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Rob Davies: South Africa is open for business

first_img“Government and society need to work in genuine partnership to pursue the country’s current economic vision with conviction and vigour,” writes trade and industry minister Rob Davies on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos. “In the meantime, South Africa needs to continue to send a message to the world that it is still very much open for business.”The board at the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Restrictiveness Index, South Africa ranks among the most open jurisdictions for foreign direct investment in the world. (Image: Brand South Africa)Rob DaviesSouth Africa is committed to improving its global competitiveness and reputation with a view to delivering on its growth and developmental imperatives, while the country continues to compare well with other emerging markets.In a bid to drive this point to international investors, South Africa will be represented at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos by a high-level multi-stakeholder team from 21 to 24 January 2015. Team South Africa, will bring to the 2 500 participants at the summit, the message that South Africa is open for business and remains an attractive and reliable investment destination.According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Restrictiveness Index, South Africa ranks among the most open jurisdictions for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world. Openness is reflected in the overall trend of growing FDI into South Africa over the last 22 years post-1994. South Africa’s stock of FDI now accounts for around 42% of GDP. Over the last five years, South Africa accounted for the bulk of new investment projects in Africa with investment arriving from the USA, some member states of the EU and increasingly from China, India and other Asian countries.The country attracted around 24% of all the FDI projects in Africa between 2007 and 2013. In this light, and notwithstanding the challenging global economic conditions, in August 2013 the Global Financial Times Magazine of United Kingdom (UK) voted South Africa overall winner for best investment destination in Africa for 2013 and 2014.The 2014 AT Kearney Foreign Direct Confidence Index ranks South Africa in position 13 among 25 leading economies moving up two places from 2013. South Africa ranks higher than countries such as Switzerland, Sweden and Netherlands. Research by the International Investment Initiative director at the University of Bern’s World Trade Institute, Dr Stephen Gelb, shows that over 130 foreign firms either entered South Africa or expanded their investments during 2013; that is about 2.5 foreign firms per week announced an investment in South Africa. Trade and Investment South Africa, our investment team, has developed an investment pipeline of R60.5-billion of potential investment projects.Certainly, the draft Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill has generated some negative comment. The reality however is that this bill will ensure that all investors domestic and foreign will be treated equally on the basis of the principle of non-discrimination and substantial protection of investor rights, based on the Constitution.South Africa’s overall performance in the World Bank’s 2015 Ease of Doing Business Index dropped from 41st to 43rd this year, at a time of subdued GDP outlook.The report attributes the drop in rankings to South Africa’s poor or limited access to electricity, one of the biggest hurdles to doing business in the country, where it takes on average five procedures and 226 days to get connected to the grid.Despite this, South Africa has improved in a range of indicators:• Starting a business – 64 to 61• Registering Property – 99 to 97• Trading across borders – 106 to 100• Enforcing contracts – 80 to 46• Paying taxes – 24 to 19The improvement in the trading across borders indicator is a critical area that impacts on performance of a range of manufactured and mineral products shipped from South Africa to international markets.South Africa’s fall in the rankings can also be attributed to counter-productive credit policies, namely making access to credit information more difficult by requiring credit bureaus to remove negative credit information from their databases.The results of the 2015 Ease of Doing Business Report suggest that South Africa has some work to do in creating an enabling environment to attract inward flows of investment. The challenges are however not insurmountable and many are already being addressed by the relevant authorities. South Africa’s global competitiveness is our collective responsibility and, in line with the National Development Plan, we need to begin to collectively respond to creating the conditions that improve our competitiveness.According the World Bank, “the 20 economies at the top of the ease of doing business ranking perform well not only on the Doing Business indicators but also in other international data sets capturing dimensions of competitiveness.”As a developing nation, South Africa will be continually confronted with considerable socioeconomic challenges that need to be resolved. However, the development of powerful interventions such as the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path provide broad yet strong blueprints for dealing with these structural issues, and the focus should remain firmly on the implementation of such plans for the good of the country and all its citizens.Government is committed to creating an enabling environment that will facilitate investment, job creation and growth. Appropriately calibrated and enforced regulations provide business with certainty and a stable business environment. Regulations are also essential to reducing the harmful effects of illicit trade in many forms that is not only harmful to workers and consumers but also constitutes unfair competition to South African companies that are law abiding.We must not lose sight of the things we are getting right and government and society need to work in genuine partnership to pursue the country’s current economic vision with conviction and vigour. In the meantime, South Africa needs to continue to send a message to the world that it is still very much open for business.Follow Team South Africa at WEF Davos on @Brand_SA #SAinDavos or @Brand_SA #CompetitiveSA.last_img read more

Hakia – First Meaning-based Search Engine

first_imgRelated Posts Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus. There has been a lot of talk latelyabout 2007 being the year when we will see companies roll out Semantic Web technologies.The wave started with John Markoff’s article in NY Times and got picked up by Dan Farber of ZDNet and in other media. Forbackground on the Semantic Web in this era, check out our post entitled The Road to theSemantic Web. Also for a lengthy, but very insightful, primer on Semantic Web see NovaSpivak’s recent article.The media attention is not accidental. Because Semantic Web promises to help solveinformation overload problems and deliver major productivity gains, there is a hugeamount of resources, engineering and creativity that is being thrown at the SemanticWeb. What is also interesting is that there are different problems that need to be solved,in order for things to fall into place. There needs to be a way to turn data intometadata, either at time of creation or via natural language processing. Then there needsto be a set of intelligence, particularly inside the browser, to take advantage of thegenerated metadata. There are many other interesting nuances and sub-problems that needto be solved, so the Semantic Web marketplace is going to have a rich variety ofcompanies going after different pieces of the puzzle. We are planning to cover some ofthese companies working in the Semantic Web space, so watch out for more coverage here onRead/WriteWeb.Hakia: how is it different from Google?The first company we’ll cover is Hakia, which is a“meaning-based” search engine startup getting a bit of buzz. It is a venture-backed,multi-national team company headquartered in New York – and curiously has former USsenator Bill Bradley as a board member. It launched its beta in early November this year,but already ranks around 33K on Alexa – which is impressive. They are scheduled to golive in 2007.The user interface is similar to Google, but the engine prompts you to enter not justkeywords – but a question, a phrase, or a sentence. My first question was: What isthe population of China? My next query was more pragmatic: Where is the Apple store in Soho? (anotherexample from Hakia). The answer was perfect. I then performed the same search on Googleand got a perfect result there too. Then I searched for Why did Enron collapse?. Again Hakia did well, but notnoticeably better than Google. However, I did see one very impressive thing in Hakia. Inits results was this statement: Enron’s collapse was not caused by overstatedresource reserves, but by another kind of overstatement. This is pretty witty….but I am still not convinced that it is doing semantic analysis. Here is why: that replyis not constructed out of words because Hakia understands the semantics of thequestion. Instead, it pulled this sentence out of one of the documents which had a highrank, that matches the Why did Enron collapse? query.In my final experiment, Hakia beat Google hands down. I asked Why did MarthaStewart go to jail? – which is not one of Hakia’s homebrewed examples,but it is fairly similar to their Enron example. Hakia produced perfect results for theMartha question: Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… As you can see the results were spot on. I ran the same query on Google and got verysimilar results, but sans flag. Looking carefully over the results in Hakia, I noticedthe message:“Your query produced the Hakia gallery for China. What else do you want to know aboutChina?”At first this seems like a value add. However, after some thinking about it – I am notsure. What seems to have happened is that instead of performing the search, Hakiaclassified my question and pulled the results out of a particular cluster – i.e. China.To verify this hypothesis, I ran another query: What is the capital of china?.The results again suggested a gallery for China, but did not produce the right answer.Now to Hakia’s credit, it recovered nicely when I typed in: alex iskold 1 Hakia is impressive, but does it really understand meaning?I have to say that Hakia leaves me intrigued. Despite the fact that it could notanswer What does Hakia mean? and despite the fact that there isn’t sufficientevidence yet that it really understands meaning. It’s intriguing to think about the old idea of being able to type a question into acomputer and always getting a meaningful answer (a la the Turing test). But right now Iam mainly interested in Hakia’s method for picking the top answer. That seems to beHakia’s secret sauce at this point, which is unique and works quite well for them.Whatever heuristic they are using, it gives back meaningful results based on analysis ofstrings – and it is impressive, at least at first.Hakia and GooglePerhaps the more important question is: Will Hakia beat Google? Hakia itselfhas no answer, but my answer at this point is no. This current version is not excitingenough and the resulting search set is not obviously better. So it’s a long shot thatthey’ll beat Google in search. I think if Hakia presented one single answer for eachquery, with the ability to drill down, it might catch more attention. But again, this isa long shot.The final question is: Is semantical search fundamentally better than textsearch?. This is a complex question and requires deep theoretical expertise toanswer it definitively. Here are a few hints…. Google’s string algorithm is very powerful – this is an undeniable fact. Anarrow focused vertical search engine, that makes a lot of assumptions about theunderlying search domain (e.g. Retrevo) doesa great job in finding relevant stuff. So the difficulty that Hakia has to overcome is toquickly determine the domain and then to do a great job searching inside the domain. Thisis an old and difficult problem related to the understanding of natural language and AI. Weknow it’s hard, but we also know that it is possible. While we are waiting for all the answers, please give Hakia a try and let us know whatyou think.center_img Hakia experimentsNext I decided to try out some of the examples that the Hakia team suggests on itshomepage, along with some of my own. The first one was Why did the chicken cross theroad?, which is a Hakia example. The answers were fine, focusing on the ironicnature of the question. Particularly funny was Hakia’s pick: Tags:#search#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

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Christian Benteke is trying his best says Roy Hodgson

first_imgCrystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has come to the defence of Christian Benteke, saying that the striker is trying his best to score.Southampton defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park to make it three Premier League loss in a row for the hosts. Benteke has scored just three goals in 36 Premier League appearances for Crystal Palace.Benteke has started every game under Roy Hodgson this season but is yet to score and the Crystal Palace manager believes the Belgium striker can get back to being prolific again.“It’s difficult for Benteke and it’s difficult for me and the team because we want to see him scoring goals,” Hodgson told Sky Sports.Joel Ward, Crystal PalaceHow Joe Ward thanks his faith for his football Manuel R. Medina – September 13, 2019 Crystal Palace defender, Joel Ward, has thanked his Christian faith for helping him play football professionally and he explains why.“He’s certainly trying his best to get that goal but somehow it won’t fall for him or when he does get an opportunity he narrowly misses or the goalkeeper makes a good save.“Really, all we can do is keep working at it and encourage him to keep his game going but, of course, psychologically these things do matter and do have an effect on players.“The sooner he gets off the mark the better it will be for everybody.”last_img read more

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Jordan captain asks for a special performance

first_imgAccording to Amer Shafi, his team hopes they can beat Vietnam in today’s Round of 16 match of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.Jordan and Vietnam will meet today as they open the Round of 16 stage of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.And for Jordan’s captain, Amer Shafi has called up his teammates to give the performance of their lives today.“We would like to please our Jordan fans,” Shafi told The Khaleej Times.ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 01: Abdelkarim Hassan of Qatar celebrates with a teammate following their sides victory during the AFC Asian Cup final match between Japan and Qatar at Zayed Sports City Stadium on February 1, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)Qatar will plan soon how to aim higher Manuel R. Medina – February 3, 2019 The Qatari national team won the AFC Asian Cup for the first time ever, but the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts don’t want it to end there.“It will be a tough game but we hope to show a very special performance.”“The team has developed under him,” he said about manager Vital Borkelamsn.“He had made a significant contribution and the evidence is that we have made it to the round of 16.”“We are determined to win for him,” he concluded.last_img read more

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Pep on Citys century and Liverpool

first_imgPep Guardiola is delighted with his team’s 100th goal of their campaign after seeing off relegation bound Huddersfield Town with a 3-0 triumph.The Catalan boss admitted he was excited his team passed a century of goals for the season with the win over the Terriers and further gave his verdict on the title race.“It’s a lot of goals yeah,” he smiled. “We have done so well. In Premier League one team has been better, but it’s January and there are many games left to play. In January, you don’t win the Premier League.“I would rather be in Liverpool’s position. All we can do is win our games. Improve, analyse our games and try to improve. He told the club’s websitejose mourinhoMourinho knows why City and Liverpool are so far ahead George Patchias – September 13, 2019 Jose Mourinho knows why Manchester City and Liverpool are so far ahead of everyone else in the Premier League.In an interview with the Telegraph,…“I cannot answer about Liverpool every press conference. Now we have the Carabao Cup. We will see.”Kevin De Bruyne playing the full 90 minutes was another positive for the Blues as Pep added: “Kevin played 90 minutes, that is good news. When you are a long time injured you need the rhythm.“Sergio was sick, and he needs time, too. You need players, they are incredible, but they need rhythm.”last_img read more

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Driver of Ferrari crash in Ranch Santa Fe missing

first_img KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsRANCHO SANTA FE (KUSI) – First responders said they found a Ferrari underneath a 40 foot power pole Thursday night but when they arrived the driver was no where to be found.Fire crews said at first they were unable to make access to the car due to down power lines that were still charged.Rescue crews from the ground and with the assistance of the San Diego Sheriffs Helicopter searched the area for any possible heat sources to find the driver, according to officials.Emergency crews said after an hour they determined that no one was inside the Ferrari and that no one was also ejected.Officials said they don’t know how the $200,000 Ferrari lost control or why the driver did not remain on scene.The roads are currently closed and SDG&E is currently working to fix the power pole and to restore power. March 8, 2019 Posted: March 8, 2019 Driver of Ferrari crash in Ranch Santa Fe missing KUSI Newsroom, Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News, Traffic & Accidents FacebookTwitterlast_img read more