11 July 2019: Strategic planning workshop
On 11 June a TRADE strategic planning workshop will take place. The overall purpose of this workshop is to develop a new 5-year strategic plan for TRADE, developing new visions and strategies, rethinking sub-fields and the development of TRADE into a cross-campus entity.
12 - 13 March 2019: TRADE-DSM® User Group Conference
TRADE, in cooperation with TRADE Advisory, hosted a two-day TRADE-DSM® User Group Conference (its fifth one to date) from 12-13 March 2019 for TRADE-DSM® subscribers, as well as selected academics and members of the business community.
The first day of the conference was devoted to sharing insights into some of the latest developments in international trade. Prof Raymond Parsons from the NWU Business School discussed the potential economic and trade implications of Brexit for South Africa. Claudia Furriel from the Department of Trade and Industry provided an overview of South Africa’s position with respect to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations and the benefits that African countries could derive from a continent-wide free trade area. Prof Ludo Cuyvers from the University of Antwerp in Belgium reflected on the meaning and importance of export promotion, while Victor Munyama from SARS shed light on some of the key issues and challenges surrounding trade statistics in South Africa and the SACU region. Prof Wilma Viviers (director of TRADE) and Prof Babs Surujlal (Deputy Dean: Research and Innovation, School of Economics and Management Sciences) provided opening remarks in the morning while Prof Peet Strydom (extra-ordinary professor in TRADE) summarised the day’s proceedings and provided some ‘take-aways’.
The second day comprised a practical and interactive session on the TRADE-DSM® led by Martin Cameron and Francois Fouché from TRADE Advisory. The purpose of the session was to reacquaint the TRADE-DSM® users with the core workings of the model while also showcasing some of its latest features and applications. Mr Claude Moodley of TIKZN gave feedback on their experiences with the model and also indicated what their current needs were.
See the media release for more information: Big changes loom in Europe and Africa: How will South Africa be affected?
1 March 2019: TRADE participates in an Expert Group Meeting of the AfCFTA in Gabon
Prof Wilma Viviers (director of TRADE) and Martin Cameron (director of TRADE Advisory) were invited to participate in an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) held in Libreville, Gabon on 1 March 2019, the theme of which was implementation strategies for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The meeting, which was hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), was attended by policymakers and trade and development specialists from across Africa, including representatives from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC). Among the topics discussed were the critical success factors driving (as well as potential barriers to) the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Prof Viviers and Martin presented a paper titled ‘The DSM (Decision Support Model) - an alternative approach to identifying and prioritising bilateral and interregional trade opportunities in leveraging the benefits of the AfCFTA’. The paper was very well received, with several countries expressing an interest in the model and how it could benefit their export promotion efforts.
19 February 2019: Launch of the 'Going Digital' Think Tank
February saw the launch of TRADE’s ‘Going Digital’ think tank, a forum designed to facilitate regular discussions on digitalisation and the opportunities and challenges it presents for regional and international trade. The inaugural meeting was attended by selected trade experts as well as postgraduate students who are focusing on different aspects of the digitalisation phenomenon. Prof Peet Strydom (extra-ordinary professor in TRADE) provided a broad overview of the digital economy and its various manifestations, while other members of the group shared their views and experiences of this fascinating but complex field. Master’s students, Ali Parry and Lisa de Jager, and PhD student, Khutsafalo Sekolokwane, had the opportunity to present their proposed dissertation/thesis topics to the group and in turn receive valuable feedback and advice on how they could fine-tune their topics to ensure a rewarding study experience.
The meeting was attended by Prof Wilma Viviers (director of TRADE), Dr Adelia Jansen van Rensburg (senior lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences), Prof Peet Strydom (extra-ordinary professor in TRADE), Dr Marie-Luce Kuhn (extra-ordinary research scientist in TRADE), Ali Parry (extra-ordinary research scientist in TRADE/Master’s student), Martin Cameron (director of Trade Advisory), Francois Fouche (advisor at TRADE Advisory), Ms Khutsafalo Sekolokwane (policy researcher at the Southern African Customs Union Secretariat/PhD student) and Lisa de Jager (research assistant in TRADE/Master’s student).
A follow-up meeting is scheduled for 4 June where priorities will be identified and a work programme formulated.
14 February 2019: TRADE colloquium #1
The first TRADE colloquium of 2019 took place on Thursday 14 February at 10:00 in E3-138. New Master's and PhD students were required to attend this colloquium to present their research problems for feedback.