Archive for August 16th, 2007

source: allAfrica

16 August 2007
Posted to the web 16 August 2007

Cape Town

South Africa’s central bank has again increased interest rates in its fight against inflation.

The deputy governor of the SA Reserve Bank, Xolile Guma, announced on Thursday that the bank’s monetary policy committee had decided to raise the bank’s key “repo” rate – the rate at which it lends money to commercial banks – by half a percentage point to 10 percent.

Presenting the decision in a nationally-televised news conference from Pretoria, Guma noted that inflation had increased at the rate of 6.4 percent in the year ended June due to the risings costs of food and energy.

Guma also presented statistics showing that South African consumers, whose confidence in the economy remains near record levels, are still spending too much. The bank is trying to put pressure on South Africans to increase their savings, and to cut inflation back to within a target range of three to six percent a year.

He noted that volatile financial markets in developed economies were affecting [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)

16 August 2007
Posted to the web 16 August 2007

David Masango

The new chairperson of the SADC, President of Zambia Levy Patrick Mwanawasa is to prioritise a number of focus areas during his term, including regional infrastructure development.

He takes over the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) from the Prime Minister of Lesotho Pakalitha Mosisili.

President Mwanawasa, will focus on among others, developing regional infrastructure, the SADC Fund and establishing a Free Trade Area (FTA).

“In order to achieve this goal [of infrastructure development in support of regional integration], road, rail air transport, telecommunications and energy development are going to be the main catalysts of our integration process,” he explained.

In his acceptance speech during the 27th SADC Ordinary Heads of State and Government Summit, which officially kicked off in Zambia Thursday, Mr Mwanawasa said he was aware of the enormous challenges of guiding the overall implementation of the SADC common agenda.

President Mwanawasa said the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan entails amongst others, strong infrastructure development.

He explained that SADC had registered “remarkable” successes since its inception because all member states mobilised their resources and cooperated closely to shape a common destiny.

“Together we must ensure that [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: August 16, 2007

LUSAKA, Zambia: President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia urged Zimbabweans to “maintain peace and stability” as southern African leaders gathered Thursday for a regional summit meeting in Lusaka, where the political and economic turmoil in neighboring Zimbabwe is topping the agenda.

As visiting heads of state were introduced, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe received the loudest reaction, drawing cheers, applause and laughter from a crowd of dignitaries. Mugabe stood and smiled in acknowledgment.

Mugabe sat next to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who is leading a regional effort to mediate a political truce between Mugabe and his political opposition. Mbeki was expected to report later in the day to other leaders on his efforts.

Mwanawasa, who is taking over the rotating chairmanship of the 14-member Southern African Development Community, praised elder statesmen who helped liberate countries in the region from colonial rule.

Among the southern African leaders who oversaw the liberation of their countries from colonial rule, Mugabe is the only one still in power. He has capitalized on his anti-colonialist credentials to rally support among ordinary Africans with rhetoric accusing the West of looking for an excuse to take over Africa again.

Mwanawasa appealed to Zimbabweans to “maintain peace and stability at all costs, because the opposite” will push their country “backwards.”

While Mugabe’s neighbors have long been reluctant to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
15 August 2007

Lao Tau

Parliament appears to have busied itself with consideration of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy at the instigation of the line ministry.

Therein lies the problem. Who is really responsible for government information? And what is ‘government information’ anyway?

The most recent appointments at the Office of the President betray a tussle for authority regarding the control of the information ship at government.

Historically in Botswana, and in the post independence African culture, ‘information’ generally fell under the authority of the ‘President’s office’. Ostensibly, that was because there was a security aspect to the handling of government information in times of apartheid and colonial rule.

It was important then, as it probably is now, that the president should not learn about a ‘coup’ without having received the necessary intelligence from his immediate spooks.

Even as the president-designate Ian Khama will be empathetic to the political career of the Minister of Communications Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi at the BDP, he finds himself indebted to the new [continue reading]


16 August 2007

The 2010 Fifa World Cup will attract a massive global television and radio audience, offering Africa an unprecedented media opportunity, says African Union of Broadcasters president Ben Egbuna.

Addressing marketers and communicators from around the continent at the second annual 2010 National Communication Partnership Conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Egbuna said Africa’s communicators had to seize the opportunity to counter negative perceptions of the continent.

“If only 50% of the 6.2-billion world population watches the television and listens to the radio and commentaries, then no amount of investment in advertising, marketing and sales could capture the magnitude of such an audience for Africa,” he said.

At the same time, Egbuna warned, this meant the costs of failure were high. “Many of our critics, those who believe that … Africa is incapable of doing anything right, are looking forward to a flawed and mediocre organisation of the tournament.”

The conference – themed “Africa’s time has come” – brought together over 350 marketers and communicators from across Africa to discuss how [continue reading]

Themba Gadebe

16 August 2007

African communicators have to unite and market the continent with one voice ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, the National Communication Partnership Conference in Johannesburg has heard.

“The next four years will be the time to test our resolve in practical terms,” Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile said at the event, which took place on Wednesday.

“Informed by our common goal of building a better Africa, communicators from all corners of Africa should strive to speak in one integrated and coherent voice.”

The conference brought together communicators, marketers and other relevant stakeholders from across the continent to discuss how best to take advantage of opportunities arising from hosting the World Cup.

Stofile said this was very important and in line with the theme of this year’s conference, “Africa’s time has come”.

He told conference delegates that [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

16 August 2007
Posted to the web 16 August 2007

Renée Bonorchis

AFTER a short-lived bounce higher, South African indicators took strain again yesterday with the rand particularly hard hit by continuing concerns over US credit markets, which were in turn dampening appetite for emerging markets.

The rand, which had ended Tuesday at R7,30 to the dollar, reached five-month lows in intraday trade at R7,44 to the dollar yesterday, while the JSE all share index shed more than 1,7% of its value to reach levels last seen four months ago. It closed at 27 091 points.

Europe’s main stock markets closed mixed amid volatile trading, with the London FTSE 100 index down 0,56% to 6109,30 points at the finish. In Frankfurt, the DAX index rose 0,28% to close at 7445,90 points, while the Paris CAC 40 fell 0,66% to 5442,72 points. US stocks rose after rebounding from a sell-off in the previous session as tame inflation and solid industrial production data kept concerns about worsening credit conditions at bay.

And even though one punter reckoned the only “safe” asset right now might be gold, the gold price declined for a third day.

Global financial news adding to the carnage yesterday included a report of an Australian firm, Basis Capital Fund Management, telling investors that losses at one of its hedge funds may exceed 80% as a result of the subprime mortgage fallout.

Sentinel Management Group in the US, which manages $1,6bn, yesterday joined peers when it froze client withdrawals.

Further, Merrill Lynch downgraded Countrywide Financial Corporation, the largest US mortgage lender, to a “sell” — a move that could push the company into bankruptcy if it can no longer access short-term credit.

One ray of hope was the news that consumer prices in the US rose [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tererai Karimakwenda
15 August, 2007

Zimbabwean civil organisations that met with a South African team of facilitators in Pretoria on Tuesday report that they strongly opposed the idea of using Zimbabwe’s parliament to reform the constitution, ahead of the elections next year. The groups met with President Thabo Mbeki’s chief negotiator Sydney Mufamadi and Mbeki’s advisor on legal matters Advocate Gumbi.

Washington Katema, coordinator of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), participated in this consultative process on behalf of youth groups in Zimbabwe. Katema said Advocate Gumbi raised the constitutional issue, saying the all-stakeholders approach to reform that the groups and Zimbabwe’s opposition are insisting on had failed in 1999 and was a sheer waste of time and resources. Instead, she suggested that Zimbabwe adopt the South African model where parliament is turned into a constitutional assembly with the mandate to make amendments.

Constitutional amendments made by parliament would not be [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has told Parliament that for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy to succeed in business and other development transactions, her ministry will in the next few days present a cyber crime bill. Parliament approved the ICT policy on Monday unanimously.

Speaking in Parliament, Venson-Moitoi said that she was impressed that the legislators who debated the issue have displayed IT literacy and that she was assuring the nation of a proper implementation plan for the policy.

“To guard against online crime in areas of e-commerce, my ministry will be presenting a cyber crime bill,” she announced.

It is hoped that ICT policy will help create employment and business growth in Botswana.
She pointed out that it was regrettable that in every good idea there were always a few bad apples with ulterior motives, hence the need for an online crime bill.

Responding to questions on the challenges facing universal access to education- “Thuto-Net”, she said that the latest records from the [continue reading]

source: The Standard (East Africa)
By Washington Gikunju

The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has approved the migration of Olympia Capital Corporation (Botswana) from its venture capital board to the main board.

This effectively means that the company, which is 27 per cent owned by Olympia Capital Holdings (OCH) Kenya, ceases to be classified as a “speculative” investment on the BSE.

The BSE requires that share certificates and all other official documentation released by companies listed on the venture capital board except the annual report are marked as “speculative”. This requirement, according to OCH chief executive Mr Michael Matu limits such firms’ efforts to raise capital from institutional investors.

“Now that we are on the main board we will not be considered a speculative investment and we are likely to attract investments from fund managers in Botswana,” said Matu.

The BSE listing regulations require that a company has to sell at least 20 per cent of its issued shares to the public before it can migrate to the main board up from a minimum five per cent required to list on the venture capital board.

They also require that such a company must have at least 300 shareholders and demonstrate a profitable track record in the preceding three years.

Profits in each the three years must be at least 1 million Pula (Sh11 million).

The approval was granted on condition that [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 16 2007 at 06:33AM

Toy shops are recalling several toys feared harmful to children. The toys contain lead paint or tiny magnets that young children may swallow.

US toy giant Mattel Inc has recalled more than 18 million Chinese-made products worldwide, citing serious concerns for children’s safety.

On Wednesday, Stephen Hurst, director of Just Fun Toys – the South African distributor of Mattel and Fisher-Price toys – said plans were under way to recall the toys in the country.

“By 3.30pm on Monday we had instructed all our retailers to remove some toys off their shelves. We have also drawn up newspaper adverts which will go out this weekend,” Hurst said.
The recall, according to the print adverts drawn up by Just Fun Toys, lists several items consumers are being asked to return:

  • Eleven different Polly Pocket magnetic play sets, sold since May 2003.
  • The toy jeep Sarge – from the hit animated film Cars – or assortments containing Sarge cars sold since May.
  • Barbie and Tanner toys sold since May last year.

The Polly Pocket and Barbie withdrawals are because they contain [continue reading]