CSSA: Ten Practical Guidelines to Improving Board Communication

Ten Practical Guidelines to Improving Board Communication

3 May 2016

Dear Colleague

Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa (CSSA) is proud to announce the launch of a new paper titled “Ten Practical Guidelines to Improving Board Communication” by the Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA). CSSA is a founding member of CSIA, which has over 70 000 company secretaries and governance professionals worldwide. Ensuring effective board communication has always been a critical aspect of the company secretary’s role. In the face of new and ever-increasing liability for directors and the incorporation of the business judgment rule in many jurisdictions has brought this duty more to the fore than ever.

CSIA’s new paper provides useful and practical advice for company secretaries and governance professionals to balance the imperatives of management and the board to improve the quality of discussions and the decision making process.

The paper was launched in London on 28 April 2016 by CSIA at a webinar co-hosted by Diligent Corporation, sponsors of the paper and chaired by Carina Wessels, Past President of CSIA and CSSA. Joining Carina on the panel was Charlie Horrell, Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Diligent Corporation and Meena Heath, Global Ambassador, Global Leaders in Law, who fielded incisive questions submitted by the 200-plus attendees. CSSA continues to play a leading role in the international community of company secretaries and governance professionals.

A press release describing the launch; the full paper on “Ten Practical Guidelines to Improving Board Communication” and the webinar can be accessed on this link www.csiaorg.com

Regards,

Stephen Sadie
(MBA, M. Ed)
Chief Executive Officer

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Zimbabwean Technology

New tech to track soil nutrients, minerals in Zimbabwe

By Farai Matebvu

[MUTARE, ZIMBABWE] Zimbabwean agricultural researchers have developed a remote control technique that could enable African farming communities to identify nutrients needed by crops in an agricultural field.
 
The technology could assist farmers to ascertain the exact quantities of nutrients a crop needs and predict yields using the satellite imagery developed to assess any crop without having to physically visit their farms.
 
According to the developers from the University of Zimbabwe, the technology could exploit and analyse aerospace-based satellite imagery and geographic information to describe, assess and visually depict geographically referenced features, processes and activities on earth to inform strategic and operational decision-making.

“We have developed this agricultural technology to use it at the university farm on a trial run starting in January 2016 before it is rolled out in other African countries.”

Charles Mutisi, University of Zimbabwe

 

Charles Mutisi, the leader of the research team and dean of the Department of Agricultural Research at the University of Zimbabwe, tells SciDev.Net that the technology is able to assess land on which all crops including tobacco, soya beans and maize are grown.
 
Mutisi adds:  “We have developed this agricultural technology to use it at the university farm on a trial run starting in January 2016 before it is rolled out in other African countries. The centre will also soon establish mineral data.”
 
 “We are also working in the area of exploration and actual quantification of the minerals in the country using the same system. The ultimate goal is to have a Zimbabwe and Africa map of minerals which documents the exact quantities.”
 
The researchers began developing the technology in September 2014, with funding from Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. It was completed in August this year and commissioned on 28th September, according to Mutisi.
 
May Mrema, a senior lecturer in agricultural economics at the Zimbabwe-based Africa University, calls upon African universities and other tertiary research institutions to review their science curriculums to meet modern global trends to enhance agricultural productivity and mining.
 
“The technology developed by the University of Zimbabwe researchers marks the beginning of an agricultural revolution in the developing world, especially in Africa,” adds Mrema, who is a  member of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World, noting that it could help increase yields to quell hunger and poverty on the continent.
 
According to Mrema, the technology will help African farming communities to tackle climate change, which is affecting agricultural production and farm yields.

Pesanayi Gwirayi, the director of research and postgraduate studies at the Great Zimbabwe University says African governments should prioritise funding science research.
 
“Africa needs to revolutionise its science information by adequately funding research programmes to spur its development agenda and exploit its natural resources which are central to economic development,” Gwirayi explains.
 
This article has been produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa desk.

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

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TRAFFICKING IN FRAUDULENT MEDICINE

TRAFFICKING IN FRAUDULENT MEDICINE

TRAFFICKING IN FRAUDULENT MEDICINE

Fraudulent medicines pose a considerable public health threat as they can fail to cure, may harm and even kill patients. These threats to public health have led the international community to call for a stronger and more coordinated response. Compounding this public health risk is the fact that the supply chain for medicines operates at a global level, and therefore, a concerted effort at the international level is required to effectively detect and combat the introduction of fraudulent medicines along this supply chain.

The 20th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) adopted resolution 20/6 on fraudulent medicines, otherwise referred to as falsified medicines due to concern about the involvement of organized crime in the trafficking in fraudulent medicines. At the same time, resolution 20/6 highlights the potential utility of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) for which UNODC is the guardian, in re-enforcing international cooperation in the fight against trafficking, through, its provisions, inter alia, on mutual legal assistance, extradition and the seizing, freezing and forfeiture of the instrumentalities and proceeds of crime.

As with other forms of crime, criminal groups use, to their advantage, gaps in legal and regulatory frameworks, weaknesses in capacity and the lack of resources of regulatory, enforcement and criminal justice officials, as well as difficulties in international cooperation. At the same time, the prospect of the comparatively low risk of detection and prosecution in relation to the potential income make the production and trafficking in fraudulent medicines an attractive commodity to criminal groups, who conduct their activities with little regard to the physical and financial detriment, if not the exploitation, of others.

Resolution 20/6 contains nine action points among which paragraph nine requests that UNODC, in cooperation with other United Nations bodies and international organizations, such as the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO/INTERPOL), as well as relevant regional organizations and mechanisms, national regulatory agencies for medicines and, where appropriate, the private sector, civil society organizations and professional associations, assist Member States in building capacity to disrupt and dismantle the organized criminal networks engaged in all stages of the illicit supply chain, in particular distribution and trafficking, to better utilize the experiences, technical expertise and resources of each organization and to create synergies with interested partners.

While focus has been given to the health and regulatory aspect of this problem, it appears that less attention has been given to the issue from a criminal justice perspective. Given its expertise and work to build effective and transparent criminal justice systems and to support states to prevent and combat all forms of organized crime, UNODC can support the fight against the illicit manufacture and trafficking of fraudulent medicines in coordination with other stakeholders.

Additional Information:
(i) Technical Conference of Experts on the Trafficking in Fraudulent Medicines, 14-15 February 2013 in Vienna
(ii) Report on the 20th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)
(iii) Resolution 20/6: English and French
(iv) Contact UNODC

Source: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/fraudulentmedicines/introduction.html

Vic Falls drying up

HARARE, October 13 (Dailynews) Low water levels aren’t just a problem in Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba. Nearly half of the mighty Victoria Falls appears to have dried up, locals say. Spectacular photos taken recently from the air show an almost dry George on the Zambian side. Tourist are being urged to visit the Zimbabwean side of the falls, where they will get better views.

Zimbabwe, Zambia failed to heed notice on Kariba

HARARE, October 12 (Dailynews) Zimbabwe’s intensifying power cuts are a result of failure to heed early warnings of depleting water capacity in Kariba Dam by both Zimbabwe and Zambia. Engineering Institution of Zambia president Bernard Chiwala said the Zambezi Water Authority order utilities in the two countries to cut generation in March this year, but the rule was not immediately implemented. “Despite restrictions on water use, the power utilities continued to generate way above the revised threshold of 500MW leading to a net draw down of the reservoir,” he said. Kariba’s low water levels have compelled both countries to cut electricity generation and have led to rotating power cuts that last as long as 14 hours.

El Niño Warning

I’ve been hearing a lot about El Niño of late, as businesses, especially in the resources sector, are concerned about the impact of the climate phenomenon. And for good reason: although last year’s El Niño-warnings turned out to be a false alarm, previous events have destroyed infrastructure and crops, disrupted trade and water supply, or undermined mining and hydro-electricity production.

El Niño remains difficult to predict, yet as authorities in Peru are taking fresh measures to respond to a strong El Niño, we are getting a better idea of what to expect this year. It is no longer a matter of “if”, but rather of how bad. The World Meteorological Organization in September talked of a mature El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, potentially among the four strongest ones since 1950. Although the worst weather should occur towards the end of this year, Australia, India and Indonesia are already experiencing droughts. Meteorologists believe there is a 95% chance that El Niño will last throughout the first quarter of 2016.

There will be wide-ranging impacts in vulnerable economies, but they are likely to include smaller harvests. Although the EIU forecast a modest rise in global food prices in 2016, after four years of decline, I do not expect a major turnaround. Low energy costs, ample stocks and moderating demand growth in emerging markets should keep a lid on prices.

How do you see El Niño affecting your business sector and your country’s economy? Let me know via Twitter @Baptist_Simon or via email on simonjbaptist@eiu.com.

Best regards,

Simon Baptist
Chief Economist

Volkswagen to refit cars affected by emissions scandal

BERLIN, Sept 29 (Reuters) Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) said on Tuesday it will repair up to 11 million vehicles and overhaul its namesake brand following the scandal over its rigging of emissions tests.
New Chief Executive Matthias Mueller said the German carmaker would tell customers in the coming days they would need to have diesel vehicles with illegal software refitted, a move which some analysts have said could cost more than $6.5 billion. In Washington, U.S. lawmakers asked the automaker to turn over documents related to the scandal, including records concerning the development of a software program intended to defeat regulatory emissions tests.

In separate letters, leading Republicans and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested information from both Volkswagen and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of an investigation into the controversy. Europe’s biggest carmaker has admitted cheating in diesel emissions tests in the United States and Germany’s transport minister says it also manipulated them in Europe, where Volkswagen sells about 40 percent of its vehicles.

The company is under huge pressure to address a crisis that has wiped more than a third off its market value, sent shock waves through the global car market and could harm Germany’s economy. “We are facing a long trudge and a lot of hard work,” Mueller told a closed-door gathering of about 1,000 top managers at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters late on Monday.
“We will only be able to make progress in steps and there will be setbacks,” he said, according to a text seen by Reuters.

Volkswagen did not say how the planned refit would make cars with the “cheat” software comply with regulations, or how this might affect vehicles’ mileage or efficiency, which are important considerations for customers. It said it would submit the details to Germany’s KBA watchdog next month. Manipulating emissions results allowed Volkswagen to keep down engine costs in a “clean diesel” strategy that was popular in Europe and at the heart of a drive to improve U.S. results.
Mueller was appointed CEO on Friday to replace Martin Winterkorn. German prosecutors said on Monday they were investigating Winterkorn over allegations of fraud.

EMBARRASSMENT
The crisis is an embarrassment for Germany, which has for years held up Volkswagen as a model of its engineering prowess and has lobbied against some tighter regulations on automakers. The German car industry employs more than 750,000 people and is a major source of export income. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters he was not worried about damage to the economy from Volkswagen’s problems, “at least, not if we deal with it sensibly.” There must be no “soft pedalling, no obfuscation and no covering-up” by Volkswagen, he added.

The KBA had set Volkswagen an Oct. 7 deadline for a plan to bring diesel emissions into line with the law. Investors are impatient for answers too. A survey of 62 institutions by investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI found around two-thirds said it would not be possible to invest in Volkswagen over the next six months if costs, fines, legal and criminal proceedings were outstanding or inadequately quantified. VW’s brand image has also slumped this month, market researchers YouGov said, citing a survey of about 2,000 consumers.

Volkswagen said previously about 11 million vehicles were fitted with software capable of cheating emissions tests, including 5 million at its VW brand, 2.1 million at luxury brand Audi, 1.2 million at Skoda and 1.8 million light commercial vehicles. Refitting 11 million cars would be among the biggest recalls in history by a single automaker, similar in scale to Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T) 2009-2010 recall of more than 10 million vehicles over acceleration problems, though dwarfed by the number recalled by multiple carmakers due to faulty Takata Corp (7312.T) air bags. Volkswagen sold 10.1 million vehicles in the whole of 2014. The company said last week it would set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to help cover the cost of the crisis. But analysts think that may not be enough, as it faces potential fines from regulators and prosecutors, as well as lawsuits from cheated customers. Spain’s industry ministry said on Tuesday Volkswagen’s local business had agreed to return fuel-efficiency subsidies on vehicles that had broken rules. It said Spain, which offered subsidies of 1,000 euros for energy-efficient car purchases, would ask for the money back from the car manufacturer and not consumers. Volkswagen shares dropped 4.1 percent to close at 95.20 euros ($107.09) in European trading on Tuesday.

Mueller also said Volkswagen’s core VW division, struggling with high-fixed costs and low profit margins, would be given more autonomy, akin to the independence enjoyed by premium flagship brands Audi and Porsche. Analysts have long urged the company to tackle underperformance at its core mass-market brand, and to dilute control from the center which has been blamed for product delays and problems adapting to local markets. A source familiar with the matter also said the executive committee of Volkswagen’s supervisory board would meet on Wednesday to discuss progress with the company’s investigations and engaging U.S. law firm Jones Day to lead an external probe. Klaus Mohrs, mayor of Wolfsburg where Volkswagen employs around 70,000 people, said on Monday he expected a sharp decline in business taxes due to the crisis, and announced an immediate budget freeze and hiring ban.

The emissions scandal has sent ripples through the global car market too, with manufacturers fearing more costly regulations and a drop in diesel car sales. The European Commission is working on plans to reform the European system for approving new models of cars by the end of the year.