Davos – a story of hope

Published 25 January 2017, by Dr Iqbal Survé, Business Report at 09:05am 

I have just returned from Davos, and you may ask why one would leave a beautiful African summer to travel to a Swiss Alpine resort where the temperature plunges below -15°C. I have said before that Europe in winter is only good for skiing.

But WEF in Klosters, Davos, is becoming increasingly important, not only for economic growth, but also for the welfare of people on many levels, from education, health and mindfulness.

WEF took place between January 17- 20. This year’s theme was “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”, and now, more than ever this is what the world needs. Leaders in their fields who are responsible, who bear in mind that their actions affect billions of people.

But there is the “Other Davos” that is very rarely spoken about, the Davos where a handful of people attend invite-only events. There discussions revolve around how technology is harnessed to save lives; highlighting the plight of human trafficking and also providing a glimpse into the horrific conditions that refugees face every day.

It is also a space where the African agenda can be pushed, and while at times it seemed like an insurmountable task, the continent is slowly starting to feel the positive effects of constant lobbying.

Last week I was appointed to the Stewardship Board of the WEF “Shaping the Future of Information and Entertainment System Initiative”. It is here that the African agenda can be pushed even harder to ensure that Africa benefits from the information and technology revolution.

 

 

 

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Top 8 #WEF2017 issues as SA heads to Davos

Published, 13 January 2017 by Adri Senekal, Business Report at 07:42am

Eight issues are prevalent as we head to Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2017. The Sekunjalo Group has, for the past years, headed annually to Davos for the powerhouse WEF, led by its chairman, Dr Iqbal Surve.

Each year Davos wrestles with a set of different issues. This year is no different with a number of key themes meant to drive the conversation:  the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Responsive and Responsible Leadership, Global Collaboration; Building Positive Identities, Fixing Market Capitalism and Restoring Economic Growth.

In this wide-ranging interview with Business Report, Dr Surve outlines the eight top of mind issues that the Sekunjalo Group of Companies takes to Davos this year:

  1. Shoring up foreign direct investment in SA

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is what will make the biggest impact on our economic fortunes and attending WEF gives South African business leaders the opportunity to campaign for this.

In the 10 years that I have been attending WEF, I have relentlessly pursued the story of a country that is worth investing in.

Going to Davos gives us a unique opportunity to tap investors, change the narrative about South Africa and position the country as a good investment opportunity. It is FDI that will lead to job creation, stimulate the economy and build our cities.

 

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Connecting people

Published 12 December 2016 by Adri Senekal De Wet, Independent Online at 07:40am

It is almost 140 years since Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone to Queen Victoria followed by the first installed telephone in Britain.

Telephone exchanges followed, allowing cities to connect. The National Telephone Company was formed, then the General Post Office. In 1896, the National Telephone Company was taken over by the General Post Office. In 1912 it became the primary supplier of telecommunications services. Today it is known as British Telecommunications, or BT.

More than a decade ago, BT’s vision for Africa led the company to partner with a (then) medium size black-owned and managed diversified public company, Sekunjalo Investments. BT rooted their business expansion objectives on partnerships with visionary, trusted and sustainable business partners and networks.

The proof of that successful partnership is clear: BT grew to become a dominant-leading telecommunication provider on the African continent. At the weekend, I spoke to BT’s Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific President, Kevin Taylor,during his visit to the country. He told me he was extremely excited about Africa and the strategic relationship with Sekunjalo.

Heartbeat

Networks are the heartbeat of any economic growth strategy for any country, company, government, household or individual. Everybody wants to be connected – from the president of a country to a sweeper. Some need the connectivity to implement strategies, others to protect their countries, while some just want to share feelings.

 

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Friday Files – 90 years of excellence at Livingstone High

Published 02 December 2016 by Cape Argus, Independent Media at 11:27pm

Livingstone High School principal Theo Bruinders and his staff live up to the school’s motto of embracing excellence, writes Gasant Abarder.

You may miss it when you’re driving down Imam Haron Road, Claremont, as right now it resembles a construction site. But don’t be fooled by appearances. Inside the modest buildings and grounds lies a centre of excellence for maths and science.

This Friday Files edition is not about a single person, but rather about a passionate principal and a team of dedicated teachers.

As I enter Livingstone High School I am welcomed by principal Theo Bruinders. He is a serious man with a frown etched on his face as he reflects on the 90th anniversary of the school.

Livingstone is proof that you don’t need state-of-the-art facilities to compete with the best – although it’s much needed.

For decades the school has consistently produced matriculants in the top 20 or 30 achievers in the province, has more than 80 bachelor passes and the cream of the crop when it comes to maths and science results.

“Our alumni are all over the world. In fact, they are true to our school song, We roam the wide world over’,” says Bruinders.

Livingstone was founded in an era when high school education for black and coloured children was an afterthought for the government of the day.

 

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Support the Indy ‘Don’t Look Away’ campaign

Published 25 November by Zodidi Dano, Cape Argus at 06:59am

Local celebrities and Capetonians have pledged their support for the Don’t Look Away campaign, Independent Media’s official 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children initiative.

Don’t Look Away is in support of the worldwide campaign to highlight gender-based violence from Friday, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Singer Chad Saaiman said he fully endorsed the campaign.”We need to spread the word against violence. People need to support the 16 Days of Activism campaign. Speak against it, be open. People need to know there is support for them; they are not alone.”

Radio personality Liezel van der Westhuizen and Ryan O’Connor also pledged their support.

“Today I visited a school in Sir Lowry’s Park where children as young as grade one told their stories of when they were assaulted. A lot still needs to be done in the fight against women and children abuse,” said Van der Westhuizen.

O’Connor said: “It is good media houses focus on the 16 Days of Activism campaign and issues such as violence against women and children.”

The social change initiative calls on people to paint their index finger with orange nail polish or wear something orange to show support. Orange is the colour identified by the United Nations to symbolise a brighter future without violence.

 

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#CTIJF2017: Get ready for a red hot festival line-up

Published 23 November 2016 at 11:29am by Helen Herimbi, Independent Online

When a human being turns 18 years old, it is seen as a coming of age.

They usually finish their formative school years at that age. They join the struggle that we all now know as adulting. They are even finally able to legally imbibe. When the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) turns 18 next year, the world-renowned fest will have grown in leaps in bounds. Probably at a speed more impressive than a human being.

One of the ways in which that is evident is in the way the festival disregards trends and follows the heart of the music through its line-ups. Billy Domingo, who is the CTIJF’s director, said: “We are undergoing a musical renaissance, when different musical genres and performers are collaborating to create new sounds for new audiences who may come from different walks of life, but who all appreciate what music has to offer.

“The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has led the live musical journey on the African continent for the past 17 years, and now in our 18th, we are continuing to showcase new talent, new sounds, while staging them alongside music masters.

“I couldn’t be happier with this line-up as it’s a reflection of where we have come from, where we are now and where we are going.”

The much-anticipated announcement of the first batch of acts that will grace the various stages at CTIJF took place yesterday in Sandton.

 

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AEEI to list food, fishing unit on JSE

Published 17 Novmeber 2016 at 07:05am by Dineo Faku, Independent Online

JSE-listed African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) was preparing to list its Premier Food and Fishing division on the JSE main board by the first quarter of next year, the company said yesterday.

AEEI chief executive Khalid Abdulla said yesterday: “The division has shown consistent organic growth over the past five years, through achieving annual growth of more than 20 percent year on year. The time for acquisitions has come.”

Premier Food and Fishing will be competing against the sole JSE-listed fishing firm, Oceana – which is valued at R15.57 billion – under the JSE’s food producers index, which includes company peers such as Tiger Brands, as well as Sovereign Food.

Abdulla said the listing signalled an exciting phase for Premier Food and Fishing, which specialises in the harvesting, processing and marketing of fish and fish-related products, from rock lobster to general food products.

“We are excited… to show that we are building stakeholder value, which includes community building,” he said.

AEEI, formerly known as Sekunjalo Investment, is a black-owned investment holding company, whose main objective is to empower previously disadvantaged individuals through creating jobs and maximising shareholder wealth generation by making strategic investments.

Yesterday, AEEI kicked off a market sounding roadshow, which is due to end today.

“AEEI is optimistic about the outcome of the market-sounding roadshow and will be sharing pertinent details of the next phase with the market at the appropriate time,” Abdulla said.

 

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‘Attacks on PIC investment practices unfounded’

Published, 21 October 2016 by Adri Senekal, Business Report at 10:03am

Daniel Matjila, the chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), winner of the African Institutional Investment Personality of the year Award in New York last month, questions the objectives of some journalists and politicians regarding the PIC’s investments in unlisted South African firms.

“These attempts aim to undermine the professional decisions of the PIC and our management teams,” he says.

The PIC has a triple bottom line mandate which is growing the value of investments, transforming the South African economy and investing in sustainable green projects.

The PIC tabled details of its unlisted investment portfolio of R47 billion in Parliament this week, and strangely the only investment that was highlighted was the PIC’s investment in Independent Media.

The media landscape is regarded as highly influential, and cannot be divorced from the overall turbulence that the country is facing. The PIC invested substantially in media companies over the years and Independent Media is just but one of the investments.

Multiple investments

Matjila points out that the Independent Media investment is aligned to the PIC’s objectives of transforming the ownership of media houses from foreign to black-owned.

He finds it bizarre, but not surprising, that competing media companies are criticising the PIC’s investment in Independent Media while it is known that the PIC supported transformation of Times Media.

“The PIC’s investments are done with detailed due diligence processes and a clear understanding of the sectors we chose to invest in. Our media investments are no different,” he argues.

 

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Call to be brave transformation force

Published by Dougie Oakes, Cape Times, 14 September 2016 at 10:08pm “UNLESS you take control of your destiny, you will have no destiny.” These words could easily have been construed as a warning. But on a chilly evening this week at a conference centre at Old Mutual in Pinelands, a gathering of black business owners, […]