APO News from Africa:
The African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid has welcomed the European Commission's External Investment Plan, which aims to improve investment in Africa and the EU neighborhood, in order to promote decent job creation, sustainable development and root out some of the causes of migration.
“I welcome the commitment by the European Commission in support of building an appropriate environment and capacity for sustainable mobilization of funds from various internal and external sources and wisely channelling those resources to improve investments in areas and societies that are most disadvantaged in order to enable them to maintain and enjoy quality lives at home,” said Commissioner Abou-Zeid during her keynote address at the Briefing on the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) at the African Union Commission.
Speaking to top EU and AU Officials gathered to discuss their positions on the EU’s much anticipated External Investment Plan, the Commissioner welcomed the fact that infrastructure is a priority on the EEIP and highlighted some of AU’s initiatives such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and exchanged views on how to make the Plan work effectively in mobilizing the various stakeholders especially the private sector to invest in infrastructure in Africa.
On his part, Mr. Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development at the European Commission announced during the Briefing that the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) is expected to leverage more that EUR 44 billion of investments until 2020.
“The Plan includes a new European Fund for Sustainable Development which combines the EU's existing blending facilities with a new EUR 1.5 billion guarantee backed by the EU budget. The Fund will aim to leverage additional private investment by addressing bottlenecks and other obstacles to investment,” Mr. Ridolfo explained.
Both the African Union and the European Commission considered this moment as a useful chance of dialogue and seize the EEIP’s opportunities and useful elements. During the discussions that ensued, both parties agreed to involve both public and private sectors, without underestimating no-profit organisations’ role.
Over the ten past years, the EU and Africa had already forged a more political partnership based on shared values and interests, enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted in 2007. A series of events in 2017 – from the G7 and G20 Summits in May and June respectively to the 5th Africa-EU Summit on 28-29 November – have placed Africa high on the international agenda. The 5th Africa EU Summit provides a critical opportunity for African and European leaders to reshape and deepen their relationship in response to the evolving context.
Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).
Today, the Department of Trade & Industry (dti), Woolworths and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) officially opened the doors of K9 Pet Foods’ new 3 600 m² factory premises in the Western Cape. This opening is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of a team of black women who put to test the intent of the Black Industrialist Programme initiated by the dti and Woolworths’ commitment in contributing meaningfully to socio-economic transformation in South Africa.
After working in pet food production for 20 years, aspiring entrepreneur, Fazielah Allie, the Managing Director of K9, purchased a small and struggling business specialising in frozen pet food in 2014. Having worked with Woolworths before, Fazielah then approached Woolworths in the hopes of turning around her new business by securing a partnership agreement.
“Our priority was to leverage on a pet food opportunity to advance our import replacement strategy that seeks to replace providers of imported products and services with local black suppliers. Knowing Fazielah’s experience and entrepreneurial spirit, we recognised that there was an opportunity to partner with her with the aim of establishing a South African produced supply of our Woolworths branded canned and pouched pet food,” says Zinzi Mgolodela, Head of Transformation at Woolworths.
With three black women at the helm, K9 Pet Foods was an ideal fit for the Woolworths Enterprise & Supplier Development programme which matches potential black-owned businesses to opportunities in the Woolworths supplier base. Various customised interventions including both financial and advisory support help the entrepreneurs in the programme to grow their businesses and create new jobs. Over the past three years, K9 has grown from 11 to 32 employees.
Thanks to the partnership agreement to supply Woolworths, Fazielah was able to secure much-needed funding from the dti’s Black Industrialist’s Incentive Scheme to the value of
R20 million, and then an additional R31 million from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This funding has been used to expand their operation and purchase the latest, state-of-the-art machinery so that they can meet Woolworths’ production requirements.
“The funding of this project not only assists in achieving the IDC’s objectives of facilitating job creation and import replacement, but is also an opportunity for K9 to facilitate innovative technology which they have specifically designed for Woolworths,” says Lizo Ntlhoko, Regional Manager for the IDC in the Western Cape.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has commended the company’s Managing Director, Ms Fazielah Allie, Financial Director, Ms Candice Stewart and Operations Director, Ms Shireen Davids as shining examples of the transformation that government can achieve through the Black Industrialists programme with the support of the private sector and the country’s development finance institutions.
Minister Davies said the supply of the K9 Pet Foods range to Woolworths stores is one of the positive examples of how inclusive growth and localisation of industry should work in South Africa.
“Industrialisation is vital to the South African economy and Africa and through the many legislative and policy levers; there is a need to shift structures, systems and institutions that result in a more inclusive economy. Also one of the key focus areas for the economy in being competitive locally and globally requires that we build on the existing capacity and capabilities and processes to enhance the manufacturing efficiency within the various sectors of the economy,” added Minister Davies.
The Black Industrialist Scheme is one of the incentive programmes, an initiative designed to benefit black industrialists with more than 50% shareholding and management control in the targeted sectors, of which the agro-processing sector is one.
“We are very proud of Fazielah – she has embraced the principles of partnering in the Woolworths supplier base, delivered product ahead of schedule and lives our brand values. She is a dedicated businesswoman committed to producing innovative and quality products. These are attributes that we value and are at the core of our business as we strive to meet our customers’ expectations,” adds Zinzi Mgolodela, Head of Transformation at Woolworths.
“The official opening of our factory is a huge milestone for us,” confirms Fazielah Allie, “We are grateful that the dti, IDC and Woolworths believed in us. We are determined to forge ahead, continue to grow the company and make a meaningful contribution in growing the country’s economy and creating jobs. We have grown from producing 25 000 units/month to 40 000 units with the first Woolworths order and we project to further increase considerably by the end of this year.”
With the opening of their new K9 pet food production facility in Montague Gardens, the trio of determined Cape Town women have set themselves on the entrepreneurial path to success in one the world’s top growth industries.
Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.
- National flagship Event celebrating Ireland-Africa links set to attract 30,000 visitors in Farmleigh, Dublin on Sunday, 21st May
- Events will also take place in Cork, Kilkenny, Kildare, Limerick and Galway
The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh T.D., has welcomed Africa Day 2017 celebrations which are taking place on Sunday, 21st May at Farmleigh Estate in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, with events also taking place this weekend and next in Cork, Kilkenny, Kildare, Limerick and Galway.
More than 30,000 people are expected at the free family-friendly event at Farmleigh.
Speaking ahead of the Dublin event, which he will officially open, Minister McHugh said:
“I hope as many people as possible will join us for this year’s Africa Day celebration at Farmleigh and in the other five locations around the country.
“Ireland’s connections with Africa have developed in many exciting ways over recent years. Africa Day gives us the opportunity to highlight these connections, as well as the vibrant African diaspora here in Ireland and the contribution that they make to Irish society. It is wonderful to have all the African Embassies at Farmleigh again this year and I am delighted that we will be joined by the Sudanese Embassy for the first time.
“I am delighted that Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, is centrally involved in the organisation of Africa Day. In addition to highlighting the cultural and economic potential of the continent, Africa Day also raises awareness of the progress that is being achieved through working with Irish Aid partners.
“I am particularly pleased to see that, as well as our flagship event in Dublin, Africa Day events will take place in Cork, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny and Limerick over the next two weeks.
“Wherever you are celebrating Africa Day, it promises to be a great day out for everyone.”
The national flagship event in Farmleigh, Dublin will have a jam-packed schedule of live music, as well as children’s entertainment, food, dance, drumming and sports. Three music stages will feature international and home-grown acts, such as Kíla, K.O.G. & THE ZONGO BRIGADE, the Discovery Gospel Choir, BARQ, and Aik J. There will also be an area for dancing, drumming workshops and storytelling.
One of the focal points of the Africa Day Dublin event will be the outdoor African bazaar, called ‘Marrakech’. It will feature stalls from different African countries, offering food, drumming, dance, hair-braiding, henna hand-painting, traditional fashion designs, and lots more. In addition to African community groups, a range of development NGOs will be present in the bazaar, offering fun activities, while the African embassies in Ireland will also be represented at the event.
A special children’s area, called ‘Mount Kiddimanjaro’, will include fun fair rides, drumming workshops, zorbing and face-painting.
In Dublin, the festival will run from 11am to 6pm and all are welcome to attend. Reflecting Irish Aid’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, attendees are encouraged to leave their cars at home and instead take public transport, walk or cycle to Farmleigh. To support this, Irish Aid will be providing bicycle racks at Farmleigh and Dublin Bus will provide a free shuttle-bus service from the Heuston Bridge / Parkgate Street bus stop into the Phoenix Park.
In Cork, a public outdoor event will be held in Fitzgerald’s Park on Saturday, 27th May from 12noon to 6pm. The family focussed event will have plenty of activities for children, drumming workshops, hair braiding, face painting, balloons, bouncy castles and cultural games with prizes.
In Kilkenny, a public lecture on entrepreneurship at Maynooth University, Kilkenny Campus on Friday, 2nd June will be followed by a Mini Trade and Business Fair at MacDonagh Junction on Saturday, 3rd June, where African entrepreneurs and business owners in Ireland will be invited to advertise/showcase their products, services and ideas. Africa Day celebrations will conclude on Sunday, 4th June with performances by African, Irish and ethnic minority cultural groups; a fashion show; a comedy show and a special area to taste African cuisine at The Parade.
The Kildare “Taste of Africa” Festival Day is taking place in Newbridge Town Hall on Saturday 20th May. The event will showcase the diversity of African Culture and will be a magical day of celebrating African food, dance and music.
“Beyond Africa” is the theme for the 2017 Africa Day celebrations in Limerick. On Thursday 25th May, there will be a symposium of talks held in the Strand Hotel in an interactive World Café style. The final event will be a family fun day in the Milk Market on Sunday 28th May. Activities will include music, dance, crafts, children’s entertainment and food. A volunteer recognition event will be held in City Hall afterwards with the Mayor presenting the certificates to all the volunteers involved in this year’s programme.
In Galway, a number of Africa Day festivities will run from 17th – 25th May. It will include an interactive music workshop at the United Methodist Presbyterian Church, Victoria Place, a football event at the Westside Astro facility featuring eight Galway primary schools and the 10th Galway African Film Festival will take place from 19th -21st in the Mick Lally Theatre (Druid). A special Africa Day event will also take place in Doughiska, Galway’s most multicultural suburb.
Africa Day events in Ireland are supported by Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information on Africa Day, visit: www.africaday.ie.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ireland.