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Seven suggestions for improving SA’s economy
12 September, 2019

“We are running into a space where, increasingly, there are no big ideas. And that is a very dangerous space to be in because … where there are no big ideas, anything goes.”

That was the warning from former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas during his address at the University of Cape Townʼs (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB) on Tuesday, 10 September. The speech was linked to his recently published book, After Dawn: Hope After State Capture, the motivation for which was the lack of and need for big ideas to address the economic problems South Africa is facing.

Jonas was joined by GSB senior lecturer Athol Williams, who acted as master of ceremonies for the event, and Professor Haroon Bhorat, director of the Development Policy Research Unit in UCT’s School of Economics. Bhorat was the respondent for the evening.

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Touch down for SA’s banking Siri
12 September, 2019

An African counterpart for Apple Inc’s virtual assistant, Siri, that focuses on banking and financial management, and speaks four of South Africa’s official languages, is breaking ground on the continent. A group of University of Cape Town (UCT) students are behind the novel idea.

They call her Naledi, and she is a multilingual personal banking and financial management assistant powered by artificial intelligence that reaches users via WhatsApp. In a world where tech trends reign, Naledi is guaranteed to make life easier. How can she not? She understands and speaks isiXhosa, isiZulu, Setswana and English and allows users to buy airtime, transfer money, check account balances, and gives users the financial advice they need, when they need it most.

Naledi was designed and developed by Thapelo Nthite, a fourth-year mechatronics student in UCT’s Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, in partnership with some of his peers: Xolisani Nkwentsha and Sange Maxaku are master’s students in electrical engineering currently conducting research into artificial intelligence, and Bonolo Malebo is a postgraduate accounting student in the Faculty of Commerce.

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Chart a new future for democracy
06 September, 2019

"As Africans, we need to be active, conscious citizens to stand for the principles of freedom,” University of Cape Town (UCT) chancellor, Mrs Graça Machel, told delegates at the start of the Democracy in Central and Southern Africa Conference this week.

Organised by UCT’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance in partnership with the Kofi Annan Foundation, the two-day event unpacked solutions to the challenges that threaten democracy in Central and Southern Africa, interrogated the role of transitional governance to strengthen advocates of democracy across the continent, and aimed to equip delegates with ideas and tools to reinforce and deepen democracy in their respective countries.

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