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Economy News

Development finance institution to extend 
R644m in loans to distressed firms

By: Loni Prinsloo     11th September 2009 Development finance institution, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), has approved loans worth R644-million to 11 companies in distressed manufacturing sectors and was evaluating a further 49 applications, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Thursday.

Since April, the IDC... 

Economic crisis makes raising awareness of saving a priority

By: Darren Parker     11th September 2009 South African Savings Institute (Sasi) chairperson Elias Masilela says that the financial crisis has assisted in elevating the importance of saving and the need for financial literacy, not only in South Africa, but the world over. 

The Grand Inga dream has potential to unite and/or divide the region

By: Terence Creamer     11th September 2009 For the next year, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A significant development, given that regional actors (from East and Southern Africa) played such a major role both in the country’s recent conflicts and its... 

Survey shows trade activity improved to highest level for ’09

By: Creamer Media Reporter      10th September 2009 The Trade Activity Index (TAI) reached its highest level, so far, in 2009, in August, registering 44 points, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) reported on Thursday. Although still below the neutral 50 point level, this was two points higher than the 42 points recorded in... 

New twist in Transnet battle as Maseko withdraws candidature for top job

By: Terence Creamer     10th September 2009 In the latest twist in the ongoing Transnet leadership tussle, the State freight logistics group confirmed on Thursday that Sipho Maseko, who was the group's preferred contender for the vacant CEO position, had withdrawn his candidature. Maseko had reportedly withdrawn in light of the "furore"... 

Business confidence in SA at ten-year low

By: Creamer Media Reporter      9th September 2009 The Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)/Bureau for Economic Research (BER) Business Confidence Index slipped to a ten-year low of 23 points in the third quarter of the year. The three-point quarter-on-quarter decline was a result of a continued decline in the retail sector, which was down to 35 points,... 

SA slips two places in Doing Business survey

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     9th September 2009 South Africa fell two places in the latest Doing Business report, published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and currently ranked at 34 out of 183 countries. The annual survey analyses regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses, including dealing with construction permits,... 

National planning and monitoring papers tabled in Parliament

By: Chanel de Bruyn     8th September 2009 The Green Paper on National Strategic Planning and a policy paper on Performance Monitoring and Evaluation were tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, as part of government’s plans to improve its own overall effectiveness in achieving its short-, medium- and long-term objectives. Minister in the... 

‘Global crisis could not have come at a worse time for Africa’ – World Bank 

By: Chanel de Bruyn     8th September 2009 Aid to Africa was currently one of the best investments other countries could make and the Group of 20 (G20) developing nations should be challenged to seize the opportunity and make financial commitments to Africa, World Bank Africa region chief economist Shantayanan Devarajan said on Tuesday.... 

Transnet takes fresh swipe at SA's economic regulators

By: Terence Creamer     8th September 2009 State freight logistics utility Transnet once again raised its unhappiness with the country's approach to economic regulation in Parliament on Tuesday, saying that, in its current form and application, the regulations were "not conducive for investment in major infrastructure projects". Briefing... 

Educator of the Year Awards finds its winners

By: Darren Parker     4th September 2009 Telecommunications company Telkom’s corporate social responsibility wing, the Telkom Foundation, announced the winners of its Maths, Science and Technology Educator of the Year Awards at the end of August. 

Far more urgency needed if we are to avoid yet more power stress

By: Terence Creamer     4th September 2009 Given the economically and psychologically debilitating drama of the 2008 electricity crisis - precipitated by supply-side instability (itself a consequence of policy failure, regulatory inertia and primary-energy mismanagement) - it is frankly perplexing that there isn't more of an outcry about... 

Power consumption and output declined in July – Stats SA

By: Creamer Media Reporter      3rd September 2009 South Africans consumed 19 484 GWh of electricity in July, 2,1% less than the electricity the country consumed in July 2008, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said in a statement on Thursday. Electricity consumption was also down by 2,1% month-on-month, while consumption dropped by 2,9% in the... 

Business confidence unchanged as economy battles to gain momentum

By: Chanel de Bruyn     3rd September 2009 With the South African economy finding it difficult to gain momentum, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) Business Confidence Index (BCI) remained “virtually unchanged” at 83 points in August. This was 0,2 points lower than the July figure, but 7,5 points lower... 

US academic urges use of WTO loopholes to promote development

By: Keith Campbell     2nd September 2009 The rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) leave space for industrial policies, including use of subsidies, which developing countries can, should, and, in some cases do, exploit. This has been highlighted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Political Economy Professor Alice Amsden.... 

SA should handle economic upturn correctly, Finance Minister asserts 

By: Loni Prinsloo     1st September 2009 South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said that even though markets were experiencing a slight upturn, the country had not quite worked itself out of the economic crisis. Speaking at the Centre for Education in Economic and Finance's yearly meeting, in Johannesburg, he said that if... 

ArcelorMittal SA to meet unions over short-time work hours 

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     28th August 2009 Steel giant ArcelorMittal South Africa on Friday confirmed that it would meet with labour unions Solidarity, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, and the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) during next week to discuss the short-time working hours. This came after Uasa on... 

Eskom slumps to record R9,7bn loss on big coal, metals-linked derivatives swing 

By: Terence Creamer     27th August 2009 State-owned power utility Eskom slumped to its worst-ever loss of R9,7-billion in its 2008/9 financial year to end March, primarily on higher coal costs and a massive fair value loss on embedded derivatives, associated with pricing agreements the utility has with metals smelters in South Africa... 

DBSA to boost lending capacity by R100bn over 5 years

By: Chanel de Bruyn     26th August 2009 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) was planning to increase its lending capacity to add another R100-billion in funds over the next five years, CEO Paul Baloyi said on Wednesday. Speaking at a presentation on the development finance institution’s (DFI’s) 2009 financial performance,... 

Merseta unveils R80m assistance plan to prevent manufacturing retrenchments

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     26th August 2009 The Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta) on Wednesday launched an R80-million Retrenchee Assistance Plan (Rap), which it said was in line with the government’s bid to stem the loss of jobs in the current economic downturn. “This... 

SA's July CPI slows, rate cut still possible

By: Reuters     26th August 2009 South Africa's targeted consumer inflation slowed to 6,7% year-on-year in July, slightly above expectations, from 6,9% in June, official data showed on Wednesday. Statistics South Africa said headline CPI stood at 1,1% on a monthly basis in July compared with 0,4% the previous month.  

Progress slow in achieving employment equity 

By: Sapa     24th August 2009 An amendment to the Employment Equality Act to penalise companies not abiding by racial diversification in the workplace was recommended to the labour department on Monday. The government's approach of persuasion was not having the desired effect and black and coloured people were bearing the... 

Gauteng economy to grow by 2,1% in ’09 – report

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     21st August 2009 Economic activity in South Africa’s economic power house, the Gauteng province, has declined owing to the deterioration in the international and domestic climate, but the 2010 World Cup and planned infrastructure projects will hold “tremendous” opportunity, a report stated this week. The Gauteng... 

Sessa hoping to ‘plant the seeds of education’ with new youth initiative

By: Christy van der Merwe     19th August 2009 The Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (Sessa) will launch its ‘Young Sessa’ division at the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) 2009 World Solar Congress, which it is co-hosting in October. Sessa will also launch its own ‘Sessa Green Certificate’, which will allow companies,... 

SA remains in recession as Q2 GDP contracts 3%

By: Chanel de Bruyn     18th August 2009 Economists were hopeful on Tuesday that the third quarter of the year would produce an even smaller contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) than the 3% quarter-on-quarter contraction recorded in the second quarter, while the final quarter would likely show a small positive growth number. The... 

SA economy remains stuck in recession - Stats SA

By: Sapa     18th August 2009 South Africa's economy remains stuck in a recession, according to gross domestic product (GDP) data released by Statistics SA on Tuesday. The economy contracted once again in the second quarter of the year, according to the Pretoria-based agency. 

Crime and violent protests harm business confidence in SA

By: Chanel de Bruyn     14th August 2009 The increased “belligerence on the part of labour”, violent service delivery protests, as well as the increase in cash-in-transit heists in South Africa, was “substantially” harming confidence in the business environment, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) reported on... 

Dinaledi Schools initiative boosts maths, science pass rates 

By: Leandi Kolver     14th August 2009 Although government has identified mathematics and science as key school focus subjects to reach its education development goals - and mathematics has been made a compulsory subject in the general, further education and training bands to increase pass rates in the subject, continuing low pass... 

Engineering, medicine most appealing technical career choices  

By: Leandi Kolver     14th August 2009 Last week was National Science Week, and Engineering News took the liberty to speak to one of the 500 Dinaledi project school’s, to get to hear what its top science and math students see in their future. Jeppe Girls High school top science and math students Jessica Hill, Rechel Govender, Malikah... 

German company donates equipment to Soweto training centre 

By: Darren Parker     14th August 2009 German drainage company MEA Drainage Systems has donated a set of Meadrain drainage systems and equipment, to the value of R50 000, including tran, to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s SA-German Training Services’ (SAGTS) Builders Training Centre (BTC), in Soweto. 

School gets two sponsored teachers on joining Dinaledi Schools initiative

By: Leandi Kolver     14th August 2009 Jeppe Girls’ High School became a part of the Dinaledi school project in 2007, when the Department of Education invited of their participation in the initiative aimed at driving science and maths in schools to upskill the country’s future workforce. 

SA must ensure recession does not destroy productive capacity – Patel  

By: Chanel de Bruyn     13th August 2009 Government and business were in agreement that the country had to ensure that its productive capacity was not destroyed by the recession, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Thursday. Following a meeting with Business Unity South Africa (Busa), Patel told journalists the means... 

Bell Equipment cuts 1 200 global jobs   

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     12th August 2009 By the end of next month, heavy equipment manufacturer Bell Equipment would have retrenched about 1 200 employees in an effort to streamline its business in the face of slowing demand, CEO Gary Bell said on Wednesday. Bell told Engineering News Online that about 1 200 employees, from an initial... 

Trade activity still in negative territory, but improving – Sacci

By: Creamer Media Reporter      12th August 2009 Despite trade conditions remaining in negative territory and the Trade Activity Index (TAI) staying below the 50 point index level, it improved to 42 points in July, compared with 39 points in June, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) reported on Wednesday. This was the... 

Solidarity says Eskom is delaying minimum service agreement

By: Chanel de Bruyn     6th August 2009 Labour union Solidarity on Thursday said that Eskom was oppressing its employees by hindering the implementation of a minimum service agreement, which would specify the conditions for a strike at the power utility. Fellow union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), this week continued to... 

SA’s power consumption dropped in June – stats  

By: Creamer Media Reporter      6th August 2009 South Africa’s electricity consumption dropped by 3,4%, or 699 GWh, year-on-year in June, with 19 816 GWh consumed, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Thursday. This was 1% higher than the electricity used the month before. Consumption in the second quarter of the year was also 2,9%... 

World Cup will help SA recover from global economic crisis – economist   

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     6th August 2009 The 2010 FIFA World Cup was likely to contribute significantly to South Africa’s recovery following the global economic downturn, which struck during the second half of 2008, an economist said on Wednesday. Speaking at a panel briefing by accounting firm KPMG, Nedbank chief economist Nicky... 

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