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The South african government, led by The Presidency, is collaborating with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development to promote the development of green hydrogen in the country. The German ministry has commissioned its development agency called the Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to be its role player in the project with The Presidency. During a stakeholder engagement held at Port Nolloth near Boegoebaai in the Northern Cape, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the German ministry would be supporting the project with at least 12.5 million in funding. According to the minister, the project aims to: Support the development of a favourable strategic and regulatory framework for a green hydrogen economy in South Africa Coordinate the important contributions of different government departments and stakeholders for such a framework Enable relevant actors to build a green hydrogen export economy Enhance capacity and knowledge of South african stakeholders in the green hydrogen and Powerfuels sector Mitigate potential implications of a green hydrogen and Powerfuels economy on the environment, society, and the economy. Gungubele added that the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency has also pledged its support to a project by energy giant Sasol and the German government supported H2Global initiative to produce sustainable aviation fuel to the international community. He explained that the Infrastructure Offices assessment of the project found that it has the potential to contribute to a just [energy] transition and to create quality green jobs. The German government through its H2Global initiative has created a sustainable aviation fuel market trading platform which is intended to provide funding to green hydrogen products globally. South Africa has the potential to become a global sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) hub due to our renewable endowment and Fisher-Tropsch technology capabilities. Sasol is working with a number of local and international partners on a pioneering sustainable aviation fuel project at the Sasol Secunda facility. Due to its catalytic nature and its potential to contribution to a just transition, the Investment and Infrastructure Office submitted a letter of support to H2Global for the Sasol Consortiums SAF project, Minister Gungubele said.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will today hold a media briefing on the opening of schools for the 2022 academic year. Schools are set to reopen from Wednesday, 12 January. The briefing is scheduled to take place from 10:00 at the Ronnie Mamoepa Press Room, Tshedimosetso House, in Tshwane. Members of the media may view the briefing via live stream on the South african government and Department of Basic Education social media channels. government is ready to receive millions of learners for the 2022 academic year, as learners across the country will report for the start of the new school year between 12 and 17 January. Pupils in inland provinces are expected to return to school on Wednesday, while schools in coastal areas will only resume a week later. The government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said government is committed to every learner receiving the best possible education. We call on families to assist learners by providing support systems. It is essential that we encourage learners and instil in them the importance of education, the GCIS said. government has called on everyone to play their part to ensure the safety of learners and educators in schools. COVID-19 is still with us. Vaccination remains our best defence and we urge all learners aged 12 and older to vaccinate as soon as possible. Wearing of masks remains mandatory and all learners, teachers and other school staff must continue to do so. Together, we can make our schools safer for all, the GCIS said.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will on Tuesday hold a media briefing on the opening of schools for the 2022 academic year. Schools are set to reopen from Wednesday, 12 January. The briefing is scheduled to take place from 10:00 at the Ronnie Mamoepa Press Room, Tshedimosetso House, in Pretoria. Members of the media may view the briefing via live stream on the South african government and Department of Basic Education social media channels. government is ready to receive millions of learners for the 2022 academic year, as learners across the country will report for the start of the new school year between 12 and 17 January. Pupils in inland provinces are expected to return to school on Wednesday, while schools in coastal areas will only resume a week later. The government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said on Monday that government is committed to every learner receiving the best possible education. We call on families to assist learners by providing support systems. It is essential that we encourage learners and instil in them the importance of education, GCIS said. government has called on everyone to play their part to ensure the safety of learners and educators in schools. COVID-19 is still with us. Vaccination remains our best defence and we urge all learners aged 12 and older to vaccinate as soon as possible. Wearing of masks remains mandatory and all learners, teachers and other school staff must continue to do so. Together, we can make our schools safer for all, GCIS said.
In an effort to strengthen strategic partnership relations between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has engaged with potential investors during her four-day visit to Dubai. Over the course of the four-days, the Minister held bilateral engagements with G Pennon, Chairman of the SOBHA Group, a multinational real estate and construction group, Chairman of Emirates Group, His Highness, Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Makhtoum, CEO of the Bin Otaiba Hotel Group, Khalaf Bin Ahmed Al Otaiba and CEO of MILLAT Investments, Hamza Farooqui. The UAE is one of South Africas top bilateral trade partners in the Middle East, with total exports worth R25.4 billion in 2018. Of concern to the potential investors, was that safety and security in South Africa continues to be a hindrance to sustainable investments, said the Ministry in a statement on Monday. The National Tourism Sector Strategy and Tourism Sector Recovery Plan aims to promote South Africa as a preferred destination for tourism investment by highlighting opportunity areas in major attractions, especially in underdeveloped areas with high tourism potential. Through the Tourism Recovery Plan, tourism intends to match specific tourism investment opportunities to potential financiers and thus contribute towards the Presidential Investment Mobilisation Drive, launched in 2018 to generate about $100 billion (or R1.2 trillion) fixed investments over five years. The Ministry said the Bin Otaiba Hotels (BOH) was one of the diversified hospitality platforms worldwide. In South Africa, the group owns amongst others the Radisson in Sandton and Hyatt Regency in Rosebank. Unfortunately, some BOH owned hotels in South Africa closed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other local government factors. The Emirates airline group, one of the worlds largest, had code-sharing agreement with South Africa. The agreement gives the airline access to South Africas domestic routes while Emirates promotes South Africa on its Airlines Global Network. Airlift is key pillar for South Africa tourism recovery and therefore it is critical to collaborate with Emirates to support our turnaround strategy, said Sisulu. Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Makhtoum said Emirates long-term plan was to grow the tourism business instead of being dependent on passenger transit only as previously. The SOBHA group had diversified interests and investments in the UAE, India, Oman, Bahrain, Brunei and Tanzania. Pennon highlighted that South Africa had the potential to grow the economy through land development. Farooqui said the tourism ecosystem could grow if there is unconditional collaborations and would be prepared to work with South Africa. Addressing security challenges Sisulu acknowledged that although tourism had the greatest potential for long-term sustainable growth, safety and security does indeed hurt the South african economy. She reiterated that the South african government had put in place measures to address issues of security in the country. We will continue to create a conducive environment for tourism investments, said the Minister, adding that she believed that lessons could be learnt from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. The region plays a critical role in contributing to South Africas economic growth and job creation. Minister Sisulu thanked the UAE and GCC region for having faith in South Africa and for their affirmation in wanting to continue to invest in South Africa. Despite the COVID-19 challenges, the Bin Otaiba Hotels (BOH) CEO, Khalaf Bin Ahmed Al Otaiba, believes that South Africa had potential and wanted to invest on mega projects in the country. Some of the prominent investors from the GCC region with physical presence in South Africa are: Otaiba Group (UAE) with an investment in the country estimated at R3.5 billion, the Hilton Durban, Port Edward in Port Elizabeth, the Hyatt in Rosebank and the Radisson- Blu Sea Point in Cape Town. IFA (Kuwait) with an investment estimated at R10 billion in the Zimbali Resort in KwaZulu-Natal, Boschendal Farm Estate in the Western Cape and the Legend Golf and Safari Resort in Limpopo. Adel Al-Sumait (Kuwait) with an investment estimated at R203 million invested in Al-Thandiwe Safaris in Limpopo Dubai Investment Corporation with an investment estimated at R420 million in Shamwari Game Reserve, and a stake in the One & Only Hotel in Cape Town -
The South african government, through the african Renaissance Fund (ARF), has signed an agreement with the african Vaccination Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to donate 2 030 400 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, valued at R288.6 million, to african countries. AVAT was formed following the establishment of the african Unions COVID-19 african Vaccination Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) in November 2020 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, as the then Chairperson of the AU. In a joint statement issued on Friday, the South african government and AVAT said the main purpose of the task team is to secure the necessary vaccines and financing resources for achieving Africas COVID-19 vaccination strategy, which targets vaccinating a minimum of 60% of the continents population. The donation by the South african government will be produced at the Aspen manufacturing plant in Gqeberha, operated by Aspen Pharma. The vaccine will be made available to african countries through the african Medical Suppliers Platform (AMSP) over the next year. The donation embodies South Africas solidarity with our brothers and sisters on the continent, with whom we are united in fighting an unprecedented threat to public health and economic prosperity. The only way in which we can prevent COVID-19 transmission and protect economies and societies on our continent, is to successfully immunise a critical mass of the african population with safe and effective vaccines, President Ramaphosa said. International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, said while serving as Chair of the african Union, South Africa had initiated a coordinated african response that focused on addressing immediate challenges to public health systems, and mitigating the economic and humanitarian crisis arising from the pandemic. This includes the establishment of a COVID-19 Response Fund and the launch of the african Medical Supplies Platform to ensure all countries have access to the necessary equipment and supplies. african Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa, said this generous donation from the people of South Africa would be distributed directly to the lowest income member States as quickly as possible. As AVAT, we have already received and distributed over 100 million doses of donated vaccines, most of which came as a result of President Ramaphosas tireless efforts with the richest nations like the United States, EU and France. In addition, AVAT has entered into direct purchase of over 500 million doses, mostly produced in South Africa, Masiyiwa said.
The South african government has welcomed the announcement by the United Kingdom (UK) government to remove South Africa from its red list. The UK has lifted the travel ban it imposed on South Africa following the emergence of the Omicron variant. Addressing the departments end-of-year media briefing on Tuesday, International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, said the unscientific travel ban had a devastating impact on two-way business, travel and tourism, and families. "We are pleased that diplomacy is bearing fruits. Some [countries] have already begun lifting these restrictions that are inflicting so much harm on our economy and families," Pandor said. Pandor said it is disheartening to note that even after revelations that the Omicron variant had long been in the backyard of many countries who rushed to close their borders, some have "remained silent [with] no further acknowledgement". Step in the right direction for SAs tourism sector Also commending the UKs decision to remove South Africa from the red list, Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the latest decision to remove 11 african countries from the list means that hotel quarantine is no longer required for those returning to the UK from South Africa, as of 4am on 15 December. Todays announcement by the UK government is a step in the right direction for South Africas tourism sector. When South Africa was added to the red list last month, the implementation of hotel quarantine instead of at home quarantine was a huge deterrent for Brits who were considering travelling to South Africa at a time when our tourism industry was just beginning to recover, Sisulu said. Sisulu said the Omicron variant is being closely monitored to contain the virus and ensure the appropriate safety measures are in place. South african borders remain open, and our government and tourism industry have been working extremely hard to implement safety regulations to ensure that we are ready for all inbound visitors. The Minister thanked all tourism stakeholders for their hard work and dedication. She said the war room is yielding results with the country being removed for the red list. The UK announcement has come just in time to allow families and friends to unite over the festive season. We hope to welcome British travellers again very soon, Sisulu said.
The South african government believes that for sustainable peace to thrive in the Middle East, Israel must unconditionally end its occupation of Palestinian territories through a negotiated settlement. This is according to International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor, who was addressing the media on Tuesday. The only way to bring about lasting peace in the Middle East is to have a comprehensive and unconditional negotiated settlement to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and Israels continued blockade of Gaza. The ongoing delay in achieving such a settlement leads to an unending cycle of violence, she said. The Minister said the continuing violence in the region made the african Unions decision to grant Israel observer status of the AU inexplicable. In the context of Israels continuing violations of its international law obligations this came as a shock, given that the decision was made at a time when the oppressed people of Palestine were hounded by destructive bombardments and continued illegal settlements of their land, the Minister said. According to Pandor, Israels unjust actions committed against Palestine are an offence on the charter of the african Union. The AU embodies the aspirations of all africans and reflects their confidence that it can lead the continent through the practical expression of the goals of the charter, especially on issues relating to self-determination and decolonisation. The decision by the AU Commission in this context remains inexplicable. We look forward to the 35th Ordinary Summit of the african Union where the Heads of State will discuss this matter. International relations Turning to other matters of international importance, Pandor said South Africa continues to be a proud member of the world of community of nations while participating in various world bodies. South Africa participated in the United Nations 76th Session of the General Assembly (UNGA76) in September 2021. In the G20 held in Rome, Italy, South Africa joined other countries in discussions aimed at forging a common global recovery effort from the COVID-19 crisis and enable sustainable and inclusive growth. South Africa is currently the host of the BRICS Vaccine Research Centre and the research on the Omicron variant will form part of the centres initiatives, she said.
The National Treasury says the International Monetary Funds (IMF) concerns over the South african economy are aligned with governments response programme to stimulate growth, which is guided by South Africas Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. The IMF held virtual consultations with South Africa from 17 November to 7 December as part of its surveillance function. In a statement on Wednesday, Treasury said the objective of consultations was to conduct economic and financial assessments of government policies and provide policy recommendations. On Wednesday, the IMF published its Staff Concluding Statement, outlining its staffs preliminary findings. IMF staff held meetings with the South african government, the South african Reserve Bank, Eskom, business, organised labour and academia. The outcome of their consultation would be summarised in an Article IV Report, which was expected to be considered by the IMF Executive Board in February 2022. IMF findings Treasury said the IMF staffs preliminary findings pointed to a lack of progress in the implementation of structural reforms and continued weaknesses in state-owned enterprises (SOEs). It identified key risks and proposed policy recommendations. The staff recommended that structural rigidities be tackled immediately to increase the economys productivity and competitiveness and reduce poverty and equality. Additionally, the IMF argues that growth-friendly fiscal consolidation needs to focus on reversing the expansion on current expenditure while broadening the tax base. The IMF notes that there is an urgent need to condition any support to SOEs on the implementation of concrete and measurable actions that would significantly improve their performance and restore their viability, said the Treasury. In general, the IMFs concerns were aligned with governments response programme to stimulate economic growth, and was guided by South Africas Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Outlook on growth The Treasury said Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was expected to recover to 5.1% in 2021 and average 1.7% over the next three years. It said positive developments on the fiscal side have been tax collections that exceeded expectations in the short term. However, the recent spike in commodity prices was considered temporary. Fiscal policy considerations In the 2021 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), the government underscored its commitment to fiscal sustainability, enabling long-term growth through narrowing the budget deficit and stabilising debt. Furthermore, to improve transparency, reports from organs of state on COVID-19 related expenditure are published regularly on the National Treasurys public website, it said.
Leading a world-class consortium to create the first technology transfer hub for COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, South Africa's Department of Science and Innovation is convening a multi-stakeholder forum on Thursday, in collaboration with local and international partners, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Omicron is the latest COVID-19 variant to give Africa a stark reminder that it needs to make haste in developing its own vaccine manufacturing capacity to ensure viable vaccine security for its population, said the department. The establishment of the hub is driven by the South african government through the Presidency. Themed: "Strengthening Africa's vaccine manufacturing capacity through the South african mRNA technology transfer hub," the forum is the first open dialogue on the establishment of this hub set to teach african manufacturers how to make mRNA vaccines, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, as well as Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla will address the event. In June, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that South Africa would be the host country for what is set to be the continent's first COVID-19 vaccine production facility. The WHO, a South african consortium and partners from COVAX are working together in the initiative to help boost and scale up vaccine production in Africa. The partnership includes the South african Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Afrigen, Biovac, the african Union's Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low and middle-income countries. Dr Martin Friede, the WHO coordinator of the initiative, will speak in a panel discussion, which will include SAMRC President and CEO, Professor Glenda Gray and Biovac CEO, Dr Morena Makhoana. Professor Petro Terblanche, Managing Director of Afrigen and Dr Charles Gore of the UN Medicines Patent Pool will also take part in the panel discussion.
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has emphasised that Nigeria is a critical market for South african capital and goods while South Africa is a big market for Nigerian businesses. Minister Patel who forms part of a delegation accompanying President Cyril Ramaphosa to on a West Africa four-nation visit, was speaking on the sidelines of the South Africa - Nigeria business forum on Wednesday. Speaking toSAnews,Patel said the forum is aimed at creating a platform for South african companies to engage and exchange business contacts with their Nigerian counterparts to forge joint venture partnerships. The business forum was about getting the view of individual business people identified in the areas of ICT, infrastructure, finance and banking on how we can get greater economic cooperation between the two countries. The one key metric of economic development is the level of trade between countries. Nigeria is today South Africas biggest supplier of oil and historically it was at about 20% and it has now grown to about 42%. He said South Africa is a fairly significant supplier of polymer and polypropylene to the Nigerian market as well as some food products, among others. The question for us is how can trade relationship enable development in both countries? It is not a zero-sum game, not that South Africas growth has to be at Nigerias expense. That means that it needs the legal regime that allows it and requires policy coordination. The Minister said the legal regime was done largely through the african Continental Free Trade Area while the relationship part was what the State Visit by President Cyril Ramaphosa was all about. Its the political leadership of both countries recognising that if we can unlock the obstacles and challenges, then both countries can grow. We have heard about the enormous challenges that Nigeria faces with unemployment and low growth and those are the exact challenges that South Africa also faces, Patel said. He said when people visit supermarkets in both countries there is a large number of products that are manufactured in other parts of the world. Of course we want to be part of the global trading system, we dont want to disengage in trading with the world but Africa can produce more of what it needs. The Minister also spoke on the occurrence of South african businesses exiting the Nigerian market due to various reasons. South Africa has raised in discussions with Nigeria that both countries need to find ways of doing business, that there needs to be more predictability with the regulatory regimes. Speaking on challenges faced by South african businesses in Nigeria, Standard Bank CEO Lungisa Fuzile toldSAnewsthat often some of the well-established South african businesses, particularly in the retail sector, set up shop in Nigeria and later on are forced to disinvest when they face challenges. Fuzile said it was the responsibility of the South african government to try and establish the root causes of that. Given the interest that both countries share, which is to encourage investments both ways, job creation in both countries and just making sure that the countries prosper, you want to make sure that when an investment takes place, it is never reversed, Fuzile said. Fuzile said the visit by the President and his Cabinet along with the business delegation presents an opportunity to discuss the opportunities that the two countries present. We simply do not do enough business between our two countries and amongst ourselves as african countries, said Fuzile.