Richard ‘Frog’ Holmes is adamant his craving for the Wray & Nephew Contender boxing title will be over when he faces the electrifying youngster, Ricardo ‘Magic Man’ Salas, in what is anticipated to be a monumental showdown for the 2018 crown at the National Indoor Sports Centre tomorrow. “The way I’m hungry for this, it’s like I’m not eating – like mi nuh eat for how many days,” said Holmes, about the Wray & Nephew Contender title. “I’m so hungry. Nobody is going to take my food out of my mouth because I’m going to war for my food. It’s just like when a hungry dog is there and him food throw down and you try to take it. Him a go bite you up. I’m hungry for it.” The ultimate clash in the Team Jamaica vs Team Canada series will be broadcast live on TVJ, starting at 9:30 p.m. The winner shall claim the 2018 Wray and Nephew Contender welterweight championship belt, plus $2 million, with $500,000 going to the runner-up, $250,000 for third, and $200,000 for fourth. Holmes, whose career was influenced by viewing fights on TV, is hoping that there will be much to celebrate by residents watching from Stony Hill, where his career started. His early passion, though, was soon fed into a channel when Carl Grant Jr, his current trainer, introduced street fights to Stony Hill in 2007. He admitted not accepting Grant’s initial offer to join Bruising Gym because he was doing construction work. “Eventually I went to the gym and trained like about three to four months until they had the National Championship in November and there’s where I made my debut,” he said. Holmes ended up winning the title and went on a 12-game winning streak. However, he took a fight while not in training and lost at fight 13. In 2012, he first fought in the Wray and Nephew Contender Series and became a pro, noting its contribution to his overall development. “I’ve gained a lot of experience over the years after turning professional in 2012, where I went up against Donovan ‘Police’ Campbell in the semi-finals. After that I went up against people like Sakima Mullings, Kemahl ‘Hit Man’ Russell, ‘Concrete’ Moncriffe (Devon) and ‘Chop Chop’ Corley. It has helped me a lot, moving forward and in this competition,” said Holmes, who in the early days was straight aggression, but is now more measured. “For the finals, it’s going to be a different fight, a much bigger improvement same way. I’m pacing myself, I’m controlling my breathing, I’m controlling the rounds. I know when to step up in the round, I know when to cool down.” “One of the things that I’m sure, sure, sure say that you can expect from me in the final is that I’m going to lift the Wray & Nephew 2018 Contender championship belt on the 25th of July,” Holmes predicted. “You’re going to see a Holmes that’ll make you say you never knew that Holmes existed, a brand new Holmes, a sharper Holmes, a Holmes who is going to be hitting, moving, turning all angles, lifting all stones, turning all blocks. You’re going to see a Holmes who is hungry.”
Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief But let’s be real: After the way the projected top overall pick in the NBA draft played during the ACC Tournament, and the rest of the season for that matter, is there anybody that warrants more attention on college basketball’s biggest stage than the Blue Devils’ freshman phenom?“I’m very excited to be here,” Williamson said, “because I watched March Madness as a little kid, and to actually be here … I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsIt’s not just that he’s playing for the Blue Devils, or coach Mike Krzyzewski, or on a team that many expect to cut down the nets next month in Minneapolis. Williamson even gets to start his journey in his home state of South Carolina against No. 16 seed North Dakota State.Lest anyone think differently, the Bison know what they’re up against. The Cavaliers, of course, were blown out by Maryland-Baltimore County in the biggest upset in tournament history last season — an epic collapse that they’re ready to put in the past.“We discussed it a lot. We used it as motivation,” the Cavaliers’ Ty Jerome said. “It can take you to a place you’ve never been if you use it the right way. So it’s more about doing what we do, playing with our same edge every single game we’ve played so far this year rather than just knowing we’ve got to make up for last year and playing with anxiousness and anger.”As the tournament cranks back up, here are some of other story lines Friday:ANOTHER WADE-LESS RUN: Kansas State reached the Elite Eight last season without star forward Dean Wade, who was dealing with a foot injury. Can the Wildcats do it again? Wade isn’t expected to play this weekend, and perhaps at all this month, and that means the No. 4 seed in the South Region could be ripe for an upset when it opens against UC-Irvine in San Jose, California.“I mean, we’re a better team (than last year),” leading scorer Barry Brown Jr. said. “We’re just trying to do better things. The Elite Eight run was fun. We’re just trying to take it game by game, day by day, and get better hopefully, doing even more special things.”BRILLIANT BULLS: Buffalo lost just three games, one of them to Marquette, and spent most of the season firmly entrenched in the Top 25. Now, coach Nate Oats’ team can prove it deserved its ranking when the No. 6 seed in the West Region opens against Arizona State in Tulsa, Oklahoma.The No. 11 seed Sun Devils built some momentum with a play-in win over St. John’s.SWIRLING CYCLONES: Iowa State rolled to the Big 12 Tournament title with a victory over Kansas, and Marial Shayok and Co. can score points by the dozen. The No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region gets to prove it against No. 11 seed Ohio State, a team that prefers to lean on defense.“I think the guys have great confidence,” Cyclones coach Steve Prohm said, “and obviously playing against Ohio State, I think our vision and focus will be really good.”PAC-12 PRIDE: The conference that was so maligned all season, and that many thought would be a one-bid league, gets a chance to prove everyone wrong. No. 12 seed Oregon and its new-look lineup of four 6-foot-9 stalwarts opens against fifth-seeded Wisconsin in the South Region, while No. 9 seed Washington gets Sam Merrill and eighth-seeded Utah State in the Midwest. The Ducks are on a roll after winning their conference tournament title to secure a bid, while the Huskies dominated the Pac-12 all season getting routed by the Ducks last weekend.“I mean, it’s always the next game. Win or lose, you can’t dwell on it,” said the Huskies’ Matiesse Thybulle. “For us, we moved on the second we got off the bus and we’re excited to be here and have this opportunity to play in March Madness.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college “We’re aware. We’re human,” North Dakota State guard Vinnie Shahid said. “Anybody that doesn’t think about it or tells you they don’t think about it, they’re lying to you, because we’re human and we do think about it. At the end of the day, the ball goes up and it tips, it’s something we’ve all been doing our whole lives, 40 minutes goes on the clock and it’s a basketball game.”There were plenty of near-upsets in the first round Thursday, but games became known more for the lack of execution down the stretch — think Belmont’s failed bid against Maryland or New Mexico State’s mistakes against Auburn — than any kind of memorable March Madness.That is, until Ja Morant dropped a triple-double and No. 12 seed Murray State routed fifth-seeded Marquette to set up a second-round matchup with Florida State.Perhaps more upsets will come Friday.The games get started with high-scoring but mercurial Iowa against seventh-seeded Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio. Fifth-seeded Mississippi State will try to avoid an upset at the hands of Liberty in their East Region matchup in San Jose, California, while top-seeded Virginia will try to avoid the sheer embarrassment of losing to another No. 16 seed when it faces Gardner Webb.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra LATEST STORIES Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Duke’s Zion Williamson (1) celebrates after Duke defeated Florida State in the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)The spotlight of the NCAA Tournament shifts to Zion Williamson and No. 1 overall seed Duke.Along with the other 31 teams playing in first-round games Friday.ADVERTISEMENT Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying MOST READ Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Nuggets grind out victory over fading Wizards Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? View comments
REVEALED REVEALED Latest Premier League News Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won tense huge blow deals Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January gameday cracker Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? .@SouthamptonFC’s Kayne Ramsay becomes the youngest @premierleague starter this season aged 18 yrs, 81 daysYoungest PL starters this season:K RAMSAY – 18 yrs 81 daysR Sessegnon – 18 yrs 85 daysO Skipp – 18 yrs 90 days pic.twitter.com/U8jUuNNbbz— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 30, 2018Considering he only earned his professional contract in September, defender Ramsay has enjoyed a brilliant rise into the big time.And in starting the game at home to City, Ramsay set a creditable record of being the youngest Premier League starter this season at the ripe old age of 18 years and 81 days.Ramsay, who was at Chelsea before moving to the south coast, only just beat the likes of Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon and Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp as you can see above. Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars What’s the old saying? If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.And Southampton’s Kayne Ramsay is clearly viewed as good enough by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl after being handed his Premier League debut – a start against reigning champions Manchester City. Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT shining Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City no dice Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury
Gibson is believed to be angered with Morris for selling Derby’s home ground, Pride Park, for £14.6million and leasing it back.But Morris, whose Derby side take on Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final on Monday, which is LIVE on talkSPORT, insists Derby have not broken any rules. Mel Morris’ Derby are under pressure from Middlesbrough 2 Getty Getty Steve Gibson is unhappy with Derby 2 Derby owner Mel Morris has accused Middlesbrough chief Steve Gibson of ‘hypocrisy’.Boro are set to take legal action against the Rams after they allegedly broke the Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules. He said: “When I raised that at a meeting in March, the representative from the club said it was allowed in the rules at that time.“So is this! What is different? You set the mould and we copied your lead, now you’re bi******. He [Gibson] had the hypocrisy to do that.“Even his own fans called it out on their forums and said ‘how dare we do this with our own history’. We discussed this issue again in April and there wasn’t a single vote against, including from their own club!“They didn’t even vote for their own motion. It is absolutely hypocritical. I didn’t write the rules.“They had the gall to say to us this is not right. Absolutely unbelievable. Those things to me are just insane.”
Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January targets moving on FC Barcelona targets Is Philippe Coutinho set to re-join Liverpool from Barcelona? TOP WORK 3 LATEST TRANSFER GOSSIP Nacho Monreal has urged Laurent Koscielny to end his Arsenal strike and lead the Gunners into the new season. (The Sun)Brazilian forward and Arsenal target Everton says he has been made a transfer offer, but has refused to reveal the name of the club in question. The 23-year-old starred for Brazil in the Copa America and won the tournament’s Golden Boot award. (Daily Mirror)Bayern Munich are refusing to abandon their £70m pursuit of England ace Callum Hudson-Odoi. (Daily Star)Eintracht Frankfurt want to keep West Ham target Sebastien Haller and are ready to offer him a new deal to keep him at the club. (Frankfurter Rundschau)Manchester City believe Leroy Sane will snub Bayern Munich if the Bundesliga champions make an official bid for the 23-year-old Germany winger. (Daily Mirror)Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri is a target for Italian clubs AC Milan and Roma. (Daily Express) Manchester United have agreed an £80m deal with Leicester City that will make Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in history. United will initially pay £60m for the England centre-back – who will have a medical on Monday – with a further £20m to follow in add-ons. (The Sun)Leicester are set to replace Maguire with Brighton defender Lewis Dunk, having agreed a £45m deal for the 27-year-old. (The Sun)Philippe Coutinho is set to return to Liverpool this summer, claim reports in Italy. The Brazilian is said to have Okayed a deal re-join his former club from Barcelona on a two-year loan deal, with an option for the Reds to buy him back the for £88m. (Calciomercato)Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says the club will keep their options open about recruiting a left-back as cover for Andrew Robertson this summer. (ESPN) LATEST Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer REVEALED three-way race talkSPORT.com rounds up all the latest transfer news and football gossip from Monday’s papers and online… Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? Unai Emery is stepping up his search for a wide player this summer as Arsenal hold talks with Everton Soares over a move (Daily Mail)Young Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane, 20, is expected to complete a loan move to a Championship club this week. Brentford, Charlton Athletic and Hull City all want the Englishman, who played for Doncaster Rovers last season. (Goal)Tottenham and Arsenal have joined Manchester City in the hunt for Dani Alves, who is a free agent following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain. (Mundo Deportivo)It is claimed Spurs have ‘made contact’ with the 36-year-old full-back – who is the most decorated player in football history – over a move to north London. (The Sun)Tottenham are ready to offer Roma £36m plus Toby Alderweireld in exchange for Nicolo Zaniolo. (Daily Star)Celtic have rejected Arsenal’s latest bid for 22-year-old Scotland defender Kieran Tierney, with the fee offered thought to be about £25m. (Sky Sports) 3 Dani Alves (right) recently captained Brazil to the Copa America title and is now wanted by Tottenham and Arsenal 3 Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti LIVING THE DREAM getty Chelsea confident of beating Man United and Liverpool to Sancho signing
Celtic have agreed a fee with Paris St Germain for Odsonne Edouard as they look to land the striker on a permanent deal, STV understands.The French striker spent last season on loan in Glasgow and negotiations have been ongoing recently for his return to the club.The move is expected to be concluded shortly and it is believed that Celtic will lay out a club record fee to get their man.Edouard impressed with his contribution to Celtic’s treble success last season and Rodgers made it clear that he was interested in making the 20-year-old a permanent addition to his squad, insisting he would have no problem with paying a significant fee to the French giants to secure his release. The player had also made clear his desire to return to the club, saying after the Premiership title win: “I love this club, I really love this club. If the decision was up to me I’d like to stay but I can only do so much.”Edouard made 22 appearances last season, scoring nine times including a double against Rangers.
A Donegal-based businesswoman got the chance of a lifetime to spin the wheel on RTE’s Winning Streak last Saturday– to win a whopping €52,000!Getting to spin the famous wheel on the Winning Streak game show never came into the mind of Annmarie Doherty, who lives in Greencastle, Co. Donegal – it was enough for her to just appear on the show. But the Derry native won a massive €30,000 on the wheel to add to the €22,000 in cash she won earlier in the show.Annmarie plans to buy a new car with her winnings as her old one recently failed the NCT. She said she will also treat her husband, Michael, who will soon be turning 50, and their twin boys Finn and Loughlin (14). Annmarie Doherty from Greencastle, Co. Donegal, pictured at the presentation of the Winning Streak winners’ cheques with Marty Whelan, Winning Streak game show co-host; Annmarie Doherty, the winning player; Niall Andrews, Head of Sales and Operations at the National Lottery and Sinead Kennedy, Winning Streak game show co-host. Pic: Mac Innes Photography.Leading up to the programme, Annmarie was a mixed bag of nerves and excitement. Annmarie picked up her winning ticket from GALA Express, Drung, Quigley’s Point, Co. Donegal.She said she was overwhelmed by the many well-wishers in her community and the number of texts and messages from far and wide wishing her luck.Annmarie told hosts Marty Whelan and Sinead Kennedy how she and Michael were childhood sweethearts who lost touch. But they reconnected in their twenties when they were living and studying in Trinity College in Dublin where Michael was studying Computer Science and Annmarie Business and Economics. Annmarie also has a Master’s Degree in Woman Studies from UCD.The couple, now married for 25 years, have pooled their expertise and run their own business a Motarme – a business-to-business technology marketing firm. Before that Annemarie worked for a range of Chambers of Commerce and also in marketing and public relations for Local Enterprise Boards. She was also the former President of the Donegal Women in Business Network. A grand total of €184,000 was won on this week’s episode of the Winning Streak National Lottery game show.Donegal woman bags €52,000 on Winning Streak was last modified: January 14th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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)
Holiday Magic Fireworks1111111 Share This!Christmas crowds are here, the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure marches on, and the whole resort is full of holiday cheer! Read on to find out about this and more in this week’s Disneyland news.Special Events and NotesIt’s Christmas week at Disneyland, and that means you can expect really high crowd levels. For those of you that are planning to be at the parks on Christmas Day, several restaurants will be featuring special menus for the occasion. If you’re looking for a festive feast on Christmas, Disney’s PCH Grill, Storytellers Café, Goofy’s Kitchen, and Napa Rose will all have seasonal buffets and/or menus for the occasion. Reservations are recommended.In the parks, you will of course find seasonal decor, character costumes, and treats celebrating Christmas, in addition to Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and other winter holidays. Make sure you check out our photo tour of the resort, and Guy’s recent write up of the best seasonal treats to be found throughout!There are a couple of special holiday events at Disney’s California Adventure. Disney’s Festival of Holidays includes the Festive Foods Marketplace, a collection of kiosks serving small bites of all manner of seasonal food and drink. You can check out some edible highlights here. Additionally, Disney’s ¡Viva Navidad! is a cultural holiday celebration leading up to Three Kings’ Day that includes authentic music, dance, decor, and food. Passholders, make sure you stop by the AP Corner for special freebies and opportunities as well!Disney’s parades and evening shows also get a holiday overhaul, with A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… in Holiday Magic Fireworks taking place regularly throughout the season. Several attractions also get a seasonal overlay for the holidays. This year, in addition to perennial favorites like Haunted Mansion Holiday and it’s a small world Holiday, a couple of Radiator Springs attractions get a transformation. You’ll find Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl along with the wonderful holiday decor in Cars Land.Finally, the reboot of Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, is finally here, and you can see a special exhibition of the Art of Mary Poppins at Disneyland. It’s in the lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.CrowdsEveryone is off of school for Christmas break, and that means we’re going to see mammoth crowds this week, especially after Christmas. Only Saturday has crowds that are predicted to be lower than level 8, and Thursday and Friday are both predicted to have level 10 crowds.Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.WeatherThe weather gurus are predicting a relatively chilly week in Anaheim for the holiday, and there’s even a decent chance of rain the latter part of the week. Lows will dip into the 40s on most days, so make sure you plan accordingly.As always, it’s wise to double check the weather as the day of your visit approaches. Check out the most up-to-date forecast here.ShowsDisney has a full slate of shows all week long. Detailed show schedules, including smaller diversions like The Disneyland Band can be found here. ShowSatSunMonTueWedThuFri Fantasmic!2222222 Admission and HoursPassholder blockouts are in full effect this week; basically, unless you have a Signature Plus Annual Passport, you’re blocked out all week. For those of you buying tickets as day guests, single-day tickets are Peak Price ($135/$127) all week.Regular park hours (excluding Extra Magic Hours/Magic Mornings) are as follows this week: PricePEAKPEAKPEAKPEAKPEAKPEAKPEAK Disneyland8-128-128-128-128-128-128-12 SatSunMonTuesWedThurFri California Adventure8-108-108-108-108-108-118-11 Christmas Fantasy Parade2222222 Early entry is being handled differently this week for the holiday. Early entry at 7 a.m. is available at both parks every day this week starting on Monday (normal rules apply to the weekend — Disneyland on Saturday, DCA on Sunday) for eligible guests. Resort guests can take advantage of these hours every day of their stay for Extra Magic Hours, while guests eligible for Magic Mornings can use that benefit one day at Disneyland Park only. Full park hours can be found by clicking on each date in the Crowd Calendar.RefurbishmentsMost everything is running at Disneyland! With the exception of World of Color at California Adventure, which remains offline until further notice with technical issues related to the redo, everything else that would normally be operating is operating. As always, be aware that refurbishments can pop up unexpectedly, so check out our refurbishments page to make sure your favorite ride is still running, and for details on exactly what will be down and for how long.That should do it for this week’s news. Check back next week and every week to find out what’s coming down the pike. Got questions? Aware of anything else that prospective guests should know about? Let us know in the comments.
20 June 2013 The descendants of South Africa’s Khoi and San communities must benefit from the country’s land reform programme if the legacy of the 1913 Natives Land Act is to be reversed, says Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti. Nkwinti was addressing a business briefing in Cape Town on Thursday to coincide with the centenary of the passing of the Act by the Union Parliament on 19 June 2013. The notorious law laid the groundwork for the apartheid policy of racial segregation in South Africa. Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said the Khoi and San people were the first lines of defending the land when South Africa was invaded by colonialists. “We could not, as a democratic government, understanding our history, be happy and satisfied when some of us were not catered for, and I think it was not a deliberate exclusion, but it was more of a systematic exclusion,” the minister said. “The Khoi and San were left out of the process even though they were the first to be dispossessed of their ancestral land – before the notorious 1913 Native Land Act was passed – so now is time for us to go back and go beyond the cut-off date of 1913,” he said. Asked how the government aimed to redress the Khoi and San, Nkwinti said his department would be setting up a national reference group, with five representatives from each province, who would meet with his department regularly. “We’ve agreed that each province should nominate five representatives, that makes 45 in total, so that we will then discuss in terms of the Constitution and the 1913 cut-off date on how do we come up with a set of proposals to government which will then open up for the Khoi and San to make their own claim. “This work has already started,” he said. Land reform challenges Also addressing Thursday’s breakfast, former Land Affairs director-general Gilindwe Mayende said South Africa had redistributed “something in the vicinity of 8-million hectares” of land in the space of 18 years. “However, there are quite a number of challenges that seem to continue to bedevil the programme in its entirety,” Mayende said. “We are still struggling to come up with an integrated approach where we don’t only talk of transferring land, but transferring land as well as knowing how to access the market, or a totality of package to beneficiaries … that is why we’ve seen many projects not succeeding and which now need to be recapitalised.” Mayende said another challenge was that the land reform programme was not linked dynamically to agrarian transformation and in the broader sense to rural development. Asked if the country would follow the Zimbabwean “land invasion” model, Deputy Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Lechesa Tsenoli said: “We’ve not been hearing enough from every stakeholder … especially the farmers and property owners, who are our critical stakeholders in helping us avoid the Zimbabwean land invasion situation, so we would like to address them urgently,” he said. Source: SAnews.gov.za
Chief economist Chris Hart said South Africa had not had a great start to the year: the price of petrol had gone up, the rand had declined, interest rates were up, trade unions with political ambitions were fighting employers and not working together with them to find solutions. All of these factors were not good for investors. (Image: Ray Maota)• Sandisiwe GugusheCommunications: Brand South Africa+27 11 482 0133Ray MaotaSouth Africa and Sweden have long-standing political and development connections, and linking up to find ways to monitor South Africa’s export competitiveness is the latest venture in the nations’ partnership.Brand South Africa, custodian of South Africa’s image, and Business Sweden discussed designing an export competitive index for South Africa at a networking session held at The Michelangelo in Sandton on 10 February.At the inaugural Brand South Africa Competitiveness Forum held in 2013, it was established that a Country Performance Tracking Index was needed to enable South Africa to track and respond to key challenges within its economy and society. At the networking meeting this week, economists Mauro Gozzo from Sweden and Chris Hart from South Africa spoke about the state of exports in their respective countries, and how to improve the sector.Dr Petrus de Kock, the research manager at Brand South Africa, also spoke about how Brand South Africa tried to aid South African exports. Olov Hemstrom, the Swedish trade minister, said: “We from Business Sweden are working a lot to help the export development in South Africa. We have an industrial school in Temba and are working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry as well as Seta.”The panel consisting of Hart, Brand South Africa research manager Dr Petrus De Kock and Swedish economist Mauro Gozzo discussed ways to improve South Africa’s export competitiveness. (Image: Ray Maota)Exports are crucialSweden’s economy is faring better than that of many of its peers: the nation has low public debt and a current account surplus, and since the early 1990s its growth rate has outpaced that of other members of the European Union-15 and the United States, according to the McKinsey Report, produced by the global management consultancy firm. The firm works with its clients to apply its understanding of market and industry forces to develop long-term macroeconomic perspectives.“Sweden has an export driven economy as 50% of our gross domestic product comes from exports. And of this 50%, about 20 % comes from just three companies,” said Gozzo. He also said that Sweden’s economy had been rising better than that of North America.“If you have a lot of cyclical exports, your economy will be hard hit at bad times, just like Sweden was in 2009. Our recovery was quick though and by 2011 we were back to normal.” Gozzo said that consumer credit was important in emerging markets.Sweden’s economic growth mainly reflects productivity gains in the areas most exposed to international competition: manufacturing, and business and financial services, which together account for only about one-third of the nation’s economy. In its two other main components – the public sector and local services – economic growth has been much slower, at a pace comparable to that of the rest of the EU-15.The EU-15 refers to those member countries of the European Union prior to the accession of 10 candidate countries on 1 May 2004. They are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.“Sweden would never have had such a stable economy had IT and telecoms companies never boosted the Swedish economy,” said Gozzo, talking about major companies such as Ericsson.South Africa’s weaknessesHart said South Africa had not had a great start to the year: the price of petrol had gone up; the rand had declined; interest rates were up; trade unions with political ambitions were fighting employers and not working together with them to find solutions. All of these factors were not good for investors.“All this does not mean doom and gloom; we are part of the fragile five. These are countries with huge twin deficit markets in emerging markets and include Brazil, India, Turkey, Indonesia and South Africa,” said Hart. South Africa was a triple deficit country as even households had deficit.“The reason why South Africa is part of the fragile five is the current account deficit because our production has fallen off due to labour unrest.”The way forward“Boosting competition and promoting deeper regional trade integration are critical for restarting South Africa’s export engine to bolster growth, which would help create jobs and reduce poverty,” Gozzo explained.About Brand South Africa’s involvement, De Kock said its job was to give South Africa an endearing image to the rest of the world to boost investments.Hart added: “South Africa has identified the exports sector as an engine for higher, more inclusive and job-intensive growth with the [National Development Plan], aiming for export volume growth of 6% a year in order to achieve an annual increase in real gross domestic product growth of about 5.5%.”