4 November 2009South Africa’s First National Bank has started operating in Zambia, taking advantage of an investor-friendly environment with low political risk to expand in the southern African country.Since receiving its Zambian banking licence in November 2008, First National Bank (FNB) has opened three full-service branches, including a commercial branch, in Lusaka, and a branch in Zambia’s copper belt. A further two branches have already been planned for 2010.“Despite the current global economic climate, Zambia provides an investor-friendly environment and is a low political risk country,” FNB chief executive Michael Jordaan said in a statement last week, coinciding with the official opening of FNB’s first branch by Zambian President Rupiah Banda.“FNB believes that it can add value to the Zambian banking industry by bringing the best of our acquired skills and knowledge on the continent in terms of our innovative products, services and technology,” Jordaan said.“One of our key strategic focus areas is to deliver innovative banking services to all our customers in Africa by further expanding outside of South Africa. In line with this, FNB’s vision is to be the pre-eminent financial services group in South Africa and the rest of Africa.”FNB Zambia CEO Richard Hudson said the bank’s Zambian offerings included branches and ATMs, as well as electronic and cellphone banking. “To ensure efficient execution, our strategy is to roll out products, services and channels in a phased approach.“In addition, FNB has a multi-currency product offering that offers accounts in five different currencies,” Hudson said. “It is also the group’s first subsidiary to utilise full satellite technology.”Hudson said he believed that the Zambian personal and business banking environment was open and receptive to new market players.“FNB has industry leading innovations which have been successfully launched in other African countries, and now Zambia will reap the benefits of FNB’s innovative thinking,” he said.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Farmer optimism for the state of agriculture, their current business health and their outlook on the future continues to climb, according to the results of the DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index. In fact, farmers indicate they are more confident than ever, pushing the index to 164.8, exactly 30 points higher than the most recent index in spring of 2018.When asked, farmers rated their present situation at 172.4, up 68 points from spring of 2018 and 100 points above what they felt about conditions one year ago. In comparison, farmers in the recent index rated their optimism for the future at 161.1, which is 11 points below their optimistic rating for the current situation, but still significantly positive.“These results are not just record-setting, but they are also extremely surprising,” said Greg Horstmeier, DTN editor-in-chief. “What’s more is that we found consistency across all regions and types of farmers studied in the survey, whether Midwest, Southeast, or Southwest, and whether crop grower or livestock producer.”AUDIO: The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins visits with Horstmeier about the latest Ag Confidence Index Audio Playerhttp://ocj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DTN-Greg-Horstmeier-Confidence-Index-09.28.18.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.DTN/The Progressive Farmer also surveys agribusinesses and developed a separate index for their rating of the current and future situation. In that survey, the DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agribusiness Confidence Index also indicated an improvement over the last 12 months in the present situation, but much less dramatic of an increase. The overall Agribusiness Confidence Index is 95.6, which is down 15.4 points from spring of 2018 and down 11 points from a year ago. Agribusinesses are positive about their current situation, rating it at 110, up 15.8 points from a year ago.“Overall, agribusinesses sharply disagree with what farmers are saying,” Horstmeier said. “We believe this is due to the overall farm economy; farmers have slowed their spending with agribusinesses over the past four years and those businesses are feeling the pinch.“When you boil this down to what it means for agriculture in America, there are trends that farmers have adapted to the current farm economy and are positive about their present and future conditions. Conversely, we are starting to see rural agribusinesses that support America’s farmers begin to struggle and may be a leading indicator of where agriculture is heading over the next few years,” Horstmeier said.
Three Assam Rifles personnel were killed and three others injured in an ambush by extremists of the SS Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) in Nagaland’s Mon district on Sunday afternoon.The NSCN-K, however, claimed it killed “six soldiers” and injured as many in the attack near Aboi town bordering Myanmar. The ambush site is about 23km from district headquarters Mon.Defence officials said a column of the 40 Assam Rifles was fetching water from a stream in a vehicle when the militants detonated an improvised explosive device before opening indiscriminate fire.“One of the slain soldiers was a havildar who was driving the vehicle. Some of the injured soldiers were airlifted to Assam’s Jorhat town where they are being treated at the military hospital,” an Assam Rifles officer said from the paramilitary forces’ headquarters near Meghalaya capital Shillong.‘Colonel’ Isak Sumi, deputy minister of NSCN-K, said in statement that the attack was part of the outfit’s ongoing “summer offensive to sanitise the land against illegal deployment of occupational Indian forces and rein in their illegal activities, provocative movements, perpetration of terror and disturbance of peace and tranquillity in the Naga country”.Mr. Sumi also claimed the NSCN-K killed two Assam Rifles personnel manning a post at Shengha Lampong in Mon district a few days ago. With Sunday’s attack, the outfit said it killed “eight Indian soldiers” within a week.“A major of Assam Rifles was injured in last week’s attack,” Mr. Sumi said. The NSCN-K had in March 2015 walked out of a 14-year-old ceasefire with the Central government. It has in coordination with other outfits such as United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent been attacking the security forces. The worst of such attacks had killed 18 Army personnel in Manipur’s Chandel district in 2015.
The Oscar envelopes and announcement cards that contain names of winners of the most coveted honour in movie industry are getting a facelift.Breaking away from a 70-year routine, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will this year use a glamourous gold envelope at the 83rd Academy Awards instead of the plain, white paper envelope, the kind available at any office supply store.”The envelopes are such an integral part of the Academy Awards, yet there has never been a dramatic, specially designed envelope and card to announce the Oscar recipients,” telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer said in a statement.The new custom-designed, handcrafted keepsake envelopes and announcement cards have been made by Los Angeles-based custom stationer Marc Friedland. The envelopes are made of “iridescent” gold paper watermarked with little images of Oscar. It is lined with shiny red paper embossed with gold Oscars.The winner’s name appears on a heavy piece of lacquered red paper inside, with the category listed on front and back. The envelope will be sealed with a shiny red sticker adorned with two strips of red ribbon.”The Art Deco-inspired satin gold envelope will contain a heavyweight ecru card featuring gold foil accents and a gold leaf-embossed Oscar statuette along with the phrase – ‘And the Oscar goes to…’,” the statement said.The winner’s name on the announcement card would be printed in charcoal ink and mounted onto a matching, red lacquer hand-wrapped frame. The back of the card will be printed with the award category.advertisementTill now, the envelopes were printed on heavy cream-coloured stock, with plain block letters sporting the name of the category and, inside, the phrase ‘And the Oscar goes to’ and the winner’s name and film.The Academy has been using sealed envelopes for the last 70 years after a winner’s name had leaked out early once.Friedland, whose company Marc Friedland Couture Communications has designed high-end invitations for the past 25 years, said in spite of the Oscar envelope being the most “iconic” and “symbolic” envelope in the world, “it was funny that it was the most non-descript, office supply store bought” till now.”At the end of the day, the event is a celebration of an amazing accomplishment. We wanted to bring back the elegance and glamour. The design concept was to be timeless, regal and rich and luxe… the envelope serves as an iconic symbol of that moment,” Friedland added.Friedland got the envelope assignment two weeks ago.He took design cues from the look of this year’s Oscar set. He will prepare cards bearing the names of each of this year’s nominees. After the ballots are tabulated, partners at PricewaterhouseCoopers will prepare two complete sets of correct envelopes, and destroy the remaining cards.This year, the Academy is also returning to the phrase ‘And the Oscar goes to…’ after a one-year experiment with ‘And the winner is…’ to announce who wins the award.