Cape Town Members' Business Briefing on Diversity and Mobility sponsored by Relocation Africa
Cape Town members participated in a dynamic Chamber event focusing on the ever relevant topics of diversity and mobility in the workplace. Judith Haupt from CONTRACT South Africa and Dr Layo Seriki from CIELARKO Management Consulting explained that diverse teams will either perform exceptionally well, or exceptionally badly. They provided members with some insight into how diversity within teams can be a powerful strength if approached with the right attitude. Up next was a lively panel discussion on immigration and mobility, with perspectives from immigration practitioners Tracy du Plessis from Relocation Africa, Swaane Motsoenyane from Santa Fe Relocation, ENSAfrica lawyer Zahida Ebrahim and Area Head of Talent for British American Tobacco, Monique Lamberts. Audience members shared some of their own immigration challenges and our expert panelists illuminated an often confusing subject. Topics such as changes to South Africa's Immigration Act, the obstacles encountered when moving talent around the Southern Africa region, and how immigration law relates to other areas of law – labour, taxation etc, were tackled with thoroughness and candour.
April 2016 Members' Business Briefing with Nicky Newton-King sponsored by BT
Chamber Members were thoroughly impressed by Nicky Newton-King in conversation with David Dawson at the Inanda Club last night which was sponsored by BT. Nicky's candour about her background, her position at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, what drives her and what keeps her up at night fascinated a packed audience. She began by filling us in on her jump from a prestigious law career to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Then followed a hugely successful 20 years at the JSE, culminating in her current position as Chief Executive Officer.
Nicky outlined the core business of the JSE with a memorable supermarket analogy of small trolleys and bulk wholesale buys. She outlined that the JSE is an intermediary in the economy – entrepreneurs need capital to grow and the JSE is the place to help fund growth and fund people's aspirations. The JSE is ten times the size of the Nigerian exchange but ten times smaller than London, so it's all relative. There are 25 exchanges on the African continent with the JSE handling 300,000 trades per day and Rwanda handling 10 trades per month, so a very diverse range. The conversation veered to the new stock exchange licenses potentially being issued and Nicky underlined the importance of competition and how it makes everyone work better. She also spoke of the importance of partnerships, with one of the oldest being the LSE. The JSE also has a long relationship with FTSE, a deal for partnership finalised over VC from Sandton! Nicky highlighted how critical these partnerships are to ensure that you are always learning best practice from the industry.
Under Nicky's command, the 500 staff at the JSE comprise of 60% black and 52% female employees, with 70% of the executive being female. Rather than gender, Nicky spoke of diversity being the key to ensure companies are equipped to compete. Through their position, the JSE has a unique voice in society and they try to be a visible example of the transformation in society. Companies need to comply with stringent listing requirements including their company strategy and how they are acting on it.
Questions were asked about the current issues faced by JSE and they are similar to those in other industries so regulations, technology and political/socio-economic factors are the big drivers. For the JSE, change is the only constant! In a final note, Nicky spoke of the rolling mass action in society with people feeling economically marginalised and not heard. The importance of being an enlightened business, engaged with what is going on in society was underlined.
March 2016 Members' Business Briefing with Thebe Ikalafeng
Chamber Members were regaled by Thebe Ikalafeng, Founder and Chairman of the Brand Leadership Group, with his creative delivery and presentation on "Africa: the Good News. Peace, Prosperity and Unity."
Going back to 1884, covering the continent's roots and the world view on Africa, Thebe spoke about media coverage and Africa's responsibility on changing the worldwide interpretation of this continent. Shifting perceptions to the vision of Africa for people outside Africa, Thebe made light of Africa being viewed as one big entity, made up of unsophisticated customs, with famine, poverty and war, despite the stark contrast in reality and bright future ahead. As Africans, Thebe emphasized we are not telling our story, our story is being told for us, and it is not being told in a positive light.
The Good News Thebe focused on was Africa's attractiveness to outside investors, war is on the decrease and productivity and growth is on the rise. South Africa's potentional to be a prosperous and competitive country in relation to overseas companies are ever expanding. Africa will need to embrace and integrate our culture and envelop outside the box thinking, to be inspired and not be embarrassed, by where we come from. Branding will need to be relevant to Africa as opposed to adopting Western ideologies and concepts, to collaborate and incorporate Africa into products and services. Africa will need to recognize our strengths and use these to our advantage as this will lead to empowerment and pride within our continent.
February 2016 Members' Business Briefing with Andy Henderson sponsored by BSi
Speaking to Chamber Members last night thanks to the sponsorship of BSi, Andy Henderson, outgoing UKTI Regional Trade Director, for Southern Africa and Board Member of the British Chamber gave a heartfelt and farewell talk. He regaled to Members tales of his time as a Diplomat and his work in South Africa over the last 5 years. From his posting in Algeria to his move to South Africa, and his previous appointments in Brazil and Saudi Arabia, Andy's light hearted banter revolved around stories of his past experiences and the history of the Southern African British Chamber.
Andy thanked Chamber Members for their ongoing support, and asked Members to continue to keep working at growing their business in order to expand and elevate the youth that are in dire need of opportunities and employment. Despite the current economic climate, Andy expressed optimism in South Africa; the potential that has yet to be explored and the bright future ahead. In closing, with this being his last posting, Andy wished Chamber Members well, and to "Keep Calm, Carry on and Prosper". Andy will be greatly missed, especially his vibrant ties.
Chamber members attend Eve of Parliament Reception
Arguably the highlight of the British High Commission's event programme for the year, the Eve of Parliament reception, hosted by British Chamber patron, High Commissioner Dame Judith Macgregor, took place in the gardens of her Bishopscourt residence. Sponsors and Chamber members British Airways and Jaguar Land Rover were to the fore and guests included Thuli Madonsela, Patricia de Lille, Christo Wiese, and of course many of our Cape Town Chamber members.
The Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to South Africa, Baroness Scotland, spoke of her close and fruitful relationship with this country and reassured guests that this would continue with her appointment as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
As well as celebrating UK-SA partnerships, Shakespeare was the theme in this, the 400th anniversary year of his death. There were powerful performances of verses from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets by local learners. The guest of honour, Sonny Venkatrathnam, spoke about his so-called 'Robben Island Bible' – a clandestine copy of Shakespeare's Complete Works with notes and passages highlighted by his fellow prisoners on the Island, including Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada.
Liverpool Chamber of Commerce at Northern Powerhouse Event
David Dawson, Lord Digby Jones and Andy Snell, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce at Northern Powerhouse Event
October 2015 Members' Business Briefing with Premier David Makhura Sponsored by Discovery
Chamber Members were addressed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura sponsored by Discovery, on the environment of the five developing corridors within the Gauteng Province and improving infrastructure within these divisions. Taking the opportunity to speak with British Companies regarding the strengthening of the Bilateral trade and industry relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom, Premier Makhura made reference to his upcoming visit to the United Kingdom in 2016 to further his dedication to this cause.
The viewpoint from the Premier, regarding South Africa as the gateway to Africa and Gauteng, as the commercial Business hub of South Africa, was evident in the video presentation to Chamber members. Many parallels were drawn between the United Kingdom and South Africa, particularly the comparisons between London and Gauteng being the entry way and safe haven for companies considering to expand their businesses into Europe and Africa.
With changes in place, Premier Makhura made mention of the development of the Gauteng Investment Centre as a "one stop shop" to handle all bureaucracy within a timely manner and with ease of movement on a commercial platform going forward. Businesses were encouraged to invest in education and work together with the Gauteng Province to collaborate on broadening these opportunities to the youth.
Photos courtsey of Andronica Nedzamba
British Chamber of Business Breakfast with Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Allan Yarrow
This event provided a forum to discuss the investment environment in the UK for South African companies and the role of the City of London. The British High Commissioner to South Africa, Judith Macgregor, and the Prime Minister's Trade Envoy, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal QC and Andy Henderson, Regional Trade Director - Southern Africa UK Trade & Investment were also present.
September 2015 Members' Business Briefing with Dr Anthony Turton Sponsored by Brandhouse
Dr Anthony Turton delivered a passionate presentation on the future risks posed by South Africa's current water status and the long term effects thereof. He delved deeper into Uranium contamination, Yellow Boy and Cyanobacteria Bloom with ease of explanations for members.
By making reference to and showing figures on South Africa's total national resources of water and the full supply capacity of dam storage, Dr Turton highlighted the relevance of water shortage. He continued to state that geologically South Africa no longer has the capacity to build dams for house water as the effects of climate change and increased temperatures mean water is evaporating at a cumulative speed and alternative plans must be implemented for the contingency of future generations. Many inconvenient facts were placed before chamber members to show a holistic outlook of the situation that will be in effect for the future of South Africa.
South Africa's current water treatment system and sewage works are at a substandard rate thus posing serious water limitations for the future. Covering the negative effects of acid mine drainage, microcystin and saline level build ups, requires interventions to be made to salvage the current situation. The drought in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and illegal sand minding, available water in the province sights a steady decline and requires effective monitoring. In Closing, Dr Turton stated the solutions to water shortage: Recycling, harvesting of sewage water, technologies and skills will be needed to assist with the contamination of this natural resource to ensure sustainability in generations to come.
Cape Town August 2015 Members' Business Briefing with Tim Harris
Tim Harris's talk on the 27th of August set to prove that The Western Cape is indeed not just a pretty place to do business, but increasingly a first choice for company headquarters, entrepreneurs and business start-ups. The Western Cape truly does have it all: low operational costs, prime locations and excellent skills set with access to students from UCT and Stellenbosch.
Statistics show that young professionals are heading to The Cape attracted by the lifestyle and the opportunities available; which makes for a dynamic place to do business.
Of course there are issues that need resolving: a reliable power supply, the need for more direct flights, a review of the new visa regulations, improvements in education and to address the weakening Rand. Tim shared a few comical Tweets trending from this week's hashtag Stronger than the Rand. Nando's mild chicken, the chances of the Nkandla fire pool actually being a fire pool and Lesotho's Navy are all #stronger than the Rand. Tim's talk was inspiring and left the audience feeling very positive about a company's ability to excel in The Western Cape.
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