10 Aug

20 shortlisted for finals of first Africa Architectural Awards

Africa Architecture Awards

The inaugural Africa Architecture Awards last month in Johannesburg, South Africa, shortlisted 20 projects in 32 countries for the finals.

The awards, founded by Saint-Gobain, attracted more than 500 entries, out of which 307 qualified.

Mr Evan Lockhart-Barker, the managing director of the Saint-Gobain Retail Business Development Initiative, said: “The Africa Architecture Awards have been established to highlight the continent’s innovative and collaborative style of solving problems – architectural or otherwise. In sub-Saharan Africa, Saint-Gobain provides a range of solutions and services tailored to local demand.

The 20 projects are divided into four categories: Built, Speculative, Emerging Voices and Critical Dialogue. The winner in each category will receive a trophy, while the overall winner will get $10,000 (Sh1,030,000).

They will be announced at a gala ceremony at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 28. The architects of the 20 projects will be flown to Cape Town by Saint-Gobain to attend the ceremony.

The following day a public colloquium titled “Celebrating Architecture in Africa” will be held at the Institute for Creative Arts at UCT Hiddingh Campus in Cape

Town to discuss the winning projects and explain why they were chosen.

The shortlist was chosen by a master jury comprising a pan-African panel of architects and industry experts including: Anna Abengowe (Nigeria), Guillaume Koffi (Côte d’Ivoire), Professor Edgar Pieterse (South Africa), Patti Anahory (Cape Verde), Professor Mark Olweny (Uganda), Tanzeem Razak (South Africa), and Phill Mashabane (South Africa).The shortlisted projects are:


One Airport Square, Ghana, by MCA Architects
Thread: Artists’ Residency and Cultural Centre, Senegal, by Toshiko Mori Architect
Dakar Conference Centre, Senegal, by Tabanlioglu Architects
Umkhumbane Museum, SA by Choromanski Architects
Out of the Box Partnerships, Ethiopia, by Parallel Solutions

Ecree, Ecowski Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency, Cape Verde, by Fernando Mauricio Dos Santos
New Eye Sight Hospital, Republic of Congo, by Boogertman and Partners
Kigali Genocide Memorial, Rwanda, by Mass Design Group
The Territory Inbetween, South Africa, by Aissata Balde
Beyond Entropy, Angola, By Paula Nascimento

The Embassy of Mantanhas Eclectic Atlases, Cape Verde, by Stephanie Ryder, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg
Architecture of Crisis: Windhoek Community Boreholes, by Elao Martin, Namibia University of Science and Technology
Re-think Makoko, Lagos, by Mohamed Waheed Fareed Abdelfatah, Helwan University, Egypt
The Monolith of Kasolo, DRC, by Federico Fauli, Architectural Association, School of Architecture, London.
The Exchange Consulate: Trading Passports for Hyper-Performative Economic Enclaves, South Africa, by Ogundare Olawale Israel

Design Indaba, South Africa, by Interactive Africa
APSAIDAL by Ebano Wey Ekame Ikuga, Spain
Forum de Arquitectura, by Ceica, Angola
The Journey of Design and Critical Dialogue. Securing the Presence of Urban Livelihoods, by Richard Dobson, South Africa
Revolution Room, by Visual Arts Network, SA & Waza Arts Centre, DRC

In Summary

  • The inaugural Africa Architecture Awards held last month in Johannesburg, South Africa attracted more than 500 entries, out of which 307 qualified.
  • The 20 projects are divided into four categories: Built, Speculative, Emerging Voices and Critical Dialogue. The winner in each category will receive a trophy, while the overall winner will get $10,000 (Sh1,030,000).
  • The shortlist was chosen by a master jury comprising a pan-African panel of architects and industry experts.

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07 Aug

Mashaba’s Joburg is not ‘bankrupt’, says finance MMC

Parks Tau alleged that South African government is bankrupt

The ANC’s Parks Tau has alleged that Herman Mashaba’s government is bankrupt after he left it with a ‘positive balance sheet of ‘R1.7bn’.

The City of Johannesburg has denied allegations made by the African National Congress in Johannesburg on Sunday about the city’s financial position.

“The comments are nothing more than the ANC’s attempt at reviving [former mayor] Parks Tau’s political career from the ashes,” mayoral committee member for finance Rabelani Dagada said.

“The truth of the matter is that under ANC administration, the city and its finances were run in an environment of chaos and disorder, all of which allowed a culture of corruption to fester and flourish. Since coming into office, we have learnt that almost 19 percent of the city’s R55 billion budget has, over years, been lost to corruption,” he said.

“The management of the city’s finances is a matter of public interest. We welcome scrutiny into the city’s finances by our residents. However, I would caution that the city’s finances should never be used as an instrument for petty politics.

“Stakeholders such as the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA), National Treasury, and Investors City keep us honest and constantly advise us on how finances can improve. The financial performance for the financial year (FY) 2016/17 is yet to be audited by the AGSA and any proclamation on the figures undermines the role of the Auditor-General South Africa,” Dagada said.

Among other things, in terms of revenue collection for 2016/17, the unaudited numbers showed a significant reduction in the variance between the budgeted and actual revenue collected compared to 2015/16. There was an improvement from R3.4 billion negative variance in 2015/16 to R2.7 billion negative variance for 2016/17. In March and June 2017, revenue collected exceeded R3 billion, the first time ever revenue collection exceeded R3 billion for two months.

Total revenue collection in 2015/16 was R34.9 billion versus an improved collection of R35.2 billion in 2016/17. “We also asses our revenue collection performance through the financial ratios, and our forecasted debt to revenue ratio is 40.7 percent, well within our target. Our main liquidity ration measure, cost coverage ratio is also projected to be a healthy 36 days, well above National Treasury benchmark,” he said.

The city’s 2017/18 budget was assessed by National Treasury and found to be funded.

“There are many customers in the city that we believe were not being billed for the three metered services – electricity, water, and sewerage. The plans that we proclaimed during the state of the city address and the budget speech of collecting more revenue are already being implemented.”

The so-called “billing crisis” was never reduced but rather “swept under the carpet” during the previous ANC administration by way of reduced credit management, which reduced customer complaints; increasing customer indebtedness by the “pay for what you are not disputing model”; and “fake actual readings”, which were called “calculated actuals”.

In terms of the city’s liquidity status, as at June 2017, the closing cash balance was between R3 billion and R4 billion. It should also be noted that liquidity had been deteriorating year-on-year due to the billing problems that went unresolved under the watch of the previous administration. The city’s current cash balances were around R4 billion.

The city paid all its short-term financial obligations as they fell due. The city continued to pay salaries and its creditors. Creditors were paid in compliance with the National Treasury requirement that suppliers should be paid within 30 days of receiving a valid tax invoice.

As for the short-term borrowing in the 2017/18 financial year the city could confirm that council had approved raising up to R3 billion from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to manage potential cash flow mismatches that might arise in the future.

“The city’s finances are in a sound position. The DA-led administration has made tremendous progress since taking office to ensure that we run a clean administration following acceptable governance practices. The financial state of affairs will be revealed by the AGSA when he issues his report in November 2017.

“We have increased access to basic services, including electricity, to unprecedented levels, including through our new micro-grids in informal settlements. We have increased investment in roads and traffic signals which are the arteries of life and commerce in this great city, upgrading our key bridges and highways as we go.

“It’s totally inaccurate for the ANC Joburg to purport that under mayor [Herman] Mashaba’s tenure the City of Johannesburg’s financial stability has been in a state of perpetual decline or precarious. This is a characterisation of their time in government. Should the ANC continue on their present path, they will not only expose themselves as failed government but a failed opposition party as well,” Dagada said.

– African News Agency (ANA)

07 Aug

South Africa’s unemployment stays at 14-year high in second quarter

South Africa’s unemployment stays at 14-year high in second quarter

South Africa’s unemployment rate stayed at a 14-year high in the second quarter, with the statistics agency saying on Monday the country was in a “precarious position” of not creating enough jobs to make a dent in poverty.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 27.7 percent of the labour force in the second three months of this year, with the absolute number of unemployed down slightly to 6.177 million from 6.214 million, data from the statistics office showed.

Africa’s most industrialised economy has sunk into recession and had its credit rating downgraded to junk by two of the three main credit rating agencies. In July Stats SA said nearly a fourth of all households are in poverty.

Statistician General Pali Lehohla said the real economy, which includes mining and manufacturing, was not creating enough employment.

“We are in a very precarious position as South Africa in as far as exiting poverty. The type of strategy that can make us exit poverty is when people are working,” Lehohla said.

“This kind of poverty cannot be resolved by social grants and the like. That type pf poverty is solved if people are doing work and being productive,” Lehohla said.

Although South Africa’s economy contracted for a second successive quarter in March, economists expect positive growth in 2017, but warn that political turmoil and regulatory uncertainty will continue to hamper investor sentiment.

Chief economist for Africa at Standard Charted, Razia Khan, said agriculture and mining were the only sectors that grew meaningfully in the first quarter of this year but actually experienced job losses in the second quarter.

“With a significant uplift to growth performance unlikely to be on the horizon just yet, there is little to suggest a meaningful pick-up in job creation for some time,” she said.

The rand shrugged off the unemployment print, with market focus on the no-confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday. As of 0825 GMT, the rand was trading at 13.4025 per dollar, 0.13 percent firmer than its close on Friday.

Zuma faces a no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday brought by opposition parties. The ruling African National Congress says its members would rally behind Zuma and vote against the motion.

Additional reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Editing by James Macharia and Angus MacSwan

Article from CNBCAfrica

07 Aug

SA facing a skilled-worker ‘brain drain’ as 7% of whites have emigrated since 2002

South Africa is facing a skilled-worker ‘brain drain’

South Africa is facing a skilled-worker ‘brain drain’ as 7% of whites have emigrated since 2002.

Figures published in BizNews have highlighted South Africa’s overall population growth since 2002, and life expectancy has risen to 64 (up from 53) in that time.

The rollout of free antiretroviral treatments for HIV and AIDS patients has made a huge difference to SA’s health landscape, and the country is now home to more than 56m citizens; it’s highest ever total.

However, as the population rises, there is a hole right in the middle of that data – the white population is somewhat shrinking, as the calls to find ‘a home from home’ have grown ever stronger and convinced more to leave.

How many whites live in South Africa?

The net emigration of Whites is estimated at 327,000, or about 7% of the population. This has left the number of Whites in 2017, of 4.49m, down by -62,000 in the last 15 years.

In contrast, there has been a 10.18m increase in the Black African population, to 45.11m at present and a 1.05m increase in the Coloured population, up to 4.96m, in mid-2017.


South Africa is facing a skilled-worker ‘brain drain’

South Africa is facing a skilled-worker ‘brain drain’

The research was carried out by Econometrix’s chief economist Azar Jammine: He feels that the whites leaving the country are able to do so because their skill sets are attractive to lucrative foreign businesses:

“There is an argument for being very concerned about the decline in the population of Whites due to emigration. Many of those who emigrate are drawn presumably from the most highly skilled sections of society and their departure from the workspace is likely to impact negatively on the capacity of the economy to grow at a faster rate.”

“It is debatable whether the inflow of skilled persons from the rest of the African continent is sufficient to counteract the outflow of skills from large-scale emigration of Whites.”

South Africans working abroad

The growth rate in the population of persons between the ages of 15 and 34 has fallen from 2.48% to just 0.18% over this period. With education standards languishing, current figures suggest we will have less people available to adequately carry out the services SA needs to function