14 thought leaders Friday, February 16 2018| NEW ERA Cabinet reshuffle round one? It is not clear whether the just effected Cabinet reshuffle signals his avowed and declared year of reckoning for 2018 or not. Because reactions to the reservations and yet others one thing that all and sundry furniture. duty bound to be consequent the year of reckoning. If reckoning has to be deduced of reckoning’s night of the and swords are still in store. seen. But thus far one cannot seen any reckoning whether of it or broadly. On the President Hage Geingob caused the institution of be consonant with the rot right away and forestall future ones. In fact that is With hindsight it can be guilty of. whether any action would follow against these other cannot be accused of undoing have built. For the others who involved but the fact that the rot has been rearing its held accountable. Whether watch they have not been be the beginning and end the assurance by the head of state that investigations are able to take any bold action lights indeed have been have been aware of such. aware of such. it is worth referring to it that begs is whether indeed a way one cannot but the red lights have been have waited any longer to notwithstanding. Or can it and should it be taken for granted that where there is rot there cannot definitely there are and to have been left intact and have the undesired and unintended effect. Africa needs to invest more in its water professionals Nelson Odume and Andrew Slaughter The African continent is – or too little – water. sanitation services to a hydrologist achieved through research and education in Africa that’s led by African institutions. And continent’s universities need necessary resources. research and education needs. This should integrate the strengths and resources of all the countries goals: fostering water research Shortcomings and struggles institutions that hinder research and heavy workloads and a lack of over 160 countries”. It would Another serious challenge is that budgetary allocation to research But even this is still less than 1% organisations for funding – and those funders set the research objectives and agenda. International organisations often don’t fully or regions. outside the continent usually conduct their research and then The funding available for national research councils is also never guaranteed. This is because Collaboration is going to be decades if Africa’s institutions are Working together T h e A f r i c a n R e s e a r c h Universities Alliance (ARUA) was Rhodes University in South Africa was recently awarded the Water Conservation Centre of university’s Institute for Water Research. The centre’s role will be related to research and training. ordination with other countries strengths can be shared to further education needs. research funding. this – one on the African continent already WaterNet brings together institutions in southern and eastern in the sector. short courses. Its retention rate is Regional Initiatives in Science the significance of sustainable Not all of these initiatives individual African research institutions will also need to by facilitating their researchers’ when researchers are taught to African countries can continue and ensure solutions for Africa by Africa. * Nelson Odume is a researcher at Rhodes University and Andrew Slaughter is a visiting professor at the University of Saskatchewan.
INSIDE BUSINESS This news is your business GIPF opens Outapi Page 16 FNB Namibia Group reports headline earnings of N0m Staff Reporter Windhoek With mid-year headline earnings of N0 million in the current economic landscape, FNB Namibia Holdings continues to play a major delivering above industry Business and Consumer support in lending, and an encouraging growth in its deposit-taking franchises, despite ongoing funding pressure in the market and rising impairments. Local economic growth in the second half of 2017 followed a economic sectors contracting, rising unemployment, year-on-year reduction in the growth of private sector credit extended (PSCE), rising debt levels and negative Across the FNB portfolio, the six months to December 2017 were characterised by a reduction in top-line growth, combined with a strong investment cycle. The group’s operating franchises (FNB Namibia, RMB, WesBank, Outsurance and Ashburton), however, continued to produce resilient operating performances despite the macroeconomic slowdown. Advances grew at 5.8 percent (compared to industry PSCE growth reported for December of 5.1 percent) and the deposit raising franchises achieved a growth of 12 percent. 11.9 percent to N0 million Sarel van Zyl before tax was mainly impacted by the increase in impairments, an increase in the cost of funding and the integration of Pointbreak and EBank, which were acquired in the last quarter of the previ- before tax decreased by 9 percent to N5.7 million. Earnings per share decreased to 198 cents (2016: 226.3 cents), while return on average equity reduced from 25.6 percent (June 2017) to 23.3 percent for December 2017. Return on average assets was slightly down to 2.8 percent (June 2017: 3.0 percent) with an accompanying cost to income ratio increase of 52.1 percent (June 2017: 48.9 percent). Overall fee and commission income benefited from strong volume growth of 8 percent with ongoing momentum across electronic channels, again demonstrating the success of the innovative Clicks migration strategy. The group’s long-term digital strategy has had some short-term negative impact from a reduction in cash-related NIR, as well as from the cost of the newly introduced e-migration FNB Customer Cashback Rewards programme. However, the strategy to optimise customer experience is both mutually beneficial, and core, to the group’s sustainability and customer commitment. A resulting decline in branch volumes has also set it up to reduce legacy infrastructure costs going forward. year, with active accounts up 6.3 percent, and transactional volumes growth of 8 percent, new-to-bank and existing customers across all franchises have responded positively to the Group’s end-to-end “We are passionate about delivering sustainably to all our stakeholders, from shareholders to customers, to our countrywide communities and employees. To rely on at any time, requires reliable real-time customer support coupled with forward-thinking investment; a balance we remain committed to getting right every day, especially in these tight economic times” Sarel van Zyl, CEO, FNB Namibia Holdings Namibia to to SAATM - Goeieman Edgar Brandt Windhoek Namibia will eventually sign up for the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which was launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the end of January 2018. However, the Ministry of Works and Transport, as the custodian of the local aviation industry, needs to consult all affected government agencies and private sector concerns before this can happen, explained Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Willem Goeieman. Speaking to New Era on the sidelines of newly appointed minister, the ministry’s staff, Goeieman said becoming a member of the SAATM Namibia’s tourism industry and its economy at large. More spe- initiative to connect African countries and streamline continental transportation and trade, holds the Namibia’s intra-Africa trade that has been stagnant at between 10 and 12 percent for a number of years. “The world is increasingly becoming a global economy and Namibia cannot remain on an island. Despite initial short-term challenges, joining SAATM would also mean additional opportunities for Air Namibia, both in terms of passenger and cargo volumes,” said Goeieman. African Union Summit in Addis Ababa three years ago and now includes 23 nations. Others are expected to come aboard once their infrastructure and regulatory capacities align with the SAATM agreement. SAATM is meant to work much like the European system to ensure that airlines from to airports in any other SAATM country, and as such is a key Agenda 2063 goal for boosting African economies and opportunity. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also urged the 23 states that have signed-up for the Yamoussoukro Decision (which opens intra-Africa aviation markets) to follow through on their commitment. And it further urged governments to push the African Union’s Single Africa Air Transport Market initiative. “African economic growth is being constrained by a lack of intra- Africa air connectivity. Opportunities are being lost simply because not available. While we cannot undo the past, we should not miss out on a bright future,” said IATA CEO, Alexandre de Juniac. Commenting ahead of the recent SAATM launch, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission said: “The launch of the Single African Air Transport Market will spur more opportunities to promote trade, cross-border investments in the production and service industries, including tourism.” He said this would result in the creation of an additional 300 000 direct and two million indirect jobs, which will immensely contribute to the integration and socio-economic growth of the continent. The Commissioner stated that the aviation industry currently supports eight million jobs in Africa and hence SAATM was created with the aim of enhancing connectivity, facilitating trade and tourism, creating employment, and ensuring that the industry plays a more prominent role in the global uting to the AU’s Agenda 2063. So far, 23 African countries out of 55 have subscribed to the SAA- TM whereas 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision. The African Union Commission (AUC), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) are also advising African countries to open their skies for enhancement of connectivity and continent. The Declaration on the estab- project of the AU Agenda 2063, was adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2015. Immediately thereafter, 11 AU Member States declared their Solemn Commitment to establish a Single African Air Transport Market through full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999 that provides for full liberalisation of market access between African States, free exer- restrictions on ownership and full liberalisation of frequencies, fares and capacities. To date, 23 member states have Willem Goeieman adhered to the Solemn Commitment reached, namely: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.