Oct 17, 2019

According to the Q3 2019 financial statement released by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) for the period ended September 30, 2019, the bank posted a revenue of N224.2 billion, 5.6% less than N237.5 billion recorded in the same period of 2018.

The bank, however, recorded and increased profit before tax (PBT) of N170.7 billion as against N164.1 billion in 2018. This represent a 3.9% increase in PBT.

The bank also made a profit after tax (PAT) of N146.99 billion as against N142.2 billion, representing a 3.4% increase.

GTBank made N48.4 billion from fees and commissions, compared to N40.3 billion in 2018. This suggests that fee and commission income increased by 19.9%.

The bank incurred N27.3 billion paying salaries and other allowances. This is 2.9% less than the amount spent in 2018.

GTBank gained 1.31%, closing at N27 from trading session on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Oct 17, 2019

What we eat is changing on a global scale. Changes in the types of food that are available and affordable, where we buy food and how we prepare it carry significant consequences for nutrition and health.

Until the 20th century, the key nutritional issue was that people could not afford sufficient food or the necessary nutrients. But nowadays, the single most important issue is the co-existence of undernutrition – lack of access to sufficient quantities of food – and overnutrition – excessive consumption of food.

Across the world, calorie intake is on the rise and so is consumption of vegetable oils, meats and ultra-processed foods. Overall, imbalanced diets and multiple, at times opposite, nutritional problems are at the core of today’s public health challenges. Middle-income countries like Ghana embody this ambivalence. They show the highest increased consumption of unhealthy foods, but also improvements in consumption of healthy foods.

The shifts in diet and lifestyle are undeniable. But a key question remains unanswered: how does the globalisation of food systems affect different groups? Given the multiple burdens of malnutrition, it is important to understand who is more likely to suffer from undernutrition or from obesity.

To address this question, we did research that combined a detailed investigation of diets with the analysis of food systems. The aim of our study of food consumption among school children in Accra was to understand diets and contextualise them in social and economic living conditions within the urban food landscapes.

We explored food consumption among school children from different socio-economic backgrounds in Accra. We carried out a student survey in five junior high schools in the Accra Metropolitan Area. We did qualitative interviews with schoolchildren, representatives of the food industry and public officials.

Our findings reveal that inequality and dietary change frame today’s urban food question in Accra. Socio-economic status is a critical dimension of diets, with poorer children more vulnerable to food insecurity and fewer food choices.

But the consumption of packaged and processed foods, often sugar-rich and nutrient-poor, cuts across wealth groups.

Ensuring that urban populations have access to affordable food, a long-standing goal of agricultural and food policy, is essential but no longer sufficient. Quality matters too. Understanding how unhealthy diets take root requires exploring the role of the food industry in making cheap, enticing and unhealthy food options available to urban residents.

The background

Urban diets are changing, as agricultural and food systems have become globalised and created new forms of food production, distribution, and trade. The nutritional implications for the Global South are seen in rising obesity and non-communicable diseases alongside persisting food insecurity and old-fashioned food policies.

Understanding how patterns of globalisation affect the welfare of populations is a key development question. But we don’t know very much about the way that the globalisation of food and agriculture systems affects different individuals or groups.

Research suggests that dietary change will be experienced differently by rich and poor, and by urban and rural populations.

In Ghana, national statistics suggest that there is a story of dietary change with remarkable reduction, but not elimination, of hunger and under-nutrition. Alongside this there’s rising overweight and obesity, particularly in urban areas, among wealthier people and women.

Ghana is self-sufficient in the production of maize, cassava and yam but is reliant on imports of rice, wheat and meat. Diets are becoming less reliant on cereals and imports of dairy products, poultry and sugar have been on an upward trend since the mid-1990s.

This may indicate that diets are becoming more diverse. But estimates of imports don’t allow us to rule out concerns about the deterioration of diets. Ghana is one of the fastest-growing markets for packaged foods and snacks, in particular. Crucially, we need to consider these changes in food production and trade in the context of rising inequality in the country.

What we found

Official statistics tend to portray socio-economic and nutrition inequality as reflecting urban-rural divides. But our study sheds light on the significance of food inequality within an urban area.

Through the daily lives of schoolchildren, we found that that children have access to different types of food depending on where they live and which school they go to.

Some schools have a canteen and others do not; children whose schools don’t have a canteen rely on food street vendors to meet their food needs during the day.

As expected, our results show that children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds are more vulnerable to food insecurity, lower dietary diversity and poor food consumption. Food insecurity, far from being a rural problem, concerns the urban poor too. Low or irregular access to money, most likely linked to low and fluctuating household incomes, poses a major obstacle to the ability of children to buy the food they need during the school day.

A group of children in the sample have their first meal at the first or second break at school. These are children from poorer backgrounds, a finding that suggests that low or irregular incomes determine the number of meals children can have.

Though it is clear that urban food inequality is driven by wealth, the dynamics are complex. Take the consumption of packaged and processed foods. These foods don’t only feature in the diets of the wealthier groups but cut across wealth groups and peak for those in the middle. They are desirable, accessible and relatively affordable.

The food industry makes effective use of informal distribution channels, making packaged foods widely available in the markets, on the streets and, particularly, in the proximity of schools.

What needs to be done

Informal distribution is an important aspect of the urban food landscape. Knowing which foods are healthy or unhealthy does not stop children from consuming foods that are enticing and affordable.

It’s therefore essential to consider the food industry’s role when it comes to food environments that offer unhealthy, cheap and enticing options.The Conversation

 

Sara Stevano, Research Associate, International Political Economy, King's College London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Oct 16, 2019

Uber contract drivers helped bring in more than three-quarters of the company’s revenue in this year’s first six months. But as Uber would have it, the drivers aren’t essential.

Uber raised eyebrows last month when its chief lawyer asserted that “drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business” in a call laying out the company’s resistance to a California bill that would alter the employment status of many “gig” workers. It is a legal strategy the Silicon Valley company has been honing for years that helps it avoid responsibility for the actions of its drivers.

Documents and a 2017 deposition related to an Atlanta civil suit, Jessicka Harris v. Uber, viewed by The Washington Post offer a rare glimpse at Uber’s strategies for using drivers’ status as independent contractors as a legal shield. Asked in a document to “admit or deny that Uber is in the business of providing transportation,” the ride-hailing company’s attorneys are steadfast: “denied.”

Over the course of a nearly three-hour deposition in the Harris case, Uber executive Nicholas Valentino, then an operations manager for Atlanta, repeatedly corrected the plaintiff’s attorney when he referred to the contractors as “drivers.”

“They are not Uber drivers,” Valentino said. “They’re independent, third-party transportation providers.” He repeated the claim no fewer than 16 times, to the attorney’s apparent consternation.

“If you are going to keep saying they are not drivers, we are just going to be fussing about that all afternoon,” said the attorney, Michael Todd Wheeles.

“That’s okay,” Valentino said.

Uber faces many lawsuits, over issues ranging from fender benders to wage disputes to more-serious incidents. Harris sued Uber and driver Robert Ferguson, alleging that she nearly lost her leg after being struck by Ferguson, who she claimed veered off the road.

At stake for Uber in its many court battles is the potential for millions in new liabilities if its contract drivers are reclassified as employees, and the company is found to bear greater responsibility for their actions.

Many companies rely on contractors and gig workers. But what sets Uber and other ride-hailing companies apart is that its customers spend much more time with the drivers, en route to their destination, compared with, say, food-delivery or dog-walking services. The ratio of contractors to direct employees is high: While Uber has roughly 4 million drivers, the company has 27,000 employees.

In public statements, Uber takes pains to show its collaborative relationship with drivers. Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi refers to them as “driver partners,” noting in an interview last October that “if you’re going to call your drivers partners, then treat them like partners.” Uber declared 2017 “the year of the driver” before it was embroiled in a series of corporate scandals. The company offered some drivers the chance to buy stock when it went public in May, and it hosts regular forums where drivers can give feedback to executives.

“Drivers are independent contractors,” Uber spokesman Noah Edwardsen said in a statement. “But that has never stopped us from making significant investments in safety. Safety will always be a long-term commitment for Uber and we will continue working to raise the bar to help protect everyone who uses our platform.”

Gig workers earn money by performing tasks such as delivering groceries, ferrying passengers or fetching prepared food — tasks generally arranged by customers through mobile apps. Because they are not full-time employees, they can log in to the app whenever they wish to work, but they also have to pay for things such as fuel and health insurance themselves.

A measure in Uber’s home state that could require it to reclassify drivers as employees, with benefits such as paid sick leave, could also open the company up to new liabilities, according to critics. Uber has pushed back against the measure — set to take effect in January — citing what it says may be the impact to drivers’ flexible work schedule.

“Liability is one of the big unspoken-about issues here,” said Lorena Gonzalez (D), a California state assemblywoman who crafted the bill, known as AB5, that would make many gig workers employees. “We want to ensure there’s responsibility at the end of the day and that they are not just passing that along to someone else."

Edwardsen said that “liability for safety incidents has simply never been part of [Uber’s] arguments or strategy around AB5” and that “suggesting otherwise is wrong.”

Uber declined to comment on the Harris case, which it settled out of court, or any other litigation. Attorneys for Harris also declined to comment, as did the driver’s attorneys. Valentino, the Uber executive who was deposed in the case, declined through an Uber spokesman to be interviewed. Harris and Ferguson did not respond to requests for comment.

Uber drivers’ employment status has been challenged in multiple lawsuits, but Uber has avoided having to broadly recognize its gig workers as employees. Uber tends to favor settling individual cases out of court rather than letting them go to trial, say attorneys who have brought suits against the company.

In materials related to the Harris case, sealed after the matter was privately settled, Uber attorneys and executives contend that the company is nothing more than a marketplace that happens to be used for arranging transportation. And its chief legal officer, Tony West, said last month that Uber’s business is “serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces.”

But the company is more involved than many online marketplaces, such as e-commerce sites, including providing driving directions to drivers, setting fare rates and mandating punctuality and car type, among other criteria.

The distinction in the Harris case — and many others like it — is crucial for Uber. The company argues that because they are contractors, drivers and their behavior ultimately are not its responsibility.

It has made similar arguments in other lawsuits. In a case in San Francisco alleging an Uber driver made sexual comments to a 16-year-old passenger, settled in December, Uber’s attorneys said that “the partner driver was an independent contractor responsible for his own means and methods” and that Uber is “a technology company, not a transportation company."

In a case underway in Walton County, Fla., where a driver purportedly drove a passenger to his home and raped her, Uber asserts that the driver “was at all times … an independent, third-party transportation provider” and that Uber “does not and did not employ” the driver and “never had an agency, employment, partnership, joint venture or joint enterprise relationship with him.”

Courts have generally sided with Uber and other companies reliant on gig workers that have made similar arguments.

The Post reported last month that Uber’s Special Investigations Unit, which it turns to when trips go awry, is designed primarily to shelter the company from legal responsibility and quietly resolve serious allegations to avoid press or regulatory scrutiny. Uber has contested that, saying the unit’s role is to “provide specialized customer support to riders and drivers dealing with very serious real-life situations.”

Online marketplaces such as Uber and Lyft, e-commerce companies, food delivery companies and lodging providers have successfully argued that as middlemen they should not be held responsible for the goods and services they help arrange. And courts have generally sided with them, citing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields sites from legal liability for user content by treating them as distributors rather than publishers.

Gonzalez, in an interview, said she is also considering a handful of new bills for the next legislative session that would address various aspects of the gig economy, including insurance considerations.

Seattle University law professor Charlotte Garden, who has studied gig-economy labor, said the California measure could be copied in other states, increasing potential costs to Uber. She said that may require Uber to find new ways to describe its business.

“It’s part of Uber’s playbook to use colorful language to obscure the true nature of their business,” Garden said.

In the Harris case, Uber’s Valentino was asked whether he knew how many drivers Uber had in the state of Georgia. “Zero would be how many Uber drivers, because that’s not what they are,” he said. “But, if you are asking about independent third-party transportation providers — not trying to be difficult — I would say, no, I don’t know the answer.”

“Isn’t it true that Uber drivers like Mr. Ferguson are commanded to transport the Uber customer directly to their specified destination?” asked Wheeles, the attorney, with the firm Morris Haynes in Birmingham, Ala.

“He is not an Uber driver,” Valentino said. “Independent third-party transportation provider.”

 

Source: The Washington Post

Oct 16, 2019

… Shareholders applauds N24 per share payment

Shareholders of Dangote Flour Mills Plc (DFM), unanimously on Monday approved the acquisition of the company by Crown Flour Mills Limited, the Nigerian subsidiary of global food and agri-business conglomerate, Olam International Limited after a whopping payment of N120 billion to the shareholders.


Olam International has made an offer for the acquisition of 100 per cent equity in Dangote Flour Mills Plc for a consideration of N24.00 per share. The acquisition was carried out through a Scheme of Arrangement.
Most of the shareholders who spoke at the meeting lauded the company’s Management for the noble decision, describing it as one, in the best interest of the shareholders.


Nona Awoh, a notable financial analyst and one of the shareholders of the company thanked the Management on the offer of N24 per share and reminded other shareholders that the last time the share price of the company increased significantly to N20 per share was in the year 2010.
Another leader of the shareholders group, Mr. Boniface Solomon, described the deal as a very good one for the shareholders. He said the stock has really been struggling in view of the current realities in the nation’s economy, stating that the N24 per share is indeed a good price for his members.


Managing Director of Crown Flour Mills Limited, Anurag Shukia said his company intends to maintain and expand DFM’s business as well as provide enhanced manufacturing capacity and create synergies to deliver improved products to customers across the country.


With the acquisition, the entire 4,994,886,771 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each in DFM held by the scheme shareholders of the company will be transferred to Crown Flour. The N24 per share that will be given to the shareholders for 50 kobo shares held represents a 124 per cent premium on the share price of DFM as at the close of April 18, 2019 being the last business day prior to the date the proposal was received and announced on the floor of the Exchange; and a 145 per cent premium on the three-month weighted average share price of the company as at 18 April, 2019
Benefits to the shareholders include but not limited to: opportunities for shareholders of DFM, other than Crown Flour, to enhance the value of their investment in the company and exit at an attractive pricing; in addition, the Scheme is expected to create valuable synergies between the operations of Crown Flour and DFM, to ensure improved revenue generation capacity, reduced operational costs, and enhance profit.


It will also enable Olam focus on the flour business, to provide the necessary financial and technical support required to maintain and expand the business.

Oct 16, 2019

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concerns that Nigeria’s per capita growth is weak, adding that strong measures were needed to move the growth into positive territory.

It equally called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unify the country’s exchange rate system in order to avoid situations where public and private sector decisions were distorted due to uncertainties.

The global body also said there was a need for the government to come up with measures to boost the non-oil revenue in order to spend more on social safety programmes.

The IMF gave these pieces of advice Tuesday during the unveiling of the World Economic Outlook report released in Washington DC.

The report titled, ‘Global manufacturing downturn, rising trade barriers’, was unveiled by the IMF Economic Counsellor, Gita Gopinath, and the Chief of the World Economic Studies Division of the IMF’s Research Department, Oya Celasun.

The Fund also urged the Federal Government to implement stronger reforms to boost the current level of infrastructure in the country.

Decrying the nation’s weak per capital growth, Gopinath said there was a need for structural reforms to address the weak per capital growth.

On measures that can be taken to address the imbalance, Celasun said foreign exchange restrictions had been distorting private and public sector decisions as well as holding back investments.

According to Celasun, there was a need for the monetary authorities to strengthen the banking sector resilience, while the fiscal authority should implement stronger structural reforms.

The structural reforms, according to her, should focus on infrastructure, power and broader governance.

She said: “Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of revenue in the world and this is hit hard by drop in oil prices. That is essential for the country to spend more on priorities, such as social safety and infrastructure.

“Other areas are the need for a tight monetary policy and a simpler unified exchange rate system. Foreign exchange restrictions have also been distorting public private and public sector decisions and holding back investments.”

Oct 16, 2019
A painting by the Nigerian artist, Ben Enwonwu responsible for the “African Mona Lisa” sold at auction in London on Tuesday for £1.1 million, N508million after the family who owned it googled the signature and realised its importance.
 
“Christine”, by 20th century master of African modernism Enwonwu, had been in the sitter’s family home in Texas ever since it was painted in Lagos in 1971.
 
The captivating sitter is Christine Elizabeth Davis, an American hair stylist of West Indian descent. Christine travelled a lot in her life, working in Ghana before moving to Lagos with her British husband in 1969. There, they befriended Enwonwu and Christine’s husband commissioned the work as a gift for his wife in 1971 before they eventually moved back to the US a few years later.
 
The work was completed in under a week as Christine was able to hold her pose for as long as needed. Christine, who was in her mid-30s at the time, passed away in Texas thereafter. But the painting has remained in the family ever since.
 
Recently a family member stumbled on the paint and googled the name of the artist, only to find that it was Enwonwu, Africa’s best known artist of the 20th century.
 
“The family were unaware of the significance of the painting or the importance of the artist, until a chance “googling” of the signature led them to Sotheby’s free Online Estimate Platform,” said the London auction house.
 
The painting fetched over seven times the pre-auction estimate, finally going under the hammer for £1.1 million (1.3 million euros, $1.4 million).
 
The work precedes the artist’s 1974 painting of Ife royal princess Adetutu “Tutu” Ademiluyi, which recently turned up in a London flat after not being seen in decades. Adetutu sold for $1.6million.
 
The portrait is a national icon in Nigeria, with Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri telling AFP that it was thought of as “the African Mona Lisa”.
 
Enwonwu, who died in 1994, is considered the father of Nigerian modernism.
 
He made three paintings of “Tutu”, the locations of all of which had been a mystery until the recent discovery.
 
The works became symbols of peace following the clash of ethnic groups in the Nigerian–Biafran conflict of the late 1960s.
 
Oct 16, 2019

A Professor of Rural Sociology, Kolawole Adebayo, says Nigeria will benefit from the recent border closure if it evolved strategies to improve local production and become more competitive.

He said this on Tuesday at the maiden Biennal Conference of Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology (OYSCATECH) in Igboora.

Adebayo, the keynote speaker at the conference, is also the Team Leader, International and Rural Development at Livelihoods Support and Development Centre.

Adebayo said that the recent border closure was a short term solution to a long term problem, adding that such effort would only prevent neighbouring nations from flooding Nigeria market with agricultural products in a short term.

“Border closure is a short term solution to a long term problem. It means that in the short run our neighbours will not be able to flood our market with agricultural products.

“But it is not a long term solution because we can’t close the border forever. When you close the border, what are we doing locally so that by the time we open the border you become more competitive.

“And one of the ways to become more competitive is to reduce the cost of production locally. So, if the food we produce locally are cheaper than the food that are being smuggled in, people will naturally gravitate towards our own local food.

“But if the smuggled food is cheaper, it is a law of economics, people tend to buy something that makes economic sense to them,” he said.

He stressed the need for the country to work on its human development, people, their mindset and value system, a lot of which he said might have been lost.

Adebayo lamented the rate at which everyone thinks of what they would get from the nation and not how they could contribute to national development.

“And I think it comes from our school system. The kind of value we teach our children. I will like to see a country where the richest among us are the most productive,” he said.

He said that the challenges of food security are multidimensional, bordering on production, supporting infrastructure and human.

Prof. Gbemiga Adewale, the former Rector of the institution and special guest, appreciated Gov. Seyi Makinde on the rehabilitation of the old farm settlements in the state to become farm estates.

“The advantages of the farm estates will solve a lot of problem that has to do with employment of the youth. It will also solve the problem of food security, food sufficiency and will be able to provide raw materials for agro allied industries.

“And on the part of the state, it will also assist to raise or increase GDP of the state as well as IGR for the state, so that they depend less on monthly federal allocation for smooth running of the administration,” he said.

Prof. Abiodun Ayodele, the Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Ibadan, said for the nation to attain food sufficiency, it must be ready to solve the conflicts in various parts of the country.

He said that the nation must take cognizance of causes of natural disasters such as desertification and flooding, saying such could be achieved through good and conscious sustainable agricultural systems.

Ayodele stressed that there must be more focus on improved livestock production to enhance quality in terms of protein intake towards foods sufficiency.

Mr Isiaka Adekunle, the acting Rector of the institution, said the conference was aimed at providing a platform to improve teaching horizon, interact, exchange ideas and learn new innovations.

He said that for any academic staff of the institution to get promoted attendance at conferences was germane, adding failure to meet such would make them remain stagnant.

Adekunle said that the conference was also an opportunity to showcase what they have in different disciplines across the faculties of the institution.

Other stakeholders at the conference in their various remarks commended Dr Taiwo Akinyemi, the Director, OYSCATECH Global Consult for the initiative.

The three-day event also featured an exhibition of several agricultural products of the institution.

Oct 15, 2019
Rice sellers in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital have expressed worry over the reluctance of consumers to buy locally produced rice.
 
Some rice sellers on Tuesday said consumers preferred to pay more for foreign imported rice than the cheaper locally produced one.
 
A rice seller, Mallam Mahmud Ismail said only few customers requested local rice as they always preferred the foreign version.
 
“Hardly will you see one out of 10 customers requesting for local rice in my shop. They always want the foreign rice,” Ismail said.
 
Another seller, Mrs Bimpe Ekundayo said customers complained about the poor quality of the local rice.
 
“Many customers complain of stone particles and the low quality of local rice. I make sales of 10 bags of foreign rice to 4 bags of Nigerian rice due to the quality,” Ekundayo said.
 
Another seller popularly called Iya Ibeji at Ipata market said sales of local rice was not fast as customers looked down on it.
 
“Local rice is always second choice in their budget. They feel reluctant and sad when I suggest for them to buy local rice. They are even ready to pay more for the foreign rice,” she said.
 
Mrs Iyabo Aina called on the Federal Government to lift ban on the importation of rice and allow free flow of the product in the country.
 
“We are not making sales anymore. Nobody is ready to buy local rice and it is affecting our business. Government should do something on time,” Aina said.
 
However, Mr Stephen Ikechukwu, another seller, lamented that the closure of the borders against importation of foreign rice had caused sharp increase in the general prices of rice in the market.
 
“Now, we sell local rice for N20,800 while the foreign rice is N26,000. It was never like this before the closure of the border when we used to sell a bag of local rice for N9,500 and the foreign N13,000,” he said.
 
Also, a rice seller, Alhaja Rukayat Usman urged the Federal Government to encourage the public to patronise local rice and stop discriminating against it.
 
“We need to change our attitude towards locally made products and appreciate Nigerian made. We are fond of prioritizing anything foreign ahead of our locally made products which are bad,” she said.
Oct 15, 2019
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has called for “new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football” after the shameful scenes in Bulgaria.
 
Infantino has also asked for all competition organisers to enact regulations which envisage lifetime bans from stadiums for racists, to prevent repeat performances.
 
The FIFA President issued the statement following England’s Euro 2020 qualifier with Bulgaria on Monday, which was marred by vile racist chanting and Nazi salutes from home fans.
 
UEFA confirmed disciplinary proceedings have been brought against Bulgaria on Tuesday, with the country’s football union being hit with four charges.
 
England, meanwhile, have also been hit with two charges.
 
Infantino said: “So many times we say there is no place for racism in football, but nonetheless we still face challenges to tackle this problem in our sport, as we do in society.
 
“We will need the support of public authorities to help us identify and punish the culprits but we probably also need to think more broadly on what we can do to fix this.
 
“When we proposed the three-step procedure in 2009 when I was at UEFA, and then made the regulations even tougher a few years later.
 
“We could not have imagined that so shortly thereafter we would again be having to think of how to combat this obnoxious disease that seems to be getting even worse in some parts of the world.
 
“I call on all football governing bodies to join us and think together of new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football.
 
“As a starting point, I suggest that all competition organisers enact regulations which envisage life bans from stadiums for those who are found guilty of racist behaviour at a football match.
 
“FIFA can then enforce such bans at a worldwide level.”
 
Timeline of events on night of shame:
 
Pre-match warm-up: Tyrone Mings hears racist abuse from the stands for the first time
 
22 mins: Mings hears a monkey chant, turns to an assistant referee and says: “Did you hear that?”
 
27 mins: Game stopped for the first time. Captain Harry Kane discusses the abuse with referee Ivan Bebek.
 
29 mins: Stadium PA calls for an end to the racist taunts – Step one of the three-step protocol
 
31 mins: Match restarts
 
42 mins: Gareth Southgate makes a complaint to the fourth official and the game is stopped for the second time.
 
43 mins: A large group of Bulgarian fans, who had been seen chanting and making Nazi salutes leave the stand. England agree to restart the game as it is so close to half-time.
 
Half-time: Southgate speaks with officals in the tunnel while Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov pleads with home fans to stop the abuse. England players agree unanimously to return for the second half.
 
Second-half: Sporadic monkey chants but game continues with no further stoppages.
 
Post-match: Bulgaria manager Krasimir Balakov declares: “I didn’t hear anything. If this is true we have to be ashamed and we have to apologise but it has to be proven to be true.”
Oct 15, 2019

In 2018, 1.4 billion people crossed an international border to take a holiday, and this number is set to rise with an estimated 5 billion people travelling internationally by 2050. SA tourism must work to capitalise on the social megatrends that are influencing how and why people travel, and what they look for when they do.

In his State of the Nation Address in June this year, President Ramaphosa outlined a bold aim to increase South Africa’s economic growth through tourism, stating “we will make good on our ambition to more than double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030.”

Globally, tourism is on the rise and peak tourism demand has not yet been reached, driven by a growing global middle class. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, 1.4 billion people travelled internationally for a holiday in 2018. This number is expected to increase to an estimated 1.8 billion travellers in 2030 and a staggering 5 billion by 2050.

But despite these appealing numbers, achieving Ramaphosa’s lofty ambitions for tourism in the country will not be easy. South Africa will need to compete with other major tourist destinations around the world to carve out its share of this growing market. And to make sure it is well positioned to do so, it is crucial that those working in the sector understand the social megatrends – the global, long term, macroeconomic forces that are shaping business, society and culture and shifting how we engage with the world.

Three key social megatrends are shaping how and why today’s tourists – and those of the future – travel, and what they look for when choosing an international destination.

  1. People are collecting experiences, not possessions

Globally, there is an increasing shift from spending money on possessions to spending it on having experiences. McKinsey reports that in the US alone, spending on experience-related services – such as attending spectator events, visiting amusement parks, eating at restaurants, and traveling – between 2014 and 2016 grew 1.5 times faster than overall personal consumption and nearly four times faster than spending on goods.

Total global annual expenditure on experiences is currently higher than that on material goods and is expected to continue to rise at an increasing pace. Oxford Economics forecasts that total global expenditure on experiences will reach approximately €1.7 trillion by 2025.

The rise of the experience economy has massive implications for tourism, as travellers are prioritising ‘bucket list’ experiences. They seek out these experiences – they want to have them, tick them off their list and share them on social media to document the collection of the experience. There is also a perceived status and social capital attached to being able to show the experiences they have collected. The World Tourism Organisation recently labelled this consumer travel trend as ‘travel to show’, which is built on a desire for instagrammable moments, experiences and destinations.

South African visitor attractions need to help tourists to stop, look, engage with the experience and provide them with tools to document and share it. Successful examples of this are the two yellow frames in Cape Town that provide a perfect selfie backdrop of Table Mountain and the Map of Africa installation at Cape Agulhas.

       2.People are seeking meaning and purpose through travel

The rise of the experience economy is augmented by the rise of the transformation economy. Many tourists now see travel as an important component of building their identity and as a medium for self-transformation. Consumers are not only seeking experiences, they are seeking travel that transformsthrough life-changing experiences such as meaningful connection and personal enrichment. These experiences are deemed transformative when they result in a personal improvement in physical, psychological or emotional well-being.

Transformational travel is valued for having a positive personal impact on the traveller that continues once they return home from the experience. It is seen as something which changes perspectives and behaviour for the better and an aid for personal growth. This trend, labelled by the World Tourism Organisation as ‘travel to change’, includes a desire for transformation, for authenticity and to ‘live like a local’. 

Two tourism trends speak to this – ‘voluntourism’ and holidays that incorporate learning. Travellers can volunteer to clean up beaches, be part of the shark conservancy project or help plant trees as part of an environmental internship with Greenpop. South Africa has a wealth of learning experiences to offer, for example completing an introductory ranger training course, which has become a popular immersive tourism experience.

         3. People value authenticity

The desire for authentic experiences can be a deciding factor in choosing one destination, attraction or experience over another. Authenticity may be judged in a number of ways and is based largely on perception rather than truth. Travellers perceive an experience as authentic when it is not trying to imitate something else, it is original or the first of its kind. It could also be an experience that is not altered from its natural state, or unnecessarily improved upon. And authenticity is also judged by the uniqueness of an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

For example, hyperlocal experiences are those that are rooted in their context and are unique to a certain place or culture. Hyperlocal travel is seen to celebrate diversity and inclusion and meets the need for transformation though authentic experience. Few travellers want to be identified as tourists, and they have a desire for immersive local experiences – a chance to meet the locals and to ‘do what the locals do’.

The tiny restaurant, Wolfgat, in Paternoster was recently voted the Restaurant of the Year in the 2019 World Restaurant Awards. Wolfgat describes itself a ‘Strandveldt eatery’ show-casing local produce sourced from the West Coast. South Africa can leverage off this trend with local padstals and restaurants sharing hyperlocal delicacies such as rooibos tea, fynbos-infused gin and West Coast bokkoms.

In an increasingly globalised world, with more access to travel than ever before, the future of tourism will be shaped by what travellers are looking for – and the reasons why they are looking for it – when they leave home. South Africa, with its rich offering of social, cultural and nature-related experiences, is well placed to capitalise on these three trends if the industry responds appropriately.

  1. Opinions and Analysis

Calender

« November 2019 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30