Amazon to set up African headquarters in Cape Town

  E-commerce tech giant Amazon will have an African base of operations in Cape Town, South Africa. This comes after the City of Cape Town has given the green light for a new R14 billion development that will host Amazon’s new African headquarters. The 15-hectare parcel of land has been approved for development by the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust. The development design intends to create a 150 000 sqm2 mixed-use space, divided into commercial and housing uses across two precincts. The developer intends 31 900 sqm2 to be used for…

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African study outlines challenge to further wedge open the ‘policy window’ on sugar taxation

  Changing minds to change policy on taxing sugar-sweetened drinks starts with knowing better what you’re dealing with. Researchers from seven African countries who have done a deeper dive are calling for tax to be put on the table. The “what-next” and the “how-to” are questions that need answering if findings from a multi-country African study on tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) can be translated into policy to combat spikes in non-communicable diseases. The three-and-a-half-year research project initiated by PRICELESS SA, a unit within Wits University’s School of Public Health,…

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ArcelorMittal SA vows to address SA’s steel shortages

  JOHANNESBURG – ARCELORMITTAL South Africa (Amsa) said in its 2020 integrated annual report that it was committed to addressing the country’s steel shortages. Chief executive Kobus Verster said on Friday the group had experienced considerable delays with starting the N5 blast furnace in Newcastle. Verster said the N5 setbacks were frustrating, particularly because of the group’s intense focus on addressing customers’ steel shortages that had been building up since before Covid-19. “In the new year we have budgeted and planned to fix the problems caused by the unusual post-pandemic…

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Policy madness: SA’s industrialisation policies have slowed economic growth

Albert Einstein once famously said, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ Does this relate to South Africa’s localisation policies? As government doubles down and more “aggressively” pursues localisation policy, the Small Business Institute (SBI) and researchers SBP (Small Business Project), funded by Exxaro, looked at the data to see how well South Africa has been served by the localisation policies during the three planning “eras” of Gear, AsgiSA and the NDP. Have we effectively seen the same results over and over again,…

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Leveraging agricultural R&D to boost SA’s vaccine production capacity: an unlikely saviour

  DESPITE significant medical progress over the last centuries, infectious diseases such as influenza and malaria still represent significant threats to modern societies. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is a case in point. The spread of a virus can also have important economic implications. These economic implications manifest themselves through aspects such as loss of income, for example, reductions in the size of the labour force and productivity, increase in absenteeism and because of curtailment measures imposed on individuals and societies aimed at interruption, the transmission and spread of the pandemic,…

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Concern about decrease in SA cotton plantings

Although South Africa’s cotton industry celebrated production growth of 800% over the preceding five years in 2019, the industry has shown a 40% decrease in hectares planted to the crop during the past two seasons. Hennie Bruwer, CEO of Cotton South Africa (Cotton SA), said in a recent newsletter that this was due to several factors, including weather conditions, a lack of access to new cultivars, and many farmers turning to food crops due to more favourable prices. Cotton SA’s market report for March indicated that in the 2019/2020 season,…

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Loss of livelihoods: 216 more businesses go bang

  A total of 216 liquidations recorded this March is an increase of 49% compared with the same month last year, says Statistics SA. Voluntary liquidations increased by 61 cases and compulsory liquidations increased by 10 cases. The total number of liquidations increased by 18.9% in the first four months of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2020. Financing, insurance, real estate, business services (77 liquidations), trade, catering, and accommodation (47), and manufacturing (10) are the hardest hit, Beyond-Covid, a registered non-for-profit company, said of the data released by StatsSA on…

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How to save the sinking manufacturing ship

  Give companies an efficient, effective environment and SA will get growth without any further interventions. By Busi Mavuso 19 Apr 2021  11:09 Since 1994, manufacturing has shrunk as a proportion of GDP from 21.5% to 13.3%. In part, this deindustrialisation stems from a rationalisation of the Apartheid economy, which was inefficiently producing goods behind sanctions barriers. The economy adjusted in favour of services upon our readmission into the international trading system, which improved our overall competitiveness and drove the economic growth we saw in the decade and a half up to the 2008…

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SA hit by ‘worst electronic component shortages in 30 years’

Global supply chain constraints have rocked the South African tech distribution channel, with some distributors labelling the predicament as the “worst challenge the industry has experienced in three decades”. The increasing global demand for a range of computing products, including the power chips that manage power consumption in mobile phones, semiconductors which are the essential building blocks used to make computers and gaming consoles, coupled with a perfect storm of disruptions within manufacturing and transportation logistics, have led to much frustration in the local distribution channel. In some areas, the…

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SA needs to be more export-orientated to grow an industrial market footprint

Infrastructure development is key to supporting this, and is particularly critical for industries such as the metals and engineering sector 26 APRIL 2021 – 12:58 CHIFIPA MHANGO Picture: 123RF/BRANEX In April, SA celebrates 27 years of a strong democracy that has brought political freedom for its people. However, despite structural reforms across all fronts, including in economic policy, the majority of South Africans continue to live in poverty and inequality remains a challenge. Unemployment is at a record 32.5%. ADVERTISEMENT The ANC-led government has, since 1994, adopted several policy measures to…

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