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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 975 | 976 | (Page 977) | 978 | 979 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    China taka kwathela Namibia okupitila moFOCACChina taka kwathela Namibia okupitila moFOCACChina taka kwathela moshikondo shuunamapya oshowo uutekinika China okwa popi kutya okwa hala okukwathela Namibia mokugamena iiyamakuti oshowo okukondjitha embugaleko neyambulepo lyeliko yoshilongo. Ominista yOmakwatathano goPaigwana, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah oya popi kutya AaNamibia oya pumbwa okwiindungika kombinga yoForum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) oshowo okulandula omauyelele kehe tage ya po molwaashoka ekwatathano ndyoka otali gumu oonkalamwenyo dhawo.

    China-Africa forum oyi li ekwatathano pokati kIigwana yaAfrika oshowo okuume yomayambulepo ihe China ota dhana onkandangala onene meyambulepo lyeliko muAfrika okuyeleka nomanenevi galwe.

    Ngele tashi ya kiipindi, China oye ta dhana onkandangaa onene moNamibia na okwa pitilile South Afrika.

    Ned Sibeya, omunambelewa omukomeho omukwatakanithi gwookuume komayambulepo moNational Planning Commission (NPC), okwa zimine kutya okwa kala omaupyakadhi nkene ooprograma moopoloyeka dha pewa omayambidhidho kuChina dha kala nokuungaungwa nadho monakuziwa.

    Okwa popi kutya ngashiingeyi oya tula po omilandu dhimwe omipe, moka epangelo lyaNamibia oshowo lyaChina ga tsu kumwe opo kukwashilipalekwe kutya omahangano gaChina ngoka taga ka pitikwa okukutha ombinga moopoloyeka dhoka tadhi pewa omayambidhidho kuChina, omahangano owala ngoka giishangitha nale moshilongo, mwakwatelwa omahangano gaNamibia oshowo omahangano galwe ga za pondje yoshilongo.

    Kombinga yiilongitho, okwa popi kutya okwa adhika etsokumwe opo iilongitho yomoshilongo oyo yi kale ponomola yotango.

    “Kombinga yoopoloyeka tadhi gandjwa komahangano gaChina otatu pula elongelo kumwe lyomuhanga nomahangano gaNamibia.”

    Omukomeho gwomakwatathano gopaigwana, moNust, Dr Marius Kudumo, okwa popi kutya Namibia oshowo iilongo yaAfrika yilwe inayi gandja uusama kuChina nenge kiilongo yilwe yopondje ngele omatsokumwe goludhi ndoka inaga gandja iizemo yuuwanawa wuthike pamwe koombinga adhihe.

    “China oshowo iilongo yilwe oyi na omilandu dha yela kombinga yomakwatathano gawo naAfrika naashoka yahala okumona okuza momakwatathano ngoka,” Kudumo a popi.

    Omukalelipo gwaChina moNamibia, Yang Yun okwa popi kutya omahwahwameko omanene otaga tulwa mekwatathano lyaNamibia naChina sha landula omutumba gwoFOCAC ngoka gwa ningilwa moBeijing omvula ya piti.

    Okwa popi kutya China okwa pyakudhukwa okugandja omayambidhidho moshikondo shopaunamapya oshowo uutekinika paku tuma aatseyinawa muunamapya opo ya yambidhidhe etungo lyoopoloyeka oonene, okutula miilonga elongelokumwe lyopamudhingoloko, egameno lyiiyamakuti , ekeelelo lyembugaleko oshowo okugandja uunongo kombinga yomayambulepo.

    Yun okwa popi kutya kohi yoFOCAC pokati kiilongo mbika iyali, okwa ziminwa opo aanambelewa yuunamiti oyendji yaChina ya tumwe moNamibia opo ya kwathele aakwashigwana mboka ye li mompumbwe.

    Yun okwa gwedha po kutya China oku na omalalakano gokunkondopeka egameno nokugandja omadheulo kaanambelewa yekalekepo lyoompango.

    Oopoloyeka ndhoka dha pewa omayambidhidho kohi yoFOCAC measures

    Oskola yaChairman Mao Zedong, mOshitopolwa shaKhomas

    Hardap aquaculture project, Hardap

    Etungo lyoshipangelo mOmuthiya

    Etungo lyoshitopolwa shotango oshowo oshitopolwa oshitiyali shendiki lyoNational Youth Training Centre moRietfontein

    Visa sticker project

    Egandjo lyoondya dhoshikukuta (2016, 2017)

    Opoloyeka yiikwaniipangitho yomatengeneko gonkalo yombepo

    Etungo lyoondjila monooli yoshilongo

    Iikwaniipangitho yoshiputudhilo shaUnam mOngwediva

    Etungo lyondjila yOnashikuvu, Tsumkwe oshowo Talismanus

    Etungo lyooskola dhopevi oshowo etungulo lyoTsumkwe Combined School moshitopolwa shaShikoto oshowo Otjozondjupa

    Ooprograma dhomayambulepo guunongo (AaNamibia ye vulithe pe 100 ohaya tumwa nokupewa omadheulo moChina kehe omvula)



    Oopoloyeka ndhoka tadhi ka yambidhidhwa koFOCAC

    Oshitopolwa oshitiyali B shondjika pokati kOvenduka nokapale koodhila dhaHosea Kutako International Airport ( shuule wookilometa 21.3 )

    Etungo lyooskola ne muushayi oshowo omihandjo

    Oosasiyona dhokuyakula omauyelele gosatellite

    Etungo lyomagumbo moGobabis noGrootfontein

    -Uuyelele mbuka owa gandjwa koNational Planning Commission



    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    FOCAC: Win-win balance neededFOCAC: Win-win balance neededNamibia needs proactive engagement China says it wants to help Namibia with wildlife protection and fighting desertification. International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibians should familiarise themselves with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and continue to follow developments around this forum because it “concerns our bi-lateral cooperation with China and as such its impact on our livelihood”.

    The China-Africa forum is one of eight partnerships between the African Union and development partners, but China has become a much bigger economic player on the African continent than others.

    In terms of its bilateral relations with Namibia, China is one of the top three. It has also surpassed South Africa in terms of trade with Namibia.

    And yet, Namibians and Namibian companies find it difficult to strike a healthy balance between Chinese interests and national interests here.

    Ned Sibeya, director for development partner coordination at the National Planning Commission (NPC), acknowledges that there have been “challenges” in how programmes and projects sponsored by China have been managed in the past.

    He says the two governments have now agreed to “localise” the tendering system.

    “That means that we encourage the Chinese government to ensure that the Chinese companies that participate in China-funded projects in Namibia must be only those already registered here. That of course includes Namibian companies and other foreign nationals.”

    In terms of materials for these projects, he said it was agreed that the procurement of locally produced materials must be a priority.

    “In terms of projects awarded to Chinese companies, we will require the joint venturing of Namibian companies, or not contracting to the value of 30% of the project amount,” Sibeya says.

    Nust's director of international relations, Dr Marius Kudumo, says Namibia and other African countries should not blame China or other international partners if the outcomes of engagement do not yield a win-win situation.

    “They [China and other countries] are very clear about their strategies in terms of interaction with Africa and what they are supposed to get out of that,” Kudumo said.

    A fundamental consideration for Africans is whether the economic and political imbalance between China and African states can in fact produce a win-win outcome, or not, and what conditions can bring about such a scenario.

    “When we talk of China-African cooperation and its impact, we need to ask ourselves to what extent is it contributing to expanding the choices of people, to what extent it is contributing to human development and a better life,” Kudumo said.

    He added: “We need to clearly define what our national interests and priorities are.

    We need to be proactive rather than reactive in our international relations engagement. If we are reactive we will take what is given to us while perhaps not taking our best interests into account.”



    China bounding on

    China is moving with leaps and bounds to enlarge its footprint on the continent while Namibia and the rest of Africa may still struggle to navigate how best to benefit from this cooperation.

    The charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Namibia, Yang Yun, says more impetus is being injected into Namibia-China relations following the FOCAC meeting in Beijing last year.

    He says China “stands ready” to provide agricultural assistance and technology by sending agricultural experts, to support in the construction of major infrastructure projects, implement environmental cooperation such as desalination, wildlife protection, desertification prevention and control, and enhance development experiences.

    Yun said under the FOCAC framework the two countries have agreed for more Chinese medical teams to come to Namibia and the assistance to vulnerable groups.

    China intends to promote the development of Confucius institutions here and explore the building of a Chinese cultural centre.

    Yun said China intends to strengthen security cooperation and support the construction of a “safe city” and strengthen training for law enforcement personnel.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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  • 03/04/19--14:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Dangote Cement says London listing likely to be 2020

    Nigeria's biggest listed firm Dangote Cement said on Friday it has been in talks with several banks over a long-planned secondary stock market listing in London which it now thinks likely to happen in 2020.

    The cement company, owned by Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote, said the banks had not yet been selected.

    In October 2018, Dangote said the listing would go ahead this year after Nigerian elections, but couldn't say when exactly. It said at the time that Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Standard Chartered could be among the banks to organise the listing.

    On Wednesday, Dangote Cement posted an after-tax profit of 390 billion naira (US$1.3 billion) for 2018, its highest ever, boosted by a 134 billion naira tax reversal, sending its shares listedon the Lagos bourse higher.

    The company, which makes up around a third of market capitalisation on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, operates across 10 African countries with annual production capacity of about 45 million tonnes. It has been seeking to double that capacity. – Nampa/Reuters

    Vale's CEO to step down after Brazil dam burst

    Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA chief executive Fabio Schvartsman and several other senior executives resigned on Saturday in what the company described as a temporary move, after one of its mining dams burst in January, killing hundreds.

    Vale said Schvartsman offered his resignation, which the board "immediately accepted" after state and federal prosecutors recommended their removal late on Friday.

    The move comes slightly over a month after a tailings dam broke at Vale's Corrego do Feijao mine in the interior Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, likely killing over 300 people and releasing massive amounts of toxic sludge.

    The resignations came after documents emerged in recent weeks showing that Vale knew it had an elevated risk of rupture and that inspectors felt they were under pressure to certify the structure as safe.

    Also resigning were Vale's head of ferrous minerals and coal, Peter Poppinga, planning director Lucio Flavio Gallon Cavalli and Silmar Magalhaes Silva, the head of a geographic division at Vale. – Nampa/Reuters

    Huawei plans billions in dividends for staff

    China's Huawei is set to reward employee shareholders with a 3% rise in cash dividends that are worth billions of UA dollars, according to company sources and Reuters calculations - a move expected to boost morale as it battles a US-led drive against its telecom gear.

    The payout also appears to indicate profit growth as well as confidence the company can survive US accusations that its telecoms network equipment may enable espionage by the Chinese government, analysts said.

    Known for its so-called "wolf culture" that demands high levels of dedication from employees in return for high pay, Huawei Technologies Ltd boasts that some 80 000 of its workers own nearly all of the company's shares - a scheme viewed as unique for a firm of its size.

    The cash dividend per share for 2018 is expected to rise to 1.05 yuan per share from 1.02 yuan, six employee-shareholder sources told Reuters, citing internal notices handed down over the past month.

    Huawei said in December it expects 2018 revenue to rise 21% to US$109 billion, its fastest pace in two years. The company, which made a net profit of 47.5 billion yuan in 2017, is due to announce figures for last year in late March. – Nampa/Reuters

    Amazon plans new grocery-store business

    Amazon.com Inc plans to open dozens of grocery stores across the United States as it looks to expand in the food business, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

    Amazon is also exploring a strategy of strengthening its new supermarket brand by purchasing regional grocery chains that operate at least a dozen stores, according to the report.

    Amazon, which bought the upscale Whole Foods chain for US$13.7 billion in 2017, is now in talks to open grocery stores in shopping centres in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia, the WSJ report said.

    The online retail giant plans to open its first store in Los Angeles as early as the end of the year, and has already signed leases for at least two other grocery locations with openings planned for early next year, the Journal reported.

    The new stores were not intended to compete directly with Whole Foods, according to the report. Amazon declined to comment. – Nampa/Reuters

    Tesla settles in cash convertible bond obligation

    Tesla Inc has paid off a US$920 million convertible bond obligation in cash, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

    The bond, which matured on Friday, had a US$359.87 conversion price, but the electric carmaker's shares closed down 8% at US$294.79, forcing the company to settle its largest ever debt payment in cash.

    Convertible issues give bondholders the right to trade their debt for equity after shares rise over a certain price, allowing holders to benefit from a rising share price, while also offering bond-like protection if it falls.

    Friday's payout will make a significant dent in the US$3.7 billion in cash Tesla had on hand at the end of 2018.

    Tesla on Thursday offered for the first time a US$35 000 version of its Model 3 sedan and said its global sales would now be online-only. – Nampa/Reuters

    Jaguar Land Rover to announce major UK investment

    Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, part of Tata Motors Ltd, is preparing to announce hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment in Britain, the BBC reported on Friday.

    The reported investment would be a rare piece of good news for Britain's car industry, which is now recording falling sales, investment and production.

    A JLR spokeswoman described the report as speculation.

    Last month, Jaguar Land Rover's owner Tata Motors Ltd reported the biggest-ever quarterly loss in Indian corporate history of aboutUS$4 billion on slumping China sales.

    British new car production nosedived 18.2% in January, the eighth successive month of annual declines, due to model changes and weaker demand both in Britain and major export markets, an automotive industry body said on Thursday. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Hopes fade for a good harvestHopes fade for a good harvestCrops have died in the heat With critical rains staying away during January and February, Kavango East farmers say their hopes have been dashed completely. A subsistence farmer from Mayana village in the Kavango East Region says that with the lack of rainfall during January and February which saw his crops die due to the heat, good rainfall in March will not have a significant impact.

    Johannes Nangombe (75), just like thousands of farmers across the country, is desperately waiting on good rains in order for his crops to grow to secure a good harvest at the end of this season.

    Nangombe told Namibian Sun this situation reminds him of the 1992 and 1994 cultivation seasons which he says were similar. Very poor rain was experienced and little to nothing was harvested during those seasons.

    He explained that farming mahangu is a process which requires good rains. Without rainfall there is no harvest. “As subsistence farmers, we look forward to the January and February rains. If these two months pass and there was a poor rain spell, farmers are left hopeless because we know the March rain will do nothing to the already dead crops,” Nangombe said.

    Nangombe added that by this time, he and his family would normally be feasting on the fast-growing crops such as melons and maize.

    “We would be eating the maize and melons but as you can see I am at home, waiting for the rain. We are entering the month of March and we have not even started weeding. This will really be a bad year for us farmers who rely solely on our harvests from the fields,” Nangombe said.

    Nangombe said that he ploughed about three hectares of his four-hectare land, spending N$1 600 on the exercise.

    Due to the prospects that it will not be a good harvest this year, he said that he hopes government will later in the year come forward with the drought relief programme.

    “As a hard worker I really wanted to work my field and feed my family. I do not like waiting on the drought relief because you never know when it comes. When you work your field, you are in charge of the situation and you know what you are getting,” Nangombe said.

    All along the Rundu-Divundu main road, many fields are dry and it is unlikely to see families weeding their fields this season.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 03/04/19--14:00: Fewer Chinese in Namibia
  • Fewer Chinese in NamibiaFewer Chinese in Namibia A survey done last year showed that there were between 3 000 and 4 000 Chinese nationals living in Namibia, the charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Namibia, Yang Yun has said.

    Yang was speaking at the fourth Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab Lecture Series in Windhoek at the close of last week under the theme 'The Impact of China-Africa Relations on Namibia in the context of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)'.

    He noted that even though many Namibians believe that the number of Chinese in Namibia is extremely high, this is not the case as the climax of the Chinese in Namibia was more than five to six years ago and at that time, there were almost 10 000 Chinese nationals in the country.

    “The number has reduced is because the economy here in Namibia is not so good and they found fewer opportunities,” said Yang. When asked by one of the panellists why it is difficult for Africans who studied in China to find employment there, whereas there are Chinese nationals who are employed in African countries, he responded by saying that employment competition in China is fierce.

    “It is true, I also find it difficult to survive there, the competition is fierce and Chinese people pride themselves on being the most intelligent people in the world,” noted Yang.

    He further spoke about how the Chinese are willing to work overtime, noting that they are flexible with working hours and they are always available, whilst others are not.

    For African people, he said, it is difficult to survive in China without special skills.

    NAMPA

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    Namibia's internet costs are too highNamibia's internet costs are too high Namibia has been ranked poorly in the latest edition of the Inclusive Internet Index, which placed the country last among 24 upper-middle-income countries.

    Globally Namibia was ranked 84th out of the 100 countries scored in the Inclusive Internet Index, commissioned by Facebook and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

    Expanded to cover 100 countries, up from 86 in 2018, the index provides a rigorous benchmark of national-level internet inclusion across four categories: Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness. Globally Namibia was ranked 82nd for internet availability, 85th for affordability, 75th for relevance and 71st for readiness.

    Namibia was ranked the worst among the middle-income countries with a weak performance in all categories in comparison to other countries in this group.

    Namibia did score better among African nations, though. It was ranked 17th among 31 African countries, with relatively good scores for relevance (eighth) and readiness (tenth).

    The index further shows that 29.5% of households in Namibia use the internet. There is a 14.8% gender gap in internet access, with 54% male internet users and 47% female internet users.

    The study revealed that progress on closing the digital divide between low-income countries and the rest of the world has stalled, reflecting slow growth in internet connections and 4G network coverage in the past year.

    South Africa, which was ranked 50th globally, was ranked as the best African nation and the Congo as the worst.

    Globally, Sweden topped the Index and Congo was ranked last.

    According to the study, growth in internet connections slowed in 2019, while a concerning divide is emerging between low-income countries and the rest.

    While men still have higher rates of internet and mobile access than women, the gender gap is narrowing. Low-income and lower-middle-income countries are driving the change.

    There is a gender gap in internet access in favour of men in 84% of the countries in the 2019 index. This gap widened in high-income countries, to 4.3% more men than women having access, up from 3.5% in 2018. However, low-income and lower-middle-income countries actually drove progress overall.

    Connection quality has improved overall, driven mostly by lower-middle-income countries, but low-income nations are falling behind on 4G coverage.

    In low-income countries the share of the population covered by 4G networks rose nearly four percentage points to 21%. In addition, global mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants grew by 0.3% this year, but low-income countries actually saw a decline of 2%.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Port expansion to spur growth in fishingPort expansion to spur growth in fishing The N$4.2 billion expansion of the Walvis Bay harbour, which included the dredging and reclamation of 40 hectares of land, is almost complete.

    The new container terminal reached 90% completion on 9 January this year and the project is expected to be fully completed by mid-year.

    The ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz play a leading role in facilitating economic growth not just for Namibia, but also within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

    “To support the growth and performance of Namibia’s economy, Namport has to continually upgrade and expand. This why the new container terminal on reclaimed land project was implemented in the port of Walvis Bay,” says Namport.

    “The project will cater for containerised cargo handling capacity well into the next decade. The port of Walvis Bay is ideally located to accelerate the growth of Namibia and the SADC region as a whole by providing a gateway to the region, thus serving as a logistics hub.”

    The new container terminal will be able to handle more containers than ever before, Namport says.

    “Our clients, such as the clearing and forwarding agents, will have more business and related industries such as trucking companies will be transporting more cargo into the hinterland countries such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    “The potential positive knock-on effect [extends] to all industries based in Walvis Bay as more jobs will be created... The benefits of Namport handling cargo will create prosperity for Walvis Bay, the Erongo Region and Namibia as a whole,” says Namport.

    The new container terminal will also allow the port authority to commission a dedicated cruise passenger liner.

    “This will allow for passenger liners to dock in Walvis Bay for longer periods and boost tourism for the region. Passengers will disembark and take daily excursions, directly impacting [the] recreational tourism industry and thus creating more employment opportunities for tour operators, restaurants, shops and SME business as passenger vessels in the port of Walvis Bay will become a norm.”

    Fishing sector benefits

    Namport manages the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, which serve the entire Namibian fishing fleet.

    “The infrastructure in both ports thus serves as the backbone of the fishing industry. In addition to providing infrastructure such as deep-water berths, aids to navigation and dredged areas, Namport also provides the fishing industry with various services, some of which are vessel traffic management services, tugboat services and safe anchorage.”

    Fish and related products amounted to 10% of the total volumes handled by the two ports in the 2017/18 financial year.

    Marina development

    Another exciting initiative earmarked for the port of Walvis Bay is a waterfront and marina development, which is expected to support the tourism, commerce and various other industries in the region.

    The development, according to Namport, will be a private-public-partnership (PPP) and will be completed in phases.

    The area will consist of a working harbour and local heritage to revitalise urban development and tourism.

    “At the marina area, the types of vessels that will dock are yachts, sailboats, ski-boats and small fishing boats. Residential and commercial zones will be carved out to serve the residents of Walvis Bay and visitors to the coastal town.

    “The new development will benefit the tourism sector and provide more focus on the commercial activities at the waterfront. Job opportunities will be created in retail, tourism and commercial job facilities.”

    National Single Window project

    Namport has also accepted a task from the central government to drive the National Single Window project, which is an online tool to facilitate the exchange of information related to trade such as import, export and transit procedures.

    The system will also accept electronic payments of fees, duties and taxes required for trade transactions.

    “This automation of manual trade processes will reduce the time it takes to clear goods, which will have a positive impact on costs and time in the supply chain.

    “So it is a real game-changer for trade and economic prosperity and will receive priority attention from Namport. We are certain that it will significantly improve Namibia’s global competitiveness and port efficiency ratings as well as contribute to the success of the Namibia Logistics Hub,” the ports authority says.

    Namport has established a subsidiary company, Namibia e-Trade Services, to manage and operate the window with a view to entering into a strategic alliance with a technical partner who will bring to the table experience and expertise in such an operation.

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    Glencore highlights trade as 'foremost risk', others growingGlencore highlights trade as 'foremost risk', others growing Barbara Lewis - Glencore said trade barriers are its "foremost risk", but climate, political, legal and other potential dangers have become more pressing for the mining and trading group.

    Glencore's annual report published on Friday said it was seeking to mitigate its risks through conservative spending and strict compliance after it said in February it would limit its coal capacity.

    Risk is high on the agenda for mining companies after the Vale dam burst in Brazil in January provided a stark reminder of the potential dangers.

    Campaigning investors welcomed Glencore's increased recognition of climate risk and the cap on the most polluting fossil fuel by the world's biggest shipper of seaborne coal.

    "It's good to see Glencore finally responding somewhat to the very real and imminent threat posed by our climate crisis," Christian Aid's senior private sector advisor said, adding it was critical Glencore delivered on its commitments.

    Glencore, which operates in countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, is viewed by analysts as having a high risk appetite. While this can drive profits, its share price has underperformed its peers as political risk has risen to the fore and as investors shun coal.

    On Friday, Glencore's share price was 0.5% higher by 1333 GMT, adding to gains of nearly 5% this year.

    BARRIERS

    Trade barriers, Glencore said, "could reduce demand for certain of our commodities or restrict our supplies", while on market volatility, significant falls, especially in copper, coal or zinc would have "a severe drag on our financial performance".

    Commodity price risk is perennial, but other concerns rose last year, especially in Congo, where Glencore mines the copper and cobalt that are increasingly needed for electric vehicles and electrification to reduce greenhouse gases.

    It has said it is ready to negotiate with the new government following elections at the end of last year as it and other miners seek better terms than laid out in a new 2018 mining code.

    Glencore is also subject to a US Department of Justice investigation related to its activities in Congo.

    Faced with the rising risks, Glencore said it was keeping spending at "controllable levels" to provide a buffer and help it maintain a strong investment grade credit rating.

    It has also set up an ethics committee and is monitoring climate risk, although it regards coal, which remains in demand from Asia in particular, as an opportunity as well as a risk because its assets are high quality and can command a premium. – Nampa/Reuters

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    A day of reckoning for the ECB?A day of reckoning for the ECB? Balazs Koranyi - The European Central Bank has downplayed a global slowdown for months, but it will finally take a tentative step this week to prop up the euro zone economy, signalling fresh stimulus to keep banks lending.

    With a global trade war already biting and growth in Germany, the euro zone's powerhouse, stalling, gloom is quickly spreading across the region, leaving the ECB with the task of reviving confidence.

    After a decade of fighting crisis, it is a role the ECB is all too familiar with. But it will be tricky, nevertheless.

    The central bank just ended an unprecedented stimulus scheme and has already signalled further "normalisation", in the hope of doing away with crisis-era support. But some sort of policy reversal is inevitable.

    Exports are waning, Brexit is looming, industrial production is falling and US president Donald Trump is still weighing tariffs on Europe's vast car industry. The ECB is likely to slash its economic forecasts, putting its inflation target out of reach for several years, enough in itself to trigger action.

    "A traditional wait-and-see stance runs the risk of unintentional tightening of monetary conditions," ING economist Carsten Brzeski said. "The ECB will have to carefully balance between too-hasty action, which could be perceived as panic, and too much complacency."

    NOT ALONE

    To be fair, the ECB is not alone. The US Federal Reserve has already changed course, signalling that it would pause rate increases and stop shrinking its balance sheet, a reversal that has fuelled a two-month rally in stock markets.

    The ECB's first step will be to offer banks fresh long-term loans, rolling over a similar facility to keep the credit flowing.

    But the devil will be in the details, and the ECB is in no hurry to lay all of its cards on the table.

    Still hoping the economic slowdown is just temporary and will end by summer, the ECB is only likely to signal this week that support will come, taking some time to work out details. By then it might be clear whether a rebound is underway.

    It would also be relatively easy to take a 2019 rate increase off the table. Markets have already pushed expectations for a move into 2020, threatening to make ECB guidance obsolete.

    The problem is that any change in the guidance, which sees rates steady through the summer, will reach beyond the term of ECB president Mario Draghi, a potentially contentious move not all policymakers are ready to take.

    "One could argue than once forward guidance is the main tool left, unanimity becomes central to maximise the return of that policy tool. The risk is that by waiting for unanimity the de-anchoring of expectations becomes irreversible," Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

    UNANIMITY

    But unanimity is hard to achieve, given the history of countries like Germany and the Netherlands fighting loose policy. Any significant easing proposal is likely to reopen the rift between the hawks and doves, risking to create distracting noise around policy.

    Unprecedented personnel flux could also make it more difficult for the ECB to take big steps. Half its board and over a third of its rate-setting Governing Council get replaced this year.

    In itself, that should not have a great impact on policy. But the institution has a record of lining up behind its president, who doesn't just head the bank but is also a top economic policy advocate in key EU meetings.

    Still, clarity on who will take over from Draghi is unlikely to come before European elections in late May, raising the risk of policy hesitation at a sensitive time. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Global miners flock to Toronto as buyout buzz spreadsGlobal miners flock to Toronto as buyout buzz spreadsBarrick deal pivotal Acquisitions are more likely to be focused on assets and single-asset companies, rather than bigger miners. Mergers and weak management teams have destroyed capital. - Robert Cohen, Portfolio manager: 1832 Asset Management Nichola Saminather - Consolidation among smaller gold miners is expected to be top of mind as much of the industry meets in Toronto this week, with dealmakers cautiously optimistic a fresh wave of buyouts is imminent once major pending transactions are settled.

    Barrick Gold Corp's US$18 billion hostile bid for rival Newmont Mining Corp last week came shortly after the former's acquisition of Randgold Resources and the latter's friendly offer for Goldcorp Inc.

    These deals, their expected outcomes and the impact on the broader gold mining industry are expected to dominate the conversation at the annual conference of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, when tens of thousands of participants from around the world - from executives to investors to regulators - descend on Toronto.

    But given questions over which Newmont deal will proceed, and which assets the final combinations could shed, investors and analysts see other miners waiting out the uncertainties before making any moves for rivals.

    "The M&A activity with Barrick and Newmont is overshadowing everything, but it's also creating a vacuum," said Kai Hoffmann, chief executive officer of Oreninc, a provider of deals information about junior miners. "Low-cost, mid tier producers ... are going to get bought regardless of what's happening in the big ones."

    Deals hashed out before Barrick's surprise offer for Newmont are still likely to go ahead, Hoffmann added.

    MONEY

    Lingering financing constraints, as well as memories of earlier consolidations that have failed to yield the expected returns, are also likely to keep companies and investors cautious.

    "The gold price is good, but capital flows, while probably better than last year, are still very scarce," said Robert Cohen, portfolio manager at 1832 Asset Management, which holds shares in several mining companies. "Mergers and weak management teams have destroyed capital. Investors have become a bit more cautious in their approach."

    Australian miners are likely to be potential buyers, as companies such as Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining have benefited from disciplined management and "have all made oodles of free cash flow in the past few years", said Maria Smirnova, senior portfolio manager at Sprott Asset Management, which invests exclusively in miners.

    "Some of them would like to enter the North American market."

    Northern Star and Evolution Mining could not be immediately reached for comment outside business hours.

    ACQUISITIONS

    Acquisitions are more likely to be focused on assets and single-asset companies, rather than bigger miners, said Phil Hopwood, global leader for mining and metals at Deloitte, which provides advisory and tax services to companies.

    That will be driven by expectations that the Barrick-Newmont deals will result in sales of mines that do not meet the pair's investment rationale, he said.

    A continued lack of funding for smaller companies also remains a hurdle, Smirnova said.

    "When the money comes, it comes to the bigger guys first," she said.

    However, if the gold price, currently near $1,300 an ounce, stabilizes between UA$1 360 to US$1 380 an ounce, that could draw more investors and provide momentum for deal-making, Smirnova and Hoffmann said.

    "There's definitely a lot of interest but the market's not ready yet," Hoffmann said. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Mr and Miss A. I. Steenkamp revampedMr and Miss A. I. Steenkamp revamped A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: The glitzy and glamorous pageant took place on 1 March at the Immanuel Shifidi school hall. The last Mr and Miss A.I. Steenkamp was held in 2010. The school hasn’t had this event for that long and has decided that it will be reintroduced after its 50th birthday celebrations. The majority of the contestants were in grade six and seven. ‘Good, better, best, may I never rest until my good is better and my better is best’ was the theme of the event. The teachers at the school use it as a motivation not only when the learners are modelling but also when they are busy with schoolwork. Mr and Miss A.I. Steenkamp are Emma Mujoro and Uasora Tjirare. PHOTO MICHELLINE NAWATISES

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    The education system faces challenges - Stears The education system faces challenges - Stears Justicia Shipena

    Six young Namibians from local institutions received bursaries on 27 February from Sanlam in Windhoek. Over 200 students applied for the bursary scheme and six were successful.

    The recipients are Miryam Haufiku (Bachelors of Computer Science at Nust), Vilho David Nakalemo (Bachelors of Science, Information and Technology at Unam), Alina Gervasius (Bachelors of Accounting at Unam), Statin Siebritz (Bachelors of Computer Science at Nust), Clemens Nuunyango (Bachelors of Computer Science at Nust) and Fredy Lineekela Emabashu (Bachelors of Science at Nust).

    The Sanlam bursary scheme aims to reward well-performing, but disadvantaged, Namibian students with an opportunity to pursue their tertiary education.

    The scheme further aims to make a meaningful contribution to the country by developing much-needed skills in the fields of accounting and finance, marketing, human resources, business administration and actuarial science. To date, over 50 students have benefited from the bursary scheme with over N$2 million having been spent since 2002 when the bursary scheme was first initiated.

    Some of the students who previously benefited from the bursary scheme have gone on to create their own businesses where they employ other Namibians and some have taken up positions within Sanlam and other companies.

    Speaking at the handover ceremony, the CEO of Sanlam Tertius Stears, said despite the many initiatives government has put in place, education especially at tertiary level, is still not affordable for many of our students.

    It is a growing burden on government and on parents who want to see their children get the necessary skills to contribute to the development of the economy.

    “This burden cannot be tackled by government alone but will require different stakeholders, including those from the private sector, to come on-board and assist government with these challenges,” he said.

    Stears also said that the education system is facing enormous challenges which prevent the Namibian child to get a quality education.

    He added that Sanlam has developed various corporate social responsibility initiatives which reach across different areas and include education, sports development, health and welfare, as well as entrepreneurship, arts and culture.

    “Through this we are able to plough back into communities and thus, support the efforts of government and others,” he said.

    Stears urged the recipients to double their efforts during their studies in order to complete them with flying colours to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the country.

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    Unam law students receive financial assistance Unam law students receive financial assistance Justicia Shipena



    Trustco Insurance, through its Legal Shield product, recently provided financial assistance to three University of Namibia (Unam) law students for the 2019 academic year. The students received financial support as well as an opportunity to conduct their work-integrated learning at Trustco Insurance upon graduation.

    The beneficiaries of the Legal Shield bursary scheme each received a total of N$30 000. The recipients are Bernice Keet, Julia Nampweya and Unjimuna Katjerungu. The financial assistance will enable them to focus on their studies rather than the financial hardships encountered when pursuing a higher education qualification.

    Since 2002, the Legal Shield bursary initiative has awarded in excess of N$1 million to numerous students. Upon completion of their studies, the three recipients will be granted the opportunity of employment at Trustco Insurance where they will each receive valuable practical experience in the legal working environment. This is to equip them for the future by enhancing their confidence in executing tasks. To date, a total of 42 bursaries have benefited from the financial assistance provided through the Legal Shield scheme.

    Kevin Anderson, Trustco Insurance’s head of claims, stated that in fulfilment of Trusco’s social responsibilities, they should not just pay lip service to an idea but take the time not only to provide financial assistance, but to also provide a solid support base that will produce well-balanced individuals who are ready to shape the future.

    Speaking to The Zone, Bernice Keet an LLB third-year student, said having received the bursary, she feels relieved. She said just because financial security exists at the moment, doesn’t mean she should sit back and just watch it play out. She needs to keep on securing her future.

    “I feel that no matter the security of my education this year; I shouldn’t take it for granted. I shouldn’t be relaxed, I should stay on my game. I’m half way there, I should stay strong,” she said.

    Keet urged the youth to work hard. She added that one does not need to be an A-student to have passion, drive and perseverances.

    “You need to work when work is to be done. Strive for success, no matter the situation, and believe in yourself. Look back and admire where you are and what you’ve come from,” she said.

    The management of Trustco Insurance believes that investing in promising legal students is an investment in the future. Legal Shield was launched in 2000 as the only Namibian legal insurance provider. It offers affordable legal cover against costs stemming from civil, criminal, matrimonial, labour and administrative matters.

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  • 03/04/19--14:00: 1.2 tonnes of dagga seized
  • 1.2 tonnes of dagga seized1.2 tonnes of dagga seizedPolice arrest 60 on smuggling charges Cannabis remains the most popular illicit drug in Namibia, with most of the supply coming from South Africa and Lesotho. The Namibian police arrested 60 suspects during drug seizures in February.

    In a statement released yesterday, Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi said 56 of the suspects were locals, one was from Mozambique and three from eSwatini.

    Dagga remains Namibia's favourite drug, with a whopping 1.2 tonnes, valued at N$12.4 million, seized. Dagga plants weighing 1.2 kilograms, valued at just over N$30 000, were also seized.

    Other seizures included 434 Mandrax tablets with a street value of N$520 800; 55 grams of cocaine, valued at N$17 500; and crack cocaine with a street value of N$22 300. The police also seized 19 abortion tablets, valued just over N$4 000. Earlier this month, Namibian Sun reported that during the period 2012 to 2016 a total of 2.2 tonnes of dagga, 2.25 tonnes of dagga plants, 4 821 units of crack cocaine and 16 436 Mandrax tablets were confiscated in Namibia. The police also seized 37 straws of crystal methamphetamine (tik) and 40 tonnes of ephedrine, the active ingredient in tik, during that period.

    The retired head of the Namibian Police drug squad, Deputy Commissioner Hermie van Zyl, told Namibian Sun in 2017 that dagga was the most common drug in Namibia, while the Khomas, Erongo and Oshana regions had the highest drug consumption.

    He said because it is so cheap, dagga is a popular drug among many users. “It is actually your drug for the poorer people and the beginner drug for many.” He said the type of drug a person used depended on their status and income.

    Van Zyl said crack cocaine and Mandrax were also popular in Namibia, followed by Ecstasy. These were mostly found in Windhoek, Swakopmund and in the north.

    “But Ecstasy is more of a party drug and then you will get a little bit of LSD. That is the drug that makes you hallucinate, makes you see things and makes you think you can crawl through keyholes.”

    He said dagga was mainly smuggled into Namibia from Lesotho and South Africa, and also at Rundu via Angola.

    Cocaine came from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil, via South Africa. According to Van Zyl, Ecstasy came from Europe via South Africa, and LSD from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

    He said a popular way to smuggle dagga was by using commercial trucks. Therefore, customs officials at border posts were trained to look out for the newest methods drug smugglers might use.

    Although there were no official statistics, Van Zyl was of the view that drugs are a huge problem in the country.

    “This I know from what drug users and sellers have told me,” he said.

    YANNA SMITH

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    TransNamib wins appeal against fired train driverTransNamib wins appeal against fired train driver The Windhoek High Court has dismissed the findings of a labour arbitrator who had ruled in favour of a former TransNamib train driver accused of theft.

    The arbitrator had ordered the train driver's reinstatement and payment of more than N$200 000 in compensation.

    Last week, Acting Judge Petrus Unengu said based on the evidence, including witness statements given during the labour arbitration in 2017, the conclusion reached by arbitrator Phillip Mwandingi that the dismissal had been unfair was wrong.

    “On the evidence as a whole presented before him, the arbitrator should not have come to the conclusion he came to,” Unengu found.

    Unengu said Mwandingi's conclusion was not supported by the evidence presented during the labour case and was against the legal principles of the law of evidence.

    “Another arbitrator in his position, faced with the same evidence, would have come to a different conclusion that the one reached by Mr Mwandingi in this appeal.”

    TransNamib had charged Ben Nakambonde with three counts of misconduct, including theft, misappropriation of funds and disobedience.

    He was found guilty on all three counts at a disciplinary hearing and was fired. The charges stemmed from an incident in which it was discovered that Nakambonde had pocketed a train fare of N$120 paid to him by a 17-year-old customer, named in court documents only as 'Dikuua', on the route between Walvis Bay to Windhoek in August 2015.

    Several witnesses were able to testify to the incident, including the fact that Dikuua handed over the money but was never issued a ticket by Nakambonde, nor any change.

    The theft was uncovered when TransNamib officials later asked customers to show their tickets, and Dikuua was unable to do so.

    Nakambonde denied the theft and accused TransNamib officials and other witnesses who had been on the train of conspiring to get rid of him. Nakambonde also claimed the witnesses had been “planted” by TransNamib.

    Ignored evidence

    After his dismissal, Nakambonde filed an unfair dismissal case with the Office of the Labour Commissioner and Mwandingi was appointed as the arbitrator.

    Among the issues highlighted by the judge were Mwandingi's ready acceptance of the version given by Nakambonde and the dismissal of several witness statements.

    “In his assessment of evidence, in particular evidence presented by witnesses who testified on behalf of TransNamib, the arbitrator was quick to discredit a witness for this or the other reason,” Unengu said.

    “It is highly improbable that all people who were involved in the matter are [Nakambonde's] enemies who teamed up against him to get rid of him. I think they are correct in denying such a conspiracy against [Nakambonde].”

    The judge ruled that the entire award issued by the arbitrator in October 2017 be set aside.



    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Nust VC position to be re-advertisedNust VC position to be re-advertised The position of vice-chancellor (VC) at the Namibia University of Science and Technology will be re-advertised, Namibian Sun has learned.

    This follows a council meeting that was held on 28 February to deliberate on the selection of a new vice-chancellor.

    Council members met last week Thursday to discuss the Joint Search Committee findings and approve the next stage of the selection process.

    Nust council chairperson Esi Schimming-Chase would not be drawn into commenting on the development.

    “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on scoring of candidates during the interview process at any time. The university also cannot comment on a recruitment process which has not yet been completed in full and all candidates have been informed of the outcome,” Schimming-Chase said.

    According to Schimming-Chase, the appointment of a new vice-chancellor remained important.

    “The recruitment of a substantive vice-chancellor at Nust is of paramount importance both to the institution and to the nation at large,” Schimming-Chase.

    The current VC, Professor Tjama Tjivikua, was not interested in extending his stay at the helm of the university, Schimming-Chase said. “I can confirm that he is not at all interested in an extension of his acting term,” she said.

    Five candidates were shortlisted for the position. University of Namibia academics Frednand Gideon and Erold Naomab were the only Namibians.

    The other three were Nigerian national Abraham Ogwu, Botswana national Otlogetswe Totolo and Turkish national Said Irandoust.

    Naomab and Gideon performed well in their interviews, sources indicated.

    Gideon told Namibian Sun that he was still waiting to be informed of the outcome of the interview.

    “I have not been informed yet,” he said during a brief telephonic interview.

    Naomab could not be reached for comment.

    The new VC is expected to hold a doctorate in natural science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an internationally recognised university, with at least ten years of executive leadership experience in higher education and a deep understanding of the operations and affairs of a university.

    The search for a new vice-chancellor attracted 39 applicants at one stage.

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  • 03/04/19--14:00: For the birthday folk
  • For the birthday folkFor the birthday folkAll the 1998 babies are turning 21 this year! This is the first year I am amped about my birthday. The blessings have been overflowing. I am glowing and so are my peers. Some of you have never fully grasped the fruitfulness of pure faith and it shows. Turning 21 is a milestone and should be celebrated accordingly. Elizabeth Joseph

    Although people, especially coloured people, make a big deal out of this, the fact that you are surrounded by everyone you love and appreciate should be the pinnacle of the day.

    Some people spend thousands of dollars to make sure you have a birthday you will never forget, and rightfully so. Turning 21 is a gateway to adulthood, to making calculated and uncalculated decisions and to building upon the foundations already laid for you.

    Society has certain expectations of you as you age. For some reason no one expects anything from you at 21. You can literally be a sloth all year, without having to own a car or a house, getting married, securing your bag or having a baby.

    We just casually cruise through a year of self-love and journey with ourselves. I am not complaining. I love getting to know myself and exploring my abilities, both personally as well as professionally.

    What’s the rush? You only turn 21 once. You might as well make waves while you’re at it.

    After that, the real adulating starts. Most people would have graduated by then and it is now time to step into the real world. Now people expect us to be “settling”, to be focused, to grow up and to have everything together.

    This has to be the biggest misconception ever. Whether you’re looking for a job, gathering a deposit for a new place or blissfully courting a romantic partner, good things take time. Putting a deadline to these things is too farfetched.

    There’s no problem in putting certain goals in place and working towards them, but there is literally no urgency. Society hurries us to obtain certain things at a certain time and that can be physically as well as emotionally draining.

    I know how hard it can be not to be as privileged as other people. I have to constantly make plans that require me to grow up faster and be way ahead of my age. Staying on my own, stretching myself at work and securing my own, because there is no one pushing me; that is absolutely on me. I love it and I’m grateful for the life that I have made for myself so far, although I wish I had a break every now and again, but the pace won’t slow down or stop anytime soon.

    My only desire is to be at Camps Bay and have a real fancy, ‘Instafabulous’ photo shoot. I never did anything like that and this is my chance. I will go all out with the details and those helium balloons from Tumblr. There are these once in a lifetime days in your life, like giving birth, getting married and turning 21. And we all know which ones I’m not getting myself into… at least not now.

    As we grow old we lose our excitement for birthdays for several reasons, none of which I will go into because that’s a column for another day. When you have so much to be grateful for and when you’ve seen yourself go though the most and still come out as strong as ever, then you really should celebrate your life and your accomplishments, no matter how minute they might seem.

    The proof is in the pudding and I swear I’ve been eating loads of that. Make this year a great one and to everyone turning or who has turned 21, may this year bring you closer to yourself and your dreams. Be good to yourself and others.

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    Prosecute illegal timber loggers Prosecute illegal timber loggers Corruption remains public enemy number one in many developing countries and Namibia is no exception. There have been many concerns regarding the rampant abuse of power for self-gratification, especially in government, where taxpayers’ money is often involved. Concerns are that there are no resolute efforts to fight corruption, especially at the highest level. There is clearly a slack attitude coupled by lax prosecution of glaring instances of corruption. The lack of political commitment to tackle graft, especially in the public service, does also not appease the situation. In today’s edition, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has raised serious concerns among forestry officials, who he accused of doling out timber harvesting licenses without the required clearance certificates (ECC) in place. It is disappointing that government has allowed this type of looting and contamination to continue unabated because of weak law enforcement and corruption. We surely cannot allow these syndicates to turn our environments into deserts just because of their insatiable demand for precious timber, leading to illegal logging. The ministry of environment must put its foot down and protect our environment without fear or favour from illegal loggers. There must also be measures in place to guard against corrupt activities and the involvement of senior government officials in illegal deeds. It appears at the moment that smart businessmen and their handlers in government are exploiting all necessary loopholes and are capitalising on a lack of government policy to continue with their thriving and illegal trade in timber. As a nation, we must fight this treacherous act tooth and nail because it does not only have grave consequences for our environment and future generations, but our economy is equally not spared. Therefore, a proper forestry management system must be in place to guard against this most violent attack on rosewood resources in our country. It should no longer be business as usual.

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    Sibanda leads from the front Sibanda leads from the front Do a good deed, stand up and lead Kudzai Sibanda, a philosophy and political science student, was recently elected president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) of all 12 University of Namibia (Unam) campuses. Justicia Shipena





    Kudzai Sibanda was born in Zimbabwe but relocated to South Africa in his fifth grade. He attended Knysna High, Percy Mdala and Concordia High schools. After he completed his schooling, he went on to do civil engineering and public relations at a college, but says, the passion wasn’t there.

    According to Sibanda, the things that have been the most important for his personal growth include getting to know people. During dinner, he says, he walks into different blocks at res to strike up conversations with different people, getting to know why individuals are different.

    “I’m very sensitive about my environment because ultimately it shapes us,” he said.

    In his view ethics are “everything in leadership” adding that ethics shape leadership and governs it. It holds leaders accountable and defines the difference between humility and arrogance.

    Being the SRC president this year, Sibanda said he identifies himself as an ordinary student who got tired of complaining and decided to get up and do something.

    “I’m just trying to take the first step towards my vision of youth mentorship. It is really absent in our community,” he said.

    He added that each person in his life has shaped the way he thinks and acts, and also rationalises his place in society.

    According to him what makes a good leader is the willingness and ability to follow saying if one has never followed before, how they will lead one day.

    Sibanda said one of the outstanding leaders he knows is Emma Theofelus as she has always put ethics above anything else.

    Earlier this year when Sibanda had an SRC meeting he managed to adapt his style in order to work effectively with the council.

    “I was with 12 different personalities and about four different tribes… each person a different personality. I couldn’t just behave in one style. I quickly had to learn how to adapt with languages and common slang and bearing in mind that each person has a different story,” he said.

    Growing up Sibanda’s mother never allowed him to speak his home language, Shona, rather, they would speak Xhosa or Zulu. While she could not speak them she wanted her son to learn them.

    “Now I see that she was promoting the love of culture and through it, the appreciation of diversity,” he said.

    He associates himself with people from different tribes and says this helps him see to promote diversity as it allows people to look at the same problem in different ways, promoting different and effective solutions.

    In his free time he plays golf, the guitar and enjoys modelling and writing.

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    Overnight train service to be introducedOvernight train service to be introducedFreight volume to be doubled within 5 years According to the CEO of TransNamib the parastatal loses out on 12 hours of passenger train services a day - time which could be turned into revenue. In order to boost our revenue collection and become a profitable company, our focus must only be railway services. – Johny Smith, CEO: TransNamib ILENI NANDJATO - TransNamib wants to borrow N$2.5 billion in order to successfully implement its five-year strategic business plan, which is aimed at making the railway company profitable and doubling its revenue collection.

    On Friday, TransNamib chief executive officer Johny Smith held a consultative meeting with traditional, local and regional authorities affected by the railway line in the north, informing them about the introduction of an overnight freight service on the Tsumeb-Oshikango railway line.

    In an interview with Namibian Sun, Smith said they would like to increase train services in the north.

    “In order to boost our revenue collection and become a profitable company, our focus must only be railway services. We have to double the volume of freight that we transport by rail throughout the country within the next five years. So, we have to look at where we can improve,” Smith said.

    “That is why we are here today to focus specifically on the Tsumeb-Ondangwa-Oshikango railway route. We want to implement a night service.

    “At this stage our trains only run during the day and we are losing out on more than 12 hours a day...”

    Smith said by introducing a night service TransNamib would be able to move more goods between Tsumeb, Ondangwa and Oshikango.

    In 2002 the government embarked upon the N$1.4 billion Northern Railway Line Extension Project. This was a three-phase project, with phase one (the 246 km Tsumeb-Ondangwa railway line) and phase two (the 60 km Ondangwa-Oshikango railway) already completed.

    Phase three, the 28 km line between Ondangwa and Oshakati, is currently under construction.

    INVESTMENT

    Smith said this is a very important railway connection for TransNamib because the northern part of the country has a larger population, and in order to benefit from it the company has to upgrade its services and infrastructure.

    “We require N$2.5 billion, which we have to borrow from banks or financial institutions, to support our business plan. We have to make sure it is viable and we will recover the money.

    “We will use this money to buy new locomotives, new technology as well as new assets, and the rolling stock that we require.

    “There is also a lack of certain skills. We have to provide for training and capacity development for staff to upgrade their skills,” he said.

    The local authorities welcomed TransNamib’s new business plan but appealed to the company to introduce a reliable passenger train service to the north.

    Smith said currently passenger trains ran three times a week between Tsumeb and Ondangwa.

    “In order for us to have a complete passenger service between the north and Windhoek, or the north and the coast, those are plans that we are developing,” he said.

    Oshikoto governor Henock Kankoshi urged TransNamib to make sure that bushes along the railway line are cleared.

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