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Africa Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum, Luanda, Angola

Africa Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum, Luanda, Angola

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    Davies was speaking at the 4th annual South African Premier Business Awards that was hosted by the dti in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African in Sandton this week. He bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award on acclaimed businesswoman Ms Gloria Serobe. She is the Executive Director of Women’s Investment Portfolio Holdings Limited (WIPHOLD) and CEO of Wipcapital. WIPHOLD is an investment and operating company owned and managed entirely by black women. Ms Serobe has more than 30 years of experience in leading public and private domestic and multinational institutions.

    “South Africans like Ms Serobe inspire the nation in general and the young entrepreneurs in particular. They have shown that when excellence is a way of life, success is assured. We have already recognised and honoured three other prominent business trailblazers through the Lifetime Achievement Award. These are Mr Richard Maponya, Dr Anna Mokgokong and Dr Sam Motsuenyane. They are all this country’s role models who have distinguished themselves in business against all the odds stacked against them, due to their tenacity, persistence, diligence, vision and focus. Today’s young entrepreneurs can take a leaf from their book and emulate them. Moreover, with the kind of support that the democratic government provides business with today, only the sky is the limit for our businesspeople,” said Minister Davies.

    In her acceptance speech, Serobe said she was overwhelmed by the award before reminding everyone in attendance about the long and arduous journey that she travelled as a businesswoman. She epitomised the classic pioneers of black business that Minister Davies had described earlier, saying today’s young businesspeople need to draw inspiration from the pioneers that the department was honouring.

    “When we started WIHOLD 23 years ago there was no black economic empowerment policy to speak of. We created the policy. We had to go the difficult route to ensure women were in business by creating a business home and opportunities for them. But we attribute our survival to the enabling environment created by government later,” said Serobe.

    She said the award was a great honour as it placed her amongst the league of big giants who were recipients before her.

    “But this award is a burden because you are expected to carry it with such honour and integrity as a role model to the young and old in this country,” she quipped.

    Serobe urged business to continue working with the government in its long and onerous task of untying the apartheid knots from the country’s economy. She also lamented the fronting practice, describing hit as embarrassing and saying the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment policy needed to be defended and protected by all South Africans.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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  • Nearly a quarter of the world’s children live in conflict or disaster-stricken countries: UNICEF

    An estimated 535 million children – nearly one in four – live in countries affected by conflict or disaster, often without access to medical care, quality education, proper nutrition and protection, UNICEF said today.

    Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly three-quarters – 393 million – of the global number of children living in countries affected by emergencies, followed by the Middle East and North Africa where 12 per cent of these children reside.

    The new figures are released as UNICEF, on Sunday 11 December 2016, marks 70 years of relentless work in the world’s toughest places to bring life-saving aid, long-term support, and hope to children whose lives and futures are threatened by conflict, crises, poverty, inequality and discrimination.

    “UNICEF was established to bring help and hope to children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict and deprivation, and this enormous figure – representing the individual lives of half a billion children – is a sharp reminder that our mission is becoming more urgent every day,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

    The impact of conflict, natural disasters and climate change is forcing children to flee their homes, trapping them behind conflict lines, and putting them at risk of disease, violence and exploitation.

    • Nearly 50 million children have been uprooted – more than half of them driven from their homes by conflicts.
    • As violence continues to escalate across Syria, the number of children living under siege has doubled in less than one year. Nearly 500,000 children now live in 16 besieged areas across the country, almost completely cut off from sustained humanitarian aid and basic services.
    • In northeastern Nigeria, nearly 1.8 million people are displaced, almost 1 million of them are children.
    • In Afghanistan, nearly half of primary-aged children are out of school.
    • In Yemen, nearly 10 million children are affected by the conflict.
    • In South Sudan, 59 per cent of primary-aged children are out of school and 1 in 3 schools is closed in conflict affected areas.
    • More than two months after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, more than 90,000 children under five remain in need of assistance.

    The emergencies faced today by the most vulnerable children threaten to undermine immense progress made in recent decades: Since 1990, the number of children dying before their fifth birthday halved and hundreds of millions of children have been lifted out of poverty. Out-of-school rates among primary-school-aged children have reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1990 and 2014.

    Despite significant progress, too many children are being left behind because of their gender, race, religion, ethnic group or disability; because they live in poverty or in hard-to-reach communities; or simply because they are children.

    “Whether children live in a country in conflict or a country in peace, their development is critical not only to their individual futures but also to the future of their societies,” said Lake. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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  • IGAD Regional Capacity Enhancement Initiative Concludes Annual Review Workshops

    The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Regional Initiative for Capacity Enhancement in South Sudan, commonly referred to as the “IGAD Regional Initiative” finalized yesterday a series of workshops aimed at reviewing the progress, strengths, opportunities, and challenges of mentoring South Sudanese civil servants, which responds to sections of the Agreement Peace Agreement that emphasize the rehabilitation and reformation of South Sudan’s civil service.

    The Government of Norway is the project’s sole donor and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provides technical support to this initiative. The Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development plays a key role in directing the implementation of the project.

    Since 2011, through bilateral agreements, the IGAD regional countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda have been seconding highly experienced and committed civil servant support officers (CSSOs) to South Sudan where they are paired with counterparts – known as “twins.” They are dispatched across a range of ministries and sectors throughout the country to rapidly develop core government capacity at the national and subnational levels in a coaching and mentoring scheme for a two-year period.

    “Our civil service was at the edge of total collapse after the liberation of South Sudan. But since 2011, we are noticing gradual changes in our civil service thanks to our development partners who have committed themselves to help us increase the capacity of our civil servants,” said Director General of the Human Resource Development Directorate at the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development Ms. Therezine Filbert.

    Participants in the review workshops, which took place in Juba throughout November and December, included the “twins,” the CSSOs, as well as their supervisors. Each group had a dedicated workshop in which they had the opportunity to meet their peers from other regions of the country. They shared experiences, identified opportunities for improving the project’s processes, and discussed how challenges, such as insecurity or public financial volatility, impact their work.

    “The partnership between UNDP, the government of Norway, and the IGAD countries is very important. This is a very unique experience in the history of UNDP globally as it’s the first time it’s being done,” said UNDP Team Leader for Democratic Governance and Stabilization Unit Mr. Andrew Shuruma. “The experiences of “twins,” CSSOs, and their supervisors are valuable to continue an effective implementation of the project. We have a lot to learn from them. They’re having a tremendous impact.”

    Since 2011, more than three hundred CSSOs have come to South Sudan to strengthen the skills and knowledge of the country’s civil service in sectors like agriculture, aviation, finance, and public health.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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