Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil But Mourinho rounded on unfavorable comparisons between his side and Liverpool and Spurs, who also finished the season trophyless and below United in the table last season.“It is difficult for me to believe we finished second, when I listen, when I read, because you are capable of making people that finish second look like they were relegated, and people who win nothing, finish below us, and you make them look like serial winners,” he said.“It is difficult for me to understand we finished second…I won eight championships and three Premier Leagues but I keep feeling that second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next FILE – In this Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 file photo, Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho looks on during their Champions League group A soccer match against Benfica, at Old Trafford, in Manchester, England. Jose Mourinho has extended his contract at Manchester United, tying him to the Premier League club until at least 2020. United announced the new deal for its manager on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, file)Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho does not expect to add to his squad before the transfer window for Premier League clubs closes later on Thursday.Mourinho has repeatedly complained about United’s lack of transfer activity in pre-season and warned earlier this week that the Red Devils face a “difficult season” if his squad wasn’t strengthened before the new campaign.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal “The information I have is no,” said Mourinho when asked if he expected any signings or departures from Old Trafford on deadline day.“I’m not confident, I’m not confident and the market closes today so it is time at least for me to stop thinking about the market because the market will be closed.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’United open the Premier League season against Leicester City at Old Trafford on Friday and Mourinho’s squad is also depleted by injuries and the tight turnaround from the World Cup.Goalkeeper Sergio Romero, defenders Antonio Valencia, Diogo Dalot and Marcos Rojo and midfielders Nemanja Matic and Andre Herrera are all absent through injury for Friday. In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Peza offers relief to ecozone firms Fajardo: Beermen ‘can’t be stagnant’ after first finals loss in 3 years MOST READ Meanwhile, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini are doubts after only returning to pre-season training on Monday following their participation in the latter stages of the World Cup.“They returned on Monday, trained Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and today, so you can imagine that they are not really fit and ready but we have needs,” added Mourinho.“The list that I gave you before of the injured players is an important list and today after training I will speak with that group of players — because everybody is different physically and mentally — and see how they feel they are.”United finished a distant 19 points behind local rivals Manchester City despite finishing second in the Premier League last season.Mourinho’s defensive style of play was also criticised in comparison to the exciting brand of football imposed by Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino on top four rivals City, Liverpool and Tottenham.ADVERTISEMENT Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk
Wilmot J. Collins, Mayor-elect, City of Helena, Montana (USA)Wilmot J. Collins, a Liberian-American, has now made history because he was elected as the first black mayor in the history of the U.S. State of Montana on Tuesday Nov. 7. Helena, the city of which he is now the Mayor-elect, is the capital city of the state.“Though Helena had a black mayor before it was even incorporated, local historians say former Liberian refugee Wilmot Collins will be the first,” a Montana news oulet said.Results will remain unofficial until provisional ballots are added and the election is canvassed at a Nov. 16 meeting. That’s when the state auditor, superintendent of public instruction, and attorney general meet, in the office of the secretary of state, to certify the election and enter the results into record.The progressive Collins defeated incumbent Jim Smith, seeking his fifth term, 5,139 votes (51.28 percent) to 4,801 (47.90 percent). The two were separated by 338 votes.Collins, 54, immigrated to the United States as a refugee during Liberia’s civil war in 1990.He holds BA in Political Science/Sociology; MSc Human Resource Management; and has completed Course work for Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology.Collins has worked in numerous places including the United States Dept. of Homeland Security: Immigration Service Officer; Lewis & Clark United Way Board of Directors and United Nations Refugee Congress Advisory Council an as logistics specialist in the United States Navy.A former refugee himself, Collins in 2016 participated in the opening of a refugee center in Missoula, Montana and has played an instrumental role in helping Montanans understand the struggle that most refugees face.Collins will be the city’s first new mayor in 16 years. He ran a long campaign based on progressive principles.Joy Collins, sister of the mayor elect who lives in Monrovia, in a telephone interview last night described her brother’s victory as proof that the people of Montana are becoming more diverse and willing to elect people base on their comportment, not on race.“My brother has always been a champion of people’s rights, and his track record speaks volumes. I’m very proud of him. I know and I’m certain that Collins will be a good leader. He will definitely keep the promise he made during the campaign,” Joy Collins added.Wilmot J. Collins and his wife Maddie have two children, Bliss and Jaymie.Speaking at the night after the announcement in Montana, the Helena Independent Record news website quoted the new mayor as saying, “The people of Helena have spoken, and I am honored to be able to serve them.”He added, “I intend to work with commissioners, work for the people of Helena and find what is best for this city. The first step is to sleep all Wednesday. Then, listen to the people of Helena.”It may be recalled that in 2011, another Liberian-born, Wynfred Russell, contested for a mayoral position in the City of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota which has the largest Liberian immigrant community living in the United States. While he did not win, he was one of the top contenders for the post rendered vacant by the death of the man he considers his mentor, Mayor Steve Lampi.Wynfred Russell, another Liberian-American, ran for Mayor of Brooklyn Park, MN in 2011, but did not succeed.At the time, Minnpost.com wrote of him: “An independent-minded community activist, Russell worked on Lampi’s Community Engagement Initiative, which is credited with closing the gap between Brooklyn Park’s white, black, African and Asian communities. He has worked to help Liberian kids navigate the local public schools and has worked on HIV/AIDS education programs.”Russell, who is a writer and a researcher, told Minnpost.com, “I’m not running as a Liberian mayor. I am of immigrant stock, yes, but I’m running to reduce crime and to bring this community together.”“We are inspired! Congratulations, Wilmot J. Collins!” Russell said in a Facebook post.On Collins’ victory, Helena Independent Record reported that he (Collins) commended the outgoing mayor Jim Smith for his work over the past decade and a half. The newspaper also said Collins received a call from U.S. Senator Jon Tester congratulating him on his victory.“I commend Mayor Smith. He’s done a great job for the city, and I hope to work with him in the future,” Collins said.Collins’ who ran as an independent candidate, according to Helena Independent Record newspaper said he would address teens and veterans’ homelessness, improve tourism and ensure access to clean water.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
GO-Invest CEO Owen Verwey along with GCCI President Nicholas Boyer at a joint press conference on ThursdaySome 20 local businesses will be attending the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2019 which is said to be the largest of its kind.The Guyana booths will showcase what the country has to offer and create opportunities for business and networking. OTC 2019 will be held from May 6-9, in Houston, Texas, under the theme “OTC: The Next 50 Years.”Guyana’s participation is a collaborative effort between the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce representing the business community and the Guyana Office for investment (GO-Invest) representing Government’s commitment to the business community.Chief Executive Officer of GO-Invest, Owen Verwey told media operatives on Thursday at a press conference that Guyana will form part of more than 60,000 that will be in attendance and it will create opportunities for business networking and education sharing among Guyana and other countries.The goal of the mission is to foster relations with other oil producing companies to benefit the country and its economy. He said the aim is to allow members of the Guyana delegation to network with other participants, as well as to gather relevant information on the offshore oil and gas sector.“We will have two booths at the Conference and we will be looking into specific activities that are Guyana-focused and that will also complement OTC activity that is Guyana-focused, with emphasis on the country’s upcoming oil and gas industry,” Verwey explained.There will also be a Guyana night of information sharing and networking in collaboration with a major partner ExxonMobil.President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, Nicholas Boyer, who also spoke at Thursday’s press conference said Guyana’s participation in such a conference will ensure that Guyana has “A booth, a presence, and a face in Texas.”Boyer also gave recognition to the US Embassy; a partner stating that the embassy is excited about the interest indicated in Guyana’s market from abroad. According to Boyer, the aim of participation in this conference is to foster education, connection and networking as well as to promote local content. He added that Guyana needs more education in experience, equipment and oil and gas resources, hence the participation is necessary.Some of the businesses that will be in attendance include Roraima Airways, Hughes Fields and Stoby, Ramps Logistics, GTT, and Guyana National Shipping Corporation, Sterling and Japarts.The Offshore Technology Conference was founded in 1969, and forms a series of conferences and exhibitions focused on the exchanging technical knowledge relevant to the development of offshore energy resources, primarily oil and natural gas.
RUSHDIMULLAH, Iraq – The stories have come in by the dozen. One man swore that he had personally buried two Americans. As soldiers quickly began digging, another man came up and asked why they were unearthing his cousin. Other Iraqis have said they saw the Americans walking, encircled by their captors. And still more have fingered people who they thought might have something to do with the ambush on Saturday that killed four American soldiers and one Iraqi. Thousands of soldiers are searching for three missing Americans taken during the attack. Sifting through the tips has become the hub of the manhunt. A few tips have panned out, while most have led nowhere – deliberately so in some cases, many Americans suspect. The false alarms highlight the challenge American troops face here in a Sunni stronghold where many residents resent the American presence. And for the soldiers who are searching, the disappointments can be heartbreaking. Sgt. 1st Class Phitsidane Panpradith, 34, was with the first unit to arrive at the scene of the attack Saturday. He rushed in from a patrol base a few hundred yards away, and maneuvered around two roadside bombs to get there. What he saw – two burning vehicles, dead soldiers – horrified him. Searching for his missing friends, he said, offered some of the only comfort he could find. So when an Iraqi informant said the three Americans could be found near the Caveman canal outside Cargouli village, Panpradith moved quickly. He gathered about 15 men and set out on a grueling 12-mile march through fields and orchards, avoiding the bomb-strewn roads, in the baking afternoon sun. He said he really thought they would find the missing soldiers. The men searched for several hours, racing the setting sun. They pushed through reeds, scoured houses. But they found nothing. “It was dry,” Panpradith said Thursday, at a combat outpost on the same road where the attack occurred. “That’s just like everything else out here – it’s just sifting through it all and trying to find what we can.” Separating fact from fiction, good intelligence from bad, has defined the war in Iraq since it started. But the units searching for their missing comrades here in the lush farmland known as the Triangle of Death face an especially daunting challenge. Al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, and a number of other Sunni insurgent groups, have become so interwoven into the rural towns and villages here that separating disinformation from fact or rumor requires the skill of prosecutor, interrogator and cleric combined. The mutual distrust between the Americans and the Iraqis seemed to ensure an endless circle of suspicious glares and accusations. “The Iraqis think we want to take over their country,” said Panpradith, of Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. At the same time, he said, “We have to keep going back to them.” “They know something,” he said. “A lot of them know something.” Panpradith and several other soldiers said the Iraqis seemed to be intentionally passing on incorrect information, trying to hide involvement, trying to use tips to ingratiate themselves with American officers, or maybe just telling stories for attention. In the hope of separating the credible from the ridiculous, commanders are offering a $200,000 reward for information that leads to the soldiers’ recovery. As of Wednesday at noon, the unit responsible for the area – 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division – said it received more than 140 tips, in addition to intelligence gleaned from the more than 700 detainees arrested since the search started. Commanders said a rush of information also arrived last June, after two Americans from the 101st Airborne Division were kidnapped from a small patrol base a few miles from where Saturday’s attack occurred. This time, commanders said, witness accounts have proved less reliable. There have been no known public displays, live or through video – a tactic used during other high-profile kidnappings. And from the start of the manhunt, credible information seemed mixed with the dubious. Col. Michael Kershaw, the brigade’s commander, said that within six hours of the attack, American and Iraqi forces detained two local residents who appeared to have been wounded during the ambush, including a teenager with his hand blown off by an explosion. They confessed to taking part in the attack, he said. But there was a problem: their description of what happened did not fit with what the Americans knew from forensic evidence. American officials believe the attack included several elements, including roadside bombs placed nearby to prevent reinforcements from arriving quickly. Either the detainees were lying or “maybe they were just paid to do certain things,” Kershaw said. Other leads have snaked into dead ends, too. Soon after the attack, the Americans heard that the soldiers were being kept at a house nearby. Troops and helicopters rushed to the area. “I had a cavalry troop fly in all the way from Camp Striker,” Kershaw said, referring to a base near Baghdad. “Again, nothing significant.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
“He was incredible,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. “It’s all about what he does and when he does it. It was a performance to put us through.”England’s Jadon Sancho fired into the top corner for a late Dortmund consolation but the visitors were largely disappointing and now face a fight with Inter Milan to make it out of Group F.Dortmund will hope to beat Slavia Prague at home in a fortnight’s time while relying on Barcelona to play a strong enough team to avoid defeat at the San Siro, eight days before the season’s first Clasico at home to Real Madrid.“We got the most difficult group in the competition in my opinion,” said Valverde. “We are through with a game to spare, first in the group, and for the players that means a lot.”While Real have hit their stride in recent weeks, Barca have stumbled, even if the results have been good enough to remain top of La Liga on goal difference.For that they owe a great deal to Messi, who now has 10 goals in his last nine games, a timely surge into form ahead of the announcement of the Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday, for which his greatest threat is Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk.– Messi magic –As well as his 613 goals, Messi has provided 237 assists in his 700 club matches, taking his collective tally of goals and assists in that time to an astonishing 850.For Barcelona, the only worry was the sight of Ousmane Dembele limping off with another injury in the first half. Dembele could be a doubt for the Clasico, which is exactly three weeks away.“It was a strange movement, a bad landing, I don’t know,” Valverde said. “We are qualified but the bad news is his injury.”Dembele had been preferred to Griezmann, who replaced him, while Ivan Rakitic made his first start since September 21.Rakitic made an eventful opening, conceding possession as Dortmund created their best chance in the opening minute only for Samuel Umtiti and Marc-Andre ter Stegen to scramble the ball away.At the other end, Rakitic saw a shot blocked and Messi slipped in Suarez to score but the Uruguayan was just offside.The same combination would soon pay dividends as Suarez’s attempted pass to Junior Firpo cannoned back to Messi, who poked through to Suarez too allow the Uruguayan to strike hard past Roman Burki.Messi made it two when another failed attempt to play out from the back saw the ball land at the feet of Frenkie de Jong. Suarez swiftly transferred into the path of Messi, who drove low into the far corner.After overrunning one chance, Messi was then booked for a dive as Burki rushed out and missed the ball, even if Messi exaggerated his descent.In between, Griezmann might have made it three off after a delightfully cushioned assist from Messi and then he did, as De Jong fed Messi on the break and he threaded in Griezmann, who this time applied the finish.With the result secure, Messi began to enjoy himself, a brilliant run causing the Camp Nou to rise to its feet before a bending free-kick from an acute angle clipped the crossbar.Sancho, who came on as a substitute, slammed a shot into the top corner with 13 minutes left and there might have been a nervy finish had Ter Stegen’s finger-tips not pushed another effort onto the crossbar in the 87th minute.0Shares0000(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Lionel Messi scored on his 700th appearance for Barcelona on Wednesday in a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund. © AFP / Josep LAGOBARCELONA, Spain, Nov 28 – Lionel Messi marked his 700th game for Barcelona by scoring his 613th goal on Wednesday as the Catalans beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to go through as group winners to the Champions League last 16.Messi celebrated his anniversary in style by putting Barca two up before half-time, between laying on a pair of assists for Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann in a comfortable victory at Camp Nou.
Gardai are seeking two men who are passing fake €20 notes in Letterkenny.The duo have hit a number of shops on the town’s Main Street with a number of the good quality forgeries.Shop-assistants are being urged to take the usual precautions because changing notes if they are suspicious. Gardai are asking people to be vigilant and if they notice anybody acting suspiciously to contact them.GARDAI SEEK CONMEN AS FORGED €20 NOTES IN CIRCULATION was last modified: April 19th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalfakesletterkenny
CROWDS have welcomed Jason Black home to Letterkenny this evening after his climb to the top of the world – and doesn’t he look good!The first Donegal man to the top of Everest was greeted by Mayor – and brother-in-law – Dessie Larkin.And there was music too from the town band. “It’s great to be home among family and friends,” said Jason, the owner of Voodoo nightclub.And he quotes George Moore who said: “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.”Champagne is now off ice as family and friends celebrate into the evening.Mayor Larkin said Jason had “done his town and his county proud” by climbing to the top of Everest eight days ago. CROWDS WELCOME JASON HOME AFTER EVEREST CLIMB was last modified: May 28th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CROWDS WELCOME JASON HOME AFTER EVEREST CLIMBJason BlackletterkennyVOODOO
ESPN3 Watch Live at Western Illinois 9/10/2019 – 6 p.m. Box Score (PDF) Next Game: Preview Story Links Full Schedule Roster DES MOINES, Iowa – Paced by 18 kills from junior Emily Plock (Altoona, Iowa), the Drake University volleyball team defeated Saint Louis, 3-1, in the final match of the Drake Invitational.After dropping the first set, 25-19, the Bulldogs prevailed by scores of 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 to finish the weekend 2-1 and improve to 4-2 overall this season.Plock’s 18 kills came on 36 attempts as she converted at a .389 clip. She also added five blocks. Haley Bush (Waukee, Iowa) continued her strong start to the season with 15 kills, 15 digs and three blocks. Gillian Gergen (Janesville, Iowa) added five blocks and nine kills while Paige Aspinwall (Maple Grove, Minn.) directed the offense with 32 assists.Maya Taylor led Saint Louis (4-2) with 15 kills.The Bulldogs hit .312 as a team in the win and finished strong, converting on 41.9 percent of their swings in the fourth set. Bush led that charge with seven of her kills in the final set on 10 attempts.Earlier in the day, Drake was unable to hold off Milwaukee in its second match of the Drake Invitational as the Bulldogs fell by set scores of 19-25, 24-26, 25-19, 25-18 and 15-13. Drake held a 2-0 advantage in the match but was unable to hold off a Milwaukee rally. Milwaukee would go on to win the Drake Invitational title.The Bulldogs held an 18-9 advantage in blocks with junior Gergen leading the way with 10 blocks to go along with her five kills. Senior Elle Tubbs (Clinton, Iowa) added eight blocks and eight kills while Plock had seven blocks and 11 kills. Freshman Haley Bush (Waukee, Iowa) led the team with 12 kills in the loss.The Bulldogs return to action Sept. 10 for a single non-conference match at Western Illinois. Live Stats Print Friendly Version
When Nora Canny from Galway turned 96 yesterday, she got a huge surprise when she got a birthday message from none other than Kincasslagh crooner Daniel O Donnell!Nora, who has lived in Britain since 1947, is one of Daniel’s biggest fans.Speaking to the Irish Post Nora said; “Oh my gosh, honestly, I could not believe it. I was so shocked and delighted. Isn’t it marvellous the things you can do now!” Nora had missed Daniel’s most recent gig in Birmingham due to a stay in hospital, so to make up for it her granddaughter Colette came up with the fantastic idea of reaching out to Daniel and getting a personal birthday wish from the man himself.Colette said; “The first thing she said was, ‘How does he know?’, at which point we all burst out laughing and she said ‘One of ye must have called him’.”Nora all dolled up in younger years“I decided to get in touch with Daniel because grandma has had such a difficult year. She has spent a lot of time in hospital due to her hip which kept dislocating.”“We would play Daniel to her in the hospital when she was anxious to calm her down.” “Danny Boy is her absolute favourite. We even got the hospital radio station to play it for her.”“Daniel was playing in Birmingham last month. I’d have loved to take grandma, but she just wasn’t up to it. I thought a card off Daniel would be the next best thing. So I was absolutely bowled over when his PA sent me that video.”“We all absolutely adore her, which is what made last night’s surprise all the more special, I have never seen her look so shocked, seeing Daniel O’Donnell on her telly wishing her a happy birthday.”“She only got out of hospital last week after a whole month, so this birthday was a particularly special occasion for her and us.”In the video Daniel says; “Hope that you have a wonderful day all together and enjoy every minute. Take care and all the best” Although the video is unfocused, there’s no mistaking the whopping cheers at the end!Video Playerhttps://www.donegaldaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/video-1477039853.mp400:0000:0000:15Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Well done to Daniel for sending Nora this lovely message, and happy belated birthday Nora!Daniel surprises Galway granny who was in hospital for her 96th birthday was last modified: October 22nd, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
More investment and consistent attention to the condition of the continent’s transport network will result in economic growth.(Image: Prasa) Swaziland’s minister of transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini, was a guest at the event, and also participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Limited, the world’s largest manufacturer of electric locomotives, was one of the exhibitors.(Images: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Mayihlome TshweteSpokesperson, Minister Malusi Gigaba+27 72 869 2477• Gugulethu ZuluMarketing executive, Terrapinn+27 11 516 4014 or +27 11 516 4000RELATED ARTICLES• R2.2bn upgrade for SA’s rail system• Gautrain’s Pretoria route rolls out• Japan assistance for Southern Africa• Grand opening for Port of Ngqura• Talks to launch African trade blocJanine ErasmusThe 2013 Africa Transport and Infrastructure Show brought rail, road, shipping and air experts together, to discuss ways of boosting the transport sector and its economic and social impact on the continent.The 16th edition of the show, which ran in Johannesburg from 24 to 27 June, featured presentations, panel discussions, workshops and an exhibition aimed at helping to solve the challenges involved in growing Africa’s transport network to a competitive level.This year’s event featured some 100 exhibitors from as far afield as China and India, and delegates from Botswana Railways, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Central East African Railways, Rift Valley Railways, Nigerian Ports Authority, and more.One of the event’s main goals, said organisers, was to empower attendees to be able to address “some of the most pertinent issues facing the industry in Africa today”, namely:Increasing skills development and a local engineering base to support what will one day become a first-world network;Creating bankable projects that are based on supply and demand and that will attract investors;Determining realistic time frames and support partners to best implement current and upcoming projects.The consensus was that investment and consistent attention to the condition of the continent’s transport network will reap the desired harvest of economic growth.Public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba was named the Transport Personality of the Year at the event. He was recognised for his leadership and vision in debates on rail, transformation in the industry, promoting safety and ensuring that the highest standards are maintained.Gigaba thanked his department as well as the state-owned enterprises which fall under it, for their contributions.Poor infrastructure the stumbling blockAfrican industry is predicted to grow to trillion-dollar levels over the next decade, but the transport infrastructure must grow equally, or industry will suffer.“Africa is rich in minerals, but poor infrastructure lets us down,” said South Africa’s deputy minister of public enterprises, Bulelani Magwanishe. He was participating in the opening panel discussion, held under the theme Innovation, trends and opportunities – improving Africa’s transport sector and moderated by Pierre di Borgo, principal investment officer with the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.“Transport costs are generally high, which limits intra-African trade,” he said, adding that this problem should be tackled on a national as well as a regional and continental level. Since transport by road is more expensive than rail, the latter should be used whenever possible.Countries should work harder to promote intra-continental trade, he said, mentioning that South African president Jacob Zuma has been named the AU’s champion of the North-South development corridor – a trade and transport route that extends some 8 600 km from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Durban in South Africa, moving through eight countries in East and Southern Africa on the way.With regard to aviation, Magwanishe suggested that safety levels be improved to “counter the perception that African skies are unsafe”. Operating costs should also be lowered.“If we can successfully attend to these issues, we will awaken the African giant,” he stated.Swaziland’s minister of transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini, added his voice to the discussion, saying that transport is the catalyst for economic growth and development. He also advocated for more growth in aviation.“We need capacity building in all countries, as well as improved efficiency and service delivery especially in the airlines – this is key.”Dlamini said that air travel is vital for transporting high-value and perishable goods, while rail is better suited to bulky or hazardous goods. Land development around airports will generate additional revenue, he added.The use, whenever possible, of rail and air reduces congestion and accidents, and increases public safety on the roads.“Landlocked countries such as Swaziland depend on reliable transport channels to get our goods to export markets. If the SADC network is inefficient, we will lose out to other regions selling the same goods to global markets.”In 2012, he said, Swaziland signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of a main line linking the little country to Mpumalanga province in South Africa, and from there to Mozambique and Richards Bay, one of South Africa’s important ports. This will provide rail access for Swazi goods to major trade routes and centres.In terms of road transport, Dlamini noted that infrastructure development must be integrated. ”We need harmonisation of standards, for example, in the construction of flyover bridges, which may be of varying heights in different countries and may prevent a truck, which can go under bridges in its own country, from going under a bridge somewhere else.”Relaxing of the cross-border permit procedure will also be beneficial, and the facilitation of one-stop border permits.“Together Africa will prosper – divided we will fail,” Dlamini declared.Capacity in transport sector is insufficientJeff Nemeth, CEO of Ford Southern Africa, said that 75% of his company’s products are transported from Gauteng province to 148 different countries, and this, as well as imports, depends on efficient infrastructure and procedures.“Rail drove the American industrial revolution, and let’s not forget that the early transcontinental American railways were built by Chinese labourers,” he said, alluding to the fact that China is heavily involved in African infrastructure projects at the moment.Locally, Nemeth named lengthy border crossings as one of the challenges to be overcome. “We fitted one of our trucks with a camera that took a photo every 15 minutes, and sent it from Johannesburg to Nairobi. When we analysed the footage we found that 90% of the truck’s images were taken at border crossings. This is a huge waste of time.”If access to other markets is made easier with, for instance, quicker border procedures, he said, growth will accelerate. “The return on foreign investment in Africa is the highest of any continent. GDP growth as a whole is faster than that of Asia – the opportunities are endless.”It’s also important that governments recognise that logistics are key to economic growth, Nemeth added. “We send 4 000 trucks a month to the Durban port, and for this we need seven trains a week. In a good week we’ll get four, in a bad week two, so we send the rest by road, which is less efficient. There is not enough capacity in the rail system – it needs more investment.”Hamadou Sali, chairperson of Cameroon’s Camrail, which operates that country’s national railroad, said that rail is the greatest development tool for Africa. Since Camrail began operations in 1999, passenger volume has grown by 30% and passenger travelling distance by 66%. The amount of goods shifted has also increased, and the investment in freight and passenger capacity has also resulted in job creation.Piet Sebola of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa said that transport underpins economic growth, and that investment into the movement of people and goods is essential. He felt that this could be accelerated with more private-public partnerships.The dilapidated state of much of the continent’s transport infrastructure is a result of what he called the boom-bust approach, which saw a peak in investment and construction in the 1970s but had quietened by the 1990s.“Now we must recover that under-investment over the last few decades,” he stated. “The sector must evolve – the rail network, especially, has not changed much even since the arrival of democracy in 1994.”If there is inefficiency in one sector, manufacturers will turn to another sector, he said – “So what should not be on the roads, is now on the roads.”Technology must also evolve with the times – no country can rely on decades-old technology. “We saw this with the boom-bust approach – you can’t invest and then take a break for 20 years. It needs to be consistent.”With the help of aggressive investment from the private sector, he said, this is possible. “There is a huge economic benefit that comes with such investment. The reality is that the fiscus can’t sustain investments on its own.”Di Borgo mentioned that a recent McKinsey report revealed that private-public partnerships can generate, on average, about 10% of needed investment – therefore the government’s role remains critical.Sebola agreed with Dlamini that development around transport nodes will bring added revenue. “Along the line there will be development where the private sector can benefit.”