Items filtered by date: Thursday, 20 September 2018
Castle Milk Stout has been hit by a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority following a campaign to publish clan names on beer cans.
 
An aggrieved consumer believes this is being disrespectful to ancestors. But the advertising authority disagrees. The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that putting clan names on beer cans is not disrespectful.
 
This is after a consumer complaint that Castle Milk Stout is using "sacred" African names - which are used to summon ancestors - to sell alcohol.
 
"It is the equivalent of putting the names of prophets on an alcohol can and using it as a marketing gimmick," Yoliswa Matu says in the complaint.
 
Matu went on to say that the campaign was disrespectful to African beliefs and distasteful; and that there is no way the Castle Milk Stout could have gained necessary permission to carry out the advertising campaign.
 
"More and more young South Africans are increasingly losing sight of their roots and their heritage," Sifiso Pule, Castle Milk Stout's Connections Manager, told Business Insider.
 
"The campaign is geared at encouraging South Africans to get back to their roots and embrace being African in any way possible. Having people put their clan praises on the cans is one of the many ways in which Africans can celebrate their [cultural] riches."
 
The ASA, in its ruling, agrees with this and adds that the use of alcohol is not forbidden when paying due respects to ancestors.
 
"Libation in Africa is a ritual of heritage, a drink offering to honour and please the creator...[it] may be poured with any drinkable liquid including water, milk, win, beer or strong spirits," it says in its ruling.
 
"The clan names are not used in a disrespectful way but rather an endorsement and praise of African clan names." According to the ASA, Castle sought to educate and create an awareness and recognition of African cultural practices.
 
 
Source: Business Insider..
Published in Business
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it was reviewing the information provided by Nigeria’s telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria, and four banks it recently sanctioned over illegal repatriation of funds.
 
The CBN disclosed in a statement by its Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor.
 
Recall that the CBN had on August 29 sanctioned MTN Nigeria and four banks – Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank, and Diamond Bank – for allegedly issuing irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN.
 
The CBN had ordered MTN to refund a sum of $8.13 billion it repatriated, while the four banks were slammed a total of N5.87 billion, which it later deducted from their accounts.
 
The apex sanctioned Standard Chartered Bank the highest fine of N2.4 billion, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria received a fine of N1.88 billion. Citibank Nigeria was ordered to pay a sum of N1.2 billion and Diamond Bank was penalized in the sum of N250 million for violating extant rules.
 
However, the telecommunication company and the four banks in separate statements denied wrongdoing.
 
But according to the statement by the CBN, it was engaging and reviewing additional information provided by the four banks owing to concerns raised over the sanctions it imposed on the banks.
 
“The recent sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns.
 
“In response to the recent regulatory actions, the Banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution,” it stated.
 
CBN assured all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.
 
It also added that “some of our recent innovations and reforms of the Foreign Exchange regime such as the introduction of the NAFEX window, are designed to simplify foreign exchange regulations.
 
“Furthermore, the delegation of the issuance of CCIs to commercial and merchant banks some years ago was done to instill confidence in the investor community and encourage the flow of foreign direct and portfolio investments into the Nigerian economy.”
 
 
Vanguard
Published in Telecoms
Thursday, 20 September 2018 12:11

Udom Emmanuel’s midas touch in agriculture

When he was sworn in as governor in 2015, Mr. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, made it clear that his election was an event of some importance. He said “the Akwa Ibom people had come together not to celebrate the triumph of a party, but to celebrate the victory of hope.”
 
He promised “to transform the economy of our state via industrialization and sustain public-private Sector initiative, thereby opening up opportunities for growth and improved living standards.” More than three years after, he has achieved what he promised especially in agricultural sector.
 
Governor Udom Emmanuel has taken a bold step to secure the future of Akwa Ibom State through agriculture in the event that oil ceases to yield as much revenue as it does today. Fortunately, Akwa Ibom state is blessed with arable land and favourable climate that supports all-year-round cultivation and extraction of agricultural and forest products such as palm produce, rubber, cocoa, rice, cassava, yam, plantain, banana, maize, and timber.
 
Through his policy in agriculture, his administration is creating food security, industrial hubs and massive job opportunities for the people of Akwa Ibom. The state is being transformed from one that is heavily dependent on federal allocations to one that generates revenue and earns foreign exchange through agriculture, a vision that Nigeria, even with all its resources still find difficult to achieve.
 
Visionary administration:
 
Udom Emmanuel’s visionary administration from the onset, declared a state of emergency in the agricultural sector, targeting food sufficiency, welfare of the people, export and economic development of the state. With prevailing high cost of living, this couldn’t have come at a better time even as pervasive poverty and hunger ravage the country. It couldn’t have come at a better time than when quality leadership is in short supply.
 
Although its rural communities are largely agrarian, relying on subsistent agriculture, their enormous potentials are now being harnessed for commercial and mechanised farming in cash crops like yam, coconut, plantain, maize, rice, tomatoes, cucumber and rubber as well as animal production, poultry and fish farming.
 
The revolution has, no doubt, taken the state by storm. For instance, the state has created an 11, 000 hectares of coconut plantation. With about two million stands of coconut already planted, the plantation is said to be the largest in the world. It will feed raw materials to the coconut refinery, and at full capacity, the refinery would process 300, 000 coconuts per day. This is a huge foreign exchange earner as virgin coconut oil is a highly priced product in the international market, selling higher than crude oil.
 
The state has also achieved 2,100 hectares of cassava plantation in 15 Local Government Areas under the FADAMA programme. To complement that, the government embarked on the construction of 33 cassava micro processing mills.
 
To take it a step further, the government embarked on refurbishment of cassava processing plants at Ikot Okudom, Eket Local Government Area, Nung Udoe, Ibesikpo/Asutan Local Government Area as well as Ikot Ekang in Abak council area. These factories were leased to private sector operators for the production of high quality garri, odourless fufu and cassava flour.
 
Under the Udom Emmanuel administration, 48,000 rice farmers have so far been registered under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers scheme. So far, over 100 hectares of rice farmland have been cultivated.
 
As a result of its commercial value, coupled with the comparative advantage Akwa Ibom State has in the production of cocoa, the Udom Emmanuel administration has so far, trained 450 youths in new methods of planting cocoa and other extension services to its farmers in the state. The state went further to establish Special Cocoa Maintenance Scheme (SCMS) for the training of farmers and youths on pruning/shade management, under brushing, and tree care by fumigation, in order to ensure the improved yields from 300 kg/hectare to 2, 000kg/hectare over a period of  three years.
 
About 500, 000 improved cocoa seedlings were raised for distribution to farmers at highly subsidised rates across the 28 cocoa producing Local Government Areas in the state.
 
In poultry business, the Akwa Prime Hatchery, located at Mbiaya, Uruan has produced and distributed about 160, 000 birds to contract farmers across the state. The Hatchery has a capacity to produce 10, 000 day-old-chicks per week. The government also embarked on distribution of improved corn seedlings to farmers; Construction of vegetable green houses and cattle ranch.
 
Under the Graduate Unemployment Youth Scheme (GUYS), no fewer than 300 youths have been trained. Each of the young graduates is to be empowered with one million naira to embark on any agricultural enterprise of their choice.
 
In order to boost mechanised farming in the state, the Udom Emmanuel administration also established a Tractor Hiring Enterprise Centre. This is aimed at making such farm equipment available and affordable to farmers.
 
To further illustrate its commitment to the revolution, the administration procured about 600, 000 bags of fertilizers for farmers in the state. In September 2016 alone, 1,000 bags of special cocoa fertilizer were imported from Ghana for optimal yield. The government also planted about 500 citrus seedlings, 600 hybrid plantain suckers and 1, 000 pineapple suckers at the Horticulture Garden in Uyo.
 
Transfer of improved technologies:
 
At Ebighi Anwa, Okobo council area of the state, the government in partnership with the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria established a large hybrid rubber nursery for distribution to rubber farmers in the state at a highly subsidised rate. It went further to establish demonstration plots of various agricultural technologies for the transfer of improved technologies to farmers through the Akwa Ibom Agricultural Development Programme (AKADEP).
 
Furthermore, the state established three model villages for production, processing and packaging of Vitamin A products as well as partnering Word Bamboo Organisation for bamboo development in the state.
 
In animal production and husbandry, the governor has equally made remarkable progress. It is working in collaboration with Carlos Farms, a Mexican group that has interest in commercial agriculture. The firm is investing in massive commercial farming in Nigeria to develop ranches. The aim is not just cow production but also processing of cow milk for dairy companies in the country.
 
The governor’s giant strides in agriculture is largely indicative of his leadership acumen. No doubt, his versed experience in the private sector and corporate governance has been of great benefit to Akwa Ibom state. His ability to attract private investors and some times, go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) is an indication of a man who has what it takes to be in leadership position.
 
Published in Agriculture

Exactly two months after the official launch of the logo and name of the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, the Federal Government has suspended the project.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this via his official twitter handle (@hadisirika) on Wednesday after the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.

Sirika said the decision to suspend the project, which he described as tough, was strategic and had nothing to do with politics or pressure from stakeholders.

“I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim.

“All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always,” Sirika said.

On July 18, the Nigerian government had officially unveiled the name and logo of the country’s new carrier at the Farnborough International Public Airshow in London, United Kingdom.

The new national airline, which was expected to takeoff on December 24, would be private sector-led and driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, with the government owning not more than five percent equity and zero interference, according to Sirika.

Early this month, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the proposed December take off of Nigeria Air was still feasible as it could still issue necessary operational certificates before the end of the year.

 

The Ripples

Published in Travel & Tourism

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has passed down a judgment that makes it legal for adults to cultivate and smoke marijuana in their homes.

The court – the country’s highest – ruled that the right to privacy was violated by prohibiting the possession, purchase or cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption by an adult in a private dwelling.

The case was pursued by various parties, including a Cape Town lawyer, Gareth Prince, who is a practising Rastafarian. It was opposed by, among others, the country’s ministers of Justice and Constitutional Development, Police and Health; the country’s National Director of Public Prosecutions and the NGO Doctors for Life International.

The Constitutional Court’s judgment is to be applauded for doing away with the moralistic and paternalistic assumption that marijuana use by adults in private is always wrong and unhealthy. South Africa joins a number of countries that have taken a similar step, among them Canada and Portugal.

But there are still lots of uncertainties that need to be cleared up before South Africans can use marijuana without fear of prosecution. One of these is that the country’s laws will have to be brought into line with the judgment.

What the court found

In making its ruling, the Constitutional Court considered several issues. These included privacy, health concerns and the status quo in other parts of the world.

Delivering the unanimous judgment, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo stated that “the right to privacy entitles an adult person to use or cultivate or possess cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption”. And, he added,

to the extent that the impugned provisions criminalise such cultivation, possession or use of cannabis, they limit the right to privacy.

The court also examined the medical evidence that was used when the case was first brought to a lower court – the Western Cape High Court – as well as evidence from a 2002 case about the religious use of marijuana. It found no persuasive medical evidence that dagga in small amounts was harmful to users, particularly compared to the harm resulting from use of alcohol. Nor was there proof that marijuana use caused violent or aggressive behaviour or that its use led to the use of more potent or dangerous drugs.

The Constitutional Court noted that the personal consumption of small quantities of marijuana had been decriminalised or legalised in many other democratic countries.

The State failed to prove that the existing limitation of privacy was reasonable and justifiable. The relevant legal provisions that criminalise personal, private use of dagga by adults were declared unconstitutional and invalid. That order was suspended for 24 months. This will give parliament time to rectify the constitutional defects.

In the interim, the court ordered, adults who use, possess or cultivate cannabis in private for their own personal consumption are not guilty of contravening these provisions.

The personal consumption exception has been widely celebrated. But it raises various practical difficulties.

Practical concerns

First, it’s less than clear under what circumstances the personal consumption exception will apply. According to the Constitutional Court, police officers will have to determine this on a case by case basis. To do so, they’ll need to consider factors such as the quantity of cannabis in the person’s possession and whether they can give a satisfactory account of their possession.

Uncertainty relating to how the exception is to be enforced in practice is problematic. It may even mean that the exception violates the so-called principle of fair warning. This rule requires criminal law provisions to be clearly formulated so those subject to them know ahead of time what they may and may not do.

Second, while the Constitutional Court judgment confirms the Western Cape High Court’s findings in many respects, it also differs in important ways. Significantly, the Constitutional Court held that there was no persuasive reason for the High Court to confine its declaration of invalidity to marijuana use in a home or private dwelling.

The Constitutional Court envisages instead that, provided dagga is used “in private and not in public”, it is protected by the right to privacy, even if the adult in question is not at home or in a private dwelling. It uses the example of someone who has cannabis in their pocket for private consumption, and then steps outside their home or dwelling. Provided the cannabis remains in their pocket and is for personal use, it still falls within the constitutional protection.

This seemingly broadens the exception proposed by the High Court. But once again, it remains to be seen how the courts will interpret the distinction between public and private use in practice.

Another aspect of the High Court judgment the Constitutional Court refused to confirm relates to the order declaring that provisions prohibiting the purchase of cannabis were invalid. The Constitutional Court argued that allowing people to purchase marijuana would amount to sanctioning dealing in cannabis.

This aspect of the judgment raises a legitimate practical concern: how is an adult user of cannabis supposed to acquire the marijuana they’re allowed to use in private if they don’t buy it from a dealer of some sort (which the Constitutional Court explicitly says is illegal)?

The user could grow their own. But they would need to obtain the seeds or buy them from someone else – who is, by definition, a dealer. The judgment’s implication seems to be that to exercise one’s (constitutionally-protected) right to use marijuana in private, one must inevitably act illegally since any purchase of marijuana and related products makes one an accomplice to dealing in cannabis.The Conversation

 

Mary Nel, Mary Nel is a senior lecturer in Public Law, Stellenbosch University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

A total of 22.4 million smartphones were shipped in Africa during the second quarter of this year (Q2 2018), according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global technology research and consulting firm's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that Africa's smartphone shipments increased 9.8% quarter on quarter (QoQ) and 6.0% year on year (YoY) in Q2 2018.

The market's buoyant performance was spurred by the growing popularity of low-end to mid-range devices. Transsion brands continued to lead the continent's smartphone space in Q2 2018, accounting 35.4% of shipments. Samsung followed in second place with 23.2% share.

By contrast, the feature phone market was down 1.1% QoQ and 5.8% YoY in Q2 2018, but – with shipments totaling 31.4 million units – these devices still constitute a 58.3% share of Africa's overall mobile phone market as they cater to the needs of the continent's huge low-income population (mainly in rural areas) by providing basic mobile communications that are priced very competitively. Telco and Itel continued to lead feature phone category in Q2 2018 with a combined unit share of 59.9%, followed in third place by HMD on 9.0%.

Looking at the overall picture, the region's combined mobile phone market totaled 53.8 million units in Q2 2018, with shipments up 3.2% QoQ but down 1.2% YoY. The continent's two biggest markets – Nigeria and South Africa – saw a marked improvement in the performance of their overall mobile phone markets, posting YoY growth of 13.0% and 25.0%, respectively.

"The Nigerian economy remains stable and has begun to show signs of steady improvement in terms of consumer demand for mobile phones," says Arnold Ponela, a research analyst at IDC. "The country saw smartphone shipments of 2.7 million units in Q2 2018, up 15.8% YoY, with strong marketing support from telecom operators for most brands proving instrumental. However, ongoing currency issues and falling consumer purchasing power suggest Nigeria is not set for a sustained surge in smartphone shipments."

South Africa remains the continent's most developed telecommunications market, with smartphone shipments up 17.4% YoY in Q2 2018 to total 3.4 million units. "Numerous new entrants to the South African market are now offering affordable smartphones that boast very similar features to the leading brands," says Ponela. "As such, we expect the country's migration away from feature phones to continue at a progressive pace. This transition from feature phones to smartphones is reflected by the fact that the market continues to be dominated by low-end to mid-range devices priced below $150."

IDC's research shows that 4G LTE networks are spreading their reach in Africa, with shipments of 4G LTE devices increasing 11.8% QoQ in Q2 2018 to constitute 62.6% of the smartphone market. "Despite a drop in the prices of entry-level 4G phones, 2G and 3G mobile devices remain far more economical, making it difficult for operators to migrate clients over to newer technologies," says Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC. "Price sensitivity means that many African consumers prefer to stick with 3G phones, and this is likely to continue until 4G devices fall to a price point where they are affordable to a much larger segment of the continent's consumer base." 

Looking ahead, IDC expects Africa's overall mobile phone market to grow 2.6% QoQ in Q3 2018, with overall shipments to increase slightly through 2018, leading to YoY growth of 0.4% for the year as a whole. "IDC predicts that 5G phones will reach the market in 2020, when rollouts of 5G networks will start in select African countries," says Yavuz. "However, demand for feature phones is unlikely to be impacted significantly as these devices will continue to serve a purpose in areas with no LTE coverage."

Published in Telecoms

To deploy global investment on a significant scale Africa needs to develop the domestic conditions to absorb the much higher levels of global real estate investment currently considering Africa.

Typically, African real estate accounts for around 0.5% of large global funds’ commitment. That said, most of the global real estate funds that have invested in Africa, have sustained reasonable returns at a portfolio level over the last two decades. This has meant that most have stayed and that most have also either maintained or increased their allocation over the years. “This has built familiarity with – and confidence in - the continent,” says Adeniyi Adeleye, Executive Real Estate, Africa Regions, for Standard Bank.

The next big step is to increase the level at which these global funds’ commit to the continent.

The biggest challenge to achieving this is not so much global appetite or confidence but rather, “the ability of African markets to deploy or sustainably absorb this capital,” explains Mr. Adeleye.

Most of the continent’s leading markets have fundamental real estate demand and supply imbalances meaning that they present a largely attractive long-term investment outlook. As such, demand for real estate investment opportunities has remained consistent in most of Africa’s larger markets despite commodity price induced volatility challenges.

“Despite macro-challenges, most investors who made a commitment to the continent over the last two decades have stayed, managing volatility by seeking to evolve from short-term to more permanent real estate investment structures,” says Mr. Adeleye.

Standard Bank has supported significant evolution in the funding of real estate development on the continent. Private equity seeking alpha during the heady pre-economic crisis days appears to be giving way to longer-term funding structures.

“Private real estate funds seeking to evolve into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) aim to draw on pension funds or other sources of institutional capital, for example, and are proving to be more effective in Africa’s longer-term real estate investment cycle, which typically requires much more patient structures,” says Mr Adeleye.

Yet the scale for growth going forward is much larger.

Encouragingly, policy and market conditions on the ground in Africa are shifting in the right direction. One of the keys to increasing investment in African real estate is to unlock capital in local markets. Even though some of the larger markets on the continent have regulatory or structural constraints that limit investments to unlisted real estate securities, “real estate investment, with its long and stable return profiles, still represents a fantastic opportunity to deploy local savings for broader investment and economic growth,” explains Mr. Adeleye.

Financing real estate investment requires low and predictable interest rates. In many African jurisdictions, local interest rates have been both high and volatile. This has meant that, traditionally, African real estate investment has focused on top end, global quality, opportunities that will attract hard currency funding. Today, however, leading African markets are rapidly developing the road, rail and digital telecommunications infrastructures linking their economies to the global economy. The industrial, retail and service sectors that these infrastructure ecosystems enable is making middle and lower end real estate opportunities more attractive to investors.

In short, “as African markets develop rational globally-linked and market-relevant infrastructure, real estate investors have to fund fewer of the ancillary infrastructure (roads, power, services) that have historically made middle and lower end opportunities unattractive in Africa,” says Mr. Adeleye.

Africa’s heavy focus on backward processing in agriculture (the continent’s biggest sector and traditional mainstay) also represents a significant opportunity for real estate investment – on two fronts. Firstly, the physical infrastructure required to develop a beneficiated agricultural export sector presents a real estate investment opportunity in its own right. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, “exporting beneficiated goods will limit the imported inflation endemic to raw commodity exporters,” explains Mr. Adeleye.

“If interest rates in African markets can be sustainably brought within the 10% to 14% range, we’ll see an explosion of middle and lower end real estate opportunities as these suddenly become justifiable – to both global and local investors,” he adds.

China’s heavy investment in African infrastructure at the government to government level as well as private investment in businesses unlocking the continent’s industrial and beneficiated agricultural export opportunities is deepening Africa’s ability attract and deploy much higher levels of both global and local real estate investment.

Standard Bank combines in-country presence and insight, a multi-jurisdictional view and capability across 20 African markets with an established presence in all leading centres of global capital and real estate investment. “Observing, advising, managing and growing Africa’s real estate sector enables us to recognise the scale of the opportunity that awaits those markets able to create the conditions to deploy significantly higher proportions of the world’s real estate investment capital,” says Mr. Adeleye.

Published in Engineering

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