South Africa’s competitiveness consistent

first_imgBrand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said that the competitiveness report is an important factor in building a national brand. (l to r) Josephilda Nhlapo-Hlope; Johan van der Heever; Petrus de Kock, and Raymond Parsons made up the panel of experts.(Images: Ray Maota) MEDIA CONTACTS • Leo Makgamathe  Brand South Africa  +27 11 483 0122 RELATED ARTICLES • National development plan unveiled • SA improves global competitiveness • Investment incentives portal launched • SA best for regulation of exchanges • Brics development bank underway?Ray MaotaTo coincide with the recent release of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report for 2012/2013, Brand South Africa hosted a panel of experts for a discussion regarding the implications for the country.South Africa’s strengths, weaknesses, competitive risks and opportunities within the Brics and Next11 international political economic environments were the topics at the Wits Club at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on 28 September 2012.The panel discussion included Brand South Africa’s research manager Dr Petrus de Kock; Josephilda Nhlapo-Hlope, senior expert on nation-building at the National Planning Commission; Prof Raymond Parsons, special policy advisor for Business Unity South Africa; and, Dr Johan van der Heever, senior deputy chief economist and deputy head of research at the Reserve Bank of South Africa.Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa, started the proceedings with some background on the work Brand South Africa does and how the WEF report is a factor in establishing a worldwide reputable brand for the country.Matola said: “We are the custodians of the country’s brand and the issue of reputation is important for South Africa’s competitiveness. The competitiveness report shows us how the country is doing as a brand.”South Africa’s competitiveness consistentThe latest WEF Global Competitiveness Report was released on 5 September 2012 and South Africa is ranked at number 52 out of 144 nations.It is also the highest-ranked African country and third-placed among the Brics economies. In this bloc China came in first at 36 and Brazil second at 48, while India and Russia came fourth and fifth at 59 and 67 respectively.In terms of Next11 countries, South Africa is only surpassed by Indonesia, Turkey and South Korea.De Kock said: “We view the report as a learning curve and not as a school report card that says pass or fail.“We can only sell the story of South Africa if we know what the world thinks about us.”South Africa’s ranking on the WEF report has been consistent, coming in at 54 in 2010, 50 in 2011 and 52 for this year.The Global Competitiveness Report uses 12 pillars, which are “building blocks to finding out the country’s competitiveness,” said de Kock.They are: institutions; infrastructure; macro-economic environment; health and primary education; higher education and training; goods market efficiency; labour market efficiency; and, technological readiness.De Kock said: “When we look at the pillars we can see where we are excelling and where we have to improve.We are doing relatively well when it comes to institutions as we were 47 in 2010 and this year we are 43, but health and primary education are challenges – in 2010 we ranked 124 but this year out of 144 countries we are ranked 132.”Expert panel discussionVan der Heever said that South Africa has degrees of freedom in macro-economic policies that are the envy of many countries, but we must use them wisely.“The issue of electricity is one point that must be tackled if we are going to be competitive,” he said.Parsons said that these types of surveys are important, because they act as “reality checks. This particular report is a wakeup call because if you look back six years we have deteriorated quite a bit.”He also said that the country was not exploiting its strengths to their full potential – “but there is no universal law. Countries have to adapt certain points to fit with what is happening in the world economy.”In terms of South Africa’s national development plan, which looks forward to 2030, Parsons said that competitiveness should play a major role in guiding South Africa in years to come.“We need to have a long term vision, just like China sowed its seeds 30 years ago and we too need to rally behind the Vision 2030,” said Parsons.Nhlapo-Hlope remarked on the low levels of trust levels in South Africa, explaining that this was because of inequality. This issue had to be addressed in all spheres so people can all work collectively for the good of the country.Another issue raised was that of South Africa’s regulatory environment which, according to Van der Heever, was not conducive for entrepreneurs to start businesses, especially small businesses.“Of course we need regulation but there is no reason for that regulation to not be business friendly. We need smart tape and not red tape,” he said.Van der Heever also said that there was an over-cautious nature in South Africa that limited innovation.Parsons wrapped up the discussion, saying that we need to take workable ideas and translate them into action, while also pushing Vision 2030.last_img read more

Brand South Africa to host a Nation Brand toolkit engagement

first_imgBrand South Africa in partnership with the Marketing Association of South Africa (MASA) and the Nelson Mandela Foundation will host the Marketing Metrics Masterclass with an objective of enhancing and understanding of the application of a range of mathematical and financial tools that can assist to formulate to plan and measure the results of strategic marketing efforts.The engagement will be hosted on Wednesday 18 April 2018 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The key speaker at this masterclass will be Prof Geoff Bick from UCT School of business.“Brand South Africa is mandated to manage the country’s image and reputation and as such it continuously seeks to engage in public and private collaborations with an objective of strengthening relations and promoting cohesive approach when marketing Nation Brand internationally”, said Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Marketing, Ms Sithembile Ntombela“The Marketing Association of South Africa is therefore ideal as it encourages the development and education of Marketers which enhance the skills of South Africans in the marketing profession”, adds Ms Ntombela.For more information or to set up interviews, please contact: Ntombi Ntanzi on: +27 11 712 5071last_img read more

Frugal Happy: Introducing the Share Shed

first_imgEditor’s Note: This post is one of a series by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee, a husband-and-wife team living in the Los Angeles area who are turning their 1963 suburban house into an all-electric, zero-net energy home. They chronicle their attempts at a low-carbon, low-cost, and joyful lifestyle on their blog Frugal Happy. This post was written by Wen. This summer, our front yard vegetable garden was especially bountiful. We found ourselves with more squash, tomatoes, and eggplant than we could eat on our own. I started putting extra veggies on a chair on our front porch to share with our neighbors. This sort of worked, but since people couldn’t see what was on the chair unless they walked up to the porch, it wasn’t very efficient. This made me think: What if we moved the chair next to the sidewalk? Also, what if instead of a chair, we had a cute little stand? And what if we invited all neighbors to contribute items, too?RELATED ARTICLESResilient Communities The idea for the “Share Shed” was born! I’m not an architect or designer whatsoever, but I made some simple sketches and showed them to Chris (who actually understands how to build things). He seemed to think we could construct something like this in a weekend. Well, then, I said, let’s go for it! My first construction project since the seventh grade. Here I am with the tape measure looking like I know what I’m doing. Ha! This was pretty much my first construction project since seventh grade woodshop class (which I did poorly in), so I was rather overwhelmed. Luckily Chris was patient and gave lots of guidance. Chris suggested we use scrap wood that we had lying around after all the demolition work on our house. So we sifted through our wood pile and pulled out pieces that we needed. Most of the frame was built out of old Douglas fir 2x4s that were salvaged when we vaulted the ceiling in our living room. For the sides and roof we used leftover plywood. By using scrap wood we were able to 1) reuse perfectly good wood that was just sitting around, and 2) save money on materials. Since the salvaged wood came in different shades and textures, the shed ended up looking a little cobbled together, which I rather liked. Homemade and with character! Chris was definitely the main builder for this project, taking my simple drawings and figuring out how to translate them into a real-life, functional structure that won’t fall down. It was a neat experience to watch the shed slowly take shape, one piece at a time. It’s like putting together a 3-D puzzle, but you have to cut all the pieces yourself. Who says geometry isn’t fun? The most complicated part of the build turned out to be the roof. In my sketches, the roof was magically plopped on top, which didn’t explain at all how it would actually be attached to the frame (details, details). Chris had to get creative and cut a pentagon-shaped ridge beam. Nice one, Chris! Once the base was complete, Chris could start working on the roof. That was one of the more challenging parts of the job. After the frame was done, Chris attached two sheets of plywood. Ta da! We had a roof. A little lopsided perhaps, but perfectly sturdy. At this point our shed looked kind of like a well. Or a giant mailbox. Let’s add color and a friendly sign Next, we wanted to decorate the Share Shed and make it look friendly and fun. Instead of buying new paint, I asked around the street to see if any neighbors had extra paint we could use. They did! To my pleasant surprise, neighbors were very generous and excited to donate paint for the project. Even better, all the random colors ended up looking great together. It’s our street’s very own color palette. Neighbors and friends offered to help paint the Share Shed. I was very touched! Priscilla from next door was an especially huge help — she came over two days in a row, not only to paint the sides of the shed but also lend her artistic skills for the Share Shed sign. My friend Jessica (who grew up nearby and I have known since 7th grade) also came over to help with painting. Look how beautiful the sign turned out! The lettering is Jessica’s, while Priscilla painted the camellia (our city’s symbol) and adorable vegetables. Jessica (left) and Priscilla helped create the sign. There was a long discussion about whether or not the veggies should be smiling, but in the end Priscilla thought it would be best to leave them expressionless. Our street has quite a few Chinese neighbors who are not fully fluent in English, and I didn’t want them to be left out. So I asked my family for some translation help. We came up with 鄰 居 分 享 站 = “Neighbor Sharing Station.” Another neighbor, Jenny, generously offered to paint the Chinese characters on the sign. This was very helpful because my penmanship in English is bad enough, but my Chinese is downright terrible (I write like a 5-year-old). Jenny’s calligraphy looks awesome. I’m extremely grateful to Jessica, Priscilla, and Jenny for volunteering their time and skills to create the Share Shed sign. Also to my cousin Janet for all her translation help. Priscilla had the honor of hanging the Share Shed sign up for the first time. As a final touch, Chris thought it would be neat to add shingles on the Share Shed roof. Because we had leftover shingles in the garage and, heck, why not? We went all out, including lining the roof with underlayment first and topping it off with ridge shingles. Chris even applied roof sealant on the exposed nails — 100% unnecessary, but the Share Shed roof is so waterproof now it can handle anything. Neighbors helping neighbors It ended up taking about three weekends to finish, but it was totally worth it. Even better, we spent exactly zero dollars building it! All the materials were reused, left over, or donated. I love that many neighbors were involved in its creation, by donating paint or helping with decoration. It felt like a true community project. We placed the Share Shed in the front corner of our yard, next to the sidewalk so people can easily see it when walking or driving by. The white sign says: “Everything here is free! Take what you love; Donate what you don’t need. Sharing builds community.” I also stuffed little fliers (in English and Chinese) in everyone’s mailbox on the street explaining the Share Shed and what it is for. That way all the neighbors know that it’s a community resource for everyone to use. I purposefully kept the language vague, not limiting the Share Shed to just vegetables. Maybe some neighbors would contribute fruit or other foods, or even non-food items like books and toys? I wasn’t sure and wanted to leave it open. So far, the community response has been very positive. Curious neighbors have come by to take a look and many have told us how much they like it. Whenever we put veggies on the shelf they disappear within a couple days, which feels gratifying. It’s working! Some neighbors slow down when they drive by, while others have even pulled over to grab things off the shelf. Which is funny because we never intended this to be a drive-through! Especially on cool summer evenings, neighbors go out on walks with their families, and we often see them pause at the Share Shed to peruse the goodies. Sometimes we’ll hear children giggling outside and Chris will call to me, “Someone’s at the Share Shed!” And I’ll peak through the window or go out and say hello. I’ve seen people fill their arms with our extra zucchini, kids carefully pick out a tomato (we made sure the shelf was low enough for children to reach), and once I saw a little girl peer into the shed and yell in Mandarin back up the street (to her sibling?), “今 天 沒 有 東 西!” (“Nothing in here today!”) I love that the Share Shed is becoming a destination for our street. So, has the Share Shed been a two-way exchange? Well, not too much so far. Most of the activity has been us sharing our garden vegetables. However, I think the sharing concept is a new one for our neighborhood (for most neighborhoods, actually), so it’s understandably a little slow to catch on. As far as I know, there have been two instances when other people besides us contributed to the Share Shed. The first was when some homegrown jujubes appeared in the Share Shed (woohoo!). The second was pretty surprising; I walked out one day and there was a leather backpack sitting in the shed! Very exciting. The backpack raised some questions. It was the first non-food item in the Share Shed and Chris said to me, “Ummm, what if no one takes the backpack? Will we have to take it to Goodwill? Is this going to become a dumping ground for people’s unwanted crap?” The backpack disappeared a few hours later that day (yay!), but nevertheless these are good questions. When I told my friends about the Share Shed, they also asked me questions like, “What if people outside of the neighborhood find out about the shed and start coming to steal stuff? What if homeless people start hanging out in front of your house? Aren’t you worried?” Here’s the thing: the whole thing is an experiment. I don’t know what will happen. But I want to try. The Share Shed is an experiment. If it doesn’t work, it can come down. But if it brings neighbors closer together, it would have to be called a success. (Photo: Matthew Escobar / Temple City Connect) Will neighbors use it? Will outsiders start stealing stuff? Will it just sit there empty, gathering dust? We’ll find out. If it’s a total failure or causes problems we’ll simply take it down. Easy peasy. But if it makes people smile, helps us share resources and reduce waste, and brings the neighborhood closer together — I call it a success.   Other posts by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee An Introduction A Car-Free Experiment Demolition Our House Becomes a Giant Foam Box, Part 1 Giant Foam Box, Part 2 Let’s Kill the Lawn Vaulting the Ceiling Our First Year With Solar Panelslast_img read more