Students of the University of Guyana’s Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry will now benefit from a new Study Room in addition to new offices which were on Wednesday morning officially opened.The expansion which cost some $30 million was approved follow complaints from a senior lecturer of the faculty.Approval was given in November last for the expansion on the building which now houses the Study Room and new offices.A number of lecturers of the faculty were reportedly without facility to carry out their duties and some 220 students of the said faculty were also without a studyThe new srudy room and office buildingroom.As such, following a number of discussions, a building committee was formed and the construction got underway.According to the Dean of the faculty, Owen Bovell, despite a number of challenges faced while the construction was underway, he is pleased with the end result.“We are indeed grateful for the support that was given especially from the Vice Chancellor. We had a conversation when we felt as if the building would no longer come into creation. I had a word with him and he was on the same page with me, he said no Dean Bovell, you must have this building. We worked and we got initiation of the process,” the Dean explained.He highlighted that the project was one which received tremendous support and commended the contractor for a “job well done”.According to Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, much more is to be celebrated other than the university’s expansion.“It is not only this that we are sitting and standing in (pointing to the floor of the faculty)… some of the challenges with constructional space adequacy, lecturer space adequacy, student engagement space adequacy, also mindful for some of the safety hazards, this extension involves enclosing the bottom there, it involves creating this patio, it involves creating a sanitary block, it involves creating a fire escape as safety is critical, instructional and student engagement space is critical” Griffith said in his remarks.He noted that the fortitude of the University is being celebrated in finding the money for the project. Griffith added that he was embarrassed when he previously toured the faculty.“I have been embarrassed at so many of the elect at our University but I was especially embarrassed when I did a tour of the faculty to see the condition. So we have been fixing and facing other improvements first. Even the furniture of this faculty lounge was terrible so I have to reach into the Vice Chancellor’s fund to have it fixed,” Griffith revealed. The Agriculture’s Ministry Permanent Secretary, Delma Nedd noted that agriculture is one of Guyana’s main pillars which will pave the path towards our sustainable development. She added that the expansion at the faculty will provide several opportunities for the students which will “benefit the agriculture sector”. Following the remarks, the ribbon was cut thus officially opening doors to the new building.
5 January 2012Marsh, a wholly-owned local unit of US-based insurance and risk management group Marsh & McLennan, has completed its acquisition of the brokerage business of South African insurer Alexander Forbes, significantly expanding its presence in sub-Saharan Africa.Marsh said in a statement on Wednesday that the transaction comprises its South African insurance broking operations, Alexander Forbes Risk Services and related ancillary operations, as well as Alexander Forbes’ insurance broking operations in Botswana and Namibia.It had also agreed to acquire other Alexander Forbes risk operations across sub-Saharan Africa – in Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia – subject to regulatory and other approvals. These transactions were expected to close “in the first quarter of 2012”, the company said.Alexander Forbes CEO Edward Kieswetter told Business Day that the whole transaction, once finalised, would be valued at between R1-billion and R1.1-billion.Expanding presence in sub-Saharan Africa“This transaction gives Marsh a leading market position in South Africa and significantly expands its presence in some of the most vibrant economies in the sub-Saharan region,” the company said.“In particular, it greatly enhances Marsh’s position in Africa’s major business sectors, including mining and minerals, power, telecommunications, transport and construction. It also extends Marsh’s reach into the dynamic middle market.”David Batchelor, president of Marsh’s international division, said the combination of Alexander Forbes’ “well-established South African operations, its regional network and respected team, together with Marsh’s existing South African business, global solutions, resources and placement skills, will bring dramatically enhanced benefits to all our clients.Ambition to become ‘pan-African leader’“Companies in the rapidly-developing African region are increasingly looking for insurance brokers and risk advisers that can help them both protect their vital assets and grow,” Batchelor said. “This transaction, which is driven by our growth ambitions to be a pan-African leader, gives us a powerful platform to meet these expectations.”Jurie Erwee, newly appointed CEO of the combined enterprise, now called Marsh Africa, said: “Together, as we unite our growth ambitions to become the continent’s pre-eminent broker and risk adviser, we are committed to bringing the world’s best to Africa.”On closing the transaction, Marsh retained its level 3 status in its black economic empowerment (BEE) scorecard rating.“Through focused investment and support, Marsh has made significant achievements in its levels of black economic empowerment,” Erwee said. “The combined Marsh entity will remain strongly committed to continuous improvement in its BEE performance levels.”SAinfo reporter