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Photo of the Week

HIGH PERFORMANCE

30th July 2021 The Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre, in Gauteng, has secured an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a commendable B rating, where A represents the highest achievable rating and G the lowest. New regulations, gazetted in December 2020, require nonresidential... 

Aerial photo of the the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre

ROAD TO RUIN

23rd July 2021 Protests that were initially sparked by opposition to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma, but then morphed into a deadly looting spree by criminals and desperate opportunists alike, once again exposed South Africa’s socioeconomic fault lines. Without question, the restoration of law and... 

Image of burnt-out vehicles
Photo by Reuters
Protests that were initially sparked by opposition to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma, but then morphed into a deadly looting spree by criminals and desperate opportunists alike, once again exposed South Africa’s socioeconomic fault lines. Without question, the restoration of law and order had to be the first priority, but the country won’t avoid the ‘road to ruin’ on display in this image without a well-supported strategy for reigniting growth and ensuring that the economic benefits are more evenly shared.

POWERING UP

16th July 2021 The eThekwini Municipality, in KwaZulu-Natal, is readying itself for the procurement of 400 MW of electricity, primarily in the form of renewable energy. Various other cities, including Cape Town and Johannesburg, are also planning to contract with independent power producers now that the... 

A photo of the city of Durban
Photo by Bloomberg
POWERING UP: The eThekwini Municipality, in KwaZulu-Natal, is readying itself for the procurement of 400 MW of electricity, primarily in the form of renewable energy. Various other cities, including Cape Town and Johannesburg, are also planning to contract with independent power producers now that the electricity regulations have been amended to allow municipalities “in good financial standing” to develop or procure their own power generation projects. Photograph: Bloomberg

MINTED MILESTONES

9th July 2021 To mark its centenary, celebrated virtually on June 30, the South African Reserve Bank issued a commemorative circulation R5 coin. The coin reflects the historical journey of the currency issued by the SARB over the past 100 years, from the iconic ‘tickey’ to the future ‘Cape honey bee’ 10c coin.... 

MINTED MILESTONES

BIG FINDS

2nd July 2021 TSX-listed Lucara Diamond Corporation announced the recovery, in June, of a 1 174.76-carat diamond from its Karowe diamond mine, in Botswana. The diamond is the third 1 000-plus-carat stone recovered from the South Lobe of the AK6 kimberlite since 2015, the others being the 1 758-carat Sewelô and... 

BIG FINDS

SIGNED & SEALED

25th June 2021 Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel’s signature heads the list of steel industry stakeholders who, earlier this month, signed ‘The South African Steel and Metal Fabrication Master Plan 1.0’, which contains an outline of the support that will be provided for the embattled steel... 

SIGNED & SEALED

POWER(HOUSE)

18th June 2021 Johannesburg, which along with the rest of the country is being afflicted by regular power cuts, plans to seek at least R3.8-billion in investment in alternative electricity supply. Bloomberg reports that the country’s economic powerhouse will, in September, issue a request for information for... 

POWER(HOUSE)

UNITED AGAINST COAL

11th June 2021 United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has again called on countries to stop investing in coal, telling participants to a recent International Finance Forum, in Beijing, China, that this “means stopping the financing of coal domestically and abroad and phasing out its use”. Bloomberg... 

UNITED AGAINST COAL

UNIFIED RATE

4th June 2021 Nigeria’s central bank has moved towards a single exchange-rate system, having maintained a multiple rate for several years to avoid an outright devaluation of the naira. Late last month, the Abuja-based bank replaced the fixed 379 naira to the dollar rate for official transactions, which... 

UNIFIED RATE

EXPORT SCALE-UP

28th May 2021 VKB Agriculture loads a Transnet Freight Rail grain wagon at its Bethlehem silo rail siding, in the Free State, at the launch of the 2021 grain export season on May 17. As part of its endeavours to meet export and rail capacity issues, Transnet Freight Rail has put in place strategies to double... 

EXPORT SCALE-UP

DEADLY FLARE-UP

21st May 2021 The most disturbing aspect of the recent deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israelis was not only the hardening of attitudes, but also the absence of any real plan for resolving a conflict that truly threatens global peace and stability. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, pictured here... 

DEADLY FLARE-UP

WAVES & VARIANTS

14th May 2021 The horrific scenes from India’s recent second Covid-19 wave have been held up as a warning to South Africa, where there is ongoing concern about prospects for a third wave. As with South Africa’s second wave, a new variant played a role in accelerating transmission in India. Likewise, across... 

WAVES & VARIANTS

TOTAL WITHDRAWAL

7th May 2021 Late last month, French energy group Total confirmed the withdrawal of all project personnel from the $20-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project it is developing with partners in northern Mozambique. In a statement, the company explained the move as follows: “Considering the evolution of the... 

TOTAL WITHDRAWAL

LEGALLY BINDING

30th April 2021 European Union lawmakers reached a deal this month to make the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, a move which Bloomberg reports will pave the way for a torrent of new rules and standards. The European Climate Law foresees a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030,... 

LEGALLY BINDING: European Union lawmakers reached a deal this month to make the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, a move which Bloomberg reports will pave the way for a torrent of new rules and standards. The European Climate Law foresees a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and zero net emissions by 2050. A legislative package to be unveiled in June will reinforce carbon pricing mechanisms, foster energy savings, increase the production of renewable energy, boost sustainable transport and curb imports of products that drive deforestation. Photograph: Bloomberg
Photo by Bloomberg
LEGALLY BINDING: European Union lawmakers reached a deal this month to make the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, a move which Bloomberg reports will pave the way for a torrent of new rules and standards. The European Climate Law foresees a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and zero net emissions by 2050. A legislative package to be unveiled in June will reinforce carbon pricing mechanisms, foster energy savings, increase the production of renewable energy, boost sustainable transport and curb imports of products that drive deforestation. Photograph: Bloomberg

POWER SHIFT

23rd April 2021 The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) new Cabinet, unveiled this month, is said to shift the balance of power in the resource-rich country to President Felix Tshisekedi (pictured) from his predecessor Joseph Kabila, two years after elections. The Cabinet includes the little-known... 

POWER SHIFT

VIALS TO CELEBRATE

16th April 2021 Earlier this month, South Africa officially signed an agreement with Pfizer for 20-million dual-shot vaccine doses, boosting plans to start mass vaccinations. The deal added to the 31-million single-shot doses from Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was officially registered for use in the country... 

VIALS TO CELEBRATE: Earlier this month, South Africa officially signed an agreement with Pfizer for 20-million dual-shot vaccine doses, boosting plans to start mass vaccinations. The deal added to the 31-million single-shot doses from Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was officially registered for use in the country on April 1. The country has also been allocated 12-million shots under the World Health Organization's Covax scheme and is likely to get doses for 10-million people from the African Union's acquisition initiative. Reuters reports that, after the Pfizer deal, government has enough doses to vaccinate roughly 41-million people out of its total population of 60-million. Photograph: Reuters
Photo by Reuters
VIALS TO CELEBRATE: Earlier this month, South Africa officially signed an agreement with Pfizer for 20-million dual-shot vaccine doses, boosting plans to start mass vaccinations. The deal added to the 31-million single-shot doses from Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was officially registered for use in the country on April 1. The country has also been allocated 12-million shots under the World Health Organization's Covax scheme and is likely to get doses for 10-million people from the African Union's acquisition initiative. Reuters reports that, after the Pfizer deal, government has enough doses to vaccinate roughly 41-million people out of its total population of 60-million. Photograph: Reuters

HEAVENLY MAINTENANCE

9th April 2021 Rio de Janeiro's iconic ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue, atop the Corcovado Mountain in the Brazilian city, is being restored ahead of its 90th anniversary in October. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30-m high, excluding its 8-m pedestal, while its arms stretch 28-m wide. Architect... 

HEAVENLY MAINTENANCE

WING & PRAYER

2nd April 2021 Kenya Airways expects its passenger business to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2024. The carrier, whose joint venture with Air France KLM is set to expire this September, will boost its cargo business to help blunt the impact of the drop in demand for travel by passengers,... 

WING & PRAYER

GOLDEN BOOT

26th March 2021 South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, who initially rose to prominence in South Africa’s gold mining industry, is now aiming for a golden boot in football governance. Motsepe was elected unopposed, on March 12, as the new Confederation of African Football (CAF) president. He replaced Ahmad... 

GOLDEN BOOT

VARIANT OPTIMISM

19th March 2021 A study published this month shows that the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech showed a high ability to neutralise coronavirus variants first detected in Brazil, the UK and South Africa. Bloomberg reports that, in laboratory experiments, the shot demonstrated “roughly equivalent” levels of... 

VARIANT OPTIMISM

AFRICAN LEADERSHIP

12th March 2021 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Trade Organisation's (WTO’s) first female and first African director-general, started work on March 1. After a long campaign, derailed in the latter stages by a President Donald Trump-administration veto, the 66-year-old Nigerian was confirmed in February. Reuters... 

AFRICAN LEADERSHIP: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Trade Organisation's (WTO’s) first female and first African director-general, started work on March 1. After a long campaign, derailed in the latter stages by a President Donald Trump-administration veto, the 66-year-old Nigerian was confirmed in February. Reuters reports that Okonjo-Iweala, seen here donning a mask, participated in a meeting of the General Council on her first day. At the meeting, delegates from the WTO’s 164 member states joined virtually and agreed to hold the next major Ministerial conference, originally due to be held in Kazakhstan in 2020, in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 29. Photograph: Reuters
AFRICAN LEADERSHIP: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Trade Organisation's (WTO’s) first female and first African director-general, started work on March 1. After a long campaign, derailed in the latter stages by a President Donald Trump-administration veto, the 66-year-old Nigerian was confirmed in February. Reuters reports that Okonjo-Iweala, seen here donning a mask, participated in a meeting of the General Council on her first day. At the meeting, delegates from the WTO’s 164 member states joined virtually and agreed to hold the next major Ministerial conference, originally due to be held in Kazakhstan in 2020, in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 29. Photograph: Reuters

BIG PICTURE

5th March 2021 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his 2021 Budget address last week against the backdrop of a sharp economic contraction as a result of the lockdown actions taken since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa. The slump has triggered record levels of unemployment, as well as a... 

BIG PICTURE

WHITE-OUT BLAME GAME

26th February 2021 The finger pointing and accusations that arose in the wake of the winter-storm induced power cuts in Texas this month were even louder and angrier than those that accompany South Africa’s regular bouts of load-shedding. Some blamed a lack of maintenance, some argued it was the fault of frozen... 

WHITE-OUT BLAME GAME

VEXING VARIANTS

19th February 2021 Disappointing news about the effectiveness of some vaccines against the 501.V2 Covid variant now dominant in South Africa should not mask the remarkable progress being made on the vaccine front. The fact that there are already vaccines approved is an incredible feat in itself. There is also a... 

VEXING VARIANTS

SHOT IN THE ARM

12th February 2021 The announcement by Ford this month that it will invest R15.8-billion in its South African operations to produce the new-generation Ranger pick-up represents a much-needed shot in the arm for the investment-starved economy, which has been battered by Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. As part... 

SHOT IN THE ARM: The announcement by Ford this month that it will invest R15.8-billion in its South African operations to produce the new-generation Ranger pick-up represents a much-needed shot in the arm for the investment-starved economy, which has been battered by Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. As part of the investment, Ford will build a chassis line at the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), the development of which is pictured here. TASEZ is located adjacent to Ford’s Silverton assembly plant and is being punted as Africa’s first ‘automotive city’. Besides Ford, Nissan and BMW also assemble vehicles in Tshwane.
SHOT IN THE ARM: The announcement by Ford this month that it will invest R15.8-billion in its South African operations to produce the new-generation Ranger pick-up represents a much-needed shot in the arm for the investment-starved economy, which has been battered by Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. As part of the investment, Ford will build a chassis line at the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), the development of which is pictured here. TASEZ is located adjacent to Ford’s Silverton assembly plant and is being punted as Africa’s first ‘automotive city’. Besides Ford, Nissan and BMW also assemble vehicles in Tshwane.

DOSE OF REALITY

5th February 2021 South Africa’s sluggish approach to the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine is deplorable, but is also only part of the problem. The beggar-thy-neighbour scramble adopted by rich countries serves as a bitter dose of reality about the importance (or lack thereof) the international community... 

DOSE OF REALITY

LOOMING LARGE

29th January 2021 State-owned power utility Eskom has been warning for several months that the risk of load-shedding will loom as large as these power lines do over this Cape Town informal settlement. In its official planning, Eskom indicates that electricity shortages are possible during most weeks until April,... 

LOOMING LARGE: State-owned power utility Eskom has been warning for several months that the risk of load-shedding will loom as large as these power lines do over this Cape Town informal settlement. In its official planning, Eskom indicates that electricity shortages are possible during most weeks until April, after which the prognosis is expected to improve. The utility has also indicated previously that the risk of power cuts will be “significantly reduced, but not eliminated” only by September in line with progress being made under its so-called reliability maintenance programme. Photograph: Bloomberg
Photo by Bloomberg
LOOMING LARGE: State-owned power utility Eskom has been warning for several months that the risk of load-shedding will loom as large as these power lines do over this Cape Town informal settlement. In its official planning, Eskom indicates that electricity shortages are possible during most weeks until April, after which the prognosis is expected to improve. The utility has also indicated previously that the risk of power cuts will be “significantly reduced, but not eliminated” only by September in line with progress being made under its so-called reliability maintenance programme. Photograph: Bloomberg

WAITING & CELEBRATING

22nd January 2021 While several countries began ramping up their mass vaccination campaigns at the start of 2021, South Africans began the year anxiously waiting for the start of a domestic roll-out. Many vaccination deployments have fallen short of initial expectations and have been accompanied by an element of... 

WAITING & CELEBRATING: While several countries began ramping up their mass vaccination campaigns at the start of 2021, South Africans began the year anxiously waiting for the start of a domestic roll-out. Many vaccination deployments have fallen short of initial expectations and have been accompanied by an element of resistance. Nevertheless, the overall mood has been celebratory, given the importance of the vaccine in ending what has been, and still is, an economically and psychologically devastating pandemic. One bakery in Dortmund, Germany, marked the development by baking cakes in the shape of syringes. Photograph: Leon Kuegele for Reuters
WAITING & CELEBRATING: While several countries began ramping up their mass vaccination campaigns at the start of 2021, South Africans began the year anxiously waiting for the start of a domestic roll-out. Many vaccination deployments have fallen short of initial expectations and have been accompanied by an element of resistance. Nevertheless, the overall mood has been celebratory, given the importance of the vaccine in ending what has been, and still is, an economically and psychologically devastating pandemic. One bakery in Dortmund, Germany, marked the development by baking cakes in the shape of syringes. Photograph: Leon Kuegele for Reuters

DOWN, NOT OUT

15th January 2021 The Covid-19 pandemic was painful on many levels. It led to millions of premature deaths which devastated families. The associated lockdowns, while necessary in many instances, caused untold misery, from the loss of livelihoods to loneliness and a rise in poverty and hunger. Frontline health... 

DOWN, NOT OUT: The Covid-19 pandemic was painful on many levels. It led to millions of premature deaths which devastated families. The associated lockdowns, while necessary in many instances, caused untold misery, from the loss of livelihoods to loneliness and a rise in poverty and hunger. Frontline health workers, such as the one pictured, were pushed to their physical and psychological limits. As 2021 begins, however, there is cause for optimism. The vaccine is being deployed and economies are starting to recover. As with previous pandemics, humanity has again shown resilience, resourcefulness and innovation. We are down, but not out! Photograph: Reuters
Photo by Reuters
DOWN, NOT OUT: The Covid-19 pandemic was painful on many levels. It led to millions of premature deaths which devastated families. The associated lockdowns, while necessary in many instances, caused untold misery, from the loss of livelihoods to loneliness and a rise in poverty and hunger. Frontline health workers, such as the one pictured, were pushed to their physical and psychological limits. As 2021 begins, however, there is cause for optimism. The vaccine is being deployed and economies are starting to recover. As with previous pandemics, humanity has again shown resilience, resourcefulness and innovation. We are down, but not out! Photograph: Reuters

BORDER BLUES

11th December 2020 Long lines of waiting trucks and cars are all too common a sight at key Southern African border crossings, with the busy Beitbridge border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa being no exception. Beitbridge’s capacity constraints are not only frustrating, but add significant cost and risk to... 

BORDER BLUES

FLEEING CONFLICT

4th December 2020 Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings from a boat after crossing the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahme launched a military campaign against the Tigray... 

FLEEING CONFLICT: Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings from a boat after crossing the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahme launched a military campaign against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on November 4, accusing it of attacking two federal military camps in the northern region. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah for Reuters
Photo by Reuters
FLEEING CONFLICT: Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings from a boat after crossing the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahme launched a military campaign against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on November 4, accusing it of attacking two federal military camps in the northern region. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah for Reuters

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

27th November 2020 Earlier this month, media reports emerged indicating that an estimated 400 seafarers and roughly two-million tons of coal were stuck on ships off the northeast coast of China, as that country’s diplomatic row with Australia intensified. A Bloomberg report stated that, at one point, more than 21... 

COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Earlier this month, media reports emerged indicating that an estimated 400 seafarers and roughly two-million tons of coal were stuck on ships off the northeast coast of China, as that country’s diplomatic row with Australia intensified. A Bloomberg report stated that, at one point, more than 21 bulk carriers were anchored off the Port of Jingtang, unable to offload their Australian coal cargo. Fifteen of the ships had been waiting since June, threatening a humanitarian crisis. During the trade stand-off China has blacklisted various Australian commodities and foodstuffs from coal to lobster.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Earlier this month, media reports emerged indicating that an estimated 400 seafarers and roughly two-million tons of coal were stuck on ships off the northeast coast of China, as that country’s diplomatic row with Australia intensified. A Bloomberg report stated that, at one point, more than 21 bulk carriers were anchored off the Port of Jingtang, unable to offload their Australian coal cargo. Fifteen of the ships had been waiting since June, threatening a humanitarian crisis. During the trade stand-off China has blacklisted various Australian commodities and foodstuffs from coal to lobster.

TRAVEL DISRUPTED

20th November 2020 A recent global survey commissioned by Inmarsat Aviation found that eight in ten airline passengers don’t plan to resume their regular travel routines even once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. The survey drew responses from 9 500 people from 12 countries, all of whom having taken at least... 

TRAVEL DISRUPTED

NOT LOOTERS

13th November 2020 Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has been officially appointed chairperson of State-owned electricity utility Eskom, having served as interim chairperson for nine months. In a short address during the release of the debt-laden and corruption-prone group’s much-delayed 2020 results, Makgoba said that... 

NOT LOOTERS

FLYING HIGH

6th November 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leaps for joy after winning the Portuguese Grand Prix on October 25. The victory at the Algarve International Circuit was Hamilton’s 92nd. It also saw him passing the legendary Michael Schumacher as the driver with the most Formula One race victories in history 

FLYING HIGH

STRUGGLE CONTINUES

30th October 2020 There a worrying signs that fatigue has truly set in with regards the willingness of citizens to abide by Covid-19 restrictions being imposed by governments. The struggle is far from over, however, with infections surging in many countries, particularly in Europe. Hospital capacity has come... 

STRUGGLE CONTINUES

SUSTAINED PRESSURE

23rd October 2020 South African factory output contracted for a fifteenth month in August, when output fell 10.8%, compared with a revised 10.2% decline in July. The slump came even though South Africa has taken measures to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Bloomberg reports that the decline could weigh on an... 

SUSTAINED PRESSURE

WRECKED

16th October 2020 A drone image shows decommissioned cruise ships being dismantled at Aliaga ship-breaking yard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, in western Turkey, earlier this month. Media reports stated that British, American, and Italian cruise ships were being dismantled in the country as the coronavirus... 

WRECKED: A drone image shows decommissioned cruise ships being dismantled at Aliaga ship-breaking yard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, in western Turkey, earlier this month. Media reports stated that British, American, and Italian cruise ships were being dismantled in the country as the coronavirus pandemic continued to sink the industry.
Photo by Umit Bektas for Reuters
WRECKED: A drone image shows decommissioned cruise ships being dismantled at Aliaga ship-breaking yard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, in western Turkey, earlier this month. Media reports stated that British, American, and Italian cruise ships were being dismantled in the country as the coronavirus pandemic continued to sink the industry.
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