More big names have been confirmed for the Brand Africa FORUM 2011, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 29th September 2011 in Sandton, South Africa.
Joining best-selling author and economist Dr Dambisa Moyo and respected South African businessman Dr Reuel Khoza on the stage will be Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Hannah Tetteh. The Minister recently spoke up about bottlenecks impeding the implementation of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols. “While total ECOWAS exports by 2009 estimates amounted to a whopping $70 billion, intra-ECOWAS trade was only at a regrettable $6 billion,” she said, committing to on-going government investment in addressing road harassments, high transport costs and other trade difficulties.
Another high-profile speaker secured for the event is Rakesh Wahi, Vice Chairman and co-founder of CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa. An investment banker and entrepreneur with an emerging markets appetite, Wahi has a unique perspective on the African media environment and brings his unique insights into delivering on a business plan, strategic growth and building shareholder value on the Africa continent.
David Haigh, Founder and CEO of Brand Finance, and Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of leading Indian ICT firm HCL Info Systems, will share insights and perspectives on building and developing Africa’s brand with delegates.
The Brand Africa FORUM 2011 will be broadcast by CNBC Africa to 41 sub-Saharan countries and will receive media coverage by inter alia BBC World Services and African Business, ensuring the initiative’s message reaches listeners, viewers and readers across Africa. Delegates will engage with leading African minds on the issues impact the continent’s growth, reputation and competitiveness.
Africa’s Not-So-Free Press
New York-based think-tank, Freedom House, released its press freedom report for 2011 in August, but the results are not good news for the majority of nations in Africa. The report says only Mali and Ghana have a free press environment. Zimbabwe is one of the 63 countries (32%) in the world regarded as having a “strict press”. There are 68 countries (35%) with a “free press”. South Africa falls into the 33% (or 65 countries) with a “partly free press”.
Ghana-SA Forge Ties
The West African nation of Ghana is a major focus for South Africa in the region, attracting South African goods and services to the tune of $416 million. During a recent two-day state visit to South Africa, Ghanaian President John Atta Mills said: “South African exports have grown from less than R1 billion (approximately $139 million) in 1998 to over R3 billion ($417 million) in 2008.”
Strikes Take Their Toll
South African economist Mike Schüssler recently told Business Live that South Africa has one of the highest incidences of strikes globally, losing an average of 322 working days per 1000 employees in the five years to 2009. Canada, by contrast, lost 164 days and Italy, a nation perceived to have a high strike rate, lost just 35 days. The UK lost only 24 and Australia 25 days with the Germans sacrificing less than 10 days per employee.
Fracking Still Up For Discussion
Even as South African Mining Minister Susan Shabangu extended the moratorium on prospecting for shale gas in the Karoo for an additional six months, to allow for more public consultation on the matter, the North American oil and gas industry faces growing pressure to reduce the impact of shale gas development.