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Daily podcast – March 25, 2013.

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Daily podcast – March 25, 2013.

25th March 2013

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March 25, 2013.
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Motshabi Hoaeane.
Making headlines:

The Congress of South African Trade Unions calls for industrialisation.

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Africa's trade ties with China come under the spotlight as President Xi Jinping visits.

And, the Central African Republic capital falls to SELEKA rebels while President Francois Bozize flees.

 

Congress of South African Trade Unions (or Cosatu) general secretary Zwelizima Vavi has called for industrialisation to tackle inequality, unemployment and poverty in South Africa.

He said the National Development Plan (or NDP) didn’t see industrialisation as the core of South Africa's economic programme. He said this was a problem, as it invested a lesser contribution through the manufacturing sector and therefore industrialisation, in its target to drive unemployment to 6% by 2030.

Vavi said the Brics summit should allow the trade unions to participate in the discussions for it to be developmental, adding that the summit has to be mutually beneficial from a trade and economic point of view.

Cosatu welcomed the proposal by Brics of a developmental bank, adding that the institution should be free from the stranglehold of a few powerful countries, within or outside Brics.

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping faces growing calls from policymakers and economists in Africa for a more balanced trade relationship between the continent and China as he arrived in Tanzania at the beginning of an African tour.

Many across Africa see China as a valuable counterbalance to the West's influence. However, as the relationship matures there is mounting discomfort in Africa that the continent is exporting raw materials while spending heavily to import finished consumer goods from the Asian economic powerhouse.

Xi will go on from Tanzania to South Africa where leaders of the world's major emerging economies, known as the Brics, will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and could endorse plans to create a joint foreign exchange reserves pool and an infrastructure bank at the summit.

Xi's visit to Africa – which ends in the Republic of Congo –is seen as a demonstration of Africa's strategic importance to China, driven by Beijing's hunger for resources and African demand for cheap Chinese imports.

 

Government officials say rebels in Central African Republic have seized control of the country's riverside capital Bangui, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

A witness said at least six South African soldiers were killed in clashes with the rebels. A United Nations source said the force, in the country to train the army along with hundreds of regional peacekeepers, was preparing to leave.

The landlocked country, racked by rural rebellions for more than a decade, has extensive and unprotected borders and the rebel advance has added instability in the heart of Africa.

As the loose coalition of rebels – some of them former rivals – tightened their grip on Bangui, it was unclear who would replace Bozize or whether the power-sharing government of Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye would remain in place.

 

Also making headlines: 

At least 40 people were wounded as several thousand opponents of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood clashed with supporters of the Islamist group near its headquarters in Cairo.

Fierce fighting between Islamist rebels and Malian and French forces raged for a second day in the northern Malian town of Gao.

And, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemns the "unconstitutional seizure of power" by rebels in Central African Republic.

 

That's a roundup of news making headlines today.

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