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New Procurement Procedures to Help South Africa’s Small Solar Developers


Solar Novus Today

Shem Oirere

September 22, 2014

South Africa has raised the hopes of small solar PV developers with projects of less than 5MW, after proposing a dedicated fund to enable them meet their capital expenditure.

The Department of Energy has also announced changes to the procurement procedures Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to enable Small Independent Power Producers (IPPs) cut on costs.

The developers could soon find alternative funding after big lenders shunned them for larger projects under REIPPPP, which hopes to generate 1,450MW of solar PV by 2030. The 20-year $645 billion program is also expected to generate an additional 2,275MW from onshore wind, concentrated solar thermal, biomass solid, biogas, landfill and small hydro.

Reducing transaction costs

The fund for small renewable projects could be up and running by February next year, according to top government officials, for the  benefit of projects being developed under the Small Independent Power Producer Programme with a combined capacity of 200MW. No allocation has been given for each of the renewable energy technologies for this particular category of projects.

Energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, says the financing of projects with a capacity of less 5MW is a major challenge, but pledged government intervention in ensuring development of standard documents for the projects “to reduce transaction costs.”

She confirmed South Africa is working at a proposal for a dedicated fund to assist small IPPs with transaction costs.

“This will ensure that new entrepreneurs can also enter the renewable energy IPP market. I want to give the small IPP entities and developers the assurance that the fund will be up and running by February 2015, in time for the second round (of small IPP procurement).”

The fund will be established with the support of the German government-owned development bank KfW. The bank will make the funds available to the government on concessionary terms to enable beneficiaries to achieve their project objectives.

The Department of Energy explains that the Small Independent Power Producer Programme, whose first request for proposals was released in August 2013, is “to allow South African citizens who are, or who own or control, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and/or emerging, smaller power developers an opportunity to participate in the Renewable Energy generation sector”

The programme also affords South African power generation equipment manufacturers, “who may not have international certification the opportunity to supply equipment for the projects procured under the Small Projects IPP Procurement Programme.”

Effective implementation of the small IPP programme will also make it possible “to limit the cost‐at‐risk incurred by bidders through participating in the Small Projects IPP Procurement Programme in two stages.”

Reducing costs of procurement

Apart from the push for a dedicated fund to cushion small IPPs from high project costs, the government has also announced drastic changes to the procurement process to make it cheaper for the “little” developers to bring their projects on board within timelines.

Senior project adviser in the Private Public Partnership at the National Treasury, Karen Breytenbach, says the department of energy would make the changes before the fourth bidding round in November.

“To reduce costs incurred in submitting tender documents, the department would reduce the number of documents required,” she said.

“We are also going to change the request for proposal to make it less expensive for small IPPs to bid. We are looking at ways for bidders to submit their bids without going through sourcing support letters from banks.”

The amendments to the bidding process and proposal for fund for small-scale renewable energy projects come barely months after developers raised concerns over the requirement that they, too, be subjected to the high compliance costs under the department of energy’s REIPPPP for projects bigger than 5MW.

South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvica) Vice-Chairperson, Mike Levington, said in an interview with the Engineering News online magazine two months ago that lack of capacity in the debt market to fund smaller IPPs is a challenge because banks are not keen on them.

“Delays in the procurement processes, such as the delay in announcing the dates of the bid windows for the small-scale IPP programme, places financial strain on companies and small, medium-sized and micro-enterprises in particular,” Levington said.

The small IPPs were also subject to compliance costs that included the $4,923 that is payable to South Africa power utility Eskom for estimate letters, which gives details on how a particular project could be connected to the grid.

South African Renewable Energy Council chairperson Johan van den Berg said, “This relatively high compliance cost has a significant impact on the price that smaller projects require to be feasible.”

Until the pledge by the Department of Energy on changes to procurement of small IPPs is honoured, the project developers are subjected to the same application process like those constructing projects of larger capacity, which the industry stakeholders argue disadvantages them.

Levington said the proposed changes to RFP for the fourth round would “hopefully be extended to the small-scale IPP process in the future.”

Eskom had previously defended the estimate letter charges saying the utility has to recover its costs related to “detailed engineering, pricing and legal work to produce the cost estimates.”

“Between the first three bid windows (of the REIPPPP), Eskom processed in excess of 1,000 cost estimate letters without direct cost recovery from the potential IPPs and, therefore, this cost had to be recovered from all customers,” Eskom was quoted saying in a previous statement.

“Many of these IPPs eventually never submitted bids (for) the government procurement programme. Preparation of a cost estimate letter requires network planning and grid studies to be conducted and this is followed by a vetting process involving pricing and legal teams,” it said.

South Africa leading in PV development

Meanwhile, South Africa has now been ranked among the top 10 global leaders in solar PV development according to a July release by wiki-solar.org, which monitors deployment of utility-scale projects globally.

The country has deployed 15 solar PV plants with capacity of 503MW under the REIPPPP.  The projects include SolarReserve‘s 75MW Lesedi and 75MW Letsatsi in the Northern Cape and Free State provinces respectively.

Others are Norwegian-based firm Scatec Solar‘s 75MW Kalkbult solar plant near Petrusville in the Northern Cape, Globeleq consortium’s 50MW De Aar and 50MW Droogfontein solar plants near De Aar and Kimberley in the Northern Cape, US company SunPower‘s 22 MW Herbert and 11 MW Greefspan solar plants in the Northern Cape, which it owns jointly with Spain’s AMDA energy and South Africa’s Alt-E Technologies.

Separately, small rooftop solar PV installers in South Africa have also raised concern over the lack of legislation which hampers the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from deploying the technology to its full potential.

South African subsidiary of German solar PV mounting systems specialist,Schletter, said in July the Department of Energy should make changes to the legislation around the solar PV industry to enable that small power producers “feed power into the grid structure.”

The company’s South Africa head electrical engineer Mr Abdul-Khaaliq Mohamed said, “Grid energy management and metering must be upgraded and legislation should be revised to enable SMEs and property owners with rooftop solar PV systems to sell their excess power to the national grid.”

Mohamed said South Africa’s solar PV rooftop market is picking up in tandem with the growing number of SMEs and industries – this mainly as response to the increase in tariffs by the country’s power utility, Eskom and a desire to save more on electricity costs.

“If all SMEs strive to have solar PV cater for 20-30% of their energy needs this will reshape South Africa’s energy mix and make a massive difference to the country’s carbon footprint, thereby ensuring a sustainable energy supply for future generations.”

Written by Shem Oirere, a freelance writer based in Nairobi who specialises in renewable energy.

Ghana: Government Urged To Implement Sustainable Public Procurement Policy


Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah - CEO of Public Procurement Authority

Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah – CEO of Public Procurement Authority

Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has appealed to government and procurement practitioners to embrace and implement Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) policy.

He said SPP factored economic, social and environmental impacts in procurement decision making which would ensure effective sustainable development.

The CEO was speaking at an opening session of a five-day pilot training for procurement practitioners on SPP in Koforidua on Monday,

“Waste management and economic use of resources are some obvious challenges we face and sustainable public procurement can help address them to a large extent,” he said.

Mr Sallas-Mensah said the SPP makes room for increased participation of women entrepreneurs in government procurement processes which would be a boost for national economic growth and for their immediate families as well as their communities.

“A policy that seeks to improve incomes for women businesses through government contracts is a wise one and must be embraced since it results in poverty alleviation and wealth creation,” he said.

Mr Sallas-Mensah appealed to the government to set aside a percentage of all its contracts for Small Scale and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) to have a quota.

In her welcoming address, Nadia Balgoben, the Swiss Representative, implored Ghana’s policy makers and procurement practitioners to take the training serious and make it a point to implement the SPP policy for the country to attain full sustainable development.

Mr John Afari Idan, CEO of Biogas Technologies Africa Limited, reminded the participants of the need to understand that their role in public procurement is not all about buying but adding value to what they buy.

The pilot training is a collaborative effort between the Government of the Swiss, to train procurement practitioners and policy makers in the public sector in order to strengthen their monitoring and evaluation capabilities which would in turn foster sustainable development.

Source: GNA

Related posts:

  1. Ghana to start piloting implement e-procurement system
  2. Ghana prepares draft amendments of Public Procurement Act
  3. Ghana As From 2014 Will Operate An Electronic Procurement System
  4. PPA reveals non-compliance of public procurement law
  5. Public Procurement Act Is A Tool To Fight Corruption
  6. Government to implement strategies for public sector reform
  7. Sallas-Mensah joins Advisory Group
  8. Local firms urged to develop CSR for sustainable national development
  9. ISD And IPR Trains Government’s Public Relations Officers In Various Ministries
  10. Public-private partnership policy approved
  11. Gov’t urged to continue implementation of National Youth Policy
  12. Ghana to undertake over $1.5b ambitious projects under public-private partnership policy
  13. Ghana government approves new forest, wildlife policy
  14. Government to implement inclusive education in 2015-Minister
  15. Government to use Public Private Partnership for low-cost efficient service delivery.
  16. Ghana begins electronic procurement system 2014 (ghanabusinessnews.com)

COTE D’IVOIRE: Help For Small Businesses Key to Relaunching Economy


IPS Africa

By Fulgence Zamblé

ABIDJAN, Aug 1 (IPS) – The Ivorian government has begun compensating small and medium-sized businesses for damages suffered during the post-election crisis, in order to relaunch the economy.

The government allocated 13 million dollars to this task on Jul. 15, prompted by the fact that the private sector in Côte d’Ivoire is dominated by micro-enterprises and a vast informal sector, according to the Finance Ministry. A further 74 million dollars of support for the country’s banks was announced a few days later by Finance Minister Charles Diby Koffi, in order to allow financial institutions to support businesses with loans.

The ministry estimates the contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises to the country’s gross national product at around 18 percent; SMMEs together account for around 23 percent of formal employment.

Alassane Ouattara‘s victory in presidential elections in the West African country in November 2010 was challenged by the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo; a lengthy standoff followed, brought to a close when the Ouattara-aligned Republic Forces of Côte d’Ivoire marched from their strongholds in the north of the country to seize the economic capital, Abidjan, in April 2011…Read more.

Economic sustainability – what does it mean for procurement?


Created in Photoshop, based on "Sustainab...
Image via Wikipedia

by PETER SMITH on JUNE 23, 2011

in PROCUREMENT GOOD PRACTICE

Continuing our look at “sustainable procurement” – economic sustainability is probably the hardest of the three headings (environmental and social being the other two) to get your head around. That’s partly because it overlaps with ‘social’, as we’ll discuss below – and it contains some areas of debate and controversy as we’ll also see.

The internal facets of economic sustainability seem to be simply making sure the organisation is utilising resources to best advantage. But the outward facing element that is more interesting to procurement usually covers the development of greater economic capacity, capability and robustness in supply markets, particularly those in disadvantaged areas.

It’s particularly interesting for some global companies who operate in developing countries – at the Procurement Leaders event recently, Anglo American spoke about their efforts to develop local business and suppliers in African countries where they operate mines. Now this had an obvious strategic and commercial driver for the firm – taking these actions was often a condition of them being awarded mining rights in a particular country or locality.

But it also had the benefits of helping Anglo in the longer term by developing a stronger, more robust local supply chain, potentially increasing competition, avoiding shipping costs and reducing supply chain risk by using local firms. Anglo stressed the importance of working on both the supply side and the demand – so helping local firms build capability through training for instance, and also making it easier for them to win contracts by ensuring procurement processes were not consciously or unconsciously favouring large firmsRead more

World Economic Forum 2011: Address by Minister Trevor Manuel on Financing Business Innovation for Africa’s Development


World Economic Forum on Africa 2011
Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

The Presidency (South Africa)

05 May 2011

Introduction

Thank you for the background note prepared for this Dialogue. It starts off by referring to the challenge to attain the Millennium Development Goals and the role of the private sector in alleviating poverty. This prompts me to ask the lawyers’ question – what is the mischief that we are trying to cure? Is it, as the background note suggests, a concern about our ability to attain the MDG’s, then we should focus on the quality of government services and the partnership between the private and public sectors in ways directed at the MDG’s themselves. If the mischief we are trying to cure is about the sustainability of business start-ups, then we need this in focus. If the mischief is the failure of finance to be sufficiently inclusive and supportive, then the solutions will lie in our understanding of financial intermediation.

I want to provoke a discussion about the need to support the creation of sustainable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and financial support for this sector.

However, it would be impossible to discuss this task without a slightly wider pan of the global environment within which all business development happens.  For now, I would like to not focus on the big debates that occur in the context of the World Bank, the IMF and the G20 – debates that focus on issues such as global imbalances, capital flows and their direction, fiscal responses, and the like. We cannot, however, ignore the impact of the global changes on individual businesses. The key challenge has to be building sustainable businesses that outlive the cash injections from CSI budgets and stand up to the effects of market forces. A quick scan of the environment is therefore necessary and this scan will abstract five key global shifts – unemployment, inequality, the capacity of the state, the shift in the economic centre of gravity (West to East and North to South) and interests (whose interests are being served).

Unemployment 

In South Africa, the issue of unemployment, its causes and the proposals to counter it are hotly debated. But we need to understand the growing concern on a global level. Let us look at the USA, in part because there are good datasets available on a range of issues, including employment trends. Robert Wade1 suggests that whilst the official US unemployment figure is 10%, this number almost doubles when the number of part-timers desperately seeking full-time employment is included. Similarly, the Middle East and North Africa region is very topical, the unemployment rates range from 9.2% in Syria to 14% in Tunisia,  with average youth unemployment rate in the MENA region at 24.9%. In South Africa, as we know the unemployment rate (based on the QLFS released on 03 May) is 25%, up 1 percentage point in the 4th quarter of 2010. Jobs have been shed in sectors such as construction and transport, and the gains tend to be largely in the public sector. Now, if we had a reasonable measure for unemployment in Sub Saharan Africa, using the same standard ILO definitions, the number is likely to be much higher than we realise. Manufacturing is at a low 8%; mining, say 15%, no developed services sector and formal agriculture is actually a low employer!

It would also be important to understand who these unemployed people are, it matters whether the unemployed have previous work experience, or not and the sectors that they have worked in. Robert Wade also suggests, for example, that General Motors in the USA employed 52 000 hourly paid workers, down from 468 000 in 1970 – how did this happen? Are US citizens purchasing fewer vehicles? Have production processes changed? How much of it has shifted elsewhere? This is an important question, because the approach for assisting displaced auto workers would be quite different from trying to accommodate young people who have never actually worked. So, the questions in Africa have to include who the unemployed are? What their skills and educational levels are? What opportunities are likely to present themselves taking account of this? It is crucial that the causes of unemployment and the possibly skills deficits are fully understood if financial support is to be viable.

Inequality 

The growing inequality within societies must be understood – how and when did societies become as unequal as they now are? Again, let us look outside of Africa, and to the USA, simply because there is more current data available. Wade suggests that the top 10% of Americans possesses more private wealth (34% of the total personal wealth) than the bottom 90% (25% of the total). Or even in China where a mere thirty years ago, the Gini Co-efficient (an indicator that measures income inequality) was almost zero, to a point where it is now around 0.43. In fact, according to Forbes List, China had a heavier density of billionaires relative to GDP than the EU; Mainland China and Hong Kong has 89 billionaires, whereas Japan, with an economy almost as large, and with a higher average income, had 22 billionaires. So, what are the trends in Sub Saharan Africa? South Africa has only four billionaires and Nigeria has two, and significant as this indicator is, it is unlikely to be a useful proxy for Sub Saharan Africa.  The issue of inequality is very important for a discussion on business innovation because it helps us understand the prospects for innovation and development of small businesses. Any attempt at dealing with market innovation must, presumably include an appreciation of whether the prospective client base is too heavily indebted, or too poor to afford the goods and services on offer.

State Capacity

It is necessary to subject the capacity of the state to very close scrutiny. Whose interests is it likely to serve? Does it have the capacity to innovate support or support innovation and argue the toss, especially in circumstances where it borrows from the Multilateral Development Banks – an issue that affects most of the countries where the world’s poorest reside? Can it regulate effectively, especially when some of the investors happen to be large transnational corporations? Is the state capable of collecting taxes as per the tax schedules, in order to provide services to the poor in society? What do we know of the quality of public servants, of the quality of the legislatures and the laws that they pass? Is there the likelihood that the state would be captured by particularly interests? Equally, in regulating this sector, it is important that the state is aware of the unintended consequences of the regulations for emerging smaller enterprises. What may work well in regulating big business, may, in fact, be too cumbersome and create obstacles for entrepreneurs. I raise these matters because we need to start from the premise that change in the arena of business innovation and support to the MSME sector needs to be public- private-partnership, in the best sense thereof. In other words, the private sector cannot carry this load alone, nor some part of it be expected to contribute to development whilst its competitors are favoured either be contracts awarded and/or by lesser pressure to comply with regulations. So, if one is establishing an MSME, it is important to have an idea as to whether the state will be an ally or an obstacle to progress.

Global Shifts

It is a fact that there has been a significant shift in manufacturing from many parts of the world to countries such as China, Vietnam and Thailand. This question needs be understood in order to crack whether there is room for a niche to develop, particularly in manufacturing. If there is, heaven help us, a sense of little room for new ventures, especially where the barriers to entry have traditionally been low, then it limits the options – frequently to services.   Another reason why global trends are important is because arising from the Great Recession of 2008/9 there has been a tightening of lending criteria arising from the Basel 3 requirements to hold higher amounts of capital against risk. One of the consequences of this is that smaller operators and businesses without a track record are likely to be squeezed out. So, what are the lessons for start-ups from elsewhere? What do the experiences of countries as diverse as China, Brazil, India, Mexico and parts of Europe teach us? More precisely, what kind of sustainable MSME’s are likely to survive?

Interests 

We must acknowledge that developmental responsibility does not rest with the state only and in that regard, let me raise this impolite issue of what we should expect from business.

Amongst my concerns are that businesses sometimes engage in cynical compliance with regulation – it is far too easy in  most companies to outsource employment, whether this be for support services or some other element of non-core business. The effort may masquerade as support for start-ups, but is in reality an outsourcing of the burden of being the employer of record. But, I raise this not to knock every effort by large business, and as the background paper suggests there are many, commendable examples. The question, however, is whether the same levels of generosity of spirit would find resonance where the start-up is likely to grow into a competitor. Whose interests are likely to be served by an initiative?

Development of Small Businesses

 But in respect of support for small businesses themselves, and before we get to the issues of inclusive finance, we need to ponder the challenges of MSME’s themselves. This cannot ever be a one-size-fits-all solution if we are to understand the question of starting and sustaining MSMEs. Schematically, the continuum of business development passes through the following milestones:

· The germination of the idea – This process would be impacted upon by who is involved – and many studies tend to reflect that sustainable MSMEs are initiated by individuals or groups with some experience of the particular sector. The immediate problem is, of course, that the many millions of young people with promise, who have never worked tend to be automatically excluded. These numbers are so large, in South Africa it stands at approximately 4 million, and in a trendline that is increasing. But let us return to those who have some experience of the sector, assistance is required with the drafting of a business plan. Too frequently, the costs of even this exercise are as prohibitive as to discourage activity. We need to know what financing options are available to support entrepreneurs at this crucial stage.

· Working Capital – Once the entrepreneur has cleared all the hurdles associated with the ideas phase, including having a business plan in hand, we start getting to the elements of inclusive financing. Who will assist and on what terms? Are the issues of access more important than regulation and interest rates? The common challenge cited by entrepreneurs is the inability to get financing in the absence of collateral but the dilemma of this situation is that in the absence of the finance to start a business, they are unable to provide this.

· Access to technology – What technological innovation is likely to be supported? Is there some kind of incubation available? Who will provide the entrepreneur with some livelihood whilst they incubate the idea and test the opportunity. Assume that such support is available, at what price will it be offered? The alternative of using existing technologies to start a business has its own set of accompanying costs implications.

· Access to Skills – Who will work in the SMME? At what wage rates? Where will new training be sourced? How does a start-up clear the hurdle of, say, the National Skills Fund, through which training is offered to contributing businesses? The issue of skills relates not only to matters of production but to basic management skills relating to finances, humans resources, capital resources and most importantly to managing risk. These are issues that are not budgeted for, nor financed and generally in the case of MSMEs these skills are acquired only through experience.

· Access to Markets – In many countries, such as our own, markets are neatly sewn up. A micro-brewer is unlikely to be able to market product even through local shebeens because the fridges are likely to have been supplied by the macro-brewer. Similarly, it is incredibly difficult for start-up manufacturers to get their products placed on supermarket shelves – between manufacturers and large retailers are a myriad of merchandisers who create their own obstacles, presumably within the framework of the law, but making it exceedingly difficult nonetheless. Competition and demand is driven largely by strong marketing campaigns backed by large budgets that are not available to MSMEs.

And when large retailers expand their horizons, they tend to retain the same supply chains they use in their country of origin, frequently compelling fledgling MSMEs to shut down.

In highlighting the challenge of financial access, it is important that we understand the some of the detail of other impacting factors such as drafting a business plan, the incubation period,

management of working capital and the quality of financial services. It simply has to be more than providing access to finance; the support and services provided must be nurturing to deal with the other business requirements. We need to understand the wide range of business opportunities and build in appropriate mechanisms to support and development businesses as diverse as a small traditional beading enterprise, a local furniture manufacturer or a spice company expanding to a national market.

Financial Inclusion

In returning to the intermediation mischief, we must draw attention to the kind of financing. Looking at the South African experience, we adopted the Financial Sector Charter in 2003 which provides the basis of the sector’s engagement with other stakeholders and assigns targets and responsibilities to transform the sector. The key areas of transformation identified were improving access to financial services, human resource development, procurement policies, enterprise development, empowerment financing and ownership. The 2008 Annual Review of the Financial Sector Charter Council indicates that in terms human resource development, BEE procurement targets, Black management, most targets have been exceeded while access to long- and short-term insurance, empowerment of Black people through ownership and access to banking facilities were below target. While the performance has been mixed, having exceeded some targets but lagging on others, one of the innovations has been the Mzansi saving account that was established in 2004 to provide affordable banking services to the large amount of previously unbanked specifically of the LSM 1-5 market.

Globally, financial inclusion is getting more attention with the G20 having launched Financial Inclusion Expert group, the United nations has appointed Princess Maxima on the Netherlands as Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance and the Centre for Financial Inclusion launched at Accion International. While there may be some debate about the concept of financial inclusion, the Centre for Financial Inclusion proposes the following definition:

Full financial inclusion is a state in which all people who can use them have access to a full suite of quality financial services, provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, and with dignity for the clients. Financial services are delivered by a range of providers, most of them private, and reach everyone who can use them, including disabled, poor, rural, and other excluded populations.

G20 Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion

 I have taken this circuitous route to try and explain that the finance related issues are only a small part of the wider discourse. In respect of inclusive finance, it is imperative that this gathering endorse the 9 Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion released by the G20 leadership summit in Toronto last year. These principles are:

1. Leadership: Cultivate a broad-based government commitment to financial inclusion to help alleviate poverty.

2. Diversity: Implement policy approaches that promote competition and provide market-based incentives for delivery of sustainable financial access and usage of a broad range of affordable services (savings, credit, payments and transfers, insurance) as well as a diversity of service providers.

3. Innovation: Promote technological and institutional innovation as a means to expand financial system access and usage, including by addressing infrastructure weaknesses

4. Protection: Encourage a comprehensive approach to consumer protection that recognizes the roles of government, providers and consumers.

5. Empowerment: Develop financial literacy and financial capability.

6. Cooperation: Create an institutional environment with clear lines of accountability and co-ordination within government; and also encourage partnerships and direct consultation across government, business and other stakeholders.

7. Knowledge: Utilize improved data to make evidence based policy, measure progress, and consider an incremental “test and learn” approach acceptable to both regulator and service provider.

8. Proportionality: Build a policy and regulatory framework that is proportionate with the risks and benefits involved in such innovative products and services and is based on an understanding of the gaps and barriers in existing regulation.

9. Framework: Consider the following in the regulatory framework, reflecting international standards, national circumstances and support for a competitive landscape: an appropriate, flexible, risk-based Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime; conditions for the use of agents as a customer interface; a clear regulatory regime for electronically stored value; and market-based incentives to achieve the long-term goal of broad interoperability and interconnection.

It is important that these principles be given life and the key question is ‘Who monitors these countries?’ What mechanisms are in place to ensure that it’s not just words on paper but that it is given life. Who ensures that the leaders who endorsed it have monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place to ensure that the divides are bridged?

Conclusion

I want to conclude by reiterating the need to understand financing business innovation in relation to the contextual constraints that are inherent in the MSME sector and specifically the constraints in Africa. While the Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion adopted by the G20 proposes significant changes, we must ask who will be accountable for ensuring that the financing of MSMEs happens in a new paradigm. I want to make a plea for that new paradigm, a conscious new beginning for sustainable MSMEs in an environment that facilitates with tough support but with attention to detail to impact on every element of our scan of the environment. I remain passionate about the need to support the activities of MSMEs. I am deeply concerned that there is an inadequate appreciation about just how difficult it is to start anything other than survivalist activities and how even more difficult it is to transit from micro-to-small and how big the leap from small-to-medium is. We need this knowledge in order to catalyse the development of more sustainable businesses. We need to maximise the return of every cent spent in support of enterprise development. We have a responsibility to work to minimise the enterprise failure rate. And yes, in this context, understanding the tenets of inclusive finance and working to ensure that access means exactly that, should bind us together in a single endeavour for transformation.

1 The Economy has not Solved its Problems, Robert Wade, published in Challenge March/April 2011

Swaziland-Meat suppliers call for adjustment of tenders


Ruptured blisters on the feet of a pig with FMD
Image via Wikipedia

Swazi Observer by Winile Mavuso

March 18, 2011.

MEAT suppliers say government would have to adjust the procurement process now that they are sourcing meat from Botswana.
Businessman and Senator Robert Zwane said he was on his way to Botswana to find out about the logistics of sourcing meat from that country.
He said their businesses were crumbling as a result of the ban on meat imports from South Africa.
Government imposed the ban following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FDM) at the KwaZulu Natal province. Zwane said what government did not tell farmers was that they could import meat from Botswana instead of leaving their businesses to suffer as a result of the ban.
He said they relied heavily on South Africa because Swaziland produced very little livestock for the market. When called yesterday, Zwane revealed that he was on his way to Botswana to find out more about the meat available for importation into the country. Read more

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