Three appointed as investigators

first_imgThree Harvard faculty members, the largest number selected from any one institution, are among 26 scientists from across the United States to be appointed as investigators by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).Levi Garraway, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Pardis Sabeti, associate professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Tobias Walther, professor of genetics and complex diseases at the Harvard Chan School, were chosen for their individual scientific excellence from more than 800 applicants representing a variety of disciplines from institutions nationwide.“Scientific discovery requires original thinking and creativity,” said HHMI president Robert Tjian. “Every scientist selected has demonstrated these qualities. One of the most important things we can do at HHMI is to continue to support and encourage the best discovery research. We don’t know this for certain, but the ideas that emerge from these labs might one day change the world, and it’s our privilege to help make that happen.”HHMI provides each investigator with a full salary, benefits, and a research budget over his or her initial five-year appointment. The institute also covers other expenses, including research space and purchase of critical equipment. Investigators’ appointments may be renewed for additional five-year terms contingent on a successful scientific review.HHMI encourages its investigators to push their research fields into new areas of inquiry, even if that means changing directions in their research. Moreover, they have support to follow their ideas through to fruition — even if doing so takes many years.“Our essential job is to identify and support the best people we can find,” said Erin O’Shea, vice president and chief scientific officer of HHMI and a professor in Harvard’s departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Chemistry and Chemical Biology. “If you study the accomplishments of the scientists we have selected, you will find they are an amazing group of talented individuals. Many are already considered leaders in their fields and some have established entirely new fields of research.”Details on the researchers follow:Levi GarrawayLevi Garraway’s research explores how genetic and molecular alterations in tumor cells cause cancers to grow and spread, and how this knowledge can inform new therapeutic avenues. His team’s studies of melanoma and prostate cancers have turned up entirely new classes of cancer-causing genes. In addition, his research group was the first to identify prevalent cancer-promoting mutations in parts of the genome that do not encode proteins. Garraway also studies how tumors become resistant to cancer drugs, and he and his colleagues have used systematic genetic screens to identify how cells become resistant to targeted therapies.“I am so grateful to the HHMI for recognizing our work,” Garraway said. “This award is a testament to the efforts of the amazing people who have worked tirelessly as part of my research team, and to the scientific and career mentors who supported me steadfastly over the years. Going forward, I will use these funds to gain a deeper understanding of how to identify and overcome the mechanisms that cancer cells use to resist treatments that should otherwise eliminate them. We hope that this work will uncover underlying principles that lead to new therapeutic strategies relevant to many cancers in the future.”Garraway’s lab is also a pioneer in the field of precision medicine, adapting genomic technologies to survey patients’ tumors for hundreds of cancer gene alterations to create tumor profiles that can be used to identify the best candidates for clinical trials and, in the future, tailor treatments to individual patients.Pardis SabetiPardis Sabeti uses the evolutionary record embedded in the human genome to inform new understanding of disease. Her computational methods for detecting recently evolved traits have uncovered genetic adaptations that, for example, altered human resistance to malaria, hair and sweat development, and immune responses to bacteria.When Sabeti’s analyses led her to a human gene associated with increased risk of infection by Lassa virus, a devastating pathogen that kills thousands each year in West Africa, she and her colleagues developed a research program for biosafety level-4 (BL-4) viruses in rural parts of Nigeria and Sierra Leone to study the virus and its role in human evolution. In the weeks following last year’s outbreak of Ebola, Sabeti’s team applied the tools they had developed for studying BL-4 viruses to rapidly sequence and analyze 99 viral genomes from infected patients in Sierra Leone. Their data revealed how the virus was mutating and informed strategies for diagnosing the disease and curbing its spread.Tobias WaltherTobias Walther is the first faculty member at the Harvard Chan School to be appointed an HHMI investigator. His research is focused on the molecular mechanisms behind lipid storage in cells. With scientific partner Robert Farese, he has identified more than 200 genes that regulate lipid storage and discovered there are two classes of lipid droplets: small, static droplets and larger droplets that expand as needed. Walther showed how enzymes involved in synthesis of triglycerides (one type of lipid stored in the droplets) locate and engage with the expanding droplets to build new triglycerides. His team also studies how membrane lipids not stored in droplets are kept in balance inside cells. Ultimately, Walther aims to determine how alterations in lipid stores affect physiology and disease.“The appointment by HHMI is fantastic news for us,” Walther said. “The group and I are honored by the recognition of our science. The freedom associated with this appointment will allow us to focus on elucidating the mechanistic underpinnings of lipid storage and homeostasis, and the physiological functions of these processes.”last_img read more

Billy Crystal, Muhammad Ali Raise $1M for Long Beach

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Billy Crystal donated $1 million to the City of Long Beach on Saturday, June 22, 2013 (Courtesy of Long Beach)Actor-comedian and Long Beach native Billy Crystal returned Saturday to his childhood city to donate $1 million raised by his Hollywood actor friends with the help of boxing champion Muhammad Ali.With scores of residents looking on, the Analyze This star handed to city officials two checks: $12,000 from his family and $888,000 raised by Steve Martin, Robert De Niro, Robin Williams and Jimmy Walker at Ali’s annual Parkinson’s Disease research charity boxing event, Fight Night.“This is the first time they have diverted funds from Parkinson’s research,” Crystal said of Ali. “To help out Long Beach.”The funds are meant to help the continuing Sandy recovery in the City by the Sea, where the boardwalk is being rebuilt, neighborhoods and businesses are still rebuilding and the Long Beach Medical Center has yet to reopen eight months after the Oct. 29 superstorm.“Janice and I though $888,000 is a great amount of money, but a million sounds a lot better,” he said, referring to his wife.Basketball star and two-time Olympic champion Nancy Lieberman also donated two basketball courts to the city.Crystal, who toured the city and filmed a commercial for Long Beach while he was there, said where the donated money will be allocated has yet to be decided.“Don’t spend it all in one place!” he joked after asked city officials for two forms of ID while handing over the checks.“There’ll be more help on the way,” he added. “There’ll be more to come.”last_img read more

Medford Man Charged With Wrong-way LIE DWI

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Steven BrillAn alleged drunken driver was arrested after he drove the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway in his hometown of Medford early Monday morning, Suffolk County police said.Highway Patrol officers responded to 911 calls of a Honda Civic travelling westbound in the eastbound HOV lane of the LIE at Exit 64 and pulled the driver over between exits 59 and 58 at 2:35 a.m., police said.The suspect, 51-year-old Steven Brill, was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.He will be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Central Islip.last_img

SHORT TIME RENTAL – accommodation with hosts in Spain and Berlin

first_imgEHHA Round TableThe thematic gathering of EHHA (European holiday home association) at the ITB in Berlin, and this year brought to the fore the problems related to the regulation of activities. EHHA was established in 2013 with the aim of bringing together property owners, property managers and OTA platforms, the main stakeholders of STR business. EHHA membership consists of 10 significant OTA platforms, the most famous of which is Airbnb, 16 STR associations from Germany, USA, France, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Scotland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Croatia. Associate members are Maxxton – IT company for business management and Supercontrol – Booking & Management system. EHHA operates through three centers, in Copenhagen, London and Brussels. As things stand, an office in the USA could open soon. Namely, in the USA, where OTA platforms have gained the greatest momentum and where the “sharing economy” has been created, such attempts are now being made to limit or disable such jobs.In the countries of the European Union, there are 20 million beds in households, which is almost twice as many as in hotels. The value of real estate in which accommodation services are provided is estimated at 600 billion euros. Annually, STR (Short time rental) generates 45 million arrivals and generates 80 billion euros in revenue. Of the total cost of travel, only 25% falls on accommodation, and as much as 75% of income is shared by airlines, highway concessionaires, fuel filling stations, mobile phone operators, shops, catering, museums, excursion service providers and many others.The struggle between big and smallLike a copy-paste scenario, members of political elites are increasingly exposing themselves as representatives of big business, powerful companies that still seem to create politics and politicians. Thus, the city administrations of large cities are in favor of restricting the operation of OTA platforms and adopting restrictions for STR. Attempts are being made to limit the number of days of renting accommodation (90, 60…), to ban renting in certain neighborhoods and the like. All of this is happening in circumstances where tourism giants like Airbnb and booking.com are recording high growth rates of mediation between host and guest. Booking.com alone realizes 1,5 million overnight stays per day in apartments and houses worldwide. Younger generations of travelers are looking for STR accommodation and this is something that no law can prevent. Hotel chain owners will have to gradually change their business models because politics cannot protect them from the future.Spanish troublesSpain, one of the strongest tourist countries in the world and synonymous with tourism, is increasingly getting into trouble. Now the long-lasting crisis in the “most touristy” province of Catalonia has no end, in fact, with the arrest of political leaders, it sinks even deeper into uncertainty. One of the drivers of the crisis was the fact that Catalonia generates large incomes from tourism and other activities, but that the province itself benefits little from it. Greater decentralization was required, first of all money, and then the authority to manage the space. This paved the way for independence. The scenario has already been seen and experienced in Croatia. But what the Catalans don’t know, and we do know, is that similar problems continue to arise. Even when independence is fought, because the guys from “Krupni kapital doo” are still creating politics and politicians… speaking of Catalonia, it is worth mentioning Barcelona, ​​officially the 7th city in the world in terms of “overtourism”. Barcelona has 300 hotels and the whole of Croatia 600. As far as apartments are concerned, 1,4% of the total housing stock is on offer. But at the round table, it was emphasized that there are still neighborhoods in Barcelona where there are no tourists at all, either through accommodation or the offer of content. Problems occur at “neuralgic points”, well-known places where everything is concentrated – both accommodation and restaurants and shops… Obviously, there is a problem with (non) management of city development.Of the 17 provinces in Spain so far, only Galicia has managed to legally regulate STR, or household accommodation. This was done only last year. Until then, it was not possible to do business with household accommodation at all. The law is the result of cooperation between the legislature and tourism organizations. Now they finally have legal accommodation and statistics, indicators of tourist traffic. Admittedly, only in the size of 5.500 legal facilities, but they are trying to bring people closer to the possibility of legal business through road show animation and raise that number.Chaos of legislationAs far as regulations at the state level are concerned, they do not exist, the competence is reduced to the level of provinces, the provinces give powers to their cities, and these in turn interpret the legal framework in their own way. There is currently chaos in Spain with legislation. In general, any business planning is almost impossible, because the rules are not known and new regulatory regulations are constantly being added. Due to all this, Novasol has been present in Spain for only a few years, with only 3.000 facilities on offer. The same agency in Croatia has 12 facilities.In the entire territory of the Kingdom of Spain, in a way, 125 buildings are legally offered and over a million buildings are rented out. Only 000% of the capacity operates legally.The Berlin caseBerlin is often mentioned as the city with the most restrictive approach to the STR. Until recently, there were “spies” in function, who controlled the entrances to residential buildings. That “secret police” spied on their fellow citizens in collusion for dissatisfied citizens and stalked tourists who would stay in apartments. It was the result of a ban on legally renting apartments. At the time of this ban, which was justified by the lack of housing for residents, only 1% of the total housing stock returned to the real estate market. Only then was it established that citizens own only 14% of the housing stock in Berlin. Everything else is owned by companies. There were large investments in housing, but the apartments were empty for a long time. Whether this was due to an artificial rise in prices, money laundering or something else, is not yet known. However, the city authorities decided that the apartment should not be empty for more than 6 months, and subsequently that period was reduced to 3 months. What feels like a problem now is that there is almost no “native” to receive guests. The spirit of Berlin was lost. Some political currents want to restore such a model. The FPD party is in the lead.Our beautiful CroatiaWhen we compare all this with the situation in Croatia, we should be satisfied. We have good legal solutions, we have statistics and registered turnover, and paid sojourn tax and paid income tax… The restrictions set by our Law on Catering for providers of catering services in the household, are in a good range. If it would be good to “copy” something from others, it is this provision from Berlin that the apartment cannot be empty for more than 6 (3) months. If something like this were applied, especially to our coast, large investments in housing would be curbed. We also have a case where the apartment ownership ratio will increasingly benefit investors. The domicile population is under pressure from all sides with the construction of residential buildings built by successful entrepreneurs from all over Croatia and the surrounding countries. That is real “apartmentization”. These apartments are in operation for a maximum of 60 days a year and “eat” space. Nobody lives in the apartment buildings, guests are waiting for the “key under the rug”. Of course, the guys from “Krupni i krupnije kapital doo” have their fingers in it, who are “breaking the ice”. Then everyone else follows them. However, the labels “apartmentization”, “overtourism”, “tourism phobia”, are attached only to the domicile population. They want to stop growth.So we went from good things to less good ones. Which no one cares about. And they should. Because if it happens that the local community is left with no benefit from tourism, only “strats and shackles”, then real “tourism phobia” could appear. Between the Spanish chaos in the segment of family accommodation and the Turkish effort to make accommodation with the hosts, we in Croatia have a huge advantage.Are we aware of what we have ?Author: Nedo Pinezić www.nedopinezic.comlast_img read more

Royal couple: University visit ‘feels like coming home’

first_img Share Share Sharing is caring! Share 17 Views   no discussions News Royal couple: University visit ‘feels like coming home’ by: – February 25, 2011 BBC News Tweet The Royal couple returned to the university where they met in 2001Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton have visited the university where they first met, and said it felt “like coming home”.The couple, whose romance blossomed when they studied in the Fife town, returned for the university’s 600th anniversary celebrations.Thousands of people turned out to see their first official engagement in Scotland.St Andrews has created a scholarship in the couple’s honour, as a wedding gift.Addressing students, university staff, and alumni, Prince William referred to his fiancee by her full Christian name, although she is usually known as Kate.He said: “This is a very special moment for Catherine and me. It feels like coming home.“Despite being one of Europe’s leading research institutions, the third oldest university in the English-speaking world and of course, far and away the best university in the world, St Andrews has that uncanny knack of feeling like home.“And so it must have done to generations of undergraduates before us, in fact 600 years’ worth.“It’s knowing that so many of Scotland’s finest brains and greatest achievers gained and continue to gain inspiration from this place that makes me so proud to be patron of the university’s 600th anniversary appeal.”A reception inside the principal’s residence, University House, was the first stop for the prince and Miss Middleton as they began their two-hour visit.It was held in the hall where they had once attended History of Art lectures, and the couple spent time there reminiscing with members of the teaching staff and other guests.There was a heavy police presence in the town, where some people waited for several hours under grey skies and lashing rain.Ellen Dow, 66, from St Andrews, told the BBC: “I just couldn’t miss this.“I didn’t see him the whole time he was studying here so I would really like to see him today.“When he studied here he was about the streets but nobody bothered him so he had the town to himself.“I’m very excited to see him today and I hope he comes to speak to me. I adore him, he’s a wonderful person because he reminds me of his mother.”The prince and Miss Middleton carried out their first official engagement as a couple on Thursday, in Wales.They attended a ceremony at a lifeboat station on Anglesey, where Prince William is currently based as an RAF rescue helicopter pilot and where the couple will set up their first home.The pair, who are to marry on 29 April, met at St Andrews university and both graduated in 2005.Prince William graduated with an honours degree in geography and Miss Middleton with an honours degree in history of art.They have returned to Scotland’s oldest university to launch a fundraising campaign to raise £100m for new scholarships and student support.The scholarship created in their honour, which will have a value of up to £70,000, will be open to applicants from all nationalities.It will be awarded annually to a student who without that kind of financial support would be unable to attend St Andrews.The scholarship will meet the costs of tuition, if payable, accommodation and living expenses for a four-year undergraduate degree in science, arts, medicine or divinity.Professor Louise Richardson, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor, presented the gift.She said: “This will be the first scholarship of its kind at St Andrews and a reflection of this university’s commitment to ensure that we find, attract and support the most gifted students from anywhere in the world.“It will guarantee that a high quality Scottish higher education can be available to any citizen of the world, that a lack of means need not be a barrier to study and that bright students who might otherwise have been unable to go to university can fulfil their potential. “We were very pleased to make the offer of this scholarship as a wedding gift to Prince William and Miss Middleton and absolutely delighted that they have graciously accepted.”Hundreds of staff and students greeted the couple in St Salvator’s Quadrangle, where Prince William unveiled a plaque to mark the launch of the 600th anniversary.The couple also visited the university museum, where they were shown the Papal Bull from Pope Benedict XIII which conferred full university status on the institution in 1413.The visit is Prince William’s first in his role as patron of the anniversary fundraising campaign.It has been given the support of some prominent alumni and friends of the university, including former US President Bill Clinton, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, Sir Sean Connery and Harvard president, Drew Gilpin Faust.After the visit, the couple travelled back to London to visit the New Zealand High Commission.The Royal pair, and Prince Harry, were due to sign a book of condolence in memory of the people who have lost their lives in the Christchurch earthquake.last_img read more

Wenger vows to stick with troubled Arsenal

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal’s turbulent January hasn’t affected his desire to remain in charge of the troubled Premier League club beyond this season.Wenger’s side head into Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace in crisis with their star forward Alexis Sanchez preparing to join Manchester United.Since beating Palace on December 28, Arsenal have taken just two points from their three league games to leave them trailing eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the fight to qualify for the Champions League.Adding insult to injury, the Gunners suffered an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at Championship side Nottingham Forest earlier this month.Wenger’s problems have once again thrust his future into the spotlight, with fans once again calling for the Frenchman to resign after 14 years without a league title.But the 68-year-old has vowed to revive Arsenal’s fortunes and, asked this week if this could be his final season, Wenger said: “No, that’s not the way I respond.“I agree completely that 2018 until now has not been very positive but I am long enough in the job to know that what is important is how we respond to it and to focus on the performance.“My personal situation is a bit secondary to all of that, what is important is how the team responds and what we make of 2018.“We have many challenges, it is difficult at the moment, but as well very exciting because we have many challenges in front of us and we can come back in the Champions League.”– Vilification – By the time Arsenal face Palace, Sanchez could finally have got his wish to leave, with reports claiming the Chilean is on the verge of a £30 million ($41 million, 34 million euros) move to United that would make him the league’s highest paid player.Wenger hopes the closing of the transfer window on January 31 will provide Arsenal with clarity and a renewed focus.“We of course play the semi-final (of the League Cup) next week and after we have the Europa League as well, which is another target, so we have to very quickly get over this transfer period because for us especially this period has been more disturbing than ever,” Wenger said.“Why? Because we have big players that are at the end of their contract and that is the first time that it happens, that we have such influential players close to the end of their contracts and it has been more destabilising than ever.“I have no stress measurement at all. The experience I have helps me to focus on what is important at the right moment.”Despite Arsenal’s woes, Palace boss Roy Hodgson believes the vilification of Wenger is unjustified.Hodgson ranks Wenger alongside former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson as one of the greatest bosses in English football history.“I think there are managers like Arsene who deserve the utmost respect because of what he’s done in the game of football, not least here in England,” Hodgson said.“He’s a record-breaker in almost every category and basically the only person in my era who could really hold his hand up and say ‘this guy and I are in the same category’ is Alex Ferguson.“He’s been criticised many times in the past but he could lose the next 50 games he ever plays and it certainly wouldn’t change one bit my respect for him as a manager or a person.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Tigers maul Mazama, advance to semifinal round

first_imgKali Zanotti had 14 points, Sophia Belton dropped in 10 more and the Arcata High girl’s basketball team rolled to a 57-32 win over Mazama in the first round of the Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament, Thursday night at Arcata High.“We played with great effort tonight and its pretty clear, that’s why we won,” Arcata head coach Doug Oliveira said. “What we lacked in technical ability we more than made up for with effort. I was very pleased with how we looked.”Arcata (1-0) started off slow …last_img

In search of bullpen help, Giants continue to cycle through pitchers

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — After earning his first career win in a 16-inning victory over the New York Mets on Thursday, Giants reliever Williams Jerez is headed back to Triple-A Sacramento.The Giants announced Friday they’ve recalled left-hander Ty Blach to take Jerez’s roster spot as the team is in dire need of fresh bullpen arms.Jerez became the fifth different pitcher to join the Giants and be sent back to Sacramento in a span of five days, joining Dereck Rodríguez, Andrew Suárez, Ray Black and Sam …last_img

SA firms urged to invest in Zimbabwe

first_img27 March 2012 Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe has urged South African companies to take advantage of the improving situation in Zimbabwe and invest in the neighbouring country. Thabethe was giving the keynote address at a business seminar attended by more than 250 business people at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare on Monday. The seminar formed part of a four-day trade and investment initiative by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry. Thabethe is leading a 45-person business delegation on the initiative, which ends in Bulawayo on Thursday.‘Economic and structural reforms’ “Zimbabwe has been carrying out economic and structural reforms which have improved economic performance and sustained growth,” Thabethe said. “Since 2009, Zimbabwe has had positive growth rates above 5% per annum, reaching 5.9% in 2010.” She added that investment in the development of infrastructure in Zimbabwe would have a high rate of return, as it would lead to an increase in demand for manufactured and capital equipment. “There are enormous opportunities in the development of the continent’s vast resources, and the creation of critical infrastructure in roads, railways, ports and utilities.”Investment and trade Since 2003, South African companies have undertaken investment projects in Zimbabwe totalling more than US$619-million, contributing to the creation of more than 2 000 jobs in Zimbabwe’s metals, minerals, tourism and financial services industries. Over the same period, foreign direct investment from Zimbabwe into South Africa amounted to $154-million. Trade between the two countries stood at R20-billion in 2011. Zimbabwean Deputy Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha and Deputy Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Samuel Undenge also addressed the seminar. Making it easier to do business Undenge said his government had launched a medium term economic plan aimed at growing, stabilising and transforming the Zimbabwean economy, making it easier for foreign companies to invest in the country and establish partnerships with Zimbabwean companies. Speaking ahead of the trip, Thabethe said the South African government was committed to Zimbabwe’s recovery and development. “South Africa’s economy is inextricably linked to Zimbabwe’s economy,” Thabethe added. “Due to its geographical proximity to South Africa, Zimbabwe’s political and economic welfare has a direct impact on South Africa.” SAinfo reporter and BuaNewslast_img read more

Mandela’s South Africa: Two decades of freedom

first_imgClick on image to download the report. “In April 1994, the South African economy literally had junk status,” says Colin Coleman of Goldman Sachs. “South Africa confounded apartheid apologists by enjoying a peace dividend from 1994 to 2007 with real GDP growth averaging 3.6% per annum, only slowing to 2.3% following the 2008 global financial crisis.” (Images: Goldman Sachs) MEDIA CONTACTS • Goldman Sachs International 13th Floor The Forum 2 Maude Street Sandton 2196 + 27 11 303 2700 RELATED ARTICLES • Take action for competitiveness • Ramaphosa unpacks the NDP • SA is getting plenty right • We look up to you: Ibrahim • One Young World celebrates MandelaColin Coleman, Partner Managing Director, Goldman SachsAfter almost two decades of democracy the world is asking: “What has Nelson Mandela’s South Africa done with its freedom?” With the 95-year-old father of the nation ailing, the 52-million South Africans who see him almost universally as a hero are also asking what lies ahead long after Madiba.To contribute towards a balanced narrative, Goldman Sachs has constructed a data rich, empirical analysis of how South Africa has changed in the past 20 years, revealing what South Africa still needs to tackle.When Nelson Mandela became president in 1994 he took over a state in crisis. South Africa had no foreign exchange reserves, double digit lending and inflation rates, a debt to GDP ratio of 50%, and 23% unemployment. Between 1980 and 1994 the economy grew at a real average rate of just 1.4%. Few believed that the previously-banned African National Congress (ANC) had the ability to manage Africa’s largest economy. Equally few people grasped just how bad the inheritance was. In April 1994, the South African economy literally had junk status.South Africa confounded apartheid apologists by enjoying a peace dividend from 1994 to 2007 with real GDP growth averaging 3.6% per annum, only slowing to 2.3% following the 2008 global financial crisis. By 2007 debt to GDP almost halved to 28%, and while now back at 42%, it still compares favourably to most developed markets.Post-1994, a “Golden Period”, the economy grew 2.5 times in size from $136-billion to just under $400-billion today. Inflation plummeted from an average of 14% in the 14 years to 1994 to an average of around 6.4% thereafter under the guidance of the Reserve Bank’s inflation targeting. South Africa now boasts a respectable $50-billion of gross gold and foreign exchange reserves. The tax net also grew, from 1.7-million taxpayers and $11-billion in receipts in 1994, to 13.7-million taxpayers and $81-billion in receipts in 2012. Notwithstanding a recent one notch downgrade, South Africa’s sovereign credit rating deservedly improved to investment grade today.Responsible macroeconomic stewardship has, generally, been accompanied by adherence to the rule of law, respect for the much admired South African Constitution, media freedom and strong independent institutions such as the Reserve Bank and judiciary.Perhaps the most striking successes since 1994 have been the creation of a growing and sizable African middle class, increased real wages for the employed, and the extension of social welfare and services to underprivileged communities. In the decade since 2000, the African middle class more than doubled in size. Real GDP per capita increased by 40% over this period, as 10-million South Africans, one out of five, graduated from lower to the middle and higher income bands.Welfare has been extended to 16-million people who receive monthly cash grants at an annual cost to the government of $10-billion. Disadvantaged households also receive far greater access to basic services such as sanitation, electricity and water. Collectively, these transfers provide a tangible “democracy dividend.”When economic isolation ended, trade patterns changed. While Europe remains its largest trading partner, China is rapidly catching up. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) became the world’s 15th largest bourse, with a total market capitalisation twice that of local GDP, at around $800-billion and representing 80% of all African equity capital market flows. The corporate valuation gap between the JSE and developed markets closed, setting the stage for South African companies to compete globally for assets. The deeply liquid JSE is now the ideal investment hub for Africa.But major structural challenges remain.Click image for a larger view.South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world. By 2008, 85% of Africans were still in the impoverished or lower income categories receiving less than R1 400 per month compared to 87% of whites in the middle and upper income categories. Unemployment too has barely moved from the 23% inherited in 1994 to a post-apartheid average of 24.5%. With 70% of the unemployed under 34, the young are disproportionately affected.Job and export creating mining and manufacturing almost halved their share of GDP to 23% since 1986, while banking and real estate doubled to 24%. At 6.5% of GDP the current account deficit, is the highest among growth market peers while foreign direct investment (FDI) has averaged only $1.9-billion since 1994. The currency exchange rate acts as a “shock absorber.”With public service union membership rising, labour militancy is now as much an issue for government as it is for the private sector.Productivity in the private sector has not kept pace with wage inflation, while the public sector, despite increasing to 2-million employees, has seen its contribution to GDP fall from 19% in 1994 to 15% today. Despite increased budgets, health and education outputs lag emerging market peers on quality and effectiveness of spending when measuring life expectancy and quality of schooling. This is not sustainable. Productivity needs to outpace wage inflation.Since 1994, indebtedness (household debt to disposable income) has soared from 57% to 76%. 9.5-million South Africans have impaired credit records and as many as 10% may risk defaulting. This poses no systemic risk to the banking sector, but represents a potential source of instability.What needs to be done?Click image for a larger view.The government must reduce inequality, increase employment, especially amongst the youth and defend the gains made by the African middle class. It must improve public sector productivity, outputs and effectiveness.With sub-Saharan Africa GDP growing at over 5.5%, South Africa now lives in a “good neighbourhood.” But the anticipated tapering of quantitative easing means the time of easy money is over. South Africa must act fast to raise its game. It must build on its trade and linkages with African and Bric economies, stabilise and revive its job-creating mining and manufacturing sectors, drive technological innovation and research and development, and dramatically increase internet access, especially in schools.In the next 20 years South Africa should aim to raise its GDP annual growth rate from the past 20 years’ average of 3.3%, to 5% thereby growing the size of the economy to $1-trillion by around 2030. Such growth, if attained, would cut both the unemployment rate and debt/GDP % in half, and see GDP per capita double.To stave off its budget, and particularly its current account deficits, we believe net FDI should increase to an average closer to $5- to $10-billion per annum. This will require a more determined focus on improving the investment climate and creating a much more friendly regulatory, productivity and labour picture. To sustain fiscal expenditures, government must leverage state assets to “stretch” its resources.Finger-pointing in this still divided society will not help. A Team South Africa response by business, labour, government and civil society will. South Africa has the people, the talent, the institutions and the capital to do what needs to be done.Nelson Mandela’s dream depends on it.Colin Coleman is a Managing Director and Partner at Goldman Sachs.last_img read more