The Southern African Development Community (SADC) organ on defence and security affairs, states that it will continue to work towards ensuring that the region continues to enjoy peace and stability.
SADC director, Tanki Mothae, asserts that processes of regional integration could face challenges in regions that have no peace.
"Without peace, the economic integration becomes a little bit difficult. At the same time, once economic integration has taken place, a very conducive environment of peace and security also becomes,” states Mothae.
To read the article titled, “SADC to work towards ensuring peace and security within the region,” click here.Source:All Africa
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says a weak recovery from the 2008 global economic downturn has curtailed job growth around the world.
The Geneva-based agency says that nearly 202 million workers were unemployed in 2013, up five million from the year before.
It further says youth unemployment is a particular problem, with more than 74 million people aged 15 to 24 out of work in 2013, adding that the youth employment rate is more than 13 percent, more than twice the overall global jobless rate.
To read the article titled, “ILO - weak global recovery has curtailed job growth,” click here.Source:All Africa
The Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) says that the government's three major economic policies are incoherent.
In relation to the National Development Plan, the New Growth Path, and the Trade and Industry Department's Industrial Policy Action Plan, the CDE executive director, Ann Bernstein, believes it is essential to have consistency within these policies.
“The economy is in trouble and South Africa needs certainty. It's time to make the tough choices and stick to them," explains Bernstein.
To read the article titled, “South Africa has incoherent economic policies, says CDE report,” click here.Source:Mail and Guardian
- SouthSouthNorth Projects - AfricaPlease note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.Opportunity closing date:Sunday, October 13, 2013Opportunity type:Employment
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- After nine years of waiting, the community of Ncera, a sprawling rural settlement located just outside East London, celebrated the success of its long-term community development project in the form of a launch to welcome the first harvest from the Ncera Macadamia Farming Project.
Along with local government and community organisations, the people of Ncera village hailed the success of the project, a community planting and harvesting initiative which aims to alleviate poverty and create employment in the region.
“This launch seeks to recognise and celebrate the first harvest of an initial 50 hectares that is currently being cultivated, out of a total of 300ha.This is the first community-owned Macadamia plantation in the Eastern Cape – the community owns the full macadamia value chain, namely the nursery, plantations and the processing plant,” explained an elated Wayne Simpson, Ncera Macadamia Farming’s managing director.
In short, the overall goal of the project is to utilise the Ncera land to create long-term, sustainable economic opportunities and jobs in Ncera and surrounding areas.
Simpson explains further: “The Ncera Plantations have created 90 permanent jobs and 14 seasonal jobs thus far, and are poised to create 400 jobs at full production and also inject a salary bill of R9 million per annum into the local economy perpetually.”
The Macadamia plantation is a project of Ncera Macadamia Farming, an initiative that was created with a long-term vision of developing into a world – class macadamia farm and to help improve the living conditions of the people of the Ncera community. The company upholds social development ideals, especially the development of sustainable black farmers, and has committed itself to investing in other social upliftment projects.
The Ncera community is rich in human and land resources. With that in mind, Ncera Macadamia Farming believes that the way forward for all stakeholders is through sharing these resources and developing these community assets in a sustainable manner. Eighty hectares of community land has been planted to macadamias already, acting as the model for further expansion into the Ncera community.
The government has supported the Ncera communities with infrastructure to develop their land and make it attractive for private sector investors to partner with the community, to develop the Macadamia plantations and to supply international markets with Macadamia nuts.
Vulindlela Investment Trust (VIT) - also one of the supporters - currently owns 51 percent of Ncera Macadamia Farming, while the remaining 49 percent is owned by Private Sector investors. The deal is such that government provided funds on behalf of the community to build orchard infrastructure on their land, which they own.
The project has made tremendous progress since starting to operate in 2005. “This project has been good for the community of Ncera and having worked with them from the beginning, I have to say I am very proud of the progress and development. We hope to acquire more land to extend the project and we are accessing all the help we can get to help us reach our goal. We recently joined the Legends business support programme which is sponsored by Old Mutual and it has been very helpful in terms of marketing support and dealing with some of the challenges we experience,” adds Wayne.
Among the achievements of the project is the 104 jobs created, training and skills development, further development of sustainable black farmers and the commitment of future company dividends into social upliftment projects.
The launch itself was a jovial affair attended by chiefs, mayors and members of nearby communities. Chief Dumalisile of Amajingqi from the Mbashe area attended the launch along with his tribal council and other members from his community.
“This celebration indicates that communities are able to own and drive their own initiatives and be fully sustainable, as against projects imposed on people. We believe that this project will have a great impact on the community and that is why we (AmaJingqi) support it. That is also why we have availed our land to be considered for a similar project,” concludes chief Dumalisile.
To learn more about the Ncera Macadamia Farming Project, contact Wayne Simpson on 081 320 3482 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Abram Molelemane is media officer at Fetola.
Africa has favourable medium-term economic prospects although growth rates have not recovered to pre-crisis levels, according to a report that also fingered rising inequality and abusive practices by multinationals.
Co-authored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the 2013 African Economic Outlook points out that, "With projected growth of 4.8 percent in 2013 and 5.3 percent in 2014, Africa's growth performance would continue to remain below average growth ... preceding the 2009 global recession."
The report further states that the continent needs seven percent growth to reduce poverty, while its population increases by two percent a year.
To read the article titled, “Africa must step up the tempo - report,” click here.Source:Fin24
- The 23rd World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF) themed ‘Delivering Africa's Promise" ended on 10 May in Cape Town. The three-day forum provided a platform for regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to expand Africa's integration agenda and renew commitment to a sustainable economic growth path. After the conclusion of the WEF the question remains: Whose promise does it aim to fulfil?
The WEF identified economic diversification, boosting infrastructure and unlocking Africa's talent as the key points of address for accelerating and achieving success. However, a critical factor for achieving economic prosperity, reducing inequality and improving unemployment is missing from this equation: Addressing gender inequality and women's equal access to economic opportunities.
Prior to the WEF, the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) convened a two-day meeting on Women's Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods of which 18 African organisations participated. The meeting expressed doubts that the current WEF agenda will address women's needs in Africa:
"We remain sceptical that real progress for Africa's one billion people - the majority of whom are women - will change radically through policies centred unremittingly on markets and profits, and based predominantly on the extraction of mineral resources. African people's needs and interests, particularly those of women, are not part of this narrow economic vision."
The AWDF meeting urged political and business leaders to acknowledge that aligning production systems to the requirements of external powers and profit devalue African women's economic contribution. The focus on the formal economy and traditional business models relegates women's skills and knowledge to the ‘informal economy'.
Despite widespread acknowledgement of the links between economic development and gender equality, few countries in Africa consider gender dimensions in economic policies. Women are an integral part of economic production and yet their contribution to economic development is not recognised.
Women invest more than 90 percent of their earnings in their families' health, education and their communities. The unpaid care and the non-market processes of where women predominate, contributes to the healthy functioning of the economy.
AWDF communications specialist, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah said AWDF is hopeful that the WEF heard and heeded their key concerns, explaining that Dr Frannie Leautier, the executive secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) voiced the issues at the WEF. Sekyiamah emphasised the need to "place African women squarely at the centre of initiatives to realise Africa's promise".
In her address to the WEF, Malawian President, Joyce Banda said, "You can never consider yourself a leader if you do not reach out and empower women." With constitutional reviews taking place across the region and elections coming up in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and Swaziland, governments and business leaders must pay due attention to Banda's statement as they play a pivotal role in determining the road ahead.
Unlocking the human potential of half the region's population can only be a win-win solution and this demands the empowerment of women in all social, political and economic spheres. No economic strategy will be successful if they do not look at prioritise women's participation and access to development and economic decision-making.
Furthermore, equality of opportunity is not the same as equality of outcomes. Progressive policies, laws and marginal representation remain mere tokens, unless they make a real and substantive difference in the lives of women at a grassroots level.
African leaders must recognise and regulate the effects of macroeconomic policies on microeconomic performance and they must harness the potential of the informal sector by linking it to the formal economy.
We are in the African Women's Decade (AWD) - a decade in which organisations and political leaders should aim to reduce poverty and promote economic empowerment of women through a grassroots approach to gender equality.
Members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are signatories to a wide range of international and regional commitments to achieve gender equality including the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Thirteen countries in SADC have signed the protocol, which sets 28 targets to be achieved by 2015, one of which aims to ensure equal participation of women and men in policy formulation and implementation of economic policies.
Until leaders align the targets of the SADC Gender Protocol with the economic strategies and outcomes of forums such as the WEF, gender inequality will severely impede Africa's economic growth and development.
African business and political leaders must assume their responsibility to economic justice and realise that ‘Delivering Africa's Promise’ will demand a shift of focus from Africa's mineral resources as key to transforming the continent and instead to acknowledging that women in Africa form one of the fastest-growing markets with the greatest purchasing power.
- Donna Godfrey is a freelance producer and writer based in Cape Town. This article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service that provides fresh views on everyday news.
According to a new report released by the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation, an estimated 73 million young people will be out of work this year.
The report, which calls for creative and wide-ranging policy solutions to address the problem, states that the weakening of the global recovery has further aggravated the youth jobs crisis and that queues for available jobs have become longer and longer for young jobseekers.
ILO assistant director general for policy, Jose-Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, says is it important for governments to invest more in training and retraining. The report further notes that the long-term impact of the youth employment crisis could be felt for decades.
To read the article titled, “UN concerned over long term impact of youth employment crisis,” click here.Source:SABC News
- The Statistics South Africa Quarterly Labour Force Survey has revealed that the number of unemployed persons increased by 100 000 people to 4.6 million between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. This took the country's official unemployment rate to 25.2 percent from 24.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The more realistic expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, increased to 36.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013 - the highest since 2008. This is a massive waste of human resources, which could be mobilised for development.
The report further says that the number of discouraged work seekers increased by 73 000 to 2.3 million between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 and young people (between 15-34 years old) accounted for 70.7 percent of the unemployed persons. This is preposterous!
It is absolutely demoralising to see that if this trend persists we shall not only fail to meet the government's target of creating five million new jobs between 2010 and 2020, but end up with a net loss of jobs over those 10 years.
COSATU is vindicated by reports that, in the first quarter of this year, employment in private households, i.e. domestic work, recorded a growth of 29 000. The agricultural sector also grew by 54 000 jobs – despite the increase in sectoral determinations which so many analysts were arguing was going to lead to a rapid decline in jobs.
Surely this will change the common perception about minimum wages. The increase in jobs in the agricultural sector has shown that where there is an increase in wages or when minimum wages are set at a reasonable level, they have no significant employment effect one way or the other.
The Freedom Charter says that there shall be a national minimum wage. Yet one of the areas that bourgeois apologists always raise regarding the discussion on labour market performance is the issue of minimum wages leading to job losses.
International experience - as outlined to our Collective Bargaining, Organising and Campaigns conference by the International Labour Organisation’s chief economist, Patrick Belser, as well as a detailed input on the experiences in Brazil - discredit these claims for what they are: propaganda and a denial of realities here and elsewhere.
Having said this, COSATU reaffirms its call for a legislated national wage and an incomes policy to be combined with an appropriate macro-economic and industrial policy - not the policy in the National Development Plan, which would entrench deregulation of the labour market, and deindustrialisation.
This legislated national minimum wage must cover all workers, and ensure the abolition of the existing ineffective and fragmented system of sectoral determinations and the introduction of comprehensive, legislated, wall-to-wall centralised bargaining in all sectors of the economy, through appropriate amendments to the Labour Relations Act.
We also welcome positive employment figures in the mining and construction sector, but it is concerning that the manufacturing industry has seen eight percent shrinkage in the last quarter and 10 percent shrinkage over the year. Construction has seen an overall significant increase over the year of around 70 percent - although a decline in this last quarter - that could be taken as an indicator that the expansion of infrastructure is working to create jobs. The continued shrinkage in manufacturing jobs is clearly a cause for worry.
The continuing job losses underline the correctness of our central demands there is an urgent need to overhaul macro-economic policies to be in line with a radical economic shift necessary to deal with unemployment, poverty and inequality. These demands include:
- The call for decisive state intervention in strategic sectors of the economy, including through strategic nationalisation and state ownership, and the use of a variety of macro-economic and other levers at the states disposal, which can be deployed to regulate and channel investment, production, consumption and trade to deliberately drive industrialisation, sustainable development, decent employment creation, and regional development, and to break historical patterns of colonial exploitation and dependence.
- The radical economic shift requires that institutionally, the Treasury, which constitutes the biggest obstacle to the government’s economic programme, needs to be urgently realigned; a new mandate needs to be given to the Reserve Bank, which must be nationalised; and the National Planning Commission must be given a renewed mandate, to realign the national plan, in line with the proposed radical economic shift. Aspects of the New Growth Path also need to be realigned in line with the proposed new macro-economic framework. All state owned enterprises and state development finance institutions need to be given a new mandate.
The only way to address the structural problems in the economy is through industrialisation, in particular promoting the manufacturing sector and the creation of decent jobs. COSATU fully supports the efforts by the Department of Trade and Industry to reverse the deindustrialisation of the economy as a result of neoliberal policies implemented before and after 1994.
We continue to support IPAP’s continuing emphasis on policy instruments like the designation of sectors for local procurement. These interventions have resulted in a turn-around in the clothing, textiles and leather sector that was almost annihilated by earlier neoliberal trade policies. This is a clear indication that conscious interventions by the state can save and create more jobs in the economy.
COSATU rejects interventions in the economy that focus on low value added service such as travel and tourism, and call centre operations. This is an incorrect route to follow in order to address poverty and inequality.
Lastly, COSATU will consistently campaign for policies that encourage manufacturing, including a significant cut in interest rates and the depreciation of the rand to promote new investment in job-creating industries, add value to our raw minerals and to make South African exports competitive on a global scale.
- Patrick Craven (email@example.com) is national spokesperson at the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
The rankings by the World Economic Forum (WEF) show that the government's delays in improving broadband Internet access have a negative impact on South Africa's economy.
In 2013, South Africa occupied 70th place in the WEF rankings of 144 countries, according to its ability to benefit from the digital era.
Rankings are determined on the basis of among other things; a country's regulatory and business environment, the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and the subsequent impact on the economy and society.
To read the article titled, “Broadband delays affect SA economy, says report,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian