February 2017 - Cape Town Burns Night Event
The British Chamber is proud to be event partner for the biggest Burns Night celebration held on the African continent.
Venue: Kelvin Grove Club, Cape Town.
February 2017 Cape Town Opening of Parliament Reception
The British High Commissioner, Dame Judith Macgregor, will host an exclusive reception in Bishopscourt, Cape Town, on 8 February 2017, in anticipation of the opening of Parliament the following evening.
Business Reception with The Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa had the honour of hosting, in conjunction with the Department for International Trade and the British High Commission, the Right Honourable Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer on 7 December 2016.
An early evening reception was held in Hyde Park where the Chancellor reinforced Britain's commitment to remaining a key trade partner and investor in South Africa, and indeed to growing this relationship in the years to come. The Chancellor stated that Britain's goal of remaining an investor- and business friendly environment will be at the heart of any decisions going forward as the UK looks to be an even bigger global player in the future. This was good news to both South African and UK companies alike who are looking to build trade relations in 2017.The Chancellor's visit was a positive end to 2016 that saw its fair share of upheavals and challenges globally, and we will look to carry on in this spirit come the new year.
Cape Town Year End Whisky Tasting
November 2016 Cape Town 'Members Only' Whisky Tasting & Reception
Cape Town's final event of the year was a 'members only' affair. Guests enjoyed a guided tasting of four single malt whiskies, offered by Diageo. The atmosphere in the Cape Town Club Library venue was convivial and relaxed. Whisky fundis and novices alike soon discovered a new appreciation of the 'water of life' thanks to the passion and knowledge of Brand Ambassadors Bradley Jacobs and Haroon Haffajee.
Chamber CEO David Dawson and Cape Town representative Eimear Costigan thanked members for their support in 2016, and wished everyone a peaceful end of year break, and a prosperous 2017.
Year End Dinner
The British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa celebrated the end of a successful year full of challenging twists and turns with a three course dinner held at the Inanda Club in Sandton. Our membership have been superb in their support throughout this year and the Chamber wished to express its gratitude and appreciation by hosting our members at a relaxing evening featuring some comedy performed by Mark Banks.
October 2016 Members' Business Briefing with new Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba: Sponsored by Virgin Atlantic
For our final business briefing of the year, the Chamber had the great honour not only to celebrate with our sponsor Virgin Atlantic its 20 years of operating in South Africa, but also to have new Mayor of Johannesburg Mr. Herman Mashaba as our guest speaker. The much anticipated event took place on 20 October at the Inanda club, where Mr. Mashaba laid out his 10 point plan for the City of Johannesburg.
Reinvigorating the inner city and creating business opportunities stands out as part of the Mayor's plan to grow the Johannesburg GDP by 5% within his term of office. In light thereof, engagement with foreign investors and particularly the UK – which remains the biggest foreign investor not only to South Africa but also to the City of Johannesburg – is a key priority. Mr. Mashaba is steadfast in his belief that "if Johannesburg works, South Africa works" and his determination and practical plans to achieve his goals provided a welcome and inspiring message.
October 2016 Cape Town Members' Business Briefing on Brexit with Dame Judith MacGregor
Fresh from a trip to London, Chamber patron and British High Commissioner Dame Judith Macgregor offered an inside perspective on the UK's forthcoming exit from the EU at this business briefing. The event took place in the same week as the Conservative Party Conference. Although the title was Global Britain and South Africa: short term uncertainty, long-term opportunity there was already a little less uncertainty thanks to Prime Minister May's comments.
Dame Judith Macgregor reminded guests that the UK is still the single biggest investor in South Africa and emphasised the breadth and depth of the relationship between the two countries. The audience – which included members of the Exporters Club Western Cape – heard that the UK will certainly not want any disruption to its current trade relations with South Africa. If anything, South Africa may find there are increased opportunities for non-EU trading partners to Great Britain. A diverse range of questions followed and the lively discussion was testament to the importance of this topic for businesses in the Western Cape.
September 2016 Members' Business Briefing with Dawie Roodt from The Efficient Group : Sponsored by City & Guilds
On the 15th of September Dawie Roodt, Chief Economist at The Efficient Group, was invited to appear as speaker for the monthly event, sponsored by City & Guilds. Mr. Roodt - a well-known Economist in South Africa – addressed the assembly on the topic "The Economics of Demographics".
Mr. Roodt started off by demonstrating how economics is all about people, and how the evolution of the human race shaped the economic world we know today. Statistic from various countries around the world were compared, looking at factors like age distribution, education and amount of dependents, and how these characteristics correlate with a nations' present economic situation.
Indeed it was demonstrated how population demographics have a cyclical effect that can also serve as a fairly reliable predictor of future economic trends. Mr. Roodt's final message stressed the need to educate and develop the young females of the Southern African population - this being the key driver for economic growth, and his presentation brilliantly brought to life what the demographics are indicating in South Africa.
August 2016 Members' Business Briefing with Elliott Monama from DBSA : Sponsored by HSBC
On the 18th of August, Elliott Monama from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) was invited to appear as speaker for the monthly event, sponsored by HSBC. Mr. Monama, presenting the topic "Project Preparation: Lessons Learnt" gave insight into project formulation and project funding, drawing from his experience not only at DBSA but also from his days as a consultant previous to joining DBSA.
DBSA can now provide funding for projects not only in South Africa, but also in countries outside of southern Africa with a particular focus on East- and West African countries.
DBSA focusses on projects that fall within two streams: Energy/Transport/ICT/Water and Health/Education. DBSA focusses on priority projects within these fields and has an impressive reputation as a well-run state-owned organization that has been making profit for the past 3 years. Some key insights that came from Mr. Monama was the importance of strong feasibility of a project being the main decider when it comes to funding decisions. DBSA is a strong promoter of enterprising projects in priority sectors and has obtained grants from both the EU and the USA to assist in funding such projects. It certainly made clear how many positive initiatives and resources are available and gave confidence in the powers backing these projects across the African region.
Members' Cape Town Business Briefing by South African writer, political scientist and historian, R. W. Johnson.
RW Johnson's 2015 book - "How Long will South Africa Survive?", with its prediction of an IMF bailout for the country within two years, was widely read and debated in business circles. Therefore the author and political scientist's appearance as guest speaker at July's Chamber Members' networking event in Cape Town was eagerly anticipated. Seeking temporary comfort in the roaring fire and red wine, some members admitted to 'bracing themselves' for a somewhat depressing outlook. Instead the former Oxford don's talk was insightful, disarming, and ultimately reassuring.
He charted a course from the ANC's beginnings to its current situation, addressing patronage networks and the shift of power to KZN along the way. He outlined four factors that will be essential to SA attracting badly needed long term investment. Simply put these are – the liberalisation of our labour laws; 'sorting out' our state-owned enterprises; the reduction of our civil service bill; and 'fixing' the education system. Referring to the local elections taking place a week later, he asserted that South African society is too urbanised and industrialised to allow the 'perversion of democracy that we have seen in Zimbabwe'. It was evident from the buzz of conversation in the room as RW Johnson's talk ended, that it had certainly provided food for thought.
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