A penny for your memory – that is exactly what Nestlé UK and Ireland is planning to do for about 800 000 citizens living with dementia in the UK.

“Even something as simple as an old sweet wrapper can bring back vivid memories from a happy time”, and at a price, of course.

Walking into a modern supermarket and seeing a packet of sweets you bought when you were a young lady or gentleman could trigger past “sweet” memories.

The company which produces sweets and chocolate has set itself apart by re-selling wrappers and packing from its confectionery archives to help trigger happy recollections among those with dementia or memory problems. Nestlé is going out of its way to recollect images taken from its archives where items such as artworks, films, products and packaging are preserved in climate-controlled conditions.

The sweets and chocolates that will soon be back on the market were requested by the Alzheimer’s Society, which leads the fight against dementia in the UK.

The company has the backing of Alison Cook of Alzheimer’s Society, who believes that using familiar objects from the past helps those with dementia to remember. The pack will include wrappers from decades past, including a 1950s Aero chocolate bar label.

Old versions of familiar UK brands, such as Rowntree’s Dairy Box, have been brought to life again. Rowntree’s was acquired by Nestlé in 1988. Other re-created products include Motoring Chocolate bars and Chocolate Pie. This is another way of personal marketing that big companies such as Coca-Cola have adopted.

In South Africa, Coca-Cola has recently swapped its brand with that of people’s names – an advertising trick meant to get people thinking that they own the brand.

Saldanha Bay IDZ

Saldanha was drawing “strong international interest” after the government officially launched the Saldanha Bay industrial development zone (IDZ) late last year, Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde said yesterday.

He said “several lease agreements” had been signed and there had been a surge of global oil and gas companies negotiating joint ventures with local firms.

“The Saldanha Bay IDZ Licensing Company has signed six lease agreements with international and South African oil and gas companies. These include firms specialising in oilfield services, oil rig operations, logistics operators, ship repair, engineering and market support,” Winde said.

Final negotiations for lease agreements were taking place between the licensing company and two international oilfield service companies “and a South African rig repair firm”, he added.

“In some of the most exciting developments, the licensing company is also in talks with an international consortium to develop a rig module building facility. We are also aware of a R200 million investment by a global oil servicing company, which is set to create 300 jobs. Several leading international companies are increasing staff numbers in their South African companies.”

Details on individual companies were bound by “non-disclosure agreements” and could not be released, Winde said, adding that the Western Cape government had invested R25m over five years to turbo-charge the declaration of the port area as an IDZ.

“This is the culmination of years of collaboration between all spheres of government and the Saldanha Bay community. The IDZ has the potential to become one of the most important levers for jobs and economic growth for the Western Cape,” he said.

Although the IDZ decision took a long time, it is proof that all good things come to those who wait for the government to finally act.

Land Bank

Good news is just flooding in, at least in government circles. ANC chief whip Stone Sizani’s spokesman Moloto Mothapo noted that the international rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has upgraded the Land Bank’s support-driven national long-term rating to AA+ from AA.

This improvement in the rating follows a peer review conducted by Fitch, which included all of the Fitch-rated South African financial institutions with the exception of the five major banks. The Land Bank’s improved national long-term rating reflects a high level of support in the international financial markets for the state-owned development finance institution.

This is a marvellous turnaround from a bank that was on the brink of bankruptcy five years ago. Mothapo noted: “Fitch’s credit ratings provide an economic opinion on the relative ability of the state-owned entity to meet financial commitments.”

He continued: “These opinions are forward looking and include analysts’ views of future credit performance. The positive rating on an important state-owned entity like the Land Bank more broadly reflects Fitch’s confidence in the South African government’s willingness to support the entity, through a series of measures not limited to an increase in guarantees or callable capital facilities.”

In its announcement, Fitch Ratings indicated that the upgrade was a result of Fitch’s own consideration that there was an increased likelihood of support from the South African government.

In 2007 Fitch affirmed the AA- rating given to the Land Bank and said that the rating outlook remained stable. After consultations with the then minister of agriculture and land affairs, the administrative powers entrusted by the Land and Agricultural Development Bank Act 2002 were transferred to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan – from the agriculture minister – in July 2008.

The finance minister, who has grumbled about ratings agencies in the past, appears to be happy now that there is some good ratings news.

Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Nompumelelo Magwaza and Donwald Pressly.