government protests in the former British colony that have weighed on watch sales.
That was a sharp improvement from the 27% drop in June.
Overall exports by the sector rose 4.3% to 1.9 billion Swiss francs (US$1.94 billion) in July.
One of the world's most popular shopping destinations, Hong Kong is on the verge of its first recession in a decade as mass demonstrations scare off tourists and bite into retail sales.
The Asian financial centre that reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997 is the biggest foreign market for Swiss timepieces, absorbing 13.5% of the exports by value in July. – Nampa/Reuters
Baidu Q2 revenue beats expectations
Chinese internet giant Baidu regained momentum during the second quarter, posting better-than-expected revenue yesterday thanks to strong traffic growth, though it also announced a huge drop in net profit.
The Beijing-based search leader said its total revenues rose 1.4% to 26.3 billion yuan (US$3.8 billion), beating the average prediction of 25.8 billion yuan forecast in a Bloomberg poll of analysts.
However, it warned revenue in the third quarter could decline as much as 5%.
Baidu also said net profit fell 62% in the three months ending 30 June owing to consolidation costs while facing the challenge of rivals such as ByteDance Inc.
Baidu in May posted its first quarterly revenue loss since its IPO in 2005 as the company struggled to grow sales and the head of its core search business resigned. – Nampa/AFP
Senior White House officials are mulling several moves to stimulate the economy including temporarily cutting the payroll tax to increase workers' monthly take-home pay, The Washington Post reported.Also under consideration is reversing new tariffs the Trump administration imposed on Chinese goods, according to The New York Times.
The discussion is still in the early stages, and officials have not brought up the idea with Trump, who would have to seek approval from Congress, the newspapers said.
The White House disputed the reports in a statement to the Post, saying "cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time." - Nampa/AFP
A survey released on Monday followed president Donald Trump pushing back against talk of a looming recession as a raft of US data reports last week showed a mixed picture on the economy.
"I'm prepared for everything. I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich," Trump told reporters Sunday.
The National Association for Business Economists (NABE) found far fewer experts now think the next recession will start this year compared to a survey in February.
NABE conducted its policy poll as Trump put the Fed under constant attack, demanding more stimulus, but before the central bank cut the benchmark lending rate on 31 July.
However, the Fed was already sending strong signals that it intended to pull back on the rate increases made in 2018 due to concerns starting to dog the economic outlook, including the trade war with China.
"Survey respondents indicate that the expansion will be extended by the shift in monetary policy," said NABE president Constance Hunter, who is chief economist at KPMG.
Only 2% of the 226 respondents now see a recession this year, compared to 10% in February's survey, NABE said.
However, "the panel is split regarding whether the downturn will hit in 2020 or 2021," Hunter said in a summary of the survey, which showed 38% expect a contraction of growth next year, while 34% don't see it until the following year.
More economists shifted their recession prediction to 2021, narrowing the gap from the prior report, which had many more expecting the change next year.
The results show 46% expect at least one more rate cut this year from the Fed, while about a third see policy holding where it is now, with 2.25% as the top end of the policy range.
Economists are sceptical about a resolution to Trump's trade wars, although 64% said a "superficial agreement is possible," NABE said.
But that was before Trump announced another round of tariffs of 10% on the remaining US$300 billion in goods not yet hit by US punitive duties. The new measures will take effect in two stages, on 1 September and 15 December.
As Trump continues his vocal campaign criticising the Fed, the NABE survey found economists are concerned about the impact: 55% said his remarks do not influence Fed decisions but do "compromise the public's trust in the central bank."
And over a quarter of respondents said the criticism will "cause the Fed to be more dovish than otherwise, thus threatening its independence."
The survey also asked about fiscal policy, and a majority of economists said Trump's tax cuts "had an overall negative impact on housing activity over the past 18 months," due to changes in deductions allowed for mortgage interest. – Nampa/AFP
South Africa will not adopt a "big bang" approach to building new nuclear power capacity but instead add capacity in an affordable way, energy and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe said yesterday.
"It comes back to a resolution we took as a government: not going big bang into nuclear, but going at a pace and price that the country can afford. ... Go modular, go at a pace and price that the country can afford," Mantashe told reporters.
"The fact that we suspected corruption [in the previously floated Russia deal] doesn't mean that nuclear is irrelevant for the country in 2019."
Mantashe would not give a timeline for any new nuclear capacity, saying the government's energy plan would need to be approved first.
That plan, called the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), has been held up for months by discussions with business and labour, but the minister said he hoped the IRP would be taken to cabinet for approval in the next two to three weeks.
Mantashe said the IRP contained provision for "modular nuclear technology", saying nuclear would compete with other power sources to replace energy capacity which will be decommissioned in the medium to long term. – Nampa/Reuters
Nigeria c.bank to defend reserves
Nigeria's central bank will strive to protect the country's currency reserves after a British court ruling granted a small natural gas firm the right to try to seize US$9 billion in assets from Nigeria's government, the bank's head said on Monday.
Such a sum would be one of the largest financial liabilities imposed on Nigeria in its history, representing 20% of the currency reserves of Africa's largest economy and top oil producer.
Central bank chief Godwin Emefiele said Nigeria had sufficient grounds to appeal the ruling, over an aborted gas project in the southern Nigerian city of Calabar, made on Friday in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Ltd.
"We know that the implication of that judgment has some impact on monetary policy, and that is why the central bank is going to step forward and ... defend the reserves," Emefiele told reporters in the capital, Abuja.
Emefiele did not say what other measures the central bank might take to defend the country's currency or its foreign exchange reserves. – Nampa/Reuters
Kenya set for first crude oil exports
Kenya is set to export its first crude oil after its government and a group led by explorer Tullow Oil picked trading company ChemChina UK Ltd to buy its first shipments, the petroleum and mining ministry said.
Tullow and its partner Africa Oil discovered commercial oil reserves in the Lokichar basin in Kenya's far northern county of Turkana in 2012. Total has since taken a 25% stake in the project.
Since last year the group has been running a pilot scheme to transport some 2 000 barrels per day by truck to the port city of Mombasa to test flow rates and other technical issues before the start of full production and exports via a pipeline, to be built by 2022.
ChemChina UK's initial purchases are expected to be small-scale, with full commercial shipments due to begin once the pipeline is constructed.
Tullow estimates that Kenya's onshore fields in Turkana hold 560 million barrels of oil and expects them to produce up to 100 000 barrels per day from 2022. – Nampa/Reuters
Speaking at the Annual Council of Traditional Leaders’ meeting on Monday, Geingob said communities cannot suddenly want to establish distinct traditional communities and chieftainships, premised on personal motives, preferences and ambitions, after there had been peace under one traditional leadership for years.
“Where there are legitimate cases for recognition, facts should be established beyond doubt, based on thorough investigation. I am calling on all citizens, especially our elders and traditional leaders, to uphold our traditional norms and customs, and avoid fuelling and planting seeds of division and dissent,” he said.
One such a dispute was reported by Nampa earlier this year when royal princes Konisa Kalenga and Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo of the Ondonga Traditional Authority differed about who would succeed the late leader of the traditional authority, Elifas Kauluma.
It was only after government intervention that Nangolo received recognition as the Ondonga leader.
Since its inception, the Council of Traditional Leaders has served as a source of unity in diversity and had helped to shape the structure and foundation of society, Geingob said.
He added that the country was in dire need of material assistance to overcome the current drought and economic downturn and called on Namibian citizens to share their resources with fellow countrymen and women to complement Government’s efforts.
The government, through the ministry of urban and rural development, has established a community trust fund aimed at mobilising and deploying resources to address poverty and other developmental challenges faced by the communities at a micro level.
Geingob called for accountability for the use of funds and resources provided from this trust and highlighted that traditional authorities and leaders have to promote the creation of conditions for the empowerment within their communities.
The vice chairperson of the council, Goab Immanuel /Gaseb, said there had been more than 10 applications for recognition from communities who are represented under already established traditional authorities.
Currently, there are 52 recognised traditional authorities under the ministry of urban and rural development.
/Gaseb said the endless disputes among traditional communities and applications are destabilising the conducive environment the government created for them. - Nampa
“We are excited to launch the Pay-As-You-Use bank account which does not carry any monthly maintenance fees. Nedbank has designed the account for customers who do not transact frequently, or who want to be in charge of their monthly banking fees on a per transaction basis,” says Richard Meeks, retail banking executive at Nedbank Namibia.
The Nedbank Pay-As-You-Use account is a contrast to the bank’s Gold Bundled account, where the customer is charged a fixed amount of N$130 for unlimited banking transactions, including Point of Sale swipes and ATM withdrawals.
“Simplifying our product range in this way, allows us to put more focus on understanding and serving the customer’s needs, as opposed to maintaining the complexity of a broad product range. The Pay-As-You-Use account forms part of Nedbank’s initiatives to offer easy, safe and convenient banking to clients,” says Meeks.
Recently, Nedbank Namibia also launched a new banking app, called Nedbank Money Africa. Moreover, the bank announced its cash withdrawal service points have grown from 65 to 188 by introducing the Cashout service, which is available in all major retail stores countrywide.
This is "slave river," where captured Ghanaians submitted to a final bath before being shipped across the Atlantic into slavery centuries ago, never to return to the land of their birth. Today, it is a place of sombre homecoming for the descendants of those who spent their lives as someone else's property.
The popularity of the site has swelled this year, 400 years after the trade in Africans to the English colonies of America began. This month's anniversary of the first Africans to arrive in Virginia has caused a rush of interest in ancestral tourism, with people from the United States, the Caribbean and Europe seeking out their roots in West Africa.
"Ten years ago, no one went to the slave river, but this year has been massive," said Awuracy Butler, who runs a company called Butler Tours.
She said business has nearly doubled this year, which has been touted as the Year of Return for the African diaspora tracing their family history. The number of tourists has forced her to hire more vehicles, she said.
"Everyone wants to add the slave river to their tour," she said. The coastal forts where they spent their last days in Ghana in suffocating conditions are also increasingly popular, she said.
The increase in tourism has been an economic boon for Ghana, which unlike other West African countries has aggressively marketed its "heritage" offerings for the anniversary.
Officials see it as an opportunity to entice some much-needed foreign investment into the economy, dogged in recent years by high inflation and public debt that has needed an International Monetary Fund lending programme to fix.
The Ghana Tourism Authority expects 500 000 visitors this year, up from 350 000 in 2018. Of those, 45 000 are estimated to be seeking their ancestral roots, a 42% increase from last year.
On a recent day in the capital, Accra, a delegation of tribal elders and a representative of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre welcomed a tour group at a hotel in the city.
At an event in a low-ceilinged hotel conference room, the tour guide encouraged the visitors to sing a hymn in a local language, gently chiding them for not yet knowing the tune. "You are Ghanaians now," he said.
Members of the group, who were mostly African American, went up to the front one by one to pose with a smiling tourism ministry official or one of the robe-clad elders as they received an official certificate of participation. The investment representative launched into a lengthy power-point presentation focused on the need for investment in Ghana's cocoa sector and the minimum capital requirements for joint ventures.
With an average spend of US$1 850 per tourist, the tourism authority expects this year's revenues to top US$925 million, a 50% increase from 2018, which it hopes to sustain over the next three years at least.
The amount is dwarfed by Ghana's US$2-billion cocoa industry but is considered essential in a country of 28 million people who mostly live in poverty.
Anthony Bouadi, a tour guide at Cape Coast Castle, a fortress where the captives were kept until they were sent on ships over the Atlantic, said he believes the site will change the lives of those who visit.
"The moment you get to know your history, it is going to change you," he said. "We are encouraging our brothers and sisters from the US, from the Caribbean from Europe to come back to their Motherland Africa to get to know the culture and whatever the ancestors went through."
The surge of visitors is part of a global phenomenon: Airbnb data shows a five-fold increase in people travelling to places connected to their ancestry worldwide since 2014.
US genetics company African Ancestry says its sales of DNA tests tripled after last year's release of the superhero film "Black Panther," an Afro-centric blockbuster with a predominantly black cast. The company is launching an ancestry-based travel service later this year.
To make the most of the moment, Ghana will host a mass "ancestry reveal" on Friday. More than 80 African American participants, including the head of the NAACP, will learn their genetic history, touted as the largest ceremony of its kind in Africa's history.
Ghana has long encouraged its diaspora to return and has strong links with the African American community. Malcolm X visited in the 1960s and spent time with the American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, who lived there at the time. The prominent black writer and activist W.E.B. Du Bois settled and died in Ghana. Since, many other ordinary African American families have returned.
But questions remain about whether the heightened interest in Ghana can be sustained after the anniversary. Bad roads, a cumbersome visa application process and expensive flights could stem the number of visitors in the long term.
"The government has a huge responsibility," said Peter Appiah, head of research and publicity at the Centre for National Culture in Kumasi, Ghana's second-largest city.
"If we want to sustain this tempo," he said, "then we need to do a lot more in terms of social infrastructure."
At Assin Manso, a group of visitors removed their shoes and walked barefoot down a path to the muddy river that runs through a bamboo grove.
Together they placed their hands in the water, then waded in to offer prayers in thanks for the opportunity to return.
"I can't even get my head around people coming from a land like this and being snatched," said Miriam Allen, a 62-year-old retired urban planner from New York, clutching a box of tissues and choking back tears.
"This is a good place and a bad place. A good place to know your ancestors, but to know what those white people did to us," she said, breaking off.
On most tours, Assin Manso marks one of the final stops on a country-wide swing in which groups take part in Ashanti rituals, meet local chiefs and trace the gruelling route captured slaves took from the country's northern hinterland out to the coast.
Cape Coast Castle
The forts that still dot Ghana's coast are a reminder of what slaves endured.
At the Cape Coast Castle, rusted old cannons point out to sea from the ramparts, angled skyward, away from locals playing football on the beach below.
The government is committed to its upkeep - on a recent visit, workers were repainting the high white walls.
In forts like this one, slaves experienced their last days on African soil crammed in steaming-hot dungeons without light - and where tourists are now returning in droves.
"I have seen a lot of people - they really are coming," said Bouadi, the guide at the castle, who now does up to six tours a day compared with three last year. Each tour has doubled in size, he said, to around 40 people.
He tries to help his family when he can, using the extra money he earns to pay their water and electricity bills.
"Tourism organisations in Ghana are having to hire more people," he said. "If people earn more, they can pay for school fees; it boosts the local economy and reduces poverty."
Ghana's efforts stand in stark contrast to other West African countries with rich histories of their own that are little known outside the continent.
Despite a collection of slave sites, including the picturesque but haunting Goree Island, where tourists can visit old slave quarters and its "door of no return," Senegal does not appear to have harnessed the potential like Ghana. Neither has Benin or Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the main sites commemorating the slave trade are three small museums along a road in the coastal town of Badagry. Artefacts including chains used to shackle slaves are spread across the museums, two of which are small single-story buildings with corrugated iron roofs.
Foreign tourists are rare at the site, and a large proportion of visitors are schoolchildren on tours. The poor state of local roads, dotted with potholes, make it hard to visit Badagry: The 65-km journey from the country's largest city, Lagos, takes around three hours.
"As far as I know, only Ghana has made such a significant effort in terms of programmes and activities," said Shanelle Haile, a doctoral student at Brown University in Rhode Island who was in Ghana to study diaspora engagement surrounding the anniversary.
"Now that we're here and we've done the events and the activities, it's really moving and it's a powerful experience," she said. "I just hope that more African Americans learn and hear about it."– Nampa/Reuters
In a statement issued by the CIF yesterday, its consulting general manager, Bärbel Kirchner, said the body is “very hopeful” about the outcome of the recent Namibia Economic Growth Summit.
One of government’s commitments flowing from the summit was that the ministry of works and transport introduce the National Construction Council (NCC) before the end of the financial year. Such a council will ensure that the industry is better regulated and it will address the unequal playing field that currently exists in the sector, Kirchner said yesterday.
“We have been pleading for the establishment of a council for years and are really looking forward to when we finally have a more regulated environment in our industry. It would be in the interest of everyone – obviously our contractors, but without any doubt, also financiers as well as clients, especially our government,” she said.
A report released by ministry of labour, industrial relations and employment creation last week shows 13 construction companies had to retrench 114 workers in the second quarter of this year.
Construction has been in recession for more than three years. Its contraction in the first three months of 2019 marked 13 consecutive quarters of negative growth.
A drastic cut in government spending which started in 2016 had a major impact on the construction sector. The latest data released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) shows employees in the construction sector plummeted about 18 900 or nearly 36% from 2016 to 2018. Last year, the sector had 33 707 employees.
Youth employment in construction fell by around 13 800 or nearly 37%. Own account workers, or people who are self-employed, jumped by nearly 20% to 6 482 last year, while employers rose by about 6% to just above 4 000.
The Bank of Namibia (BoN), in its economic outlook released in April 2019, expects construction to grow by 1.3% this year and 1.5% in 2020.
More than decade
According to Kirchner, a draft bill for the establishment of a NCC was reviewed at a stakeholder workshop in2018. The CIF has been calling for the establishment of a NCC since 2006.
“The effect of such an unregulated environment is that legitimate local contractors with adequate capacity are increasingly pushed aside; and that ongoing local capacity building, continued employment and the provision of decent work is undermined,” she says.
A NCC would require that any contractor operating in Namibia be registered with the council. Depending on the criteria determined by the NCC, contractors would then be categorised. This would ensure that only those that indeed are actively operating in the industry would be registered, Kirchner said.
“In addition, it would ensure that capacity would be aligned with size of projects. The training and development of contractors will also ensure that capacity of respective contractors will increase over time,” she added.
The investment pledges made by the private sector at summit are also of great interest to the construction sector. “With validated commitments of N$20 billion and possibly reaching N$50 billion, pending verification, the CIF believes that there is large scale opportunity for the construction sector,” Kirchner said.
She added: “We are excited about the potential opportunities for our sector and will engage with the respective investors to ensure that everyone is aware of the Namibian capacity in the construction and building sector.
“Once our sector gets actively busy again, we, without any doubt, will see the spillover effect to other sectors. This is provided that we engage our local contractors and buy our material locally, so that we keep the money circulated in our economy,” Kirchner concluded.
The state broadcaster has its eyes fixed on the government for capitalisation or recapitalisation in order to get out of the current financial mess, the NBC management on Monday indicated when it appeared before the parliamentary standing committee on public accounts.
The NBC’s current liabilities stand at N$270 million.
The situation is so dire that if 30 NBC employees were to resign today, the broadcaster would not be able to pay out their post-retirement medical aid benefits and other retirement packages, management admitted.
The NBC currently deducts post-retirement benefits from employees’ monthly salaries - at least on paper - when in fact there is no actual money involved. This was also highlighted in auditor-general Junias Kandjeke’s report into the finances of NBC for the 2016/17 financial year, on which the hearing was premised.
“It was further noted that there were no specific assets set aside by the corporation to fund these liabilities. Technically these plans are not funded,” Kandjeke found at the time.
The situation has not changed since then.
Much of this is to be blamed on past regimes and a reduction in NBC’s subsidy from government, the broadcaster’s director-general, Stanley Similo, told the committee.
“But now you come in and have to deal with issues that have been there forever, even now when you do good, people won’t see that because you are swallowed by all these issues,” Similo said.
NBC got a N$140 million subsidy from the government for the current financial year, around 25% than it received the previous financial year.
The NBC’s chief human capital officer, Vazenga Kauraisa, said: “Plans, in this case, is cash, it’s money, it’s revenue, it’s government subsidy. Without that, I don’t know what plans you are asking.” - Nampa
The championship will see Namibia's future prospects trade leather at the After School Centre in Windhoek.
This ties in with the federation's mandate to produce top boxers in the country.
KBF chairman Jason Naule expects the boxers to shine and entertain on the day.
“The championship is an annual event meant to choose a team that will represent the region at any upcoming national events... It will be a good opportunity for the boxers to show their talent against the best from other clubs in the region.
“It will also be a good opportunity for promoters to identify raw talent in the region,” Naule said.
He added the federation is happy with the progress the boxers are making, when it comes to development.
It is not his wish to see boxers turning professional at an early age or before they represent the country at national events like the Olympic or African games.
“But due to the national federation that has a leadership vacuum, we nonetheless are happy that they will be able to look after themselves at a much higher level, due to a very effective Khomas development programme.
“As a federation we have a number of young boxers that we know will make the nation proud one day, because of the talent they have in boxing,” Naule said.
The federation has appealed to corporates to support young Namibian boys and girls, in order for them to realise their dreams of becoming world champions one day.
Naule and his team plan on using the championship as a platform to select youth boxers that will represent Khomas, because those boxers that participated in 2018 have since move to the elite category.
“Development is a very expensive exercise, which is ongoing, and without a sponsor we are really struggling.
“The federation would like to thank all those progressive Namibians that are supporting sport in the country and we also want to thank Nestor Tobias from the Sunshine boxing academy for always being at the forefront of boxing development in the region,” Naule added.
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa
Friendly warm-up matches against the Sharks and Southern Kings have also been confirmed.
The team is focused on finalising their preparations to a level that will see Namibia attempting to make history at the World Cup and secure their first win.
Namibia will play in Pool B in Japan alongside Italy, South Africa, defending champions New Zealand and Canada.
They will play their first match against Italy on 22 September. Their second match will be against a rejuvenated South Africa on 28 September.
New Zealand will be their third opponents on 6 October. Canada and Namibia will then clash on 13 October in their last group match.
Head coach Phil Davies has divided the 50-man training squad into two groups, the Kaizen squad and the Durban squad.
The Durban squad will play a friendly against the Sharks on Saturday.
There will be another friendly on 31 August against the Isuzu Southern Kings in Windhoek, followed by a second match in Walvis Bay on the 7 September.
“We have split the training squad into two categories, in order to give ourselves the best opportunity and extended time to select Namibia's strongest squad for Japan,” Davies said.
He added the Kaizen squad remains in contention for World Cup selection. The final squad will be announced on 2 September.
There is now less than a month to go before the Japan World Cup. The much-anticipated tournament will see the very best in the world battling out for the Webb Ellis Cup.
New Zealand have won the tournament thrice, while the Springboks and Australia sit on two wins each and England one.
Namibia's place at the prestigious tournament was secured for a sixth consecutive time after they beat Kenya 53-28 last year at the Hage Geingob Stadium.
“It was a fantastic day, as the players earned Namibia the right to take part in the biggest rugby union tournament in the world,” said Davies.
The Durban squad is as follows: Max Katjijeko, Renaldo Bothma, Prince !Gaoseb, Wian Conradie, PJ van Lill, Adriaan Booysen, Janco Venter, Rohan Kitshoff, Cliven Loubser, Helarius Kisting, Damian Stevens, PW Steenkamp, Eugene Jantjies, JC Winkler, Darryl de la Harpe, Justin Newman, Johan Deysel, JC Greyling, Johann Tromp, Chrysander Botha, Chad Plato, Lesley Klim, Oderich Mouton, Dumarcho Hartung and PJ Walters, Andre Rademeyer, Nelius Theron, Casper Viviers, Desiderius Sethie, AJ de Klerk, Aranos Coetzee, Obert Nortje, Louis van der Westhuizen, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tjiuee Uanivi, Ruan Ludick, Johan Retief and Thomasau Forbes.
The Kaizen squad consists of:
Simon Kanime, Mahepisa Tjeriko, Gino Wilson, Russel van Wyk, Thomas Kali, Graham April, Adriaan Ludick, Mahco Prinsloo, Neil van Vuuren, Janry du Toit and Jason Benade.
The first-of-its-kind challenge will start from the Game shopping centre in Oshakati at 07:00 and take cyclists long the newly constructed Okatana/Endola road to Helao Nafidi and back. The challenge aims to develop cycling in the northern regions, by providing the cycling community with an opportunity to compete in a professional cycling event.
The event, which is proudly sponsored by Nedbank Namibia, is organised by Oshana Cycles, which is based in the north.
“We believe that the event is a window of opportunity for local cycling talent to be recognised,” said organiser and avid cyclist, Lucky Mbako.
“There is very little support given to cyclists in the north and we hope that the Oshana Cycle Challenge will open other opportunities for the cycling community here,” he added.
Cyclists will have the option of riding the 25km, 60km or 100km routes.
The 100km riders will follow the Okatana road, passing Endola, turning towards Onhuno and proceeding to Helao Nafidi, where they turn and cycle back using the same route.
The 25km and 60km routes also follow the Endola road, with the 25km riders turning back 5km before reaching Endola, whereas the 60km cyclists will turn back 10km after Endola.
Children under the age of 14 are invited to take part in the kiddies' race on 23 August from 13:00 at the Oshana Mall parking area.
The entry fee is N$80 and can be paid at all Nedbank Namibia branches in the north. Entries close tomorrow. Registration and number collection will take place at the Nedbank Oshana Mall branch in Ongwediva from 13:00.
The other sponsors include Coca-Cola, Auas Motors, Newmed, Hotel Destiny, Cymot and the Atlantic Training Institute.
Shoka otashi ka ningwa nale nehangano lyoNamibia Airports Company (NAC) otali ka lukila okapale hoka omukondjelimanguluko ngoka, tashi ningwa pethimbo taku dhimbulukiwa esiku lyevalo lya Ya Toivo momasiku 22 gwomwedhi nguka, ano nena. Shoka osha tseyithwa kOmunambelewa Omukuluntu gwoNAC, Bisey /Uirab pethimbo a yamukula komanyenyeto ngoka ga ningwa komukwanezimo gwa Ya Toivo, Shali Kamati. Pahapu dha Kamati, ofamili oya li ya ithanwa opo yi ninge omutumba noNAC mu Juni opo ya kundathanwe kombinga yeluko lyopapale hoka, taka lukilwa Ya Toivo.
Kamati okwa popi kutya ofamili oya pula oshihongwathano sha Ya Toivo shi tulwe pokapale hoka na oya hala woo okakololo kuuyelele moka aatalelipo taya vulu okumona uuyelele kombinga yondjokonona yepandufule ndyoka. Kamati okwa popi kutya oya lombwelwa kutya elukululo lyokapale hoka otali ningwa momasiku 22 gaAguste ihe itaku kala oshihongwathano. Okakololo komauyelele otaka pingenwapo keuliko lyomauyelele lyopashinanena, ihe ayihe mbyoka itayi ka kala ya pwa pethimbo okapale taka lukululwa.
/Uirab okwa koleke oohapu ndhoka ta popi kutya shoka osha tseyithilwa ofamili kutya elukululo otali endele pamwe nedhimbuluko lyevalo lyaYa Toivo, ihe iinima yilwe otayi ka ningwa nale. Okwa pula woo omaupyakadhi agehe oshowo omanyenyeto ngoka geli po ga ukithwe kehangano lyoNAC taku landulwa omilandu dhomondjila.
NEPC received an adverse audit report for the 2016/17 financial year by the auditor-general, meaning that the corporation's financial statements were misrepresented, misstated and did not reflect its financial performance.
On the same note, NEPC currently has a tax balance liability of N$74 million, and an accumulated unaudited loss of N$66 million.
Addressing the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts in Windhoek on Tuesday as to why the corporation's financial statements and internal audit functions are outsourced, Jakobs said the finance division, which consists of a chief financial officer, finance manager and three accountants, lacks the right attitude to match their job descriptions.
Currently, NEPC's financial statements and internal audit functions are outsourced to Hamilton Charted Accountants and Ernst and Young.
The committee's chairperson, Mike Kavekotora stressed that it is high time for state-owned enterprises' CEOs and employees to be held accountable for tax payers money, which disappears annually and vague or no explanations are given.
Kavekotora noted that if employees are incompetent, which leads to the corporation to outsource its work, then people should be dismissed from their positions.
“The attitude of employees had led the organisation to be insolvent. I do not think attitude contributed to all this, there should be an act of fraud and corruption somewhere and most of the time people do not want to admit [it],” he noted.
Equally, committee member Dudu Murorua concurred that the corporation has accounting policies that guide employees on functions and transactions of business, and therefore accountable employees should undergo disciplinary action.
Answering the committee's question if any of the employees under the department received verbal or written warnings for the injustice to the company, Jakobs explained that since taking over the CEO position in January, no warnings had been given.
However, the corporation implemented a high-performance disciplinary action to respond to the poor attitude of employees, he said.
Jakobs also noted that the board of directors is aware of the employees' poor work attitude and a concept of realignment has been submitted.
Concluding the hearing, Kavekotora noted that there is a need for state-owned companies to have a good leadership and understanding, adding that if the operational morale of an organisation is wrong, then things will go wrong like the current trend of parastatals.
Meanwhile, since the onset of the outbreak in September 2017, the hepatitis E virus has become the leading cause of maternal deaths according to Dr Lilian Kahuika, an epidemiologist in the health ministry.
Of the 56 hepatitis E deaths recorded by 11 August, 23 were maternal deaths. A fatality is defined as maternal when a woman dies during pregnancy or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.
Kahuika said the women who died from hepatitis E before or after giving birth were between 19 and 38 years old.
The latest statistics show that the number of hepatitis E infections have eclipsed the 6 000 mark, with a total number of 6 151 cases reported by 11 August.
The statistics further show that of the cases reported, 342 were maternal cases.
Former health minister Dr Bernard Haufiku, who heads the national health emergency management committee in response to the outbreak, warned earlier this month that hepatitis E was a growing threat to public health in Namibia.
“If the current situation is allowed to continue unabated, hepatitis E will become endemic in Namibia and Namibia will struggle to get rid of the virus in the community and we may actually never get rid of it at all,” he said.
The WHO's weekly bulletin on public health emergencies in Africa repeats its earlier warning to Namibian authorities to step up efforts to stop the outbreak.
The report says although a slight dip in new infections in recent weeks is encouraging, “a lot more work needs to be done to drastically interrupt transmission of infections”.
The WHO notes that ongoing efforts to respond to the outbreak are “still being hindered by many factors, including weak coordination at all levels, inadequate risk communication and community engagement and participation, and low levels of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions.”
Moreover, the report stresses that poor sanitation and scarce access to safe drinking water in informal settlements compound the situation.
Although a national hepatitis E plan has been drawn up, it has not yet been ratified by the authorities and is not adequately resourced, it says.
The first cases of hepatitis E were reported in the Khomas Region in September 2017.
Of the 6 151 cases reported by 11 August, the Khomas Region's informal settlements remain the hardest hit, with a total of 3 894 (63%) of all reported cases detected in some of the country's poorest neighbourhoods. Thirty-five of the 56 deaths reported to date were recorded in the Khomas Region.
The Erongo Region has reported the second highest number of
1 393 cases (23% of the total) and six deaths.
Increased hepatitis testing at health facilities has also led to the diagnosis of 137 hepatitis A cases, of which 81 were recorded in the Omusati Region this year, as well as 168 cases of hepatitis B, of which 61 were recorded in the Omusati Region.
“I have said it time and again, that hepatitis E and even A are diseases of poverty and low socio-economic status, where there is a lack of clean water and poor personal hygiene,” Haufiku told Namibian Sun.
He said although several campaigns are under way to curb the outbreak, there is a strong push to consider alternative options, “as our current intervention seem not to take us anywhere”.
He said the teams are “looking at all potential and available options including considerations for a vaccine against hepatitis E, because we simply cannot allow the situation to continue as it is now.”
The 2019 Olufuko Annual Cultural Festival takes place at Outapi and started yesterday and will end on 1 September.
The CEO of Outapi Ananias Nashilongo indicated that 138 institutions and individuals have also registered to sell and showcase their products and services at the event.
“The girls were expected to arrive at the traditional house at Olufuko Centre on Monday and leave the house on 28 August,” Nashilongo stated.
The event attracted about 50 girls/brides and some 200 exhibitors last year.
The patron of the festival and founding president of Namibia, Sam Nujoma, who launched this year's event during a fundraising gala dinner at Outapi on 27 July, will officially open the festival on friday. The fundraising dinner event raised more than N$560 000 for the successful hosting of the festival.
Outapi town council is hosting the event, now in its eighth year.
Namibian Sun came across Ndala Mbambi (95) and his family at Koro village in the Mashare constituency where they are finding it hard to make ends meet. Koro village is situated about 90 kilometres east of Rundu.
Mbambi said their suffering has been exacerbated by the drought.
“We experienced poor rainfall this season, therefore we did not harvest a lot of mahangu that could keep us going until the next season. We are surviving on one meal a day, which is porridge and soup. If it was not for my pension grant, things would have been worse,” Mbambi said.
Mbambi's monthly state pension is the only source of income for the family, who are waiting for the drought-relief programme to be rolled out.
Other challenges the family endure are a lack of amenities such as water, electricity, telecommunication and transport.
Government institutions such as clinics and police stations are very far away and mobile phone coverage is poor or non-existent.
To get water, Mbambi's grandchildren travel a few kilometres by donkey cart to the nearest borehole.
“We have been waiting for potable water at our homesteads and rural electrification services to come to us as it's promised during elections but until now nothing has been forthcoming. The only thing that changes is our age,” Mbambi said.
His family live in a combination of traditional huts and corrugated-iron shacks. The children sleep on the ground, as they have no beds.
“As you can see, these are the conditions the rooms are in and we really need support, especially for my grandchildren who need clothes, mattresses and blankets,” Mbambi said.
When asked where the parents of his grandchildren were, Mbambi said they had gone to various places in search of jobs but have not found work. Some of his grandchildren are orphans. One of the grandchildren, 29-year-old Bernadine Muhupe, said besides working in cuca shops there are no jobs locally.
She said at other villages one would find community projects that employ people but at their village there is no such opportunity, which means they sit at home with nothing to do except domestic chores.
“I would like to get a job and assist my family but because there are no opportunities for us young people in the community, we just have to sit at home and hope that good rains come and then we cab harvest our crops,” Muhupe said.
When contacted for comment, Mashare constituency councillor Phillip Mavara acknowledged that life in the rural areas is difficult for many people - a situation which is common countrywide and not just in Mashare. Mavara said his office is supplying food to the most needy people while waiting for food aid to be distributed.
“At the moment we are only giving food to those in dire need. Other people in the community who have also been affected by the drought will get aid once the drought-relief food comes to the office. They should just remain patient; once the food comes, the people will receive assistance,” Mavara said.
He said there is no water shortage at Koro village because there are two boreholes supplying the community, but there are no funds to provide them with pipelines to their homes.
As for access to electricity, Mavara said government institutions such as schools and clinics in the area have been electrified.
This is according to the largest-ever survey of Africans' perceptions of climate change, which has revealed widespread reports of worsening quality of life and deteriorating conditions for agricultural production, as well as limited climate change literacy among average citizens.
In the ninth of its Pan-Africa Profiles series based on recent public-opinion surveys in 34 African countries, Afrobarometer reports that only 34% of Namibians feel that the climate has become much worse for agricultural production over the past ten years.
The report further notes that although 52% of Namibians say they are aware of climate change, only 26% of them actually understand that climate change has negative consequences. According to the report only 16% of Namibians can be considered “climate change literate”, which means they understand it to have negative consequences, and they recognise it as being caused at least in part by human activity. The report adds that 36% of Namibians are aware of climate change and 40% have never even heard of climate change.
Furthermore 30% of Namibians blame human activity for climate change while 22% of Namibians say that both human activity and natural processes are to blame, and 17% feel that they can do little to stop the impact of climate change.
In May this year the current drought in Namibia was declared a national disaster.
This is the third time in six years that the government has declared a state of emergency because of drought. Drought was declared a national crisis in 2013 and in 2016 as well. Since 2013, most parts of Namibia have recorded below-normal rainfall, which has left grazing pastures exhausted and with little recovery.
According to the report climate change is “the defining development challenge of our time,” and Africa is most vulnerable to its consequences.
Long-term changes in temperatures and rainfall patterns are a particular menace to Africa, where agriculture forms the economic backbone of development priorities such as food security and poverty eradication.
The report says that across the continent, among people who have heard of climate change, a large majority say it is making life worse and it needs to be stopped. But four in ten Africans are unfamiliar with the concept of climate change.
Only about three in ten people in Africa are fully “climate change literate,” combining awareness of climate change with basic knowledge about its causes and negative effects.
The report notes that ordinary Africans say climate conditions for agricultural production have become worse in their region over the past decade. Overwhelming majorities see worse weather for growing crops in Uganda (85%), Malawi (81%), and Lesotho (79%).
In most countries, the main culprit is more severe drought, but in Malawi, Madagascar, and eSwatini, most citizens say both droughts and flooding have become worse.
The report says almost six in ten Africans (58%) have heard of climate change, including more than three quarters of Mauritians (83%), Malawians (78%), and Ugandans (78%). South Africa (41%) is one of just five countries where fewer than half of citizens have heard of climate change.
“Groups that are less familiar with the concept of climate change include rural residents, women, the poor, and the less-educated, as well as people who work in agriculture.”
The poor are the most affected by climate change, according to survey responses. Almost three quarters (73%) of poor respondents say climate change is making life worse, compared to 60% of those who are well off. Older respondents are also somewhat more likely to complain about the effects of climate change with 70% of aged 56 and older, compared to 66% of young people.