South African Energy Minister Sees Unions Backing Eskom Rescue

South African labor unions that oppose the government’s plans to split embattled state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. into three units will ultimately have to support the reforms, according to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. Eskom, which supplies about 95% of the nation’s electricity and is seen as the biggest threat to the economy, is reliant on government bailouts as it struggles under 440 billion rand ($28.6 billion) of debt while reporting annual losses. Mantashe is one of the key officials charged with ensuring that there is…

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Absa to expand its agriculture loan book in Africa

  JOHANNESBURG – Absa Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) yesterday said that it planned to expand its agriculture loan book to countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, due to good long-term growth prospects in the rest of the continent. Absa CIB agriculture head Roux Wildenboer said the lender wanted to grow its footprint in both its domestic market and the rest of the continent due to strong demand. “Agricultural debt is relatively higher than it was in recent history and the ability of agricultural businesses to borrow…

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Africa free trade area deal will fuel economic growth – Ramaphosa

JOHANNESBURG –South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says the coming into effect of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) is a milestone that fulfils a dream crafted by the founders of the Organisation of African Union 60 years ago when they mulled an integrated continent. At a summit in Niger on Sunday, African leaders launched the AfCFTA which committees signatories to removing tariffs from 90 percent of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods and services across the continent. A statement from the Presidency said Ramaphosa expected the agreement to catapult…

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New Business Founders Forum to support Africa’s entrepreneurial sector

DURBAN – The fundamentals that underpin Africa’s investment opportunity are still exceptionally strong. Africa is home to over 400 businesses with annual turnover in excess of $1 billion (R14.8bn), and as a result consumer spending across the continent – which currently totals $1.4 trillion – continues to rise with this growing population and an emergent middle class. This is according to Herman Marais, chief executive and founder of EXEO Capital, who was speaking in Cape Town at the inaugural Business Founders Forum (BFF) – a platform initiated by EXEO to provide…

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Whats SMEs should consider when applying for funding

DURBAN – SMEs who are not adequately prepared when applying for credit often develop an incorrect assumption that banks are not open to lending. Valentine Jingura, Head of Pricing at FNB Business said that the banking sector is eager to lend to SMEs as means to stimulate economic activity and broader GDP growth. As responsible financial services providers, banks are bound by a set of guidelines and principles, which prohibit reckless lending – to protect consumers and businesses. Accordingly, SMEs who seek financial assistance should familiarise themselves with the credit application…

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Merger enables SMEs to access funding more speedily

CAPE TOWN – Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are critical to the growth of our country’s economy. It’s estimated that SMEs contribute over a third (34 percent) to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and make up roughly 90 percent of South African formal businesses. But considering it is growing at a mere 1 percent, there is a clear need for investment into this vital sector. But for this to change, the way small businesses apply and access these funds needs to become more efficient. Even though government committed R1.5…

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Business confidence at lowest level this year on back of election uncertainty

Business confidence is at its lowest level this year, according to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s latest business confidence index. The index dropped 1.6 points to 91.8 in March, the lowest level since the start of the year. The index was 95.1 in January and 93.4 in February. The figure is also 5.8 points lower than the 97.6 reported in March last year. The report cites the upcoming general elections as contributing to uncertainty in the business environment.   “The BCI reflects a depressed business climate that…

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Crowdfunding: an untapped funding resource for renewable energy

DURBAN – Small and innovative renewable energy projects battle to raise funds through formal channels. One possible solution is to reach out to communities with an interest in those projects to help fund them through crowdfunding initiatives. While there has been a marked increase in the number of renewable energy projects being funded globally, these are traditionally larger projects generating in excess of 5MW, funded by traditional funders in the form of commercial banks and development finance institutions. Yet smaller projects around the 5MW mark are becoming increasingly attractive to development…

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Santander Brazil Deploys New Strategies in Half the Time with Centralized Decision Engine from FICO

Brazil’s third largest private bank wins FICO® Decisions Award for Decision Management Innovation Highlights: Santander Brazil has reduced the time to deploy or change lending strategies and new analytic models by 50% using FICO® Decision Management Suite By using FICO Decision Management Streaming the bank has also been able to better leverage its data lake and Python code Santander Brazil won a 2018 FICO® Decisions Award for Decision Management Innovation March 14, 2019 — Santander Brazil can now deploy or change new lending strategies and new analytic models in half…

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Energy, utilities and resources – diversify or disappear?

By Colin Beaney, IFS Global Industry Director for Energy, Utilities & Resources Renewables accelerating even faster than previously predicted, CX and UX driving innovation, a new generation of proactive consumers driving demand for more diversified energy, business and payment models: In 2019 energy and utility companies face the challenges of an industry rapidly diversifying, decentralising and digitising. The sure-fire way to keep up? Make sure you stay ahead. By 2040, 66% of the global energy market will be in renewables, driving an urgent race to diversify in 2019   GLOBAL…

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