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
The garden supplements the meals, but is also an educational tool for all the grades. (Images: MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet)Food security is a worldwide issue and it has long been agreed that household food gardens can alleviate the stress of finding extra money to buy vegetables, particularly in disadvantaged homes.It is an idea carried through to many school and urban food gardens across South Africa, such as at Chapel Street Primary School in the city suburb of Woodstock, in Cape Town. The school, together with its partners MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, one of South Africa’s biggest fundraising programmes; retailer Woolworths; and Urban Harvest, South Africa’s oldest edible garden service, recently celebrated the first harvest from the school’s edible garden.At the celebrations held at the school, the meals were prepared with produce from the garden by chef Sue-Ann Allen, a former MasterChef contestant.At the celebrations held at the school, the meals were prepared with produce from the garden by chef Sue-Ann Allen, a former MasterChef contestant.There are 350 pupils at the school who need meals each day, but the feeding scheme only provides for about 100 to 150 children. The garden supplements the meals, but is also an educational tool for all the grades.“Learners from many different areas in Cape Town come to school at Chapel Street every day, many of them without a packed lunch and from homes where there are no gardens,” said Pieter Twine, MySchool’s general manager.“This edible garden is our contribution towards giving more learners access to fresh food and a living garden where they can learn how to grow food and take responsibility for the upkeep of the garden. Hopefully the garden will also spark community and public interest in the school and in urban food gardens.”ONE WHO PLANTS A GARDEN PLANTS HAPPINESSChapel Street’s garden yields nearly 10kg of fresh produce every day, benefitting the school’s 580 learners, many of whom come to school hungry and rely on the meal they get at school.Established in July with the planting of nearly 3 200 seedlings, including many different varietals of vegetables and herbs, the 400m2 garden produces broccoli, spinach, celery, turnips, curly kale, flat kale, beetroot, lettuce, parsley, rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, cabbage, leeks and much more.Along with being a food source, the edible garden is included in the school curriculum wherever possible. It also provides a source of extramural activities, such as the garden club at the school.“Chapel Street Primary was identified as an under-resourced school in our area and has been our flagship school this year,” said Sivi Pillay, chief executive of Woolworths Financial Services.“We’ve been working with them through our participation in the Community of Learning Principals and the Partners for Possibility initiative and wanted to continue supporting them, so they can continue on their journey to be more sustainable and independent. Chapel Street Primary is run by highly committed staff who are motivated to participate in initiatives that will benefit their learners.”
3 December 2015Local government was increasingly being identified as the strategic enabler of national economic and development objectives, said South African Local Government Association chairperson Thabo Manyoni, speaking on the first day of the seventh Africities Summit.Africities 7 Summit, as it is official known, is being held in Johannesburg and runs until 3 December. It brings together hundreds of city officials from across the continent, where they are unpacking and exploring the future of urbanisation in Africa. It is an important topic given that more than half of Africa’s population is expected to live in cities by the year 2050, according to Associated Press.Manyoni said the most obvious impact of the current global economic system was rising inequality and its socioeconomic impact. “It is said that Africa and Asia will account for 90% of urban growth over the next 35 years. They have very young populations, which represents a massive potential expansion of the labour force and middle class. This is a great advantage, if properly managed.”Only 28% of the labour force in Africa occupied stable wage-earning jobs, he said, compared to 63% in vulnerable employment, with over 60% of urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa currently living in informal settlements.“This means that potential tax bases of urban governments are relatively small, creating a serious financial imbalance to address the vast service delivery and economic infrastructure needs. This must inform a differentiated approach to tackling the development agenda in our context.”Leaders should not forget to invest in the development of small towns and rural villages, which were often the bedrock of agricultural wealth, heritage and cultural diversity, Manyoni added.“We have a responsibility to fashion a uniquely African response to social justice, equality in opportunity and sustainable infrastructure development and resource use.”The summit ties in with the National Development Plan, or Vision 2030, which places emphasis on overcoming the challenges of the present to build a better South Africa and Africa.It was opened by Minister Jeff Radebe, the minister in The Presidency responsible for planning. “What has worked yesterday, might not work today,” he said, placing the focus firmly on looking towards the future.Development had to match population growth or the cities would face more crumbling infrastructure and social unrest, Radebe said.Also part of the discussions over the five days will be climate change as the CoP21 takes place in Paris, as well as urban security following the recent attacks in Bamako, Garissa, Nairobi, Paris and other cities.The central theme of the Africities 7 Summit is “Shaping the future of Africa with the people: the contribution of African local authorities to Agenda 2063 of the African Union”.Agenda 2063 – Towards an Africa We Want encourages all people on the continent to play an active role to see the following vision come to fruition:We aspire that by 2063, Africa shall be a prosperous continent, with the means and resources to drive its own development;Where African people have a high standard of living, quality of life, sound health and well-being;A continent full of well-educated citizens through a skills revolution underpinned by science, technology and innovation for a knowledge society;Cities and other settlements are hubs of cultural and economic activities, with modernised infrastructure, and people have access to all the basic necessities of life including shelter, water, sanitation, energy, public transport and ICT; and,Economies are structurally transformed to create shared growth, decent jobs and economic opportunities for all.Taking its cue from Agenda 2063, organisers say the Africities Summit 7 theme is designed to connect a rigorous understanding of likely future trends with a strategic debate about what needs to be done at the local level, with immediate effect to address the emergency of service delivery, shelter, economic opportunities, safe and affordable mobility and more.The summit intends to be the mouthpiece of the 15 000 African local governments. More than 5 000 local government officials are participating, representing all the stakeholders of African local life as well as their partners of the other regions of the world. The Africities 7 Exhibition is hosting between 400 and 500 exhibitors.The Africities Summit pursues two major objectives:Defining appropriate shared strategies in order to improve the living conditions of the people at local level; and,Contributing to the integration, peace and unity of Africa starting from the grassroots.The meeting has been held in various African cities every three years since it was launched in 1998 in Abidjan, the largest city of Ivory Coast.SouthAfrica.info reporter
About 300 people of West Tripura district, who had fled the area after their homes were torched and looted over the alleged molestation of a girl, said on Saturday that they were scared to return.They alleged that the looting and ransacking of their houses in Lalit Bazaar locality under the Ranir Bazaar police station limit was instigated by Revenue Minister and prominent tribal leader N.C. Debbarma.Mr. Debbarma, president of the Indigenous People’s Front Tripura (IPFT), declined to comment on the charge. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC was promulgated in the area for 48 hours from 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sub-divisional Magistrate Subhasish Bandopaddhyaya said.A group of tribal youths started torching and looting houses only after the Minister’s visit on Friday, said the villagers who have taken shelter in a school. “The ransacking and looting of our houses started only after N.C. Debbarma visited the spot. He came here at 9 a.m. and looting of our houses started around an hour later,” 50-year-old Samena Khatun alleged.Scared to returnSulekha Khatun, aged 45, said, “My house was set ablaze, my belongings looted. I do not want to return. Let the police shoot me dead. I will not return.” The conflict began when a girl, along with her boyfriend, had come to Ranir Bazaar area on Thursday from a nearby locality to see Durga idols there and four youths allegedly molested her and snatched her phone. The girl and boy went back to their locality and returned with a large group of people who tried to attack the houses of those who reportedly molested the girl. The four accused were arrested on Friday but the attack on the village continued. A large contingent of police has been deployed in the area.
CALGARY – A Calgary businessman and philanthropist says he paid roughly $750,000 to help free kidnapped journalist Amanda Lindhout in Somalia.Allan Markin, a co-owner of the Calgary Flames, says he didn’t know Lindhout when she was taken hostage in 2008.But the 73-year-old says he believes in helping people.Lindhout and Markin both spoke at a fundraiser last weekend for the Mustard Seed charity, and she surprised Markin by divulging to the crowd that he had saved her life.Lindhout had not publicly revealed before who paid the ransom for her release.She was working as a freelance journalist near Mogadishu when she and an Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan, were taken by armed men.