West Africa LNG Group Secures Bridge Financing for LNG Import Terminal in Guinea

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — West Africa LNG Group (WALNG) announced today that it closed on an equity financing round with a US-based investor group. “We are delighted to complete this investment which provides us with the necessary financial resources to fund our operating activities as we finalize long-term offtake agreements with […]

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — West Africa LNG Group (WALNG) announced today that it closed on an equity financing round with a US-based investor group.

“We are delighted to complete this investment which provides us with the necessary financial resources to fund our operating activities as we finalize long-term offtake agreements with the mining companies in Guinea,” said former Ambassador Patricia Moller, Chair of WALNG. “This financing also gives us greater flexibility as we negotiate with potential strategic and financial partners who have expressed strong interest in participating in the transformative Guinea LNG project,” added Mrs. Moller.

Home to some of the world’s most abundant natural resources and highest quality minerals, Guinea has long suffered from a severe lack of energy to develop its economy and improve the lives of its people. In response to the Guinean Government’s request for a competitively priced, abundantly available, and environmentally sustainable fuel source, WALNG is developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal and distribution network in Guinea. The company is currently in active discussions with several strategic and financial investors as well as potential offtake customers.

The Guinea LNG project will supply commercial quantities of natural gas to bauxite mining companies in the Boké, Bel-Air, and Boffa regions to generate power for existing operations and planned bauxite processing facilities (alumina refineries) which will substantially increase Guinea’s beneficiation from its valuable natural resources.

A comprehensive feasibility study funded by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has been completed. The study identified over 2,000 MW of power demand from the bauxite industry alone within a 100-mile radius of the terminal location.

WALNG is a natural gas-based fuels products and services company specializing in customized turnkey solutions for its customers. For more information, please visit our website at www.wa-lng.com.

Kasisto Raises Additional $15.5 Million From FIS and Westpac in Oversubscribed Series C Round

This funding will grow Kasisto’s global AI innovation partnerships and accelerate expansion in the US community banking market NEW YORK, August 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Kasisto , creators of KAI ,  the leading digital experience platform for the financial services industry, today announced a $15.5 million Series C extension, led in the United States by […]

This funding will grow Kasisto’s global AI innovation partnerships and accelerate expansion in the US community banking market

NEW YORK, August 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Kasisto , creators of KAI ,  the leading digital experience platform for the financial services industry, today announced a $15.5 million Series C extension, led in the United States by Fidelity Information Services, LLC  (NYSE: FIS) and internationally by Westpac Banking Corporation  (OTCMKTS: WEBNF), with participation from BankSouth . This brings the total Series C funding to $31 million.

Humanizing Digital Experiences

Kasisto is the industry leader in conversational artificial intelligence (AI), and its KAI platform powers the most intelligent and financially savvy digital assistants in the financial services industry. With this additional funding, Kasisto plans to continue investing in product development, strategic go-to-market initiatives, and the expansion of partnerships with top financial services providers.

Digital channel transformation and consumer engagement are top of mind within the financial services industry. Since the start of the pandemic, digital adoption has accelerated at a breathtaking pace. Global fintech companies and financial institutions of all sizes recognize that digital assistants and an exceptional conversational AI platform are key to successfully evolving customer experience and service models.

FIS is a leading provider of financial technology solutions for merchants, banks and capital markets firms globally. The company is investing in Kasisto in support of FIS’ mission to advance how the world pays, banks and invests.

“We believe the future of banking experiences will become ever more contextual and will be powered by leading AI technologies that create more engaging interactions for every customer,” said Stephane Wyper, SVP of FIS Impact Ventures. “We are excited to be investing in Kasisto and exploring opportunities to leverage their KAI technology across our digital banking capabilities to more humanize digital consumer interactions.”

Westpac, a multinational financial institution headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and serving more than 12 million customers, has collaborated with Kasisto to apply world-leading AI orchestration technology that seamlessly routes customer requests to the most knowledgeable digital assistant. The result is a more seamless experience for both customers and employees.

“The cycles of innovation are getting faster, and so are the needs and expectations of our customers who want quick, intuitive and personalized service,” said Scott Collary, Westpac Group Executive, Customer Services and Technology. “Kasisto’s technology has enabled us to evolve from traditional chatbots to a sophisticated, human-like conversational experience, unified for the first time under a single AI orchestration platform. This means customer queries will be answered more efficiently with reduced wait times and fewer hand-offs.”

The round was also joined by BankSouth, a US Community Bank in Georgia, and a successful early adopter of Kasisto’s multi-tenant KAI platform. BankSouth’s deployment of the KAI Consumer Banking product showcases the ways that a digital assistant can not only service customers but help to grow the business.

“We have seen the successful adoption of conversational AI from our online banking customer base, and both our customers and bankers have found Kasisto’s technology to be effective and easy to use,” said Harold Reynolds, BankSouth Chairman and CEO. “The more we work with this robust platform, the deeper and richer the experience has become for our customers. We fully expect that our highly personalized, digital assistant provided by KAI will be an increasingly integral component of our customers’ banking experience, and this investment in Kasisto demonstrates our commitment to making that happen.”

“The expansion of our Series C is a resounding vote of confidence in our vision,” said Zor Gorelov, Co-Founder and CEO of Kasisto. “The funding will allow us to continue to lead and innovate in the conversational AI space. This year, we have seen our strongest growth to date and expansion in our global and US community banking businesses. I am proud of what we have accomplished and deeply grateful to our talented team that is working tirelessly, with customers and partners, to shape the future of banking.”

About Kasisto
KAI   is the leading digital experience platform for the financial services industry. Kasisto’s customers include J.P. Morgan, Westpac, Standard Chartered, TD, and Manulife Bank, and credit unions such as Fairwinds and Excite – and many more. These financial institutions chose KAI for its proven track record in driving business growth and improving customer experiences. The platform is engaging with millions of consumers around the world, all the time, across multiple channels, in different languages, and is optimized for performance, scalability, security, and compliance. KAI is built with the deepest conversational AI portfolio in the financial industry and is tightly integrated into the fintech ecosystem through partnerships with proven technology providers such as FIS, NCR, Q2 and others. Kasisto is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Silicon Valley and Singapore. Kasisto Singapore Pte Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kasisto. For more information visit kasisto.com  . Follow Kasisto on Twitter   and  LinkedIn  .

Media Contact:
Amanda Hill
amanda.hill@kasisto.com

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Hisense’s Smart Washing Machine and Soundbar Named Products of the Year in South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On August 16th, Product of the Year South Africa announced the 2022 winner in innovation from 19 categories. Two Hisense products, the Hisense Smart Front Loader Washing Machine and the Hisense U5120G 5.1.2CH Soundbar were respectively named winners of the kitchen appliances category and entertainment system category. Product of the […]

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On August 16th, Product of the Year South Africa announced the 2022 winner in innovation from 19 categories. Two Hisense products, the Hisense Smart Front Loader Washing Machine and the Hisense U5120G 5.1.2CH Soundbar were respectively named winners of the kitchen appliances category and entertainment system category.

Product of the Year is South Africa’s largest independent consumer-voted survey focusing on product innovation. Kantar, the world’s top marketing data and analytics organization, conducted an independent survey of over 2,000 households across the country to determine the winners.

“We are honoured and proud of the technology we create, as well as the entire team that contributes to the success of these products. Product innovation is important to our business, and we will continue to invest in it to bring more ‘reimagine your life’ products to South African consumers,” said Patrick, marketing direct of Hisense South Africa.

The Hisense WFQR1214VAJMWT Front Loader Washing Machine is a 12kg powerhouse with Hisense auto-dosing technology that simplifies washing with automatic weighing, smart sensing, and precise dose. Its Smart WiFi feature allows users to control the washing machine from their smartphones using the ConnectLife App. Hisense’s steam wash technology is also included in the product, which uses mild steam to remove odours and make washed garments as clean and soft as new ones, even without additional ironing.

The innovative U5120G Soundbar, also an EISA (Expert Imaging and Sound Association) award winner, features 11 built-in multi-directional speakers and a 180-watt wireless subwoofer for a total of 510 watts of high-quality music. The 8-inch subwoofer can process sounds as low as 40Hz, giving movies, TV shows, games, and music deep and strong bass effects.

The U5120G Soundbar boasts simple connectivity and is Bluetooth compatible, making setup quick, easy, and painless. As to audio experience, speaker placement within the device offers a surround system with real 5.1.2ch sound. The entertainment system category winner can process high-resolution audio, resulting in sound quality comparable to that of recording studios and concert halls. Moreover, its Hi-Remaster technology enhances the sound quality of numerous input sources such as CDs and MP3s.

Beyond the two newly awarded products, Hisense has now distributed its products in South Africa to over 3 000 chain stores and 500 home appliance franchise stores, spanning entertainment, home appliances, mobile, and air conditioning.

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In Collaboration with Mama’s Alliance, Hisense Continues to Support Local Child Education in South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On August 2, world-renowned electronics manufacturer Hisense donated mobile devices to Elkana Childcare, in collaboration with Mama’s Alliance, a South African non-profit childcare organisation network, and online education platform PalFish which provided over 100 PalFish Software/Application codes.    Elkana Childcare is an organisation dedicated to transforming […]

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On August 2, world-renowned electronics manufacturer Hisense donated mobile devices to Elkana Childcare, in collaboration with Mama’s Alliance, a South African non-profit childcare organisation network, and online education platform PalFish which provided over 100 PalFish Software/Application codes.   

 Elkana Childcare is an organisation dedicated to transforming the lives of children who are living in more rural circumstances, which have a detrimental impact on their positive development and future. The donation intends to improve children’s education in the region, specifically their reading, writing, and listening skills.

Children can load the PalFish Software/Application onto their Hisense gadget or utilize the app on other devices. PalFish is a learning platform and online picture book library for all kids from 2 to 12, helping them reimagine their learning through its digital solutions and customized learning products. The software from PalFish and devices donated by Hisense are tools used by the educators at Elkana to enhance their teaching capabilities and interaction with the children. Hisense prides itself in helping the community where it can, and this is only the start of the Hisense and Elkana Childcare relationship.

Hisense has also been actively involved in various social welfare activities in South Africa, contributing to the local community with the goal of long-term support. They sent support to lonely elderly people in local pension institutions, donated televisions and daily necessities to the non-profit childcare centre in Johannesburg and contributed to the South African Red Cross Children’s Hospital as well as other projects to actively help solve education and employment problems in the African region.

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CBI Index 2022 offers a glimpse into the future of the citizenship by investment industry – CS Global Partners

London, Aug. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The world’s most definitive guide on citizenship by investment, the CBI Index, was published today by PWM Magazine, a publication from the Financial Times in collaboration with CS Global Partners and offers readers a view of an industry in metamorphosis. Released amid a year that has, again, been marked by heightened uncertainty, […]

London, Aug. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The world’s most definitive guide on citizenship by investment, the CBI Index, was published today by PWM Magazine, a publication from the Financial Times in collaboration with CS Global Partners and offers readers a view of an industry in metamorphosis.

Released amid a year that has, again, been marked by heightened uncertainty, increased security risk, political instability and intensifying calls to act on the global warming threat, the CBI Index comes at a time when most individuals are reassessing the base they call home and are looking for more stable environments that not only offer security but business, health and education opportunities for generations to come.

Despite a tumultuous global environment and an investment industry harrowed by scrutiny from the EU and USA, this year’s CBI Index hints at opportunity amidst the chaos – opportunity for the CBI industry to evolve and perhaps be the answer to those who look to it to harness the world’s offerings.

Often thought of as a Plan B, the CBI Index infers that in a post-pandemic reset, there has been a shift in trust away from government as individuals obtain second, or multiple citizenships, and take control of their destinies. The new global citizen will look to invest in ‘Plan A’ and a more positive future for people and planet.

While the CBI Index is a rating system designed to measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes across a diverse range of indicators, it is also a voice for the industry and a forward-looking manual that offers readers a glimpse of what the industry could be provided that industry players come together and shape its regulatory environment to benefit not only host countries, but citizens around the world who have realised that home need not be their place of birth, but where opportunities lie.

This Index is intended as a practical tool, both for those who wish to compare CBI programmes as a whole and for those who wish to compare specific aspects of each programme.

Its purpose is to provide a rigorous and systematic mechanism for appraising programmes, to facilitate the decision-making process for individuals considering them, and to bring value to the CBI industry.

The CBI Index assesses all countries with operational CBI programmes, which, in 2022, include Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Cambodia, Dominica, Egypt, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Turkey and Vanuatu.

The CBI Index rates CBI programmes according to these nine pillars: Freedom of Movement, Standard of Living, Minimum Investment Outlay, Mandatory Travel or Residence, Citizenship Timeline, Ease of Processing, Due Diligence, Family and Certainty of Product.

Freedom of Movement measures the relative strength of each country’s citizenship based on three equally weighted factors: the number of destinations to which a country’s passport allows travel without restriction, the number of prime business hubs to which it provides access, and the degree to which a given citizenship provides settlement rights in other nations.

The Standard of Living pillar is a measure of the quality of life offered by the 13 CBI jurisdictions under assessment and this pillar is vital to those who yearn to relocate and secure a prosperous and fulfilling lifestyle. Similarly, it is key to those wanting to take advantage of local business opportunities or needing to transfer and safeguard their assets.

The Minimum Investment Outlay pillar measures one of the most practical and foremost considerations of CBI – how much capital is required for the investor to become an eligible applicant for the programme of their choosing. The cost of applying for CBI increases with the number of dependants — or qualifying family members — included in an application. In some jurisdictions this increase is proportional, while in others the cost only increases following the inclusion of multiple dependants.

Mandatory Travel or Residence examines the travel or residence conditions imposed on applicants both before and after the granting of citizenship.

The Citizenship Timeline pillar looks at the average time taken for citizenship to be secured by the applicant.

The Ease of Processing pillar measures the end-to-end complexity of the CBI application process. In some jurisdictions, the application process can be a labour-intensive and painstaking task that is time-consuming for the applicant; in others, it is streamlined, and the applicant receives clear directives on how to proceed. The overall effortlessness of the application process is a particularly important component, and the promise of a smooth, hassle-free process can generate readiness to engage with a programme.

The Due Diligence pillar focuses on each nation’s commitment to ensuring that their programme remains transparent and effective at evaluating potential candidates for citizenship. It is therefore a measure of each programme’s integrity.

The Family pillar measures the extent to which investors can obtain citizenship for their immediate and extended family. The CBI Index recognises that the rise of increasingly complex family relationships is driving investors to seek programmes that allow for a more diverse range of family members to be included under a primary application.

Lastly, Certainty of Product encompasses a range of factors that measure a programme’s certainty across five different dimensions: longevity, popularity and renown, stability, reputation and adaptability. Additionally, it assesses a programme’s responsiveness to major global events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine that have had a significant impact on global mobility and due diligence requirements.

As the CBI industry undergoes its own challenges and metamorphosis, the CBI Index gives worldly investors a reliable analysis of reputable programmes that will enable them to choose second citizenship in destinations that will fulfil their needs.

Download the full report here to see which of the thirteen countries took top spot and gain further insight into the CBI industry.

CS Global Partners PR
CS Global Partners
+27828215664
nandi.canning@csglobalpartners.com

Cellebrite Introduces Streamlined Collection & Review to Investigative Analytics Workflow

Integrating the Collection & Review and Investigative Analytics functions resolves cases faster and accelerates time to justice PETAH TIKVA, Israel and TYSONS CORNER, Va., Aug. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cellebrite DI Ltd. (NASDAQ: CLBT), a global leader in Digital Intelligence (DI) solutions for the public and private sectors, today announced the launch of an automated and secure […]

Integrating the Collection & Review and Investigative Analytics functions resolves cases faster and accelerates time to justice

PETAH TIKVA, Israel and TYSONS CORNER, Va., Aug. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cellebrite DI Ltd. (NASDAQ: CLBT), a global leader in Digital Intelligence (DI) solutions for the public and private sectors, today announced the launch of an automated and secure system that enables investigative analytics stakeholders to collect, review, and analyze data in an integrated workflow.

By providing a secure and frictionless process, Cellebrite is breaking down silos and accelerating the analysis of evidence. The streamlined process gives enriched data to examiners, analysts, and prosecutors to execute their respective roles.

With a more efficient workflow, Cellebrite is eliminating pain points by empowering agencies to provide data to the analysis team rapidly with secure storage and decoding, delivering a richer investigative data set.

Cellebrite is improving scalability, accountability, and auditability compared to previous methods.

Ori Nurick, Executive Vice President of Portfolio Strategy at Cellebrite, stated: “Every second counts in complex examinations that require access to data, and the conversion of retrieved data into a readable format eases the process on law enforcement. By streamlining the transfer of data to the investigative team, we are providing our customers the tools to shave hours off their workflows and bring evidence to prosecutors faster.”

About Cellebrite

Cellebrite’s (NASDAQ: CLBT) mission is to enable its customers to protect and save lives, accelerate justice, and preserve privacy in communities around the world. We are a global leader in Digital Intelligence solutions for the public and private sectors, empowering organizations in mastering the complexities of legally sanctioned digital investigations by streamlining intelligence processes. Trusted by thousands of leading agencies and companies worldwide, Cellebrite’s Digital Intelligence platform and solutions transform how customers collect, review, analyze and manage data in legally sanctioned investigations. To learn more visit us at www.cellebrite.comhttps://investors.cellebrite.com, or follow us on Twitter at @Cellebrite.

Cellebrite Media
Victor Cooper
Public Relations and Corporate Communications Director
+1 404.804.5910
victor.cooper@cellebrite.com

West Africa LNG Group Obtient un Crédit Relais pour le Terminal d’Importation de GNL en Guinée 

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Californie , 22 août 2022 /PRNewswire/ — West Africa LNG Group (WALNG) a annoncé aujourd’hui la conclusion d’un tour de financement par actions avec un groupe d’investisseurs basé aux États-Unis. “Nous sommes ravis de réaliser cet investissement qui nous fournit les ressources financières nécessaires pour financer nos activités opérationnelles alors que nous finalisons […]

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Californie , 22 août 2022 /PRNewswire/ — West Africa LNG Group (WALNG) a annoncé aujourd’hui la conclusion d’un tour de financement par actions avec un groupe d’investisseurs basé aux États-Unis.

“Nous sommes ravis de réaliser cet investissement qui nous fournit les ressources financières nécessaires pour financer nos activités opérationnelles alors que nous finalisons les accords d’écoulement à long terme avec les sociétés minières en Guinée”, a déclaré l’ancienne ambassadrice Patricia Moller, présidente de WALNG. “Ce financement nous donne également une plus grande flexibilité dans nos négociations avec des partenaires stratégiques et financiers potentiels qui ont exprimé un vif intérêt à participer au projet transformateur de GNL en Guinée”, a ajouté Mme Moller.

Abritant certaines des ressources naturelles les plus abondantes et des minéraux de la plus haute qualité au monde, la Guinée a longtemps souffert d’un grave manque d’énergie pour développer son économie et améliorer la vie de sa population. En réponse à la demande du gouvernement guinéen, qui souhaite disposer d’une source de carburant à prix compétitif, disponible en abondance et écologiquement durable, WALNG développe un terminal d’importation de gaz naturel liquéfié (GNL) et un réseau de distribution en Guinée. La société est actuellement en discussion active avec plusieurs investisseurs stratégiques et financiers ainsi qu’avec des clients potentiels.

Le projet Guinea LNG fournira des quantités commerciales de gaz naturel aux sociétés minières de bauxite dans les régions de Boké, Bel-Air et Boffa afin de produire de l’énergie pour les opérations existantes et les installations de traitement de la bauxite prévues (raffineries d’alumine), ce qui augmentera considérablement la valorisation des précieuses ressources naturelles de la Guinée.

Une étude de faisabilité complète financée par l’Agence américaine pour le commerce et le développement (USTDA) a été réalisée. L’étude a identifié une demande d’énergie de plus de 2 000 MW de la part de l’industrie de la bauxite uniquement, dans un rayon de 160 kilomètres autour de l’emplacement du terminal.

WALNG est une entreprise de produits et services de combustibles à base de gaz naturel, spécialisée dans les solutions clés en main personnalisées pour ses clients. Pour plus d’informations, veuillez consulter notre site Web à l’adresse www.wa-lng.com.

Chinese Ophthalmologists Provide Assistance To African Peers

– Academic and cultural exchange through the Belt and Road Initiative training course for African ophthalmologists SHENYANG, China, Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and co-organized by Shenyang Normal University and He Eye Hospital Group, the one-month training course for ophthalmologists from Belt and Road […]

– Academic and cultural exchange through the Belt and Road Initiative training course for African ophthalmologists

SHENYANG, China, Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and co-organized by Shenyang Normal University and He Eye Hospital Group, the one-month training course for ophthalmologists from Belt and Road countries was officially launched in August.

Ophthalmologists, optometrists, and nurses from six countries, including Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa, Malawi, and Botswana, attended the training.

During the training period, the organizers have been conducting online lectures, seminars, and remote observation of surgeries for the participants on topics encompassing global blindness, trends and prospects in ophthalmology, blindness prevention and treatment models with Chinese characteristics, new progress in blindness prevention, theories in subspecialties of ophthalmology, and cataract surgery operation.

This training also offers a unique cultural exchange program – “China on the Cloud – A Virtual Tour.” Participants can experience the charm of virtual reality technology and visual art through six virtual tours, which take them through the different cultures, history, and natural landscapes of five cities in China, namely Shenyang, Dalian, Beijing, Chongqing, and Shanghai in turn.

In the first cloud tour class, He Wei, Chairman of He Eye Hospital Group and doctoral supervisor, and Liesse Gateka, an international student from Burundi, led the participants on a virtual tour of the Shenyang Imperial Palace to enjoy the visual charm of ancient architecture.

The first stop of "China on the Cloud – A Virtual Tour." He Wei (left), Chairman of He Eye Hospital Group and doctoral supervisor, and Liesse Gateka, a Burundian student, led the participants on a virtual tour of Shenyang Imperial Palace

The Belt and Road Ophthalmologist Training Program is a foreign aid training program sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, which aims to provide young ophthalmologists from participating countries in the Belt and Road Initiative with advanced training in ophthalmic diagnostic reasoning, treatment concepts, and surgical techniques to improve their professional skills and to fill the shortage in local demand for ophthalmologists. Implementing this project is of positive significance to improve the eye health of the people in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative and to strengthen the in-depth exchange and cooperation between China and these countries in the field of eye health.

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Minister Blade Nzimande: Ministerial Higher Health Roundtable on Youth Health and Wellness

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande address on the occasion of the Ministerial Higher Health Roundtable on Youth Health and Wellness held at the Constitutional Hill – JohannesburgProgramme Director Ms Leanne Mana…

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande address on the occasion of the Ministerial Higher Health Roundtable on Youth Health and Wellness held at the Constitutional Hill – Johannesburg

Programme Director Ms Leanne Manas

Ms. Nolwazi Gasa, Deputy Director General DHET;

Prof. Puleng LenkaBula, Chairperson of GBV Technical Task team and VC of UNISA;

Dr (Professor) Ramneek Ahluwalia, CEO of Higher Health;

Technical experts:

• Nompendulo Mkhatshwa Technical expert parliamentary portfolio committee Higher Education;

• Ms Tamara Mathebula- CGE Chairperson;

• Ms. Z Aryetey – Principal at Elangeni TVET College and SAPCO Treasure General;

• Gcinile Khumalo: SAUS – Gender specialist;

• SATVETSA – Gender specialist;

• Mr. Des Ayob: CAMPROSA – Campus safety;

• Rev. Bafana Khumalo – Sonke Gender Justice;

All participants representing various organisations and stakeholders

Good morning

Introduction

I am indeed honoured to have been invited to participate in this important event, as part of our activities to celebrate Women’s Month, and to commit ourselves to taking forward the struggle for women’s emancipation and gender equality. There could have been no better place to hold this event than the deeply symbolic Constitution Hill’s Old Fort prison, where many activists fighting apartheid and various forms of oppression and discrimination were incarcerated in the past.

Indeed, the Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy and today, it is the home to the country’s Constitutional Court, the apex Court in our land.

Our roundtable discussion today, is unique and unlike any other events we have held within our sector.

We hold this roundtable under the Theme: “Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”

Our event today takes place during the Women’s Month, when women activists such as Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn rebelled against a patriarchal system designed to subjugate women, also as black women in particular.

This year’s Women’s Month is a call to action to all of society, government and partners to take tangible steps forward in responding to the most persistent challenges affecting the lives of women and girls.

Indeed, as the Post School Education and Training sector, we are joining the call by our President Cyril Ramaphosa and our government at large in holding this roundtable.

I also want to raise right from the onset an important matter that I feel is not receiving the adequate attention it deserves.

The struggle for gender equality and women’s emancipation shall always remain inadequate unless and until we also pay serious attention to the mobilisation and engagement of boys and especially young men in these struggles.

My argument is essentially that the organisation and affirming of women is a necessary but not sufficient condition for gender equality and women’s emancipation. At the centre of my argument is the necessity to grapple with formation of masculinities in our families, communities and society as a whole, as a critical dimension to take forward the struggle for gender equality and women’s emancipation.

Ladies and gentlemen

Human rights perspective

The theme for our roundtable resonates well with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our own South African Bill of Rights. These are the rights that everyone should have simply because they are human.

In 1948, the United Nations defined 30 articles of human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It established universal human rights based on humanity, freedom, justice, and peace.

South Africa has included indivisible human rights in our own Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

The Bill of Rights also seeks to lay a foundation to comprehensively address South Africa’s history of oppression, super-exploitation of the black working class, especially women workers, colonialism, slavery, racism and sexism and other forms of violation of human rights.

We need not just to imagine but actively become combatants for a world where all people have equal rights and opportunities. Where and girls are not afraid of walking home late at night, and men and boys are not trapped in oppressive masculinities, but where gender equality becomes a reality, including men and women getting paid equally for work of equal value and share household responsibility.

It is also important that we understand that there is deep interconnection between, on the one hand, violation of human rights and oppression And, on the other hand, exploitative economic systems. Economic exploitation tends to thrive and benefit from racial and gender inequalities in society.

In fact, exploitative systems in turn reinforce such inequalities. Therefore, the struggle for genuine women’s emancipation must be accompanied by a struggle against exploitative economic systems.

Realising Women’s rights for an equal future

There is no doubt that South Africa has made significant progress towards achieving gender equality since 1956, when 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August in protest against the extension of pass laws to women.

Today, South Africa’s progressive laws have seen more women serving in high-ranking positions in government than ever before.

Access to education by young girls and women has improved substantially over time. Recent statistics depict a balance in gender parity ratios (GPR) amongst those who are functionally literate from 0,95 in 2002, to 0,99 (zero – no gender equality to one – full gender equality) in 2019, indicating that more women are now literate.

In South Africa and globally, one of the biggest challenges facing women is educational inequality. Access to education has played a pivotal role in ensuring that women have progressed to higher education levels.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2019 country report, gender parity ratios for female participation in tertiary education was 1,39 during 2016, underpinning the fact that significant strides have been achieved in ensuring universal access to education for everyone.

However, it is important that in talking about improved conditions of women in South Africa since 1994, we must not only focus on elite women and forget the fundamental importance of the liberation of working class and poor women in urban and rural areas.

The provision of clean drinking water, electricity and other basic services like health and education has greatly contributed to the liberation of poor, especially black women, from the oppressions of having to walk for miles to fetch water and firewood.

Educational and employment inequality still exists

However, amidst all this, the female unemployment rate has remained higher than that of their male counterparts. This is indicative of apparent disparities between men and women in different facets of life, which leaves women lagging behind in terms of socio-economic opportunities. And it is black African women who are at the bottom of the rung when it comes to unemployment – and this must be a reminder to all of us that the struggle for gender equality must not be a colour blind struggle!

According to the unemployment figures from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) Q1: 2022 released by Stats SA, South Africa unemployment rate is 34.5%.

Unemployment rates for males and females is 33.0% and 36.4% respectively. Of these, the unemployment rate among the Black African population group remains higher than the national average and other population groups at 38,6%.

There were about 10,2 million young people aged 15–24 years in Q1: 2022, of which 37,0% were not in employment, education or training (NEET). In this age group, the NEET rate for males and females increased by 5,9 percentage points and 3,3 percentage points, respectively. The NEET rate for females was higher than that of their male counterparts in both years.

Compared to Q1: 2021, the percentage of young persons aged 15–34 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased by 2,7 percentage points from 43,6% to 46,3% (out of 20,7 million) in Q1: 2022.

The NEET rate for males increased by 3,8 percentage points, while for females the rate increased by 1,6 percentage points in Q1: 2022. In both Q1: 2021 and Q1: 2022, more than four in every ten young males and females were not in employment, education or training.

Equal pay for equal work

In terms of the perceptions on income being the catalyst for women to be independent, results of the Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey (GPSJS) showed that only 55,6% of males believed that earning an income was the best way for women to be truly independent.

On average, 64,7% of South Africans believed that women earning more than their partners would almost certainly cause trouble; 67,5% of males and 62,2% of females agreed with this statement. The country’s gender pay gap is highlighted in the QLFS 2018 report, which showed that the median monthly earnings were below parity at 0,76 in 2018, an improvement from 0,71 in 2013.

Teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence hinders progress

Issues related to teenage pregnancy significantly impact the empowerment of women. In 2019, almost 6% of girls between 14 -19 years of age were at different stages of pregnancy during the 12 months prior to the survey.

Even though young girls are allowed to attend school while pregnant, other challenges such as financial and family support and discrimination and victimisation from society exist, thus seriously hindering their progress in continuing with their education.

Evidence shows that women of childbearing age who had their first birth at age 15-19 and 20-24 are less likely to attain a tertiary qualification compared to those who had their first birth later in life.

Gender-based violence is another major societal challenge in South Africa. While it is encouraging to note from the Governance, Public Safety, and Justice Survey (GPSJS) that most people do not justify wife-beating, some believe it is justifiable under certain circumstances.

About 5,6% of the population believes that it is justified for a man/husband to beat his partner/wife if she has sex with another man or woman, and about 3,3% believed it is justified to do so if she neglects the children.

According to the South African Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS) 2016, one in four (26%) ever-partnered women age 18 or older have experienced intimate partner physical, sexual, or emotional violence in their lifetime.

Empowering women is key to reducing poverty and food insecurity

Poverty and food insecurity are central to women being vulnerable. There is a strong correlation between hunger and gender inequalities.

The Marginalised Groups Indicator 2019 report shows that, on average, 40,6% of female-headed households were without an employed household member.

Gender equality is regarded as an important determinant of food security. However, during 2019 approximately one-tenth of female-headed households (11,1%) reported having suffered from hunger as compared to 9,7% of male-headed households.

Ladies and gentlemen

Having given you all these important statistics, the question is what the intervention mechanisms are to ensure that we realise women’s rights for an equal future.

This is amongst the reason that I discussed extensively with the HIGHER HEALTH CEO, Prof Ramneek Ahluwalia, that HIGHER HEALTH must include an extra mural curriculum on civic education amongst its focus areas.

The development of this country lies in an education system that permits good performance of students and safe custody of these students in residences that are free of crime and any racial prejudice.

Over half a million students joined this civic peer to peer education curriculum every year. This is the hope of building well rounded adults by using education as a tool for empowerment, building civic values, teaching peer education, building volunteerism whilst empowering them on issues plaguing our communities like, gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health, HIV, mental health, gender diversity and racial tolerance.

Amongst others Civic education will help us to address amongst others:

• Gender- Based Violence in our institutions;

• Greater contributions of men as gender equality advocates;

• Racial tolerance in our institutions, for both employees and students.

If I may reflect just on each of these focus areas:

On gender violence in our institutions

The post-school education and training sector (PSET) is home to over 2,5 million youth, where more than 51% of these are adolescent girls & young women between the ages of 15 – 24 years old. With statistics from the Medical Research Council (MRC) indicating that 10% of all reported rape cases comes from the higher education sector.

Women students fall squarely into this high-risk demographic and sexual assault and violence against women on campuses, and it is a major concern.

In the recent past, we had observed the gruesome murders of our students mostly within their residential areas. This includes the barbaric murder of Nosicelo Mtebeni, the Fort Hare University student, Precious Ramabulana, the Capricorn TVET College student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, the University of Cape Town (UCT) student, Nthabiseng Rampai, the Goldfields TVET College student in Welkom in the Free State, Jesse Hess, the University of the Western Cape theology student, and many more.

I have personally denounced such barbaric and shameful acts against women, both in our institutions of learning and in society in general. But condemnation is not enough, more needs to be done by all of us!

It is therefore important that we all must commit to the fight against GBV, discrimination based on gender, and patriarchal attitudes and practices in institutions, workplace and homes.

Racial tolerance in our institutions

The commitment of the democratic government is to transform higher education, thus a range of initiatives seeking to effect institutional change are introduced into the system. These include the restructuring of higher education landscape and institutions; new policies; new funding formula; the remodelling of institutional governance; and the enactment of new laws and regulations.

This includes our White Paper 3: A Framework for the Transformation of Higher Education (1997) that “seeks to guide programmes and processes aimed at transforming the post-apartheid education system, with a vision of a transformed, democratic, non-racial and non- sexist higher education system that will “support a democratic ethos and a culture of human rights by educational programmes and practices conducive to critical discourse and creative thinking, cultural tolerance, and a common commitment to a humane, non-racist and non-sexist social order”.

This is the reason that I condemn any instance of racism in our institution such as the Reitz incident in March 2008 at the University of Free State (UFS) were four white students made university black cleaners drink urine.

I also condemned the recent Stellenbosch University blatant racist act were a white student was urinating on a black student belongings including his laptop at the Huis Marias student residence.

It is very clear that in some of our institutions racial and gender discrimination is still endemic.

Through this civil education, we will try to reach out to all our institutional communities and education them about our Constitution and the Bill of Right as part of our social cohesion endeavors.

Men as gender equity advocates

It is important that men must be part of initiatives to challenge negative masculinities.

In its most extreme form, negative or ‘toxic’ masculinity is discrimination, subjugation or violence towards the females. In many societies and cultures, men and boys are taught from an early age that showing emotions is a “sign of weakness.”

Statements such as “real men don’t cry” or “stop acting like a girl” teach boys they should not express their emotions and reinforces the idea that they should be “strong,” while girls are “weak.”

These sentiments could not be further from the truth. However, such statements can shape the way boys and girls, not only think of themselves, but each other, and as they advance into adulthood, society further reinforces gender stereotypes and norms through media, education and other areas of culture.

It is therefore critical that men and boys have outlets to not only learn about gender equity and positive gender representation, but to be able to address their hurts and pains and be transparent about their feelings.

It is now, more than ever, we challenge society’s definition of “masculinity,” and realize that manhood and boyhood is not all about being “machismo” and in control. It is about showing love, equity and respect for everyone; and acting in this way is not a sign of weakness, but a signal of true strength.

We must challenge the status quo of masculinity, so that we can break the cycle of gender stereotypes and have a more equitable and less gender-biased society.

In line with the comments at the beginning of my speech, I have requested Prof Ahluwalia and Higher Health to come up with a concept and programme on how to engage and involve young men in our sector on gender equality and women’s emancipation.

I intend to lead from the front on this score, and I will be engaging trade union leaders, student leaders, vice-chancellors and college principals, and all other leaders where young men are, to engage them on women’s emancipation and gender equality. UNESCO has prioritised the issue of engaging the boy child and young men in the struggle for gender equality.

Engaging the boy child and young men is important in properly locating what gender and gender equality are about. Gender is about both women and men, and gender relations are about the relationship between men and women. We must not make the mistake of equating gender only to women, as this will hamper the mobilisation of both men and women in fighting for gender equality.

As I conclude, I would like to thank HIGHER HEALTH, for all the good work that they continue to do as reported by the CEO, Prof Ahluwalia in his presentation. Amongst the foremost is the development a Policy Framework to Address Gender- Based Violence and increasing their awareness of the continuum of GBV and the ten (10) protocols to address various aspects of students and our campus staff interests.

I thank the leadership of University South Africa (Usaf), the South African Public Colleges Organisation (SAPCO), the South African Union of Student (SAUS), the South Africa Technical Vocational Education and Training Student Association (SATVETSA) and Union representatives, government departments and the private sector who continue to work with HIGHER HEALTH to ensure that they implement their mandate.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you productive engagements.

Thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa