South Africa to introduce Kiswahili as a school subject from 2020

The South Africa basic education department will be adding three more subjects to the school curriculum from the year 2020. The subjects Kiswahili, Marine Studies and Computer Coding will become part of the school curriculum, a decision that was approved by the South African Council of Education Ministers.

As reported by africanews.com, the subjects will be made available to public, private and independent schools. Minister for basic education, Angie Motshekga stated when talking about the addition of Kiswahili as another education language, it has the power to expand to countries that never spoke it and has the power to bring Africans together.

The learning of Kiswahili by South African School kids will help to create social strong bond among fellow Africans from an early age. Kiswahili being an official African Union language could also help decolonizes the Africa and become common language of the African people among the multiple languages spoken on the continent and around the world if widely adapted.

Reports from the thesouthafrican.com state that in terms of Marine studies, the education department will cooperate with Two Oceans Aquarium to develop the curriculum. The Marine Studies subject will include segments of biology, oceanography, environmental sustainability and human interactions with the ocean.

The last subject to be added to the curriculum is computer coding not much detail was revealed to exactly what will be include in the computer coding program. But it’s believed the addition of computer coding is part of the planning in getting South Africa ready for the 4th industrial revolution.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

 

India to purchase $2.2 billion Russian Frigates

India has cleared the way for a $2.2 billion Russian frigates purchase, this news comes just weeks after the Indian government announced that it had partnered with US defence organization COMCASE (communications Compatibility and Security Agreement).

The India-Russia frigate agreement opens the door for Indian Navy to purchase Russian warships; the deal is expected to be signed when President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet in October. The frigate deal has long been in the making and is now nearing its conclusion and will be finalized before the meeting.

The frigate deal includes the procurement the advanced Talwar-class frigates and will also involves the construction of the ships at the Goa Shipyard. The others will be purchased later directly from Russia. Payment for frigate is said to be concluded using a Rupee-Rouble transfer as Russia is still under heavy sanctioning from the USA.

The deal will also see the transfer of skills and technology from Russia to India as the Goa shipyard in India will be used to build the two of the frigates. The Indian made warships are expected to cost 30-50% more than the Russia warships they are purchasing. However, India believes the transfer of technology to the Indian state owned Goa shipyard is worth the expense in the long term.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

China- US Trade War could result in both countries being less reliant on each other

As the US-China trade continues, questions about the end goals of the trade war, what are the two countries are to benefit? The trade tension is creating a rift between the countries, as both are trying to diminish the reliance on each other.

The USA under President Donald Trump’s administration now considers China as its biggest threat. The Trump administration believes that China is involved in unfair trade practices.  The US believes that China wants take advantage of US foreign policy and the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

For China its main worry is its dependency on technology and the finished products it consumes that come from the USA. China’s worry has resulted in an initiative, Made in China 2025. Through this initiative china plans on becoming a leader in high-tech production and design lowering its need for foreign tech makers.

The United States and China need each other, the trade war is resulting in losses for both parties. Essentially the only thing the trade war is doing is dividing the world forcing lessor economic powers to choose between the America and China.

The divide has forced other countries to really look at which of the two superpowers is in their best interest to align with. As many multinational companies manufacture there products in China, the US tariffs coupled with rising labour costs in China, have driven many of these organization to consider moving production to countries with cheaper labour or back to their home country.

Source: bloomberg.com

 

DRC Elections 2018 – two former leadership banned from running

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be going to their Presidential elections in December this year. The top Presidential candidate, the former Deputy President was excluded from running from the presidential election by the top count in DRC because of his International Criminal Court witness tempering conviction.

Former President, Jean-Pierre Bemba, was part of the four-deputy president under the DRC’s peace agreement in 2003. He returned to his country after being cleared innocent of war crime charges by the ICC. Bemba was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2008 by the ICC, this was for murders and rapes committed by his army in the Central African Republic in 2000.

The court also excluded the former President of the DRC, Adolphe Muzito from running for the elections. The court rule that President Muzito was ineligible on technical grounds because of a dispute with his political party, Unified Lumumbist Party.

The outgoing President, Kabila, has been the president of DRC since his father was assassinated in 2001. When Kabila’s second term ended, he was supposed to step down but he continuously delayed election. This year President Kaliba announced he will not be running for the third term, opening the election to elect the new president. The election will take place on the 23 December which is seen as the first constitution transition of power.

(Source DW.com)

China planning on building industrial zone in Limpopo

China’s investment in South Africa continues to expand. China is planning on building an industrial zone in Musina-Makhado, Limpopo Province. The South African Energy and Metallurgical Special Economic Zone (EMSEZ) is expected to be complete in the coming five years.

Nine Chinese based businesses have invested $10 billion in The Special Economic Zone (SEZ). It will spread from east to west of Musina near the Limpopo River Bank and will take advantage of the abundant natural resources in the area like iron ore, silicon ore, nickel ore and limestone.

The National railways, highways and power supply lines will run through an area encompass government buildings (industrial and commerce management, customs and taxation services), residential areas (dormitories, apartments and hotels), shopping malls, hospitals and schools. A marine transportation integrated logistics center will also be built in the SEZ as well.

The problem with the Special Economic Zone is the coal mining operations as well as the coal power plant that will also be located there. The environmental impact coal mining has as well as the global move away from fossil fuels to greener ways of generating power with renewables energy at forefront.

Coal mining and coal power is viewed as a step backwards, creating many challenges which include job security, risk to local community welfare and health risks.

Source: thesouthafrican.com

 

South African Crime Statistics

The National Statistical service of South Africa released its annual crime stats, yesterday. The 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 revealed that South Africa’s crime levels are still far from controllable.

South African Police Minister Bheki Cele was certainly not pleased at with the report. Recorded murders increased by almost 7% from last year. In 2016/17 total murders amounted to 19,016 and in 2017/18 murder increased to 20,336 murders, which also showed that 56 people are murdered daily.

Police Major-General Norman Sekhukhune, who presented the report to parliament, noted that in terms of the crime stats there is no category for farm murders or attacks in South Africa. Instead all murders are recorded under one definition or category which is, the unlawful and intentional killing of another person.

When it comes to domestic violence or murder of women and children the report showed that almost 3000 women were murdered and almost 1000 children were murdered. It is recorded that 69% of the children murdered are boys and 31% are girls.  Out of the 20,336 total murders in South Africa 19.3% are women and children murders.

Sexual offence in South Africa also increased by 448 recorded cases totaling 50,108 in the 2017/18 period. A sexual offence in South Africa is defined as rape, compelled rape, sexual assault, incest, bestiality, statutory rape and the sexual grooming of children.  

It’s noted that on average there are 110 rapes recorded daily by police. Robberies in South Africa increase to more than 5% with 53,418 recorded cases, but violent robberies saw a slight fall of almost 2% with 138,364 cases in 2017/18.

In terms of House break-ins or unlawfully and intentionally breaking into a building with the intention to steal, also surveyed as the most feared crime by citizens. The recorded case showed 228,094 house break-ins which is an average of 625 break-ins daily.

The recorded carjacking amounted to 16,325 in 2017/18 decreasing from 16,717 in 2016/17, which is an average of 45 cars per day in 2017/18. The crime of Cash-in-transit heists saw a dramatic increase this year with 238 cases up from last year with 152 cases recorded.

 

Source: africacheck.org

[OPINION] Trade wars effects on emerging economies

The ongoing US-China trade war has far reaching global ramifications; many emerging economies now are starting to feel the pinch as these two superpowers lock heads. This has now created a lot of uncertainty in the global community.  The uncertainty has led to less risk taking in investment in emerging markets.

The 2018 global growth was predicted to be 3.7% now new forecast put it at 3.5%, these may be effects of the trade war. The lack of global growth may have detrimental effects on emerging economies such as South Africa which is facing a technical recession.

The trade war has also affected other emerging economy countries, Brazil has been impacted through global commodity prices.

It does not profit Brazil, when it substitutes US soybeans imported by China. Brazil also stands to lose in other markets such as the exporting of iron ores, grains and meats being affect in the long term as the trade war progress.

Other countries such as India are ripping benefits of the trade war. Tensions between US-China are leading to a decrease in Chinese import of US oil, which allows India to replace China and obtain lower price due to the lower demand for US oil.

China is suffering from losses of the trade war but neither US or China have any advantage as both countries are losing. China and the US are set to lose more as the tensions deepen. The US has already stated that more tariffs are coming for China while china is planning its retaliation.

Russia unlike China has a deeper conflict with the US as they are suffering from US and EU sanctions. The sanctions have a more direct impact on their economy and lowering the value of their currency.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka’

China-India to replace America-EU global dominance

The EU and USA have dominated global economy and trade for over 200 years, but now with the rise of China and India the dominance may be coming to an end. The complete global structure of economy, finance, trade and International law may change in the next decade as China and India take on more prominent roles in the international community.

The foreign policy mistake of the US and EU after the cold war have increased the rate of their decline in terms of global leadership and investment.

China is now remapping global trade with its one belt on road initiative, which could focus all future global trade through China as well as India rise in subcontinent as a space, technology, communication and financial power house.

The East is catching up to the West and not in a traditional sense.  China and India have large populations and large numbers of people living in poverty, but both are now booming.  The two countries are focused on technology and infrastructure development.

 

Source: forbes.com

Mercosur-EU 20-year trade deal nears conclusion

The Mercosur-EU will be meeting this month in hopes of finalizing the long-standing deal before both continents entre in to national elections, which could thwart any arrangement not fully agreed upon yet, as per ft.com. Trade talks over years have been paused numerous times and this is the last chance before talks are shelved for a further expended period.

South American economic community, Mercosur consisting of full members Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay was formed to allow the free movement of goods, people, currency and trade through each member’s borders.

The Mercosur Bloc for 20 years has been working on a bi-regional association agreement with the European Union for ease of trade and access to both markets. The current trade agreements between the blocs date back to 1999 and most of the current agreements between the Mercosur community and the EU are on individual country to economic bloc basis.

The main negotiations points of the deal include tariffs, barriers to trade, intellectual property, sustainable development and small-medium-sized enterprises. Import and Export trade between the two continental blocs in 2017 reached almost €100 Billion, the conclusion of the deal is widely expect to increase that number even further.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Trump warns Assad, Russia, Iran not to attack Idlib as Syrian civil war nears its end

US President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted a warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and allies Russia and Iran not to attack Idlib province, which is the last territory not under the control of the Syrian Government.

The Syrian civil war has been going on for more than 7 years, and Idlib province is the last stand for anti-government forces, a decisive attack on Idlib would end the War in Syria and put Bashar al-Assad in a favourable position, if some sort of peace deal is to be brokered.

US President warned of the grave humanitarian crisis an attack on Idlib would create, as well as the numbers of human life that would be lost. The Syria government in its preparation for the attack has open up a corridor for civilians to leave the city; there are still a lot of innocent civilians who are unable to leave due to the anti-government forces controlling the city.

Source: edition.cnn.com