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Telkom has announced the sale of a 15% stake in cellular operator Vodacom, worth R22.5-billion, to multinational cellular operator Vodafone. The deal, one of South Africa's largest recent foreign direct investments, will also see Vodacom becoming one of the largest South African companies listed on the JSE. The transaction will see Vodafone's share in Vodacom increased from 50% to 65%, giving the UK-based cellular operator full control of South Africa's largest cellular operator by subscriber numbers. Telkom will distribute its remaining 35% stake in Vodacom to its own shareholders by way of an unbundling process, and investors will for the first time have direct equity in Vodacom. According to government sources, the sale represents one of South Africa's largest recent foreign direct investments and signalled Vodafone's confidence in the future of the country. It also enables Telkom to speed up its deployment of enhanced, fixed and mobile, services to South Africans. Telkom will no longer be restricted from offering mobile voice services in South Africa or making mobile acquisitions in Africa south of the Equator. Vodacom, in turn, would be Vodafone's expansion vehicle in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding North Africa, Ghana and Kenya.

The South African Department of Agriculture has entered into a partnership with Khula Enterprise Finance to extend financial services to South Africa's emerging farmers and agri-businesses. The follows the signing of an agreement by Department of Agriculture director-general Njabulo Nduli and Kuhla Enterprise Finance MD Xola Sithole, which will see the establishment of the Khula-Mafisa Fund. The fund will provide portfolio indemnity to financial institutions that provide production loans to emerging black farmers within the Khula-Mafisa target market. According to Nduli, the arrangement will enable the leveraging of additional financial resources from commercial financial institutions, the maximum loan ceiling is also higher under the agreement, and banks will provide packaged support to their clients. The arrangement improves access to credit by mainly black and emerging farmers, who have insufficient collateral, but are bankable, thus giving them an opportunity to build up a credit record.

Following a strategic cooperation agreement between Fifa and the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), spectators in sub-Saharan Africa will be able to view the 2010 Fifa World Cup free of charge. According to Fifa, the agreement ensures the broadcasting of all 64 World Cup matches live on free-to-air television and radio in 41 African territories in English, French and Portuguese. Fifa has selected the AUB as its partner for the region based on its capacity to reach the largest possible audience, as well as its commitment to broadcasting development and tailored programming and content exchange in sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership extends to the coverage of the men's and youth tournaments to be staged in Africa in 2009 and 2010, as all broadcasters have to meet jointly agreed criteria in the framework of Fifa's "Win in Africa with Africa" initiative to be eligible for the rights. The criteria covers a range of commercial and technical requirements designed to ensure the development of football's technical and commercial infrastructure on the African continent far beyond 2010. The strategic cooperation agreement also provides for the establishment of the AUB-Fifa Broadcast Academy which aims to provide a legacy of capacity development of broadcasting in Africa.

Gateway Communications, the leading supplier of secure, reliable telecommunications services across Africa, has won the prestigious award for "Best pan-African Wholesale Offering". Gateway Communications has been at the forefront of developments in the world's fastest growing telecommunications market. Today they serve 1,200 of Africa's leading multinationals and corporations. Gateway has also invested over $250 million in African communications since 2005 and continues to invest in growth and expansion across the continent. Capacity Magazine's Global Wholesale Telecommunications Awards recognise the achievements of leading players in the wholesale telecoms industry. Gateway Communications wholesale offering was assessed on quality and performance of its network, reach of the network, speed to market, pricing strategy, and the company's overall investment in its network. Gateway Communications owns and operates the largest and most advanced pan-African communications network, with customers in 40 African countries.

The World Bank is gearing up to lend $100bn (£63bn) over the next three years to protect developing nations from the economic contagion spreading from richer western countries. The Bank said it expected almost 40 million people to fall into poverty as a result of the turmoil caused by the global credit crunch. The bank said it expected growth in developing countries to be 4.5% next year, against the 6.4% it had previously pencilled in, adding that each percentage point off growth rates meant 20 million people slipping into poverty. This, it added, would be in addition to the 100 million pushed below the poverty line by the sharp increase in food and energy prices over the past two years. The bank believes 2009 will be one of the weakest for global activity since the Second World War, with a 0.1% contraction in high-income countries leaving global growth at only 1%. Sharply tighter credit conditions and weaker growth are expected to cut into government revenue in poor countries and affect their ability to invest to meet the goals set by the United Nations for education, health and gender equality, as well as the long-term infrastructure expenditure needed to sustain growth. As a result, the bank is planning to increase lending to developing countries from $13.5bn this year to $35bn annually in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Aside from expanded lending, the World Bank Group is also working to speed up grants and long-term, interest-free loans to the world's 78 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Help will be targeted at countries that have had to shelve plans to enter global capital markets, and those affected by the recent plunge in commodity markets, the weakening of exports or the drying up of remittances from abroad.

The World Bank has offered Nigeria $3 billion facility to enable the President Umaru Yar'Adua improve education, health, roads, and agriculture with a view to reducing the nation's poverty rate and living standards of the people. The loan would be provided under the International Development Assistance (IDA) and would be in three tranches of $ 1 billion, annually, between 2009 and 2011. According to the Bank, the offer was the organisation's way of responding to Nigeria’s critical infrastructure needs and that being an IDA arrangement, the facility would attract no interests. The loan would not add any burden to Nigeria and has been offered to Nigeria because of the massive improvement in the economy. Though concessionary, IDA facilities attract service charge of 0.5 per cent and non-utilisation fee of 0.75 per cent. Such loans come with a re-payment package lasting between 35 to 40 years and a 10-year moratorium. The World Bank's offer is coming at a time the Federal Government is sourcing private sector operators with whom to collaborate under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the provision of power, rails, roads, water and other infrastructure facilities. The economic team of the Federal Government had said as much as $ 100 billion would be required to provide some of the infrastructure needs of the nation. If the Federal Government takes the loan, it would push the country's foreign debt portfolio to about $ 6.5 billion. The current figure is about $3.5 billion.

According to the Head of ACCA South Africa, Dr Quinton Simpson, in South Africa there is currently a shortage of over 22,000 accountants which could impact on the sound functioning of the economy, the country’s ability to attract FDI, including investment associated with the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and most importantly, on the service delivery in the public sector, in the short to medium-term. Manpower South Africa’s second annual Talent Shortage Survey released in May 2008, ranked accounting and finance staff as the third most sought after skill in South Africa. Skills shortages are already perceived to be impacting very negatively on business in South Africa. Some 58% of respondents in Grant Thornton’s International Business Report released earlier this year cited a lack of skills as the greatest constraint to doing business in South Africa. In a similar vein, the Global Competitiveness Index, indicated that South African business executives had identified South Africa’s inadequately educated workforce as the single most problematic factor for doing business.

Trade in West Africa is worth $20 billion a year, which is 50 times official current figures according to estimates from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). This is an indication of trade opportunities available to increase intra-regional trade to contribute to the overall growth of the region. According to the Chief of Party of Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (ATP), Ishmael Ouedraogo, the trade potentials in West Africa have not been fully tapped because of a number of constraints. These include tariff and non-tariff barriers which increase transaction cost and time; transportation difficulties such as bad roads and harassment; weak private sector advocacy; and weak linkages among value-chain actors. ATP is being funded by USAID with $16.9 billion to run the Agribusiness Trade Promotion Project, which aims at increasing the value and volume of intra-regional agricultural trade in the sub-region in order to achieve the 6% agriculture growth target set under the AU/NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). It is hoped that the four-year project will eventually reduce all the barriers that hinder smooth trade in the region. Cereals such as maize whether for human consumption as foodstuff, beverage and oil or for animal feed are of great importance in intra-regional trade. Commercial trade in sorghum and millet also has strong potential for development. Improved storage, processing, packaging and distribution are essential to the cereals value chain. Currently, only seven West African countries - Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana - are benefiting from the ATP programme, which will later be spread across the region.

The management of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Collaborative Research Support Programme (AquaFish CRSP) at Oregon State University has released a request for 26-month proposals for the period 1 August 2009 to 30 September 2011 for one or two awards of under $400,000 eligible at U.S. universities or colleges to serve as lead partners. The awards will focus on aquaculture and the nexus between aquaculture and fisheries. Fisheries-only topics will not be addressed. Projects are envisioned to comprise many partners in a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional approach to solve a development problem. Lead partners are expected to assume strong administrative and technical leadership for projects, be involved in advisory groups serving the overall programme, and form collaborative partnerships through sub-awards to host country institutions, NGOs, private sector firms, and other U.S. universities or colleges. Matching support (non-federal cost share) is required. Proposals will be peer-reviewed through an open and competitive process. Applicants will select a country in Africa for operations and may involve other countries to broaden the potential impact of their results. The AquaFish CRSP is a five-year programme awarded to Oregon State University on 29 September 2006 by USAID. The USAID goal for the AquaFish CRSP is to "develop more comprehensive, sustainable, ecological and socially compatible, and economically viable aquaculture systems and innovative fisheries management systems in developing countries that contribute to poverty alleviation and food security."

Mauritius and Namibia are the most child-friendly governments in Africa, a report said while Eritrea and Guinea-Bissau ranked as the worst. Among the least child-friendly governments were Central African Republic, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Liberia, Chad, Swaziland, Comoros and Guinea. "The African Report on Child Wellbeing: How child-friendly are African governments" looked at indicators such as health care, access to education and laws protecting children, according to Reuters. The report by the African Child Policy Forum, an independent policy and advocacy organisation based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The top 10 were Mauritius, Namibia, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Algeria and Cape Verde. Countries where child soldiers have traditionally been used in war, such as Sierra Leone and Sudan, were rated "less child friendly." The report will be published twice a year to gauge what African governments are doing to better children's lives. It rated 52 countries on the continent apart from Somalia, which has not had central rule in 17 years, and Western Sahara, which is locked in a territorial dispute.

Angola is currently experiencing a post-war construction boom, funded largely by the proceeds of its oil exports, according to the newly released Angola Infrastructure Q4 2008 report. Most of the foreign investment is from firms in China, Portugal, Brazil, and South Africa. However, recently there has been something of a scramble as European countries look to capitalise on the perceived opportunities. There is huge demand for housing and transport infrastructure, as well as considerable potential for the development of a hydro-electricity industry. Foreign investment continues to flood in from emerging market giants; in October 2007 seven cooperation agreements were signed with Brazil, and a US$1bn extension was provided to the existing credit line facilitating investment from Brazilian companies. The Brazilian construction company Odebrecht is an active player in Angola's infrastructure boom, having won contracts for many projects. Furthermore, finance from China shows no sign of abating, with financial support pledged by China for reconstruction in Angola now standing at almost US$7bn. China's aid includes two credit lines each of US$2bn from the country's Exim Bank, and US$2.9bn from China International Fund. Finance from the West is also burgeoning: Angola recently received large credit lines from European banks eager to foster trade between Angola and Europe, with France's Societe Generale and Germany's Deutsche Bank loaning EUR300mn and EUR225mn, respectively. http://tinyurl.com/5vcg83

The Contact Centre Industry in South Africa has matured to such an extent that it offers South Africans exciting and dynamic career choices. Growth in the contact centre industry has been so phenomenal that Kelly conducted its annual Contact Centre Survey to reveal the trends and salary opportunities across predominantly three specialised industries: Banking, Information Technology and telecommunications. The inaugural Contact Centre Survey results for 2008/9, released November 2008, reveal that overall, Gauteng salaries within the industry are higher than in Cape Town and KwaZulu Natal. The Contact Centre Salary Survey 2008/9 reflects the ongoing challenge to secure skills in a talent short market and the willingness to pay a higher rate to fill certain positions.

The Bio-Energia Sugar, Ethanol, and Electrical Energy Project has secured US$168 million in funding from a group of Angolan banks. The banking group includes Banco Africano de Investimentos (BAI), the Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA) and the Banco Espírito Santo de Angola (BESA). Under the first phase of funding, BAI will invest USD 57 million, while BFA and BESA will invest US$ 55.734 million each. Led by BAI, the funding will also include the participation of Sonangol, Dimer and Odebrecht.

FIFA completed its lineup of 2010 World Cup broadcasters Tuesday by signing a television rights deal for Nigeria. The agreement with the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) guarantees live coverage on free-to-air television and radio of all 64 matches in the tournament in South Africa. FIFA, football's world governing body and the competition organizer, said in a statement that its media deals were finished ahead of schedule. FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said FIFA expects to earn US$3.2 billion from selling television and marketing rights for the 2010 World Cup.
Source: IMC

The Nigerian Government is to establish a US $85-million-dollar rice fund to boost production of this staple food by more than a million tons. This was announced by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Ademola Seriki, on behalf of Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan at the opening of the Rice Investment Forum in Abuja late 2008. The forum was organised by the NEPAD Business Group Nigeria and the Nigeria Economic Summit Group. The Minister said that rice farmers would be empowered and organised to access credit facilities, while the Government would provide the needed infrastructure. He called on the private sector to collaborate in the areas of accessing credit facilities and the building of rice processing factories. The Special Adviser to the President and Head of NEPAD Nigeria, Amb. Tunji Olagunju, said the greatest challenges were the rural infrastructure, technology, markets and funds to boost production.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has partnered with Deutsche Bank to launch International Derivatives (IDX), a new asset class that allows South African investors to trade single stock futures on internationally listed companies for the first time. Deutsche Bank will provide liquidity on futures over 21 top European companies, selected from both the FTSE 100 and DJ Eurostoxx 50 benchmark indices. The companies include major multinational corporations such as BP, GlaxoSmithKline, LVMH, Nokia and Vodafone. According to the JSE, this represents a new landmark in trading as, for the first time, local investors will be able to gain exposure to international companies without dealing with an offshore bank or broker. Participating in international markets has been an onerous process with complex administrative and approval requirements. By contrast, the International Derivatives contracts can be traded through a JSE registered broker in the same way as any local derivatives product. Individuals and corporate investors will not have any exchange control restrictions when trading International Derivatives on the JSE, though the fund management industry would have to comply with their foreign portfolio allowances. The contracts are priced and settled in South African rands, meaning that investors will benefit if the rand depreciates.

The NEPAD e-Africa Commission has initiated a study on the feasibility of its Umojanet terrestrial network – a key step forward in the development of a broadband infrastructure network for Africa. The study will determine what the cost of the network in the various regions will be. This input will then determine what the SPV (special purpose vehicle) will need to make the network a reality, said Dr Edmund Katiti, policy and regulatory adviser for the e-Africa Commission. The commission says the six-month study will focus on the fibre-optic couplings that Umojanet will need to link to the 40 000km Uhurunet submarine cable. The first feasibility study will cover 23 countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa regions. The e-Africa Commission was awarded $410 000 by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in September 2007. The study will be presented to prospective investors in the NEPAD SPV that will develop, own and operate the terrestrial broadband network. The SPV will lease or sell Umojanet services to licensed telecom operators in various countries. The e-Africa Commission is also seeking a range of investors for its Umojanet and Uhurunet projects, ranging from telecoms companies to financial investors who are willing to invest over 15 to 20 years.

The African Centre for Food Security (ACFS) at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal – the lead institution for activities and policy development of Pillar 3 of NEPAD's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – is expected to take part in a Higher Education for Development programme, sponsored by USAID. Applications have been requested for 20 awards of up to $50,000 for a five-month period. These awards – known as Africa-US Higher Education Initiative Planning Grants - are intended to support planning for long-term partnerships to strengthen the capacity of African higher education institutions in the areas of Agriculture, environment and natural resources; Health; Science and technology; Engineering; Education and teacher training/preparation; and Business management and economics. The aim is also to increase the engagement of U.S. higher education institutions in Africa. Higher Education for Development (www.hedprogram.org) mobilises the expertise and resources of the higher education community to address global development challenges. The USAID-eligible African countries are: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. The closing date is 2 February 2009.

The export volume of Ghana is expected to fall in 2009 following the ongoing economic recession that has hit the world's major economies, Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) has predicted. PEF has said that since most of the industries in US and Europe are collapsing, the demand for our export commodities is expected to be lower in 2009. In the same year, the cedi is expected to depreciate highly due to the imbalances between export and import. PEF further predicted that the volumes of financial flows for investment would reduce drastically in the coming year. At the end of 2008, the cedi depreciated by 15.8% against the US dollar, 14% against the Euro and 6.2% against the British Pound. Comparable figures as at September 2007 are 5%, 17.5% and 6.9% respectively.

Banks are to drastically reduce risky private lending with the long-awaited launch of the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB). CompuScan CRB Ltd was contracted by the Bank (BOU) of Uganda to implement the CRB and the Financial Card System (FCS). The central bank is optimistic that the benefits would include improved credit assessment and the shortening of the loan approval time. Getting loans will be quicker due to timely access of your loan records and loan providers will not need as many documents for a loan, noted CRB. While non-performing loans have reduced to about 3% of the total assets in the financial system, interest rates are still high due to the risk of borrowers defaulting on loans. Data from the central bank shows that lending rates on loans are hovering between 21% and 28% per annum.

NEPAD has initiated the formation of a coordinating unit to assist in the integration of NEPAD structures into the African Union (AU). According to NEPAD, the coordinating unit would, among other duties, compile a report on the NEPAD Secretariat’s activities and would then report to the Heads of State of the AU countries in January 2009. The process of integrating NEPAD into the AU structures would ensure that there was a permanent vehicle established that would drive the planning and coordination of NEPAD programmes across the continent. Structures integrated into the AU would include decision-making structures at the highest level, and programme integration. This would ensure that roles within the two organisations were clarified and that communication between the two units was more effective. NEPAD as a programme will continue to exist. What the organization is looking at is making a more permanent structure by creating a NEPAD planning and coordinating authority. The decision to integrate NEPAD into the AU came as the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee, along with the AU, in 2003 agreed on the 13th point conclusion of Algiers as a basis of the integration of NEPAD.

As part of the ongoing effort by NEPAD to sensitise the African media – TV, radio, online and print – on the activities of NEPAD, on African agriculture and science and technology, a Better Science Reporting workshop will be held for West African English-speaking journalists at the Global Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability Conference in Ibadan, Nigeria on 15-20 March 2009. The training workshop will be run by WRENmedia of the UK, through the ongoing partnership of NEPAD with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and its Research into Use (RIU) programme. The subjects to be covered in briefings and practical work will include soil science, crop production and protection, and the environmental sciences.

Prof. Richard Mkandawire, Head of NEPAD Agriculture/CAADP and Komla Bissi, CAADP agribusiness adviser have paid a two-day working visit to the Government of Liberia to review and advocate for the fast-tracking of CAADP implementation. The visit grew out of the current effort by Liberia to boost its development agenda through additional investment in agriculture and the response of the Government to integrate CAADP into the broader national agriculture development. CAADP – endorsed by the African Union (AU) and NEPAD in 2003 – is an Africa-led and Africa-owned initiative and framework to rationalise and revitalise African agriculture for economic growth and lasting poverty reduction. The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. J. Chris Toe, expressed Liberia's readiness to embrace CAADP as a vehicle for the reduction of poverty, hunger and the attainment of full food security status in Liberia. Liberia has captured the imagination of the global community for both its rebirth and its high quality of leadership that is determined to resolve the legacy of the past. The country has also undergone a number of significant changes in the agriculture sector in the past two years as a result of a more than US$ 300 million concession loan agreement for revitalising its rubber, palm oil and rice industries. Plans are currently underway to increase cassava production by 109% from 444,000 metric tons to 930,000 metric tons and increase milled rice production by 100% from 85,000 to 170,000 metric tons. Source: Nepad

A key project on conservation agriculture in Southern Africa – part of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) agenda – was launched by NEPAD at a meeting in South Africa on 1 December 2008 as the latest in a long list of national and regional responses to rising food prices. Spread across four countries - Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique - this unique project is targeted at 23,700 households. The aim is to provide practical training in the application of conservation agriculture, farm inputs (seed and fertilizer) and farm tools to boost local food security and sustainable land management. CAADP - endorsed by the African Union and NEPAD in 2003 - is an Africa-led and Africa-owned initiative and framework to rationalise and revitalise African agriculture for economic growth and lasting poverty reduction results. The conservation agriculture project is led by the African Union and NEPAD with the support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Norwegian Government and local farming networks.

The Portuguese plastic packaging company, Logoplaste, plans to open a factory in Angola, with an investment of US$ 6.3 million. Logoplaste currently exports pre-molds and plastic molds to Angola and wants to focus on production in Angola as producing packaging near the customer is beneficial in terms of logistics, costs and environmental implications.

Support for Africa has officially opened a Cameroon Clinic named after Footballer Lauren in the Bayangam village, the organisation's fourth clinic to date and its first in Cameroon. The Clinic is being run by CBCHS (the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services) who already have a team of nurses at the clinic. CBCHS have several headquarters in Cameroon from which they provide mobile treatment to remote villages. Their services would be more effective if they had basic health clinic built, with basic accommodation in these villages from which they could provide more efficient and steady health service to the surrounding villages. According to the Nigerian singer and entertainer, it is hoped that naming the clinic after Lauren will encourage other footballers to help other charities build health clinics in remote areas of their home towns.

The number of black employee placements in corporate South Africa has more than doubled over the past two years, according to research by leading South African headhunting company Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters, and figures show the greatest area of transformation at senior management levels are amongst black females. Company statistics indicate that Black African placements (male and female combined) increased from 16% in 2006 to 28% in 2008, while Black female placements increased 10% to 33% during the same period. According the headhunters, most of the company's placements are the result of mandated search assignments where there is often a specific preference - and in some cases a requirement - to appoint an 'employment equity' (EE) candidate. But despite this, the total employment equity placement figures, when one takes into account all Black, Indian and Coloured placements, has only increased from 32% of placements in 2006 to 38% in 2008. On one hand, says the company, this indicates a focus on Black African appointments, but also reveals a continuing shortage of suitably skilled EE candidates at senior management levels. The placement of white candidates at a senior management level remains at a much higher percentage than EE placements, despite some reduction in the number of white placements from 68% in 2006 to 62% in 2008. Nevertheless over 60% of all senior management placements were for white men and women. The company says that experienced EE candidates are not necessarily receiving financial packages significantly more generous than those offered to their white counterparts, despite myths about high salaries. In their experience, employers are unwilling to offer packages to any candidate that deviate drastically from predetermined salary bands.

The South African Department of Home Affairs is to issue an 'event visa' to allow soccer fans coming to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to use dedicated counters at airports and give them pre-clearance before they arrive. The dedicated counters will allow the department to process the thousands of tourists who are expected to arrive in the country ahead of, during and after the event, much faster. According to the South African Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, this would be the first time that such a visa – which will be used for both the FIFA Confederations Cup [in 2009] and 2010 FIFA World Cup - will be used by a country hosting a major world event. Available free of charge, foreigners will be able to go through a pre-screening and pre-clearance process at selected ports of entry. This will take place both regionally and abroad, meaning tourists can receive the pre-clearance in their own country before they even arrive in South Africa. South African immigration officials will be stationed at several of the busiest airports around the world, including Heathrow, Dubai, India and Hong Kong. Those passengers who have received pre-clearance by South African immigration officials will be able to arrive in South Africa and go straight through to baggage collection and then customs, thereby facilitating the entry and exit process through the country’s borders.

Angola recently launched its first private television channel, TV Zimbo, which will go on-air for several hours a day, during a three-month test phase. The channel will become fully operational before the presidential elections in 2009 and the African Cup of Nations Soccer Championship in 2010. Owned by local group Medianova, TV Zimbo will compete for viewers and a share of the growing advertising market against TV channels TPA1 and TPA2.

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