The Africa Travel Indaba kicks off

The 26th Africa Travel Indaba is currently underway at Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban for the next three days. It is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar which showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world.

The CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona says she is looking forward to hosting and providing the necessary platforms to grow and create opportunities for Africa to shine in the travel and tourism industry.

This year, SA Tourism has partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations. The event will identify 100 experiences, attractions and destinations around South Africa that have strong historical and social ties to his life.

Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom welcomed delegates to the event. “We are about to ring the bell that signals the start of trading at Africa’s Travel Indaba, and what makes this significant is that it symbolises that our continent is open for tourism business.”

Hanekom mentioned that Africa’s share of the global tourism pie has not yet reached its potential.

“Buyers, you are ahead of the curve and I have no doubt that you will reap rich rewards from your buying decisions in the next days. And, sellers from all over the continent, we know that increased demand is the engine for growth of the tourism economy in our different countries.”

He also stated that the event is the result of collaboration between the bid parties, South African Tourism and the South African Government and the owners and operators of attraction and facilities.

“All the hard work everyone has put in behind the scenes for the past year, all the meeting and planning- it’s about to pay off.”





President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum

Africa is striving to achieve reasonable and inclusive social and economic development to fight poverty, unemployment and under-development, says President Cyril Ramaphosa,  speaking at the Japan-Africa Economic Forum in Sandton, Johannesburg.

This annual event provides opportunities for Japanese and African business leaders to highlight their work in Africa, and other opportunities to enhance business partnership.

President Ramaphosa wishes that the forum will enable new ground in further advancing the relationship between the countries in Africa and Japan.

“This forum is about cooperation and collaboration, not only different countries, but also between the public and private sectors in those countries.”

He also stated that social and economic challenges on the African continent needs the government and corporate sectors to work together to address them.

“Similarly, we will not be able to expand trade and investment relations between Japan and African countries unless our respective governments, state owned entities and other public institutions are aligned with the work of the private sector.”

Ramaphosa declares that for Africa to grow and its people to prosper, economies need to be more effectively integrated into global economy.

“They need to attract capital, technology, expertise and best practice from advanced economies and use that to take full advantage of its plentiful natural resources.” He said.

Trade ties between Africa and Asia have grown significantly in recent years. In 2007, Africa’s exports to Asia were worth around $64 billion and Japan is accounted for around $8.3.

“However, the current basket of exports is very much commodity-based, exposing African countries to price fluctuations and denying them the opportunity to extract additional value from commodities.

“African economies therefore need to diversify and shift towards greater production of intermediate and final consumer and industrial products.” Ramaphosa said.

He also said African countries need to ensure that their manufacturing capabilities feed into regional and global value chains.

“As it stands, Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world and has the largest number of developing countries.”

Ramaphosa stated that in the past decade Africa has grown at a rate of 2 to 3 % points faster than global GDP.

African countries now require some fundamental changes of approaches to job creation and skill development to a renewed focus on the continent’s economic capability.




The VII Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) kicks off in Russia

The VII Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) is currently underway in Russia.  The MCIS was launched by the Russian Ministry of Defence in 2012, and has since played a vital role in global and regional security affairs. Defence Ministers, government officials and security experts from all over the world have all gathered to come up with solutions to pressing security affairs. South Africa’s National Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula also makes out part of this delegation. Mapisa-Nqakula will meet with her Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu, to discuss various bilateral defence issues.

The Mercury reports that the focus of this year’s conference is the defeat of terrorists in Syria, where the Russians will talk about combating ISIL as well as “provide estimates on further development of the situation in the Middle East, including post-conflict rehabilitation.

Other security issues affecting Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America are also on the agenda, with a special plenary session dedicated to the “soft power” phenomenon as a tool to pursue military-political objectives.

Delegates from as many as 95 countries are expected to attended the 7th annual MCIS. Russian Ministry of Defence has said that 30 Defence Ministers globally have confirmed attendance, as well as members of 8 international organisations and 68 foreign security experts.

Additional reporting: The Mercury/ Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Brazil hosts the 8th World Water Forum

The 8th World Water Forum got underway on Monday with Brazil President Michel Temer and other heads of state.

They all gathered in the country’s capital, Brasilia to discuss the sustainable use of water resources around the world.

The forum invited experts in water and sanitation to facilitate the efficient conversation, development, planning and use of water in all its dimensions.

During the opening ceremony, the Honorary President of the World Water Council, Loïc Fauchon, highlighted the need to protect water resources.

Said Fauchon: “Our responsibility is to ensure the availability of water everywhere.”

He added that the forum has become an indispensable medium for the international community to discuss the sustainability of water resources.

Basic sanitation is among other several factors concerning water.

The minister of the Secretariat for Human Rights of Brazil, Gustavo do Vale Roche spoke about the improvement of basic sanitation.

“Politicians should help to ratify the idea to improve basic sanitation. Is a fundamental right that should not be taken lightly while other rights are demanded. I hope that the next World Forum, we have evolved concerning those issues.”

According to Eric Tardieu, director-general of the International Office of Water, 2.1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, which corresponds to 30% of the world’s population. And 4.5 billion people have no basic sanitation, 60% of the population. One of the main factors that define these numbers is the low investment in infrastructure in the water sector.


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China Names Yi Gang as Its First New Central Bank Chief in 15 Years

China has appointed Yi Gang as the new head of People’s Bank of China.

The position was run by Zhou Xiaochuan for more than a decade, who is now set to retire at the age of 70.

He steered the institution through global financial crisis during his 15-year term.

The new leadership is said to come at a time of heightened awareness of the risks facing the economy, from a broader trade-war with the U.S. to a long-feared financial blow-up.

The appointment of Gang falls part of the country’s new economic team as President Xi Jinping kicks off his second term.

Sources :

Remembering Stephen Hawking

Well-known physicist, Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76 after years of struggling with motor disease or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

Hawking was diagnosed in 1963 when he was 21 years. He was told that he only has few years to live. But he lived with the disease for more than 50 years.

He spent most of his life in a wheelchair and as his condition worsened, he resorted to speaking through a voice synthesiser.

Hawking made a name for himself in the world of physics with his brilliant mind, even though his body was paralysed by the disease.

“Physics was always the most boring subject at school because it was so easy and obvious. Chemistry was much more fun because unexpected things, such as explosions, kept happening. But physics and astronomy offered the hope of understanding where we came from and why we are here. I wanted to fathom the depths of the Universe.”

In 1988, he wrote a book called “A Brief History of Time”, which became an international best-seller, making him one of science’s biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.

In the book he spoke about how he was first diagnosed. “At the time, I thought my life was over and that I never realise the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life.”

Hawking made his television appearances in Futurama, The Simpsons, Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory.

He will be remembered as a great scientist whose work and legacy will live on for many years.

Additional reporting: News24

[WATCH]: Commemorating Commonwealth Day

The Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. is home to 2.4 billion people inclusive of economies that are both advanced developing. Did you know: Thirty of the Commonwealth members are small states, many of which are island nations.

South African rejoined the Commonwealth in 1994. According to the South African Government Twitter account, the aim of commemorating Commonwealth Day is to promote understanding on global issues, international cooperation and the work of the Commonwealth to improve the lives of its two billion plus citizens.

Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, shared the following message:

“We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others.

“Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future.

“There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division.”

Watch the video below to learn more:

 Image & video:

[GALLERY] BRICS Youth Tour Soweto

In light of the upcoming BRICS Summit with South Africa as this year’s chair, a BRICS youth delegation from Brazil, Russia and India recently visited SA to partake in discussions that will look at strengthening the youth voice through the formation of a BRICS Youth League. The group visited various historical sites in and around the country and on the first day of the Johannesburg leg of their tour, made a stop in Soweto.

Images: Mawande Kheswa & Roxanne Francis

South Africa will host the 10th BRICS Summit in July

South Africa, which took over the rotational chairship of the emerging economies grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), is set to host the 10th BRICS summit in July.

The summit, which is scheduled from 25 – 27 July at the Sandton Convention Centre, will see South Africa building on the BRICS programme of development and prosperity for partner countries.

South Africa says the summit, which will be attended by Heads of State from the grouping, will be an important milestone towards building stronger solidarity and cooperation among emerging markets.

“BRICS is an important global formation and South Africa is privileged to host the summit the second time around, as we enter the second decade cooperation. BRICS has been meeting in summit form for nine years now and this will be the 10th session.

“The first summit we hosted in 2013 was very successful with very tangible outcomes and the results of that summit are visible in the work of the BRICS and the global community and we are confident that this summit will also follow suit,” DIRCO DDG of Asia, Middle East and BRICS Sous-Sherpa, Anil Sooklal, said on Monday.

He was speaking in Tshwane where the GCIS, Dirco and Brand SA hosted a communications roundtable discussion session on awareness around the importance of BRICS to South Africa.

The session was imperative as South Africa assumed the rotational chairship from China from 1 January to 31 December 2018.

Sooklal said the summit will showcase the cooperation that the BRICS countries enjoy, as well as its impact globally as they address key challenges faced by emerging countries such as developmental challenges, growing the economy, and addressing poverty and unemployment.

According to Sooklal, within the BRICS context, South Africa has four primary goals which are to see development and inclusive economic growth; promote value-added trade among BRICS countries and to promote investment into the productive sector.

The five BRICS countries account for 26 percent of the world’s landmass and are home to 43 percent of the world’s population. The bloc is composed of emerging markets and the developing world.

There has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined BRICS in 2011, as seen for example in the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in South Africa.

The formation has strengthened its cooperative mechanism for institutional development, most notably witnessed in the creation of the New Development Bank and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg.

In 2015, total intra-BRICS trade amounted to R3.06 trillion.

South Africa’s exports to BRICS countries marginally increased from R123 billion in 2011 to R138.2 billion in 2016, while in the same period, imports from BRICS countries also increased from R115 billion to R230 billion.

Total Intra-BRICS FDI was R554 trillion at the end of February 2016.

However, despite the depended relations within BRICS, Sooklal said there needs room for better coordination between BRICS countries in other areas.

“We need to get your academics, think tanks, the private sector, and our people to people dimension to work and organise themselves better and embrace the opportunities presented to them by being part of the BRICS formation.”

Already the South African government has been engaging the BRICS Think Tank Council in order to identify concrete areas of cooperation that South Africa can take forward during the country’s BRICS presidency in 2018.

A BRICS Network of Smart Manufacturing Hubs has been recommended and it is expected to pool together knowledge, technology and new ideas on the identification of new and interconnected value chains.