Nigeria invites South Africa to do business

first_imgThe upmarket Protea Hotel Asokoro in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, is one of 10 properties that the hotel group operates in the country.(Image: Protea Hotels) Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola, left, with tourism director-general Kingsley Makhubela. The Financial Times and Brand South Africa provided the Nigerian High Commission with a platform for dialogue on trade and investment.(Images: Janine Erasmus) MEDIA CONTACTS • Nigerian High Commission in South Africa  +27 12 342-0805 or +27 12 342-0663  or +27 12 342-0934 RELATED ARTICLES • Shaping Africa’s transformation • Top award for Nigeria’s bank chief • Nigerian for World Bank top spot? • Call to action for a green economy Janine ErasmusAs two of the strongest economies in Africa, co-operation between South Africa and Nigeria is pivotal to the growth of the continent – this is the message that came out of a dialogue co-hosted by the Financial Times (FT) and the Nigerian High Commission and supported by Brand South Africa.There was keen interest in the high-level event, and guests included the Nigerian High Commissioner Sunday Samuel Yusuf; director-general of South Africa’s tourism ministry Kingsley Makhubela; South Africa’s minister of arts and culture Paul Mashatile; Charlotte “Chichi” Maponya, chairperson of Brand South Africa; and Lindiwe Maseko, speaker of the Gauteng legislature.The purpose of the gathering was to discuss current and future trade and investment relations between the two countries, and to identify areas of opportunity for South African companies in Nigeria.Guests stood for a moment in respectful silence to honour victims of the recent heavy floods which have killed 363 Nigerians and displaced over two-million, before proceeding with the evening’s agenda.“South African companies first moved into Nigeria about 12 years ago,” said Nigerian Consul-General Okey Emuchay, “and they have thrived.”He named food manufacturer Tiger Brands, the Protea hospitality group, mobile provider MTN and retailer Shoprite as a few of those who have prospered.But there are many more opportunities available today, in four main markets – agriculture, oil and gas, infrastructure and power, and solid minerals or mining.The country is looking for creative ways to build its economy, said Emuchay, and South African companies should explore opportunities in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, especially.“Tonight is the beginning of a mutually beneficial co-operation for South African companies and their Nigerian counterparts,” said Emuchay. “The Financial Times and Brand South Africa have given us this platform to start thinking afresh, and I envision this as becoming an annual event.”Growth hotspot“At a time when many developed countries are being downgraded,” said keynote speaker Olusegun Aganga, the Nigerian minister of trade and investment, “our country is being upgraded. We are seeing generally low growth and returns in the developed world, but the opposite tends to be true in developing nations. There has been a shift in the global economy.”Africa’s time has come, he said, and South Africa and Nigeria must work together to help the continent seize the moment.As one of the world’s fast-growing economies, Nigeria is an investor’s dream, with policies such as 100% repatriation of profits, 100% foreign ownership in all ventures except for oil and gas, and a liberal visa regime all designed to make it as easy as possible to do business.Aganga encouraged all African countries to look closer to home for trade and growth. “For more than 50 years Africa has exported its minerals and other precious resources to the developed world – those days should be over.”But there is more to be done – the continent must develop its industries. “Africa contributes just 3% to global trade, and 1% to manufacturing value-added services,” he said. “We are not industrialised, but we should be. Aid won’t get us very far in the global arena.”He described the financial crisis that has gripped many developed countries, including the Eurozone, as a “window of opportunity” for Africa.Areas of opportunityThere are four important factors that investors consider – money, technical knowledge, a market, and raw materials. Capital and technology can be taken anywhere in the world, but raw materials and a market are immovable – and Nigeria has these two in abundance, said Aganga.“We have a vibrant population of 167-million people and estimates show that by 2070 we will be the third largest nation in the world, after China and India. The average age at the moment is 18.6 years, and there is a fast-growing middle class.”The country has sought-after minerals in commercially viable quantities, is the seventh largest crude oil producer in the world and is in the top 10 in terms of gas reserves.All these factors serve to make Nigeria a country that South African companies should buy into before the rest of the world knocks on the door, said Aganga.He named several specific areas of potential – they include agriculture and food processing, such as maize production and the processing of sugar cane to sugar.“Nigeria produces just 2% of all the sugar it consumes,” he said, “but South Africa is a renowned grower of sugar cane.”The textiles industry is another potentially lucrative area, with opportunities existing in the processing of leather to leather products, and cotton to fashionable designs. Such operations would boost job creation too.Mining and associated services such as the processing of iron ore into iron and steel, and bauxite into aluminium, hold good prospects, as does petrochemicals and its related industries of plastics, textiles and chemicals.“Nigeria has the potential to become the continent’s petrochemical hub,” Aganga said.South Africa is internationally known for its motor industry, which produces goods in vast quantities for domestic and international consumption, and Nigeria aspires to an equally healthy motor industry, said Aganga.Another area where South Africa leads is in its services sector, and Aganga lauded the country for its progress in this area, saying that Nigeria can learn from its southern counterpart.And as for the all-important question of whether such initiatives would succeed – “Just ask MTN,” said Aganga. “Ask Protea, ask Shoprite.”To make it even easier for South African businesses to set up shop in Nigeria, the visa process for businesspeople has been streamlined, and a company can be registered in 24 hours, said Aganga.“We extend the hand of friendship to South Africa – together let us transform our continent.”To finish off the evening, there was a panel discussion moderated by FT Southern Africa bureau chief Andrew England, and featuring Brand South Africa’s research manager Petrus de Kock, as well as Nigerian businessmen.“All 54 African countries together are a force to be reckoned with,” said Chichi Maponya, introducing the panel, “and we should be setting our own agenda.”Maponya felt that the two countries’ futures are “inextricably entwined”.The panel discussed the perceptions people from each country have about the other side, agreeing that South Africans should not be suspicious of Nigerians, and vice versa. Intra-African trade stands at 10% at the moment, they said – but getting it to even 20% within a reasonable amount of time will have a huge impact on continental growth.The panel also advised local businesses to stake their claim in the West African country before the rest of the world takes an interest, and expressed their commitment to doing business in a corruption-free-manner, to the applause of the audience.last_img read more

A small farm with a big purpose

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag NetFrom the road, it looks like many farms in Clark County that you might pass by and get a quick glimpse of, with 24 acres or rolling hills, woodland areas, gardens, greenhouses, livestock pens and red barns. But once you step onto The H.A.R.D. Acre Farm you begin to realize that there is more to this farm that what you see as you drive by.The farm got its start after two school teachers who decided to leave their well-established careers, along with the benefits that came along with them, to open a working farm that would become a day program for adults with disabilities, including those suffering from autism spectrum disorder and dementia. The farm’s mission is to provide those adults the dignity to enjoy meaningful work, life and social relationships in a safe agricultural community, to participate as good stewards of God’s bounty.“One of the motivations to do this for me, personally, is that my son is one of our farmers involved in the program and I wanted a different kind of programming for him than anything I had found available,” said Beth Snyder, one of the owners and founders of The H.A.R.D. Acre Farm, which stands for Honor And Respect Daily. “I wanted him to be able to experience the joys of working with living things and being outside and being active.”The farmers at H.A.R.D. Acre are involved in different activities every day. At some point in the day, they will get to take care of the animals, which include a cow, some sheep, goats, miniature donkeys, and an alpaca. Gardening will also be a part of the farmers’ daily routine, starting with seed pods in February and ending with harvest as late as November. Items grown and crafts made on the farm are available all year long at the farm’s retail shop.“I think there is a real satisfaction that the work you are doing has meaning and you feel a responsibility to come back the next day to continue the job, whether it be to water, to weed, to pick or to make sure the animals are okay,” Snyder said. “That sense of belonging that you get on a farm is important to anyone and I think we are finding out that it is really meaningful to this population.”Being a working farm, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate with the tasks that may need to be done on certain days, so the day doesn’t always go according to plan. But, like any working farm, there is always something to do.“Once the chores are done, we might end out painting outside and them hold on to those projects and finish them inside the barn on a rainy day,” said Jennifer Hardacre, who also owns and founded The H.A.R.D. Acre Farm. “Daily programs are also based on the ability of our farmers. For instance, gardening for someone that has full range of mobility might include weeding the garden at the ground level, where someone who may not be able to bend over would be weeding at one of our raised beds or planting seeds at a high table top. We can plan a program for anybody and make it a meaningful day on the farm.”Leaving careers in teaching to start a program like this was certainly a leap of faith, but Snyder and Hardacre have been very thankful for the support of the community and the early success of The H.A.R.D. Acre Farm.“It has been more successful then Beth and I could have envisioned,” Hardacre said. “There is an army of people that support us. They donate. They volunteer. Our farmers and their families and the local agricultural community and so many people are backing this effort because it is such a needed program.“It was very scary to step out from a solid teaching career, but seeing the progress of the program and the individuals taking part in it has been very rewarding.”The H.A.R.D. Acre Farm is hosting their 3rd Annual Fall Festival that features hay rides, kids games, food trucks, direct sales vendors, a petting zoo, crafts/fall decor, a love offering bake sale, pumpkin painting, fall family photos, live entertainment, raffle baskets, a 50/50 drawing and more on September 15th starting at 11am. For more information, follow The Hard Acre Farm on Facebook or visit TheHardAcreFarm.org.last_img read more

Been there, done that: Experienced teams fill NCAA Final Four

first_imgPH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Auburn’s Samir Doughty (10), Myles Parker (20) and Horace Spencer (0) get a ride after a practice session for the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)MINNEAPOLIS— Zion Williamson is not here. Neither is R.J. Barrett or the rest of Duke’s freshmen.North Carolina’s Coby White? Knocked out in the Sweet 16. So was LSU’s Tremont Waters. Those Kentucky kids, all done by the Elite Eight.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Sandy Arespacochaga appointed as Batang Gilas head coach Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid LATEST STORIES DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “It helps knowing what to expect and how guys play with each other,” Auburn senior Malik Dunbar said. “We won’t be intimidated by the big stage. We want to win and do it again.”The Tigers certainly have the right mix. Of course, so do the other three Final Four teams.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess “The reason sometimes some of the kids that are coming in as freshmen haven’t been able to advance past a certain round and not get to the Final Four, win a national championship, is because they don’t have the experience of having not gotten there,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “That experience we had a year ago of not being able to advance through the tournament helped us as well.”Most coaches would love to have the one-and-done players. Only a small percentage have a shot, forcing those who don’t to seek players with fewer stars coming out of high school.They may end up with players who won’t immediately head to the NBA, but it can have other advantages.Having players for multiple seasons breeds continuity. Returning players already know the coaches’ expectations, the offensive and defensive systems, the grind of the season. They develop a cohesiveness with each other on the court, knowing what the other is going to do even before they do it.By the time they reach the NCAA Tournament, the muscle and memory is so ingrained they can just go out and play, not think about where they are or what they have to do.“Our formula has always been … how can you build a program that can compete against the best in your conference?” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “And it was to get guys experienced, get them to where they have two or three years where they learn and maybe learn the hard way. And then when they get to be upperclassmen, they’re ready to play the best.”The cliche says defense wins championships. More often than not, experience does the trick even better.Villanova won two of the past three national championships with veteran-laden teams. North Carolina was led by upperclassmen in its 2017 title run. Connecticut’s top five scorers were upperclassmen on its 2014 championship team, including senior Shabazz Napier, who learned from Kemba Walker three years earlier as a freshman.Freshman-led champions are rare.Carmelo Anthony did it at Syracuse in 2003. Anthony Davis dominated while leading a young Kentucky team to the 2012 national title. Freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones were keys when Duke set off the confetti canons in 2015. Virginia is loaded with players from last year’s first-round NCAA Tournament loss to No. 16 seed Baltimore-Maryland Country, motivated to make a different kind of history. Point guard Kihei Clark is the Cavaliers’ only freshman in the regular rotation.Texas Tech is led by sophomore Jarrett Culver, senior Matt Mooney and sophomore Davide Moretti. Guard Kyler Edwards is the only freshman who sees regular playing time, averaging 5.3 points.Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown had huge games in Michigan State’s Sweet 16 win over LSU, but juniors Cassius Winston and Nick Ward with sophomore Xavier Tillman are the leaders who have been through the NCAA Tournament grind before.Auburn has no freshmen in its rotation and is led by senior Bryce Brown and junior Jared Harper. Sophomore Chuma Okeke was a key cog, too, before he tore his left ACL in the Sweet 16.All three played last year while leading the program to its first NCAA Tournament trip since 2003. The Tigers were crushed by Clemson in the second round, but the experience helped them understand what to expect and advance in this year’s bracket.ADVERTISEMENT Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess For the hype about college basketball’s fantastic freshmen this season, none made it to the Final Four.The one and dones are done.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsIt’s a veterans weekend in Minneapolis.“It’s funny. Everybody would like to have what Duke and Kentucky have as far as personnel,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “Both of them have had incredible years, but experience does matter too. Somewhere there’s probably a happy medium. If you don’t have the best talent, you’d better be very old and very experienced.” View commentslast_img read more