LocalON 14 July the new business incubator in Port Shepstone was launched by small business development minister Lindiwe Zulu, who opened the SmartXchange outlet amid much enthusiasm regarding the potential impact on small business development.SmartXchange is an incubator for small businesses operating in the information and communication technology sector. The incubator initiative is supported by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and is part of the Seda Technology Programme. Both Seda and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) report to the Department of Small Business Development, which facilitates access to funding from Sefa.NationalLast Thursday, 21 July, the monetary policy committee (MPC) of the SA Reserve Bank decided to hold the repo rate at 7%. Market expectations were that rates would not be changed. Slowing inflation and reduced economic growth forecasts were cited as the main contributors to the decision to hold rates in the short-term.On the labour front, momentum is growing for the introduction of a national minimum wage later this year. Amid warnings from organised business that the introduction of a national minimum wage will lead to job losses among low income earners, new research indicates that the majority of sectors would see positive net effects.Southern AfricaTrade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, plans to meet his Zimbabwean counterpart to discuss Zimbabwe’s unilateral ban on South African imports. Zimbabwe placed a ban on South African imports last month. According to Zimbabwean authorities the ban was instituted to protect local industries.In spite of major technical problems at its China-built Morupule B power station, Botswana is aiming to become a net exporter of power by the end of 2018. Further power generation initiatives in Botswana include a coal-bed methane project as well as solar and thermal power concentrations.