NEWSLETTER ISSUE #5/2018      

On the knowledge bandwagon

Continuing professional development is an important facet of the TRADE operation, with members of the team having regular opportunities to attend formal training programmes, conferences, seminars and guest lectures on an interesting cross-section of trade-related topics. 

In December 2017, Prof Wilma Viviers, Dr Adelia Jansen van Rensburg and Ms Ali Parry attended the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium convened by the ICTSD (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Attended by about 1500 delegates from around the world, the symposium proved to be a real eye opener in terms of current thinking on topics as diverse as climate change, food security, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity – and how these are likely to impact countries’ trade and development plans and prospects in the years ahead. A recurring message from the excellent line-up of speakers at the symposium was that the world is rapidly moving on, technologically, and that developing countries in particular must accept that technology-inspired innovation will increasingly be viewed as a competitive advantage by the global trade and investment communities.

Prof Derick Blaauw and his research partner, Prof Rinie Schenck from the University of the Western Cape, travelled to Namibia in October 2017 to conduct fieldwork as part of an extended research study on day labourers in that country. The three-day visit, which was made possible through a research grant from the NWU, saw Prof Blaauw and Prof Schenck join forces with Mrs Rachel Freedom from the University of Namibia as the local research partner. The fieldwork, which involved trained fieldworkers from the University of Namibia’s Department of Social Work interviewing more than 80 day labourers at designated hiring sites in the country’s capital, produced some important insights, including the fact that higher skills attract a wage premium in the day labour market in Windhoek – which is not the case in South African cities. A number of articles are being prepared for publication in peer-reviewed journals, based on the study’s findings.

Guest lectures have become a regular feature of the NWU/TRADE calendar and have proved very popular among staff and postgraduate students alike. In September 2017, Dr Leon Louw, executive director of the Free Market Foundation, spoke about ‘Options for South Africa’s economic future and the merits of the free market’. Dr Louw, who remarked that his own economic and political convictions had changed and matured over the years, challenged his audience to think carefully and critically about which economic system helps to advance the interests of poor communities in the most sustainable way. Later that month, Dr Montie Mlachila, the International Monetary Fund’s senior representative in South Africa, addressed staff and students on ‘The role of the IMF’s growth accelerations and decelerations in Sub-Saharan African economies’.    

In October 2017, Mr Michael Adams, lead economist at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), delivered a lecture on ‘Analysis and research of the economy by the SA Reserve Bank’, which offered interesting insights into how the institution goes about prioritising the national economic issues that demand in-depth investigation, and assembling and making sense of the large volumes of data that it continuously works with. 

In January 2018, Prof Jonathan Calof, a longstanding friend and research partner of TRADE and the School of Economic Sciences, gave a very informative lecture on ‘Global competitive intelligence practices study – Preliminary results and some interesting insights’. Prof Calof, who is professor of International Business and Strategy at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa in Canada, has also recently joined the TRADE team as an extraordinary professor. The video recording of Prof Calof’s lecture is available here.


Archive newsletters

Issue #4/2017

Issue #3/2017

Issue #2/2016

Issue #1/2015