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South Africa formally invited to join BRIC group of emerging global powers

December 24th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, Politics

South Africa has been formally asked to join the BRIC group of major emerging markets, comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China, bolstering its position as Africa’s champion.

Chinese President Hu Jintao wrote a letter to his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, to inform him of the decision and inviting him to the BRIC’s third heads of state meeting in Beijing next year, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in a statement on his ministry’s website today.

South Africa, which has a population of 49 million compared with China’s 1.36 billion, is betting on raising its clout on the world stage by joining BRIC, while strengthening political and trade ties within the bloc. The country accounts for about a third of gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa and will offer BRIC members improved access to 1 billion consumers on the continent and mineral resources including oil and platinum.

Joining the group is “the best Christmas present ever,” South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told a reporters in Pretoria today. “We will be a good gateway for the BRIC countries. While we may have a small population, we don’t just speak for South Africa, we speak for Africa as a whole.”

More at bloomberg.com

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African contemporary art having a global renaissance (videos)

April 15th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in Art, Books/Magazines, Business, Events, General, Travel

CNN’s Inside Africa recently aired a series of features on the growing global demand for contemporary art. View the 3 parts of the feature below.

Part 1

Johannesburg Contemporary Art Fair
The Johannesburg Art Fair recently showcased the works of 400 African contemporary artists, attracting more than 10,000 visitors. – CNN Inside Africa

PART 2

First US-based commercial art auction dedicated solely to contemporary African art
Auction house Bonhams’ recent ‘Africa Now’ auction in New York was first commercial auction dedicated solely to contemporary African art in the United States

Part 3

Ghana’s ancient beads back in vogue
A new generation of Ghanaians are rediscovering their heritage — and rediscovering the appeal of traditional beads – CNN Inside Africa

If you can’t view the videos above go here to watch

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ESPN channels Apartheid-era South Africa for 2010 FIFA World Cup ad

April 12th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Events, Film/Television, General, Politics, Sports, Travel

For it’s part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup advertising wars, ESPN is channeling a major part of South Africa’s history:  Apartheid. The sports channel is starting it’s World Cup advertising with a Wieden + Kennedy created spot highlighting the importance of  football (soccer to Americans) at South Africa’s infamous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The commercial is part of a four-part series which will be rolled out over the course of the months before the World Cup start on June 11.

Our goal with this spot is to educate people about the historical significance of the World Cup being played in South Africa. – ESPN Marketing Director Seth Ader

Watch the commercial below and let me know what you think in the comments below.


via Adrants

If you can’t see the video above, go here.

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Africans on Forbes 2010 World’s Billionaires list

March 12th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, General

2010ForbesAfricanBillionaires

Forbes Magazine has compiled and published it’s annual list of the world’s billionaires. The 2010 World’s Billionaires list represents “billionaires with publicly traded fortunes, net worths…calculated using share prices and exchange rates from February 12, 2010″. Of the 937 people named to the list, there are 8 African country citizens who made the list. Of the 8 Africans, the individual net worths range from $1.5 to $5.9  billion. with Egyptian nationals maintaining the biggest presence with 4 individuals from same family  listed. Here are the Africans on the 2010 Forbes World’s Billionaires list according to rank:

#127 Nassef Sawiris
Net Worth: $5.9 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: construction
Age: 48
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo
#154 Nicky Oppenheimer & family
Net Worth: $5.0 bil
Fortune: Inherited
Source: De Beers
Age: 64
Country Of Citizenship: South Africa
Residence: Johannesburg
#307 Onsi Sawiris
Net Worth: $3.1 bil
Fortune: Self Made
Source: construction
Age: 80
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo
#374 Naguib Sawiris
Net Worth: $2.5 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: telecom
Age: 55
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo
#421 Patrice Motsepe
Net Worth:$2.3 bil
Fortune: Self Made
Source: mining
Age: 48
Country Of Citizenship: South Africa
Residence: Johannesburg
#421 Johann Rupert & family
Net Worth: $2.3 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: luxury goods
Age: 59
Country Of Citizenship: South Africa
Residence: Stellenbosch
#463 Aliko Dangote
Net Worth: $2.1 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: sugar, flour, cement
Age: 52
Country Of Citizenship: Nigeria
Residence: Lagos
#655 Samih Sawiris
Net Worth: $1.5 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: hotels
Age: 53
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo

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S. Africa Tourism launches URL shortener for World Cup marketing

February 19th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Events, General, Technology

mzan.si website

As part of the marketing around the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup, the South African Tourism authority has launched a new branded url shortening service at http://mzan.si. Developed for the government agency by Quirk eMarketing, the Mzan.si service is so named  for the word Mzansi (m-zun-zee), a popular word used to refer to South Africa. The marketing effort is an attempt to brand South Africa as “a country teeming with exquisite sights, natural splendours, adventure attractions and culture”.

Because URL shorteners are easier to remember, faster to type and less likely to break when they are shared, this shortening craze might just become a new kind of language for all internet users….Not only is http://mzan.si designed to shorten long cumbersome URLs, but it also allows South African Tourism to market South Africa as a destination through unobtrusive, geo-targeted advertising within the shortener itself. All URLs that have been shortened using the http://mzan.si will start with mzan.si making them instantly recognisable. The objective of the URL shortener is to reach people in an alternative way to educate and entice them into visiting South Africa hence the name msansi which means South Africa. It is also aimed at enabling all South African’s to ‘fly the flag’ and acknowledge their homeland online with every link they create.

More info here

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The long-lasting impact of 2010 World Cup on S. Africa

September 23rd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, Events, Games, General, Politics, Travel
2010 FIFA World Cup
Image by coda via Flickr

This guest post by John Kim

The Olympics and FIFA World Cup are often hailed as huge boons for their host countries or cities. At least that is how they are described prior to the event. Local organizing committees, civic and business leaders, and celebrities alike sell the economic, social, and cultural benefits of hosting international games.

But history has shown that the bold projections and promises are not generally met. A few noted successes have been the Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992 and the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. Barcelona is hailed as a good example of using the Olympics as an opportunity for making long-term investments in the city’s infrastructure. Sydney’s event is noted as contributing to the successful branding of the city and country resulting in increased tourism.

But there have been many that have not lived up to their promise such as the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Vast structures were built only to never be used again and leaving the city and taxpayers deep in debt.

What will be South Africa’s legacy? No doubt the event will bring a huge boost to the GDP from tourism and the sale of merchandise. Efforts are being made to increase the footballing infrastructure in support of the next generation of South African footballers. Intra-city transport systems will see vast improvements. And large new stadiums are being built all around the country, which have contributed to the direct employment of many South Africans. But what will happen when the games are gone and preparations are being made for Brazil in 2014? What will happen to these gleaming and impressive new stadiums; the 94,000 person capacity Soccer City in Soweto. How will the local communities benefit in the long-term from these efforts and expenses?

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa, more than any before, comes with a huge responsibility to all involved; it needs to be a success. And it needs to be a launching pad. I argue that more than ever before multi-national corporations, long-time sponsors of the events, need to embrace this opportunity and make an even greater contribution to the country, beyond the usual sponsorship efforts. Corporations can help make a lasting impact, for themselves (increased brand awareness and market penetration), and more importantly, for the country and its people.
______________
John Kim has his master’s in public policy from Georgetown University and has worked in Morocco, South Africa, and Malawi. He blogs about the World Cup and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at www.WorldCupCSR.wordpress.com and you can follow him on Twitter @WorldCupCSR.

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District 9 success and 19 Emmy nominations boost Africa as emerging TV & Film production locale

August 21st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Film/Television, General, Travel

_1Ladies%E2%80%99Detective%20Agency.jpg

With the recently released South Africa-based filmed District 9 heating up conversations online and smashing box-office numbers Southern Africa is strongly maintaining it's role as a popular destination for Hollywood motion picture production. Not one to forgo the cost-profit benefits of filming in Africa, television networks are following suit, ramping up their hiring of crews in Southern Africa for program production. The results are a record 19 Emmy nominations for Africa-produced programs this year. I predict that the trend will continue rapidly as media companies struggle for new ways to generate revenue, and Africa nations learn to take advantage of marketing opportunities such as the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Southern Africa is emerging as a destination for runaway TV production, as the 19 Primetime Emmy nominations for shows shot in the region prove. HBO's "Generation Kill" miniseries about U.S. troops in Baghdad filmed in South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique via Out of Africa Entertainment; Fox's "24: Redemption" shot in South Africa with Moonlighting; while "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," the BBC adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's bestselling novels, filmed in Botswana with Film Afrika. Approximately 90% of the cast and crew on all three productions were South African — indeed, four Emmy noms are for local crews…

And with Cape Town Film Studios scheduled to open a Hollywood-style studio on the tip of Africa early next year, the volume of TV projects coming to South Africa is only going to increase.

More at variety.com

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Corporate America’s Changing Views on Africa

June 15th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, Film/Television, General, Politics, Travel

Baird, the management consulting firm, recently asked senior officers of 30 American Fortune 100 corporations about their current attitudes on investing in Africa. While some of the results showed that not much had  changed, the study also revealed that corporate America was increasingly optimistic about Africa’s role in their future business strategies. Three of the key points of the study, “Inside the Boardroom: How Corporate America Really Views Africa” are:

• USA Inc. is more interested in Africa than before, because the African market appears increasingly attractive, but Africa has tough competition and high hurdles for US investment. Education is at the top of the US corporate wish list for Africa; “educate your people so that we can employ them”

• The African countries that hold most interest are South Africa and some countries in the North, like Egypt; there are also some pockets of interest in West Africa, most notably Ghana, Nigeria and to some extent Angola; while some in the South (Botswana and Mozambique) and East (Uganda and Kenya), are also being watched

•To make itself more attractive for US investment, Africa should:

  • Invest in education , health and infrastructure
  • Ensure the rule of law and a business-friendly climate for all investing companies
  • Show it is serious about attracting foreign investment
  • Market itself as aggressively as other regions of the world
  • Demonstrate opportunity cost of not investing

A recent CNBC broadcast from Lagos, Nigeria (video below) also expounded on what Africa has to offer corporate America.

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L’Oreal sets sights on African women

June 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Fashion, General

L'OrealThere’s no shortage of criticism of the fashion and beauty industry for not recognizing the diversity of what is considered beautiful. Cosmetics giants in particular have had it hard, trying to accommodate skin tones. In their effort to generate more revenue and gain market share globally, L’Oreal has announced plans to expand their product line and – most notably – make an effort to cater to African women’s beauty needs. Not being a cosmetics industry veteran myself it’s hard to tell if L’Oreal is trully addressing some of the issues it’s diversity critics have.

..the company, which has 26 international cosmetics brands and a presence in more than 130 countries, already has a presence on the continent upon which it aims to build. A key market is the African woman, and L’Oréal is seeking growth and expansion into this market, that will require balancing technological innovation with the need for prudent spending. – L’Oréal South Africa MD Philippe Raffray, more

What do you think?

photo by epicharmus

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Reggae star Lucky Dube killed in Johannesburg

October 19th, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in General, Music, Politics

Lucky DubeThe BBC reports , one of Africa’s most loved musicians, South African reggae star Lucky Dube, has died from gun shot wounds in Johannesburg. It’s a VERY sad day for world music.

He had been dropping his teenage son and daughter off in the suburb of Rosettenville on Thursday evening. Police say they were already out of the car when three shots were fired through a car window killing their father. Alongside Bob Marley, he was thought of as one of the great reggae artists – singing about social problems. He was also one of the apartheid regime’s most outspoken critics.

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