Brand South Africa’s research manager, Petrus de Kock, understands the perceptions investors from China, India and Brazil have of South Africa. But when it comes to opinions from neighbouring African countries, such information is not as concrete.Brand South Africa research manager, Petrus de Kock, believes it is important to know what the rest of Africa thinks of us as it can impact on our economy and global competitiveness. (Image: Shamin Chibba)With this in mind, coupled with the idea that perception plays a major role in the country’s economy and its global competitiveness, De Kock is visiting three African countries to find out what they think of South Africa.De Kock and a team of researchers landed in Kenya on Sunday 20 July, kick-starting the first leg of their tour of the continent. They will visit Nigeria at the end of August and Ghana in November. Brand South Africa is running the project in partnership with the Africa Institute of South Africa.Researchers are looking to learn how the rest of the continent views South Africa. The research is based on the Anholt-GfK Nation Brand Hexagon, which includes criteria such as governance, immigration and investment, tourism, people, culture and exports.In each country, focus groups will take place with leaders from business, media and academia to find out the extent of South Africa’s interactions with them. “We want the policymakers and thinkers to give their input,” De Kock said.The researchers will also look at challenges other countries face when doing business with South Africans; the types of associations the countries have with South Africa and their recommendations on how to improve relations on multiple levels – with government, civil society, trade and security bodies.Africa unfamiliar with South AfricaFor Brand South Africa’s 2014 International Investor Perception survey, 860 investors from 18 countries – which include the US, UK, Japan, Germany and France – were questioned about their perceptions of South Africa.The survey also aimed to find out what drove investment decisions, identify barriers to investment, and determine which industry sectors investors associated with South Africa.According to the survey, Nigeria and Kenya showed the lowest levels of familiarity with South Africa, a concern for De Kock.When Brand South Africa hosted a research reference group in 2013 to discuss the kind of reputation the country had amongst its neighbours, it was agreed that a full analysis of South Africa’s interactions with fellow African nations needed to be drawn up. It was at this meeting De Kock noted the need for research into the countries unfamiliar with South Africa.At Brand South Africa’s International Perceptions seminar held in April this year, De Kock said managing a country’s reputation was essential to increasing its global economic competitiveness and attracting foreign investment. Reputation, he added, was shaped by the political, civil society and business relationships it has with other countries.Opportunities and challenges to South Africa’s reputation would be identified based on the findings from the various African engagements.The trips would also give indication of just how much South Africa has achieved in its 20 years of democracy, he added. “We are a relatively young country on the continent. This trip will help us understand what we have achieved in business and government in that time.”
Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Multigenerational debt holders with student debt are on the rise. There are now 44 million people in the U.S. who have $1.5 trillion in student loans. This debt not only impacts the person who owns it, but the student loan problem also has a far-reaching economic impact. Parents, youth, and even grandparents are struggling with the implications of how to address this debt.In the process, research shows that those with this debt have to face eight to 10 years of delayed home ownership as well as a shortage on 401(k) contributions. Despite the college degrees and lucrative positions, those with student debt still face a wealth gap that many believe is close to impossible to close. Rep. Scott Peters, Co-Sponsor of the Employer Participation in Repayment Act, who aims to revise the tax code to facilitate employer assistance in the repayment of student loans comments, “When I was in college, the cost was much lower, and I benefited from student loans. Today, young Americans are so crippled by college debt they can’t invest in a home, start a family, or save for retirement.”Relieving the Student Loan BurdenHowever, both startups and investors realize the importance of developing solutions that reduce their financial burdens. Enter companies like FutureFuel.io, a technology provider of student debt employer benefits solutions, and its founder, Laurel Taylor. Their approach to student debt is to make student debt benefits part of employer-sponsored benefits plans. Next, add in investors who want to crush this student debt by funding companies like FutureFuel. Today, FutureFuel announced that Rethink Impact, a female-led venture capital firm who focuses on impact investing for women-led technology businesses, is leading a Series A round of $11.2 million to fund their growth. However, they are not alone in helping FutureFuel on this round of funding. Others include Breton Capital, First Data, G9 Ventures, The Impact Engine, Reach Capital, Salesforce Ventures, SixThirty, and Vulcan Capital. To date, FutureFuel has received $15.7 million in funding. FutureFuel’s Platform For Student LoansFutureFuel.io partners with employers to offer a comprehensive approach to the student debt dilemma through its FutureFuel.io Student Debt FinHealth Platform. This SaaS platform offers six main components: Repayment: Employers can offer contributions directly to employees’ student loans. Also, employees can leverage their existing benefits to help pay down student debt. These benefits may include unused vacation days, bonuses, or new employer-sponsored contributions.Round-Up: This automated feature takes spare change and applies it to the user’s highest-interest-rate student loan.Refinancing Marketplace: The company curates multiple lenders on a single platform who then compete to refinance these student loans. Those that have used the marketplace have saved an average of $19,000 over the life of the loan and lowered interest rates by approximately 1.7 percent.Roll Up: FutureFuel’s platform can aggregate a user’s average of four to seven student loans in one place. This helps the user understand, manage, and automate payment. FutureFuel.io also uses metadata on each loan and personalizes how each action the user takes impact their approach to paying down this student loan debt.Recalibrate: Users can access a personalized student loan calculator to better understand their total debt, dollars spent, and days saved by using FutureFuel.io’s features, including refinancing, employer-sponsored repayment, and the round-up tool.Read: To improve overall financial literacy, FutureFuel delivers relevant content through its platform.Regulation: The company integrates student debt benefits in connection with 401(k) program design.FutureFuel’s platform also provides employers with many benefits in the process, making it a win-win. They can recruit and retain top talent, increase workforce diversity, capture additional productivity through decreased stress related to the financial burden this talent carries, and shorten the length of users’ debt load by approximately three to five years. Also, an employer can launch and go live with the platform within one hour with no payroll integration required. From an Increasing Problem to Fueling a SolutionFutureFuel.io is gaining traction, attracting small and medium employers, Fortune 500 customers, and channel partners that include Colonial Life, Student Choice Credit Union, and Ultimate Software. To date, several million employees and users are already experiencing what this solution has to offer. Jenny Abramson of Rethink Impact noted, “The results employers have seen from providing FutureFuel.io offerings to employees speak volumes. Employees using the platform are 35 percent more likely to outperform their peers, have a willingness to work for their employer for five years, and women and persons of color indicate they prefer student debt benefits 11 to 1 over 401(k) benefits.”Along with other companies like SoFi student refinancing and student loan marketplaces like Credible, FutureFuel and the investors funding these fintech startups are starting to make inroads into the mountain of student loan debt. In turn, the future may be brighter for university students who can make smarter borrowing choices and more effectively manage their debt as they enter the workforce. Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology 6 User-Interface Musts for Personal Finance Apps The Top 5 Issues Faced by Futurists
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd defender Maguire responds to Solskjaer captaincy claimsby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United defender Harry Maguire admits he still needs to work on his leadership skills.Unted manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer repealed last week that he envisages Maguire becoming the club captain.”It’s something I still want to improve on, my leadership qualities on the pitch and especially my talking,” he said. “I want to demand more from the players, demand standards, but I’m obviously not concentrating on that at the moment. “I am fully focused on improving the team and getting this club back to where it should be.”
Once again, Alabama dominated National Signing Day. The Crimson Tide reeled in a number of blue chip players on Wednesday, leading to a massive jump in the rankings. Three separate recruiting websites named Alabama it’s recruiting national champion, making it the sixth year in a row that the Crimson Tide has secured that honor.Three five-stars and an astounding 14 four-star players are included in Alabama’s top-ranked class. Here is the full list, via 247Sports.‘Bama introduced its new signees and early enrollees on Twitter Wednesday.Before we get started with today’s signees, here is a look at our early enrollees. #BamaNSD16 pic.twitter.com/UwxItua879— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Before we get started with today’s signees, here is a look at our early enrollees. #BamaNSD16 pic.twitter.com/c58Ct3ioh9— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s ninth signee of the 2016 class is OL Scott Lashley. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/w9Tf0JAfms— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 10th signee of the 2016 class is DL Raekwon Davis. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/HJeLhlvBOa— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 11th signee of the 2016 class is DB Nigel Knott. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/vl2kVeq39y— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 12th signee of the 2016 class is DL Quinnen Williams. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/5IoYtK6NVL— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 13th signee of the 2016 class is DB Shyheim Carter. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/GrgmATNE0e— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 14th signee of the 2016 class is WR Trevon Diggs. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/JQiGar1Ovx— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 15th signee of the 2016 class is DB Jared Mayden. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/yM634kgnEI— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 16th signee of the 2016 class is OL Deonte Brown. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/ixsbFhSCzL— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 17th signee of the 2016 class is LB Ben Davis. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/8bavb9skSA— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 18th signee of the 2016 class is RB Joshua Jacobs. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/jeJ5ETmcrc— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 19th signee of the 2016 class is DB Aaron Robinson. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/8DsyBPEN95— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 20th signee of the 2016 class is RB B.J. Emmons #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/uePuAKNGvO— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 21st signee of the 2016 class is DL Kendell Jones #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/4xxXyS9j0Y— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 22nd signee of the 2016 class is LB Mack Wilson. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/QWqdX3d679— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 23rd signee of the 2016 class is LB Terrell Hall. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/z36bEqcLu3— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 24th signee of the 2016 class is DL Jamar King. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/5DfQ9eAt1O— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama’s 25th signee of the 2016 class is TE Irvin Smith Jr. #BamaNSD16 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/g9CMFGeLBt— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) February 3, 2016Alabama opens its season against USC in Arlington on September 3.
OSU coach Urban Meyer stands during a game against Iowa Oct. 19 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 34-24.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State football coach Urban Meyer had what is being called “a short medical procedure” this past weekend to remove fluid related to a congenital arachnoid cyst, according to a press release.The procedure, done at the OSU Wexner Medical Center, was done to help alleviate pain from headaches Meyer has been experiencing the past few weeks, according to release.Meyer is “doing well” post-procedure and is set to be on the field Tuesday when the Buckeyes open spring practice.The cyst was first found in 1998 when Meyer was the coach at Notre Dame, according to the release.An arachnoid cyst typically develops in the head but can also be present around the spinal cord, and is named such because it happens in the area between the brain and the arachnoid membrane — one of three membrane layers surrounding the brain and spine.If it occurs in the head, the cyst will grow between the brain and skull or in pockets around the brain called ventricles.This is latest in a line of medical issues that have ailed Meyer throughout his coaching career, including when he was admitted to the hospital in the early morning on Dec. 6, 2009 while he was coach at Florida after the Gators lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, 32-13.Even though he was rushed to the hospital, Meyer returned to the field Jan. 1, 2010 to lead the Gators to a 51-24 victory against Cincinnati in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.Meyer announced he would step down as the Gators’ head coach following the loss to Alabama, but remained on the sidelines for the 2010 season.Florida went 7-5 that season, and Meyer saw issues with his health again, which ultimately led to him stepping down for good. He had a recurring burning sensation in his chest, and doctors told him in December 2010 that he would raise cardiovascular risk factors if he continued to coach, according to espn.com.Meyer took the following year off and became a college football analyst for ESPN, before taking the reigns at OSU prior to the 2012 season.The Buckeyes are set to take on Navy in their first game of 2014 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon.
Joe Hart spent the last two seasons as a loaned player in Torino and West Ham United and is ready for a permanent move away from Manchester City.Knowing he was not in Pep Guardiola’s plans, Joe Hart agreed to go out on loan, mainly because he hoped to earn a spot in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup roster. However, that didn’t happen.“I did what I did in the previous two seasons because I needed to play to be involved in the World Cup,” “And look where that got me.” The mission wasn’t accomplished, but that doesn’t mean Hart wants to stop playing the game he loves. All he wants is for Manchester City to find a place where he will be able to fit in permanently (BBC).“I’m experienced, I’ve played at the highest level for a long time, and done a lot of things in the game.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“I need to be an important player at that club and I think that can only happen with a permanent move.”“There’s no league that I’d say no to. I’m open, but I want to do what’s right for me at this point of my career and I want to give all of myself to the right cause.”Joe Hart has 75 international caps under his name and was England’s No.1 goalie during two European Championships and the 2014 World Cup. Guardiola took him for Manchester City’s pre-season tour in America, perhaps wanting to give the 31-year-old a shot at impressing someone.
Alisson Becker and Xherdan Shaqiri will begin their Liverpool careers by linking up with the squad for the training camp in France.The Brazilian goalkeeper, who completed his move from AS Roma on a long-term contract on Thursday, will be part of the group that departs for the continent later this month.Meanwhile, fellow new signing Xherdan Shaqiri is set to join his new teammates in New Jersey on Tuesday.Jürgen Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “Shaqiri will come the day after tomorrow directly to New Jersey and Alisson will come with Roberto Firmino and will be a part of the second camp in Evian.Virgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“That’s good that we’ll have them all together, apart from the semi-finalists of the World Cup.”The Reds will play Borussia Dortmund in the International Champions Cup on Sunday evening before facing Manchester United and Manchester City in the other games.With the addition of Naby Keita, Fabinho, Shaqiri, and Alisson Becker Jurgen Klopp’s men have been tipped to mount a serious challenge on all fronts in the new season.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson during his pre-match press conference reflected on Leicester City tragedy that happened in October as the two clubs face each other on Saturday.He was asked about how Leicester as a club felt about the death of their chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and five others, and he responded as quoted by Crystal Palace official website:“They have done very well. It must be a very difficult situation for them.How Joe Ward thanks his faith for his football Manuel R. Medina – September 13, 2019 Crystal Palace defender, Joel Ward, has thanked his Christian faith for helping him play football professionally and he explains why.“The whole football world, myself and Crystal Palace Football Club included, our hearts went out to them and they had every bit of empathy that we’re capable of giving. But they’ve dealt with it extremely well. I think the other clubs where they’ve gone to play have dealt with the situation well.“One can only hope that the grieving process is well on its way and they will have to come to terms with the loss of someone very, very important to them as a club.”Leicester face Crystal Palace in London at Selhurst Park on Saturday
According to Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, if a good offer comes for the footballer the team will let him go.Italian footballer Manolo Gabbiadini joined Southampton in 2017.But he has yet to impress the club and new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl believes they might have to let him go.“I know that there a few interests,” Hasenhuttl told The Daily Echo.“Our squad at the moment is too big – we have to sell players and he’s one that other clubs are interested in.”Solskjaer slams Man United’s draw: “We should have won” Andrew Smyth – August 31, 2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left to rue another missed opportunity as Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw against 10-man Southampton.“It could happen in next few days that he transfers,” he added.“What we want to give him is a chance to make the next step.”“If there is the possibility, then we will help him to do so,” he commented.“He has done a lot for this club and we will find a good solution which is a win-win for both sides.”