AFRICA/CARIBBEAN NOW: First Lady Condemns Gender-Based Violence

Gertrude Mutharika (Courtesy of the White House)

Gertrude Mutharika, first lady of Malawi, has condemned acts of violence and abuses facing women, girls and children in the country, the Malawi Voice reported.

The first lady made the statements Thursday, May 10 during an event for the Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) campaign, held at Ndungunya Primary School in Phalombe district.

Mutharika said it was sad that most girls and women are abused by people who were supposed to be protecting them, such as husbands and stepfathers.

Mutharika said she became the EVAWG campaign’s ambassador last year because she realizes how gender-based violence hinders national development by creating a social distance between males and females.

“When women and girls are subjected to gender based violence of various forms they are affected both physically and emotionally as such they are unlikely to take part in developmental activities, thereby reducing the population of Malawians that could take part in development,” she said.

Mutharika also lamented an increase in secondary school and primary school girls in the district dropping out of school due to pregnancies.

Labor-Employee Relations Grim, Economic Report Says

South Africa’s labor-employee relations rank among the worst in the world and this is chasing investors away, The Sunday Tribune reported May 13.

The World Economic Forum’s World Competitiveness report, which was released last week, ranked South Africa last out of 137 countries.

Economist Dawie Roodt of the Efficiency Group said South Africans should be alarmed.

“Who would throw his money into a country which has the worst labor-employee relationship?” he said, adding that the poor ranking was likely affected by the political uncertainty during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure.

The ranking is directly linked to the low levels of trust between employers and employees in the country — a mistrust that has been cultivated over many years.

Cosatu, South Africa’s largest labor federation, said it was “shocked” by the report.

Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini said he had not expected the WEF to paint such a grim picture and that he hoped President Cyril Ramaphosa uses his skills to redeem labor-employee relations.

Oil Price Set for Biggest Weekly Rise in a Month

With Brent crude futures up by 29 cents at $77.50 a barrel, gaining 3.5 percent so far in the week, the oil price set for its largest weekly leap in a month as the market prepared for potential disruption to crude flows from Iran in the face of U.S. sanctions, The National Daily reported on May 11.

The oil price is at its highest since late 2014 and is on track for its fourth consecutive quarterly gain, the longest such stretch for over 10 years.

Even without disruption to Iran’s crude flows, the balance between supply and demand in the oil market has been tightening steadily, especially in Asia, and as top exporter Saudi Arabia and No. 1 producer Russia have led efforts since 2017 to withhold oil supplies to prop up prices.

Saudi Arabia is monitoring the impact of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on oil supplies and is ready to offset any shortage, but it will not act alone to fill the gap, an OPEC source familiar with the kingdom’s thinking said Wednesday, May 9.

“What the full impact on Iranian flows will be is still difficult to estimate,” said Petromatrix strategist Olivier Jakob.

DPM Slams Pineridge MP’s Criticism of Admin

Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas, blasted critics of the government and warned constituents of Pineridge not to “mind the noise in the marketplace” from people who don’t understand Prime Minister Hubert Minnis plans, the Nassau Guardian reported May 12.

Turnquest’s sharp and blunt rebuke came days after Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine called the Minnis administration’s first year in office a disappointment.

McAlpine claimed the Minnis administration has perpetuated a perception that the Free National Movement Party is not for the ordinary Bahamian, but for the “White, the light, the rich and the famous.”

Jamaican Tourism Minister Demands Study of Industry Needs

Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has tasked the Tourism Linkages Council to complete a tourism demand study by August this year, the Jamaica Observer reported on May 12.

The minister, speaking at the Ministry of Tourism’s Smart Destination Workshop, said he has charged Adam Stewart, chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council, to complete the study that he said “will facilitate quantitative analysis of the need for manufacturing and other goods and services within the sector.”

The study was designed to identify the existing/potential demand in the tourism sector for goods and services across local sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and entertainment.

Barbados Tourism Product Enhanced

The Barbados’ tourism product has been enhanced with the virtual reconstruction of Sea Breeze Beach House to the tune of almost $17 million, the Barbados NationNews reported May 12.

The West Coast property was showcased and officially opened Thursday, May 10 to scores of tourism officials, tour operators and Government officials, and described as a transformed four-and-a-half-star, all-inclusive hotel.

“We virtually rebuilt the hotel,” said Patricia Affonso Dass, group general manager of Ocean Hotels.

The investment was welcomed by Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, who said nearly 7,000 rooms, a record high, would be available in Barbados by the end of 2018.

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