BRICS New Development Bank may finance two projects In Russia

The BRICS New Development Bank is considering extending a loan for two projects in Russia.


Russian Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov has confirmed that the BRICS New Development Bank is considering extending a loan for two projects in Russia: the Amur gas processing plant (GCP) and the petrochemical plant in Tobolsk. The Finance Minister says: “The New Development Bank is currently considering in respect of possible financing the application of Sibur Company for construction of the petrochemical plant in Tobolsk and the Amur GPP construction project, implemented in the context of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline construction agreement,”

However, the decision on participation of the bank in these projects has not yet been taken and applications have not been presented to the NDB Board of Directors. The Finance Minister stated that “the applications undergo review by the management of the Bank and proactive consultations with potential borrowers are held. If all conditions are negotiated, the issue of credit extension can be considered by the end of this year.”

The Amur GCP is scheduled for commissioning in 2021 at the earliest. The gas chemical plant will process fractions of the natural gas. The main feedstock supplier for the GCP will be the Amur Gas Processing Plant of Gazprom, which will be built within the framework of gas supplies to China over the Power of Siberia gas pipeline.


MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/.
Russian News Agency

Brazil’s biggest Airlines in support for US-Brazil open Skies Agreement

Brazil’s biggest airlines Gol, Azuk and Latan are currently racing to prepare for the much-anticipated ratification of the U.S.-Brazil Open Skies agreement.

In March, Brazil’s federal government approved the agreement, which was made in 2010. The agreement is expected to pave ways for more flights between the two countries and greater competition among airlines.

Sergio Kakinoff, CEO of Gol, said “Within two years of Open Skies, the airlines in Brazil will have joint ventures with U.S. airlines.”

Kakinoff, who works for the country’s most popular domestic airline added that with the U.S.-Brazil Open Skies agreement on the horizon the company would soon be adding flights from Fortaleza and Brasilia to Orlando and Miami.

According the Brazilian airline association, Abear, among Brazilian airlines, Gol tops the domestic market with 34% market share, with Latam a close second at 33%.

United Airlines Vice President, Andrew Levy, said that: “Following our initial investment [in Azul] in 2015, connecting traffic between our airlines is at an all-time high, significantly benefiting our customers traveling between the US and Brazil,”

He added that Azul’s strong network in Brazil has a unique business model and exceptional customer service make this transaction a good long-term investment.



SA youth set for Mandela Fellowship in US

Approximately forty-six South African delegates are set to travel to the United States to partake in the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship programme from 18 June to 2 August 2018.

The 6-week fellowship aims to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young leaders from across Africa with the Americans.

The participants are aged 25-35 and were selected for their record of promoting innovation and positive change within their organisations, communities and countries.

Chargé d’Affaires, Jessye Lapenn said: “The program reflects Madiba’s optimism, idealism and belief in what he called the ‘endless heroism of youth.’ The program remains committed to those goals today.  As we celebrate the Mandela Centenary, I hope you take this opportunity to ‘Be the Legacy.”

The Mandela Washington Fellowship programme reflects the diversity of the African continent, with participants coming from a variety of backgrounds, professions, and regions. 

The 46 South Africans will join 700 other young people from sub-Saharan Africa for leadership training, networking and academic coursework, focused on civic leadership, public management, or business and entrepreneurship which will be hosted by 28 US Universities.


Japan exports improve more than it was expected

The value of Japan’s exports rose at the quickest clip in three months in April on increased. The rising volumes has suggested a healthy overseas demand that could help the economy recover quickly from a dip in the first quarter.

According to a Reuters poll, exports grew 7.8% in April from the same period a year ago, below the median estimate for an 8.1% annual increase expected. Meanwhile, in March, exports grew an annual 2.1 %.

In terms of volume, which strips away the impact of exchange rates, Japan’s exports rose an annual 4.6% in April, faster than the 1.8% annual increase seen in March.

The increased demand for manufacturing equipment, cars and car parts are likely to expand exports. However, Japan’s trade surplus with the United States makes it a potential target for U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies.

Senior economist Hiroshi Miyazaki at Mitsubishi UFJ, Morgan Stanley Securities said overseas economies are in a growth phase which mean the Japan’s exports will continue to grow.

“The U.S. government may turn its attention to Japan’s trade surplus, but there are steps Japan can take, especially given the close defence relationship between the two countries.”

Miyazaki noted that the rise in the volume of exports was another reason to be optimistic.

Exports to China are Japan’s largest trading partner, which rose an annual 10.9% in April, versus a 10.8% increase in the previous month, due to an increase of shipments of machines used to process metals and to make electronic components.

Japan’s exports to China often serve as a barometer of global demand because companies in China use materials and equipment from Japan to make goods for export to other countries.



Minister Lindiwe Sisulu reiterates good governance in Budget Vote Speech

South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu believes that SA is now in a period of renewal to good governance and responsiveness to its people.

During the Budget Vote Speech of the Dept. of International Relations and Cooperation, Sisulu said that the new era will re-energise the country’s foreign policy. “We want South Africa to be once again a moral compass and a voice of reason in a world increasingly overcome with selfish, narrow interests. We want to be the hope for all in times of despair.”

She also spoke about plans that will unleash not only South Africa’s potential but the African continent.   

“The President’s target is to raise R1 million in investments over five years, which we will not only use for South Africa, but also on the African continent. We believe that if we can create a stable Africa, we can unleash its potential. The resources of this continent are enormous and properly tapped will change the fortunes of the whole generations to come.”

Sisulu added that President Cyril Ramaphosa will be co-chairing a meeting of the High-level Global Commission on the Future of Work of the International Labour Organisation with the Prime Mister of Sweden.

“We continue to be committed to keeping peace. We stand for potential solutions whenever there is conflict. Our track record of keeping peace on the African continent is unchallenged by any one country. Our efforts in creating dialogue are hallmark of our foreign policy. We have had great successes in the past on the continent and we will continue to put at the apex in our interventions.”





BRICS NDB could speed up Africa infrastructure projects

The Capacity Development Officer of the new Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), Bob Kalanzi has revealed that Africa lacks adequate infrastructure that hinders regional trade and the delivery of basic services such as health and education. 

Kalanzi said infrastructure was Africa’s  top priority and that the continent has suffered from low levels of intra-regional economic exchange and had the smallest share of global trade.

“Bridging this gap can only be achieved through [greater] regional and continental cooperation, which could be achieved through support from the New Development Bank (NDB),” he said.

He pointed out that infrastructure development in Africa must be prioritised to achieve the accelerated industrial development of the continent.

The African Union’s (AU’s) Agenda 2063 plans to propel intra-African trade to 50% by 2045 and Africa’s share of global trade from 2% to 12%.

Kalanzi also added that infrastructure had the potential to raise gross domestic product by 2% and develop the backbone for rapid industrialisation across the continent, boosting capacity to generate more domestic resources.

“The NDB signifies developing countries’ coming of age and reflects their aspirations to stand on their own feet. It also focuses on funding sustainable development and infrastructure in member nations, as well as other emerging and developing countries,” he said.

Source: engineeringnews


The 2018 Africa Youth Summit: African Youth, Building Our Legacy

The second edition of the Breaking Down Borders Africa Youth Summit gets underway in Johannesburg today. The Pan African platform is created for young Africans to network, collaborate and form partnerships across socio-economic and political spaces.

This year’s theme is ‘African Youth, Building Our Legacy’ that was inspired by the Nelson Mandela centenary’s call to action to “Be the Legacy”. The event it will be hosted over five days in Johannesburg and Pretoria with over 200 delegates expected from across the continent.

Lorato Modongo, organising committee member and gender activist from Botswana urges young people to contribute to building a better Africa through some of the resources give to them.

The summit is supported by various partners, including Brand South Africa who wishes to showcase the beauty and brand power of SA through this platform.

Brand SA’s Strategic Relationship Manager, Toni Gumede said the company’s collaboration with the summit was “a natural marriage” that speaks to Brand SA’s ‘Play Your Part’ drive.

“The Breaking Down Borders Africa Youth Summit really resonates with what our organisation is about, specifically with the mandate that is articulated in the National Development Plan regarding strategic and critical intra-Africa relations. This seeks to do what we aspire people to do – to break down borders by building an active citizenship and inspiring new ways of doing things,” she said.



How China will sustain its currency

The People’s Bank of China promised to maintain its neutral monetary policy and keep liquidity and credit growth steady while the yuan currency remains fairly stable.

The central bank said that it will avoid systemic risks and use multiple monetary policy tools to ensure financial stability in the world’s second largest economy.

“On the one hand, it is necessary to control the liquidity scale to help deleverage and prevent financial risks. On the other hand, it is necessary to comprehensively consider changes in the macroeconomic environment and strengthen policy coordination,” the Central Bank said.

The bank also mentioned that it will strike a balance between stabilising economic growth, pushing structural changes and preventing risks.

China’s overall debt level rose 2.7% points in 2017 to 250.3% of GDP due to impacts from China’s supply-side reforms, improving economy and corporate profits.

The bank stated that the corporate debt ratio has fell 0.7% points last year to 159% of GDP – the first decline since 2011, while household debt ratio climbed 4% points to 55.1% of GDP.

The Central Bank plans to include negotiable certificates of deposit (NCDs) issued by financial institutions with assets of less than 500 billion yuan ($79 billion) in its quarterly macro-prudential assessment (MPA) from the first quarter in 2019.

The Central Bank reaffirmed that it will keep the yuan basically stable while increasing the currency’s two-way fluctuations and deepening market-based currency reforms.



Rise of unemployment in Brazil

Brazil’s unemployment rate seems to be skyrocketing, with the numbers steadily climbing for a third month. This comes as a shock, considering last year’s decline, but suggests that the breather may have been temporary instead of a sustainable pickup in employment.

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics or IGBE confirmed that the unemployment rate rose to 13.1% in the three months to March 2018, rising above 12.6% in the October-December 2017 period.

The unemployment rate is believed to be affecting about 14 million people. The lack of jobs is a consequence of on of the worst recessions in Brazilian history, where inflation skyrocketed to 10.6 % in 2015.

According to Reuters, steady growth in off-the-books jobs, which does not have access to work benefits, had driven a nine-month string of falling unemployment that ended in December. Thus far, informal unemployment suffered at the start of 2018 as contracts for temporary holiday-season workers expired, while formal employment has yet to show signs of rising.

This is a clear indication that Brazil’s slow and uneven economic recovery may take a while before trickling down to the labour market.


Travel Indaba comes to a close

The Africa Travel Indaba wraps up in Durban today. This year’s event welcomed over 7 000 delegates from 80 countries, 23 of which are African countries. The annual Indaba plays an integral role in shaping Africa’s stories along with the success of the continent in the future.

Scott Larney from Durban ICC shared his appreciation of the city playing host to the Indaba for the next 4 years.

“We hope our attendees have formed some meaningful relationships from being here and have seen the value of the show.” Larney said.

According to the Travel Indaba organisers, the highlight of this year’s event was partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary.  An application called Madiba Journey was designed to experience the 100 locations around the country that defined Madiba’s life and legacy.

SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona said that the Travel Indaba is a marketing platform that enables Africans to showcase their talents to the world.

“We’ve come to the end of this show. It was an environment full of energy and we’re very proud of the show we’ve put out.”