The 2015 World Economic Forum Africa Competitiveness Report has underscored the need to boost Agriculture, Services and Value Chains to achieve regional competitiveness.
The Africa Competitiveness Report 2015 – the fifth in the series highlights the prospects for growth, obstacles to improving competitiveness and the need to accelerate the pace of economic change.
The biennial report, themed “Transforming Africa’s Economies”, was jointly produced by the African Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
The 2015 report detailed data from the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) with studies on three key areas of economic activity; agricultural productivity, services sector growth and global and regional value chains.
Overall, the data points to low and stagnating productivity across all sectors agriculture, manufacturing and services, partly as a result of ongoing weakness in the basic drivers of competitiveness, such as institutions, infrastructure, health and education. This shortfall masks a better performance in other areas of the economy; specifically, better functioning of labour and goods markets.
Other middle-income economies, such as Botswana and Namibia, have maintained a relatively stable performance across the years. Both benefit from comparatively good institutions but critically neglect their human resource base, both in terms of health and education.
The report observes that productivity in agriculture remains too low and based on small-scale subsistence production. The study recommends that Improvements such as better leveraging of technology, more clearly defined land property rights and promotion of rights and opportunities for women.
“Moreover, enabling greater market access for small-scale farmers would help ensure inclusiveness, while the development of regional value chains would serve as a useful stepping stone, enabling them to improve production and marketing processes, and ultimately to meet the quality standards of world markets,” stated the report.
Additionally the economic experts advised on leveraging services noting that services exports are typically viewed as an area of comparative advantage for more advanced economies, but a deeper examination of trade statistics suggests that they are much more significant for Africa than previously thought, especially as inputs into exports from other sectors.
“Further development of low-cost, high-quality services will help countries participate in local, regional and global value chains. It will also encourage policy-makers to promote services development as part of a wider growth agenda,” reads the report.
“The service sector is rapidly becoming much more prominent on the development agenda across Africa and for the World Bank. In many countries across the region, services are the most rapidly growing sector, creating new jobs and economic activities, and providing critical inputs to boost production in other sectors. Yet productivity of the service sector remains low. To be more competitive, governments must lower trade barriers as well as enact complementary regulatory reforms. These reforms are also necessary for Africa to deepen its integration into global value chains,” said Anabel González, Senior Trade and Competitiveness Director, World Bank.
Africa has been urged to tap into global value chains (GVCs) as this can accelerate African economic transformation through the gains associated with enhanced productivity and the development of new activities.
“Business cannot continue as usual in Africa’s agriculture sector. It is imperative that productivity be significantly boosted through tailored agriculture research, harnessing ICT and strengthening linkages between small-scale farmers and commercial producers while better integrating them into regional and global value chains” said Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa the Vice-President, African Development Bank.
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.
The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.
He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison. In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned. Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.
Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated
He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted
Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.
‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated
He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added
He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.
Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’
The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.
In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
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Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.
It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.
Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.
Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.
“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”
The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.
“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”