EU Diplomat Gets National Honor

first_imgThe Liberian Government has bestowed upon outgoing European Union Ambassador, Attilio Pacifici, one of the nation’s highest distinctions for his numerous contributions and services to Liberia.Amb. Pacifici, who has served in the country since 2009 and has, in collaboration with government entities, overseen several development initiatives, was conferred upon by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the distinction of Grand Commander in the Order of the Star of Africa.The ceremony took place at a farewell reception held in his honor in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.As EU Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Pacifici’s first engagement was to spearhead the restoration of Liberia’s ownership of EU development interventions through the re-opening of the National Authorizing Office (NAO). The NAO powers had been revoked during the crisis in the country. He met an NAO that fell short of the standard of a full Embassy in terms of staffing and capacity. His first milestone was the signing of a Financing Agreement that would inject EUR 20 million into Liberia’s National Budget as a grant for macroeconomic stability.President Sirleaf, in her remarks before conferring the distinction, described the Italian-born EU diplomat as a great man who had accomplished a lot for Liberia and its people.She said during Amb. Pacifici’s tenure, the EU was transformed into a full-fledged diplomatic mission and from a humanitarian institution to a development oriented body. It was also during his tenure that the Liberia-EU dialogue and many other initiatives were realized.She regretted that the astute Ambassador was leaving at a time when the country was still facing the onslaught of the Ebola virus disease thereby resulting in an atmosphere of a low key celebration. Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh, too, described the outgoing EU diplomat as not just a partner, but a dependable friend and a true advocate for Liberia.Min. Konneh noted that through the Ambassador’s advocacy and commitment to Liberia, the country has witnessed a gradual increase in direct budget support amounting to EUR 40 million and EUR 35 million in budget support for the health sector from the European Union.“This EUR 75 million constitutes support provided through our budget, and is only part of the total EUR 161 million we have received through the 10th EDF as support to the health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, fisheries and forestry sectors; and to capacity building for the General Auditing Commission and the Bureau of Customs and Excise,” Min. Konneh said.He indicated that upon Amb. Pacifici’s arrival in 2009, the country’s engagements with the EC were limited because there was not a full EU Delegation in Liberia; and more importantly, the EU Delegation in La Côte D’Ivoire was performing the duties of the NAO for Liberia, in managing the European Development Fund (EDF) allocation for the country because our NAO powers were revoked.“We met, and decided that our first goal as counterparts was to restore country ownership of EU development interventions, so that Liberia could optimally benefit from EU’s support to our national recovery and development agenda,” the Minister said.He recalled that in 2013, Liberia and the EU signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) allowing Liberia to export its forestry materials to EU at no cost. “This agreement has a six-year life span 2014-2020, during which we expect substantial revenue and job creation as we gain access to international markets for our natural resources.”He noted that with Amb. Pacifici’s leadership, Liberians are assured of the strong continuity of this level of support from the EU, as substantive investments were made in terms of financial and technical support to build the capacity of the NAO which manages the EDF and ensures transparency, mutual accountability and optimal allocation toward viable, impactful projects and programs.“Having supported us in building a credible and competent NAO, we can now look forward to the next envelope of EU support in the amount of EUR 279 million, which constitutes the 11th EDF, set for implementation from early next year up to 2020. This represents a 73 percent increase in the EDF allocation for Liberia.”Another immense contribution of the outgoing diplomat was what Minister Konneh termed, as the swiftness and impact of the EU’s support to Liberia at a time “when we needed all of our friends the most – when the Ebola Virus invaded our country.”“The Ambassador responded quickly,” he said, “by advocating strongly with the EU Headquarters for increased budget support for Liberia. As a result, we have received more than US $35 million as grant directly into our budget, since the beginning of the crisis.The EU Ambassador thanked the government for the honor and said that it has always been part of his nature to serve humanity, noting that when one wants to be a good diplomat, he/she should try to understand the culture and makeup of the people whom one works with.The Outgoing EU boss noted that most of his interactions with the government have culminated in actions that are critical for the future of the nation.He noted that he has always stood out as a diplomat because he likes what he does, interacting and knowing the needs of people. “There is nothing worse in life than doing something you don’t like.”He praised the Liberian people for the level of impression they had on him during his tour of duty in the country.Meanwhile, the traditional people of Liberia, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, gowned the outgoing EU Ambassador and gave him the title of Paramount Chief of the newly created Tehr district in Bomi County. The district was recently created by the Johnson Sirleaf administration. The word “Tehr” is a Gola name meaning “Center.”The ceremony was attended by an array of high profile government officials, especially from the Executive branch including the conferrer, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Internal Affairs, Agriculture and many others.The Doyen and several members of the Diplomatic Corps were also in attendance. The Chairman of the Governance Commission, Amos C. Sawyer, and several other eminent Liberians were also present.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Stabbed cop discharged from hospital

first_img…Police on the hunt for teen suspectA Policeman who on Monday evening was stabbed eight times while on duty, has been discharged from the New Amsterdam Hospital as Police hunt his 17-year-old attacker.Commander of B Division (Berbice), Lyndon Alves, told Guyana Times on Wednesday that Constable Randy Claxton was discharged from hospital. According to the Commander, Police are currently hunting his attacker, who is a ‘known individual’.The Police Officer was rushed to the New Amsterdam Hospital on Monday, after he was stabbed eight times with a knife by a high school student.The 32-year-old Constable of Central Police Station, who is attached to the Anti-Crime Motorcycle Patrol Unit, was at the time of the incident performing his duties.Injured Police Constable, Randy ClaxtonReports are he and another Constable from the Unit were on patrol in the vicinity of Main and Pitt Streets, New Amsterdam, when they observed close to 10 men in a group smoking what appeared to be marijuana.The officers reportedly came off their motorcycles and approached the gang. However, one of them ran but was eventually apprehended.Meanwhile, the teenager, who was part of the gang, reportedly approached the Police Officer with a knife in his hand and despite being told to put the weapon down, he attacked Claxton, stabbing him once to the back of his neck, four times to his back, two to the left side hip and once to his left forearm.The teenager then made good his escape. The officer was picked up and rushed to hospital where he was treated and admitted.The Police have since made several attempts to apprehend the teenager but up to press time, he was still on the run.last_img read more

Driver’s licence of dead bandit found in alleged hijacked car

first_imgThe driver’s licence of Ian Forde, who was shot and killed during a shootout with Police at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown on Tuesday, was found in a car that was allegedly stolen several days ago.The car, PNN 8866, was found parked in a street aback Industrial Site, Ruimveldt at about 06:00h on Friday morning. However, based on reports received, the car had been seen parked at the location since Tuesday morning.The security guards of a nearby business thought that something was amiss since no one had collected the car over the past three days, and as such, contacted the Police on Friday morning.Dead Bandit: Ian FordeUpon arriving, the Police noticed the dead man’s driver’s licence hanging on the rearview mirror. Ranks from the Major Crimes Unit were contacted, and based on reports received, the car was unlocked and a search was conducted.Guyana Times understands that several live rounds of ammunition of various calibre were found in the silver-grey Toyota Premio motorcar, along with several other items. Those were taken by the Police as evidence. The car was impounded as investigations continue.When Guyana Times arrived at the scene, the detectives were conducting their investigations. One of the investigators was observed taking away several bags of evidence containing mobile phones, a wrist watch and documents, among other things.Ian Forde was among five bandits killed by Police as they were attempting to rob a house at Pattensen, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown. The others are Timothy St Hill, 38, of Warlock, East Ruimveldt Georgetown, and also of Diamond New Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara; Andrew Daly, 40, of Westminster, West Bank Demerara; Levi Braithwaite, 31, of North Ruimveldt and also of Albouystown, Georgetown, and Jermaine Doobay.It was reported that at about 03:00h on Tuesday last, the five men were breaking into a house owned by a Guyanese who resides in Florida. The men had already cut the locks to the gate of the property and had entered the compound, but as they attempted to gain access into the house, the caretaker and his family were alerted, and quickly retreated to a secure room in the house, from where they called 911.An anti-crime patrol unit in ‘C’ Division was aware that a CID Headquarters plainclothes patrol was in the vicinity of Sophia, and when they contacted them, the two units joined forces and proceeded to the location.At an emergency press conference, Police Commissioner David Ramnarine has stated: “They proceeded rather cautiously, by ensuring that the vehicles were secluded in a particular area… As they arrived at the location, two men were seen in the yard with rifles. Police challenged them, the men opened fire on the Police, and (the Police) returned fire… Both men fell.“A third man who was in the house ran out and was caught in the exchange of gunfire, and he collapsed on the ground. Seconds after, a white motorcar drove up, and two occupants exited and opened fire on the Police. The Police took cover and returned fire. Both males fell.”He further related that an AK-47 assault rifle and two magazines taped together were found close to the motorcar. In addition, a quantity of live rounds and two rifles were found in close proximity to the two men who were shot in the yard.Also at the scene, three mobile phones, a pair of gloves, a nipper, two crowbars, a hacksaw, four warheads, a pair of slippers, an identification card, tope, bank cards, a membership card to Princess Casino and other items were found. The Police also retrieved 24 spent shells of two different calibre weapons at the scene.The acting Top Cop also related that the front wall of the besieged building was riddled with bullets, and several bullet holes were seen.The shot men were transported to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where they were pronounced dead on arrival.last_img read more

Hurley weds Indian businessman at castle

first_imgElizabeth Hurley married Indian businessman Arun Nayar Friday in a private civil ceremony at a 15th-century castle in Winchcombe, England, and photographers and spectators descended Saturday on the quiet town in western England to catch a glimpse of their lavish wedding party. Guests included Elton John, Kate Moss, Elle Macpherson and Hurley’s ex, Hugh Grant. Hurley, 41, and Nayar, 42, reportedly have signed a lucrative deal with Hello! magazine for exclusive rights to images of the event. Hurley made appearances in the “Austin Powers” movies and “Bedazzled” and for several years was the international face of Estee Lauder cosmetics. – Associated Press – Associated Press 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Film about ex-CIA agent in works Warner Bros. studios is developing a feature film based on the lives of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. The movie is co-produced by Zucker Productions and Weed Road, according to entertainment industry publication Variety. Jez and John Butterworth, who recently completed the script for “Superbad,” a James Brown biopic, are doing the screenplay. Former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is on trial on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI and a grand jury about how he learned Plame was a CIA agent and whom he passed that information on to. “The biggest element of the movie to us is the story of two people who spent their lives in service of their government, and were then betrayed by that government,” producer Jerry Zucker said. He and his wife, Janet, got to know Plame and her husband when all four became involved in projects supporting stem-cell research. last_img read more

Ancelotti to take Napoli job as Sarri puts Zenit, Chelsea on alert

first_imgDe Laurentiis later confirmed Sarri’s departure in a brief post on Twitter.“I’d like to thank Maurizio Sarri for his valuable contribution to the Napoli cause,” De Laurentiis said.“He brought joy and prestige to Naples and Napoli fans all over the world with an entertaining brand of football that drew praise from all quarters. Well done, Maurizio — Aurelio De Laurentiis.”Sarri has been linked with both Zenit St Petersburg and Chelsea with the Russian club reported to be prepared to pay his eight-million-euro ($9.4 million) release clause.The 58-year-old Ancelotti is said to have agreed a two-year contract with an option for a third.However, the official announcement may not be made immediately as details have to be sorted out concerning Sarri’s position.It would mark Ancelotti’s first job in Italian football since leaving AC Milan in 2009 after leading the club to a Scudetto and two Champions League titles.The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss is understood to have agreed a salary worth 6.5 million euro ($7.6 million) a year with an option of a third year.Ancelotti has won three Champions League titles as well as the league in Italy, France, Germany and England.Ancelotti’s son Davide and his son-in-law Mino Fulco will also be on the Napoli coaching staff.– ‘Complicated –Sarri, who has spent the past three seasons at the San Paolo Stadium, has two more years remaining on his contract which runs until 2020.Napoli’s Italian coach Maurizio Sarri. © AFP / MIGUEL MEDINAThe 59-year-old former banker guided Napoli to second place in Serie A for the second time since taking over, and this season they achieved a club record 91 points in a season.But the club’s film producer boss De Laurentiis lost patience with Sarri’s indecision over his future, after pushing the champions all the way this season before finishing four points behind Juventus to miss out on a first Serie A title since 1990.According to Sky Sports Italia, Zenit have invited the Napoli coach to Russia to see Saint Petersburg and their training facilities.The Russian club have been without a coach since Roberto Mancini returned to take over the Italian national team, and in addition to stumping up for his buyout clause are also willing to offer Sarri a contract worth six million euros per season plus bonuses.“In life everything comes to an end,” said Sarri after his final match last Sunday, a 2-1 win which relegated Crotone to Serie B.“Sometimes it’s better to finish stories while they are good.“We have not reached the target, but the journey has been fantastic.”He added: “The situation is complicated. You can’t say you’re ready to go and try again with this squad when you don’t know whether everyone will remain here.“I don’t know if the club will manage to keep the players who have release clauses when offers will come in from big clubs.“What I do think is that I could not go directly to another Italian team, and that if I had to make a change I would prefer to go abroad.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Italian Carlo Ancelotti who is reported to be set to take over as coach of Serie A club Napoli © AFP/File / John MACDOUGALLMILAN, Italy, May 23 – Carlo Ancelotti has reached agreement to take over as Napoli coach ending Maurizio Sarri’s three-year reign at the Serie A club, according to reports in Italy on Wednesday.Italian Ancelotti — who was sacked by Bayern Munich last September — hammered out a deal Wednesday after a series of meetings with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis in Rome.last_img read more

Donegal businessman fined for demolishing his own garage

first_imgA Donegal businessman has been found guilty of demolishing his own derelict premises.Letterkenny businessman Tony Kelly appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with knocking down his former Mercedes garage at Pearse Road without planning permission. Kevin McElhinney, solicitor for Donegal County Council said a contractor knocked down the premises in 2017.When contacted by the council in April 2017, Mr Kelly expressed surprise that he needed planning permission to have the building demolished.Solicitor for Mr Kelly, Mr Gordon Curley told the court that a report from architect John Masterson of MH Associates in Letterkenny said the building had become unstable and was a health hazard.Mr Curley said that his client had taken all the essential steps to have the building demolished in a safe and secure way but now accepted he needed planning permission at the time.He said there was nothing ‘sinister’ in his actions and that it was a “technical breach.”Some rubble from the demolition had been sored at the back of the site while another quantity had been taken away by a local contractor.A report on where this rubble was dumped is also the focus of another report but Mr Kelly was not responsible for this incident.Mr Curley added that none of the material taken from the site was hazardous.The court was told that a car wash still operated from a small part of the site.Judge Paul Kelly asked Mr McElhinney what the council wanted him to do in the matter.He was told that the council wanted a prosecution, a sanction by way of a fine for the unsanctioned works that have taken place at the site.Having considered the matter, Judge Kelly fined the accused €1,000 and ordered his company to pay €1,000 in costs and also applied the probation act.Two years ago, Mr Kelly revealed how he planned to invest €2 million turning the derelict site into apartments and retail outlets as well as a petrol station.cofDonegal businessman fined for demolishing his own garage was last modified: February 7th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:courtdemolitiongarageHondaMercedesTONY KELLYlast_img read more

GAA: RUTH LENNON’S HURLING NEWS

first_imgBY RUTH LENNON: The U16 Hurling League Finals were held this week. In the U16 Hurling A League final Buncrana defeated Aodh Rua.The B Final saw St Eunans defeat Burt.St Eunans won the U12 A Hurling League Final defeating Buncrana while Aodh Rua and MC cumhails drew in the U12 B Hurling League Final. The U12 C League Final saw Burt beat the Four Masters 3.3 to 1.4. In the E League Final the Letterkenny Gaels defeated Setanta.Letterkenny Gaels hosted an U8 Hurling Blitz on Sunday. We fielded 2 teams with each team playing 7 competitive games. Team’s in attendance were St. Eunans, Letterkenny Gaels,Aodh Ruadh, Burt,Four Masters and Carndonagh. Many thanks to the parents for their help and support and a big thank you to the Letterkenny Gaels for a well organised Blitz. GAA: RUTH LENNON’S HURLING NEWS was last modified: September 10th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GAA: RUTH LENNON’S HURLING NEWSlast_img read more

Donegal Karate Kids’ outstanding performance in international competition

first_imgMembers of Three-Rivers Shotokan Karate Club after returning from this year’s Rene Smaal Summer Camp & International Kumite & Kata Cup Ireland 2016 held in the Citywest Hotel Dublin at the weekend. Like last year this was a very well ran three day event under the watchful eye of one of the world’s leading Kumite athletes Rene Smaal from Holland and again proved to be very succesfull outing for the club from Lifford.Medal winners were Natasha Doherty Gold in Kumite and silver in Kata, Ciarán Crawford Gold in both Kumite and Kata, Eoin Crawford not to be outdone by his older brother also took Gold in both Kumite and Kata, Ryan Doherty Bronze in Kata, Mark Doherty Bronze in Kumite, Jamie-Lee Simpson Silver in Kumite and Bronze in Kata and Brodie Hannigan Bronze in Both Kumite and Kata. Next up for the club is the JKS World Championships to be held in Glasgow in September.Donegal Karate Kids’ outstanding performance in international competition was last modified: July 26th, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:competitionKarateLiffordrene smaallast_img read more

EMMET RUSHE’S FITNESS COLUMN: PREPARING TO CHANGE

first_imgFor most people, deciding to make a change for the better with their health and weight is a daunting task.There is so much to consider when it comes to diet and training:What are the best foods to eat? What type of training should I do?How often should I train?Is there a diet that will do everything I need for my goals?When it comes to these situations the answer is usually: ‘It depends’ This is something that a lot of people don’t want to hear.We have been spoon fed a lot of misinformation over the years when it comes to diet and training. The media and certain companies would have us believe that there is a perfect ‘system’ that will do everything it says on the tin… and more.The problem with this is that there is no such system.Everyone is different; every one of us has formed our own habits throughout the years, that have moulded our ways of eating and the ways that we view exercise.As a Personal Trainer, we can’t simply give everyone the same way of eating and training and expect to get the same results from all of them. If it was that easy everyone would be in the shape they wanted to be in.The majority of the time, the problem isn’t the training or nutrition. It’s the client.This isn’t an attack on people who find it hard to follow the programme, but a lot of the time when someone fails to stick to a training and nutrition programme, it’s because they were not ready to start it to begin with.So what do you do? It comes back to the ‘it depends’ answer.It depends on your starting point.If you are someone who has never set foot in a gym before and whose idea of cooking is whatever fits in the microwave, you probably are not ready to change everything on the flip of a coin.You might think you are ready, but the statistics would say that such a drastic change doesn’t work for the majority of people.Do you know someone who has done this? Yes you probably do. We all do. But these people are the exceptions, not the rule.For the majority an extreme lifestyle shift like this quite often ends in failure.So what do we do?We look for what is going to give us the MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF RESULTS WITH THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF EFFORT.It can be as simple as these tips I got from Dr Mike Roussell:Change your breakfast from high sugar cereals and have an omelette with vegetables in it, or have porridge oats with berries.If you can stick to this for 2 weeks, change something else.What we are trying to do with this is to breed habits that will last.Once you can master this, it is time for another.If you snack on high sugar cereal bars or chocolate and crisps, try changing these for portions of fruit and nuts.Again, aim for a 2 week period of time and if you can master this it’s time to change another habit.This is not a quick fix, it is not intended to help you to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time.These small changes can help you to breed new habits and because you are allowing a suitable time frame to adjust to these changes, you are more likely to succeed in keeping them.It will take slightly longer to achieve your goals, but you will succeed.#TrainSmartFor further information on Personal Training and Nutrition you can contact me through the link below.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rushe-Personal-Training-and-Performance/120518884715118* Emmet is the owner and operator of Rushe Personal Training and PerformanceEMMET RUSHE’S FITNESS COLUMN: PREPARING TO CHANGE was last modified: March 30th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:emmet rushefitness columnlast_img read more

SA ‘must keep investing in growth’

first_img21 October 2008 However, decreasing export demand, financial volatility, exchange rate fluctuations and uncertain economic conditions in the future would have an affect on South Africa’s economy. “The world is experiencing a financial crisis on a scale not seen since the 1930s,” the minister told Parliament. “The prospects for global growth are poor and the short-term outlook is clouded by uncertainty. Manuel noted that South African consumer inflation has been outside the Reserve Bank’s inflation target band for over 15 months. This high inflationary environment has forced the Bank to raise interest rates, which has also had an effect on economic growth. Delivering his Budget Speech in February, Manuel had predicted a budget surplus of about 0.6 percent, but this figure was likely to drop in the face of decreasing consumer demand for goods and the resultant decrease in Valued Added Tax (VAT) revenue for government. Economic growth in the seven richest countries, which make up half of world economic output, may well be zero or negative next year, he indicated. Overall global growth is expected to fall from 5% in 2007 to 3.9% this year and could even drop as low as 3% in 2009. The 2009 Budget, he said, would see further resources allocated to employment-intensive programmes in the public sector, as well as incentive programmes for private employers and non-governmental organisations to use more labour-intensive methods. Delivering his medium term budget policy statement – a three-year guideline to government spending – in Parliament, Manuel said projections for South Africa’s output growth in 2008 and 2009 had been revised downward to 3.7% and 3% respectively. Further pressuring GDP growth was the Eskom debacle, which cost the South African economy billions of rands in lost revenue after unscheduled blackouts in January and February significantly disrupted business, especially mining, operations in the country. The country’s GDP plunged to 2.1% in the first quarter following the power disruptions. “The proposed fiscal framework for the 2009 Budget takes into account both slower economic growth and the need to support continued infrastructure investment and social development in a context of heightened uncertainty,” the minister said. “However, South Africa’s longer-term economic expansion rests on sound economic policies, healthy public finances and resilient financial institutions.” “It is important to recognise the causes and consequences of South Africa’s aging physical infrastructure and poor skills base,” Manuel said. “Decades of underinvestment in physical infrastructure, from electricity generation to water supply, roads and rail have constrained the economy’s ability to grow more rapidly.”center_img “Depending on international developments, gross domestic product growth is expected to recover to above 4 percent in 2010 and beyond.” The healthy state of South Africa’s financial sector relative to that of the United States, Germany and Britain, among others, would help the country escape the worst effects of the global economic downturn, Manuel said. “The South Africa economy has grown by an average of 5 percent a year for the past six years. During this period, investment increased from about 15 percent of GDP to more than 22 percent. The unemployment rate declined from about 29.3 percent in 2003 to 23 percent today. For the creation of jobs, however, the South African economy needed to grow, as well as to refocus on developing more labour-intensive projects. Decades of apartheid education, and limited progress in improving the quality of post-1994 education, had reinforced skills shortages that likewise inhibited economic growth. While South Africa was hoping to maintain its five percent economic growth rate in 2008 and 2009, global economic conditions had forced the downward revision of expected growth, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said in Cape Town on Tuesday. “Nevertheless, employment is still unacceptably high, and a critical objective of an economic policy over the next five years is to create work opportunities,” Manuel said. In order to foster greater GDP growth, the government was committing funds to improve South Africa’s competitiveness globally. Source: BuaNews Navigating through such a changed economic environment would be a tough challenge, the minister said, but the government would continue to expand and improve public services, and invest in the infrastructure needed for growth.last_img read more