26-27 July 2018: Writing school session #2
The TRADE writing school is an opportunity for Master's and PhD students, as well as staff and researchers, to learn how to write academic articles in a way that will improve their publication success rate. For more information contact Marlise Styger.
7-8 June 2018: TRADE at the 2018 Agbiz Congress
Prof Wilma Viviers and Mr Martin Cameron were keynote speakers at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) Congress which took place from 7-8 June 2018 in Port Elizabeth. Their topic was 'Developing strategies for export promotion using a Decision Support Model (DSM): Focus on the agricultural sector'. TRADE's agricultrual economics - Dr David Spies, Dr Ernst Idsardi, Dr Johnny van Merwe and Dr David Dyason - also attended the Congress. The annual Agbiz Congress is one of the leading events on the calendar of the South African food, fibre and beverage sectors, providing an excellent opportunity for agribusiness leaders and policymakers to network and discuss the future of the broader South African agro-food industry.
The topic of this year's congress was 'Uncertainty Creates Opportunity'. A number of top international and local experts gave presentations on important issues such as the current global agro-food environment, the global and local political economy, and environmental challenges that the various sectors face. In particular, speakers focused on the key issues of land and water reform, which are currently confronting South Africa, as well as the country's agriculture system, and the impact of technology on the competitiveness of the industry as a whole.
7-8 June 2018: Writing school session #1
From 7-8 June 2018, TRADE Master's and PhD students, along with some staff and researchers, took part in a writing school conducted by Prof Tobie van Wyk, Director of the NWU's Centre for Academic and Professional Language Practice. The focus of the writing school was on learning how to write academic articles in a way that will improve publication success rate. A second 'follow up' session will take place on 27 and 27 July 2018.
28 May - 2 June 2018: Prof Derick Blaauw's day labour research revisits Mpumalanga
From 28 May to 2 June 2018, Prof Derick Blaauw, Prof Anmar Pretorius and Prof Rinie Schenck (from the University of the Western Cape) were in Mpumalanga where they had the opportunity to expand their ongoing research regarding day labourers into that province. Prof Marianne Matthee also assisted them as a research partner whilst a team of fieldworkers were recruited from the University of South Africa’s Social Work Department.
Fieldworker training took place early during the week, with all fieldworks having been carefully selected to accommodate all the languages expected to be encountered on the streets of Mbombela, Witrivier and Emalahleni. The training was followed by two days of early mornings (6 a.m. starts) and long hours on the streets interviewing day labourers who try to make a living from informal employment. Hiring sites that were identified in an earlier reconnaissance were visited and willing day labourers were interviewed. The fieldwork went well and more than 100 interviews were conducted. Afterwards, there was a debriefing with some time spent reflecting on the shared experiences.
The data will now be cleaned and prepared for capturing. A preliminary perusal of the questionnaires has already revealed some important differences between the day labour market in 2018 compared with previous research conducted in 2008. The objective now is to publish at least two to three joint research articles in peer-reviewed journals and to prepare a number of conference papers from the data.
29 May 2018: Book launch - Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism: The Role of Business in South Africa
On Tuesday 29 May 2018, a new book from Prof Raymond Parsons and Ali Parry, Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism: The Role of Business in South Africa, was launched in Johannesburg. The book reflects on the role of business in the years before and after the transition to democracy in South Africa, what has contributed to the waning influence of business (and particularly organised business) in policy-making circles in recent years and what is now needed to put the country onto a more certain socio-economic path. While the advent of a new administration under President Ramaphosa has kindled a new sense of hope in many quarters, the book nevertheless asks some tough questions about the nature of capitalism today and whether it can bring about the much hoped-for change in the country or whether it will merely entrench the already deep divisions in society. Meticulously researched, Good Capitalsm, Bad Capitalism offers several valuable lessons - drawn from South Africa's recent and more distant history - which key stakeholders in government, business and labour should ignore at their peril. (Photo: Trevor Manuel, Ali Parry and Prof Raymond Parsons)
Why business must widen its horizon on hot button land issue (extract from Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism)
Book launch media release
10-11 May 2018: Ruiterbosch conference
The 20th annual Ruiterbosch Conference took place on 10 and 11 May 2018 at the Eight Bells Mountain Inn in Ruiterbosch, Western Cape. The conference was organised by Prof Peet Strydom with the aim of bringing together South African academics, practitioners and policymakers for an off-the-record and no-holds-barred discussion on the most serious issues facing the South African economy. Prof Wilma Viviers, Prof Waldo Krugell, Dr Marie-Luce Kuhn, Mr Francous Fouche (Trade Advisory Pty Ltd) and Mr Martin Cameron (Trade Advisory Pty Ltd and PhD student) all attended the conference to participate in the discussions.
Numerous topics were presented and discussed at the conference. Prof Peet Strydom presented and led discussions on the state of the International and South African economy, robots and labour market effects as well as DSGE modelling and the microfoundations myth. Mr Martin Cameron also presented a draft paper on Independent Power Producers (IPP) and future developments.
9-11 May 2018: TIPS Training workshop
Mr Gabriel Mhonyera, a PhD student at the TRADE research focus area, attended the Trade & Industrial Policy Strategy (TIPS) training workshop in Pretoria from 9-11 May 2018. The focus of workshop was to provide participants with insights into the world of trade negotiations, with the AGOA negotiations between South Africa and the United States serving as an example. Attention was also given to the uncertainty surrounding the renewal of AGOA after its expiration in 2025 and the need for SACU to be proactive in negotiating a new reciprocal trade agreement with the US, rather than adopting a 'wait and see' approach. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Faizel Ismail, one of the individuals involved in the 2015 AGOA negotiations.
5 May 2018: TRADE colloquium #2
The second TRADE colloquium of 2018 took place on Thursday 5 May at 09:00 in E3-138. New Master's and PhD students were required to attend this colloquium to present their research problems for feedback.
15 March 2018: TRADE colloquium #1
The first TRADE colloquium of 2018 took place on Thursday 15 March 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.
13-14 March 2018: Southern African DSM users group gathers for 3rd annual conference
On 13 and 14 March 2018, the TRADE research entity together with TRADE Advisory held their 3rd annual TRADE-DSM® User Group Conference. Delegates from institutions across the SACU region attended, including:
• BITC (Botswana Investment and Trade Centre)
• DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
• North West Provincial Government Economy and Enterprise Development
• NWDC (North West Development Corporation)
• LEDET (Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism)
• LIEDA (Limpopo Economic Development Agency)
• MEGA (Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency)
• Eastern Cape DEDEAT (Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism)
• Mpumalanga DEDT (Department of Economic Development and Tourism)
• Limpopo Provincial Treasury
• SACU (Southern African Customs Union) Secretariat
• NWU School of Business
Many interesting topics were discussed during the two-day conference, including what story the updated international trade data is conveying – particularly in the light of changing global trade patterns and the effect of the international trade data update on realistic export opportunities as defined by the TRADE-DSM®. The main features of the newly updated and enhanced TRADE-DSM® and its growing eco system were presented to conference delegates, along with the TRADE-DSM Navigator’s® new approach which includes the potential and specific requirements of the Halaal market.
In addition, certain sessions were devoted to the topic of Economic Complexity (EC), specifically in relation to why certain countries are poor and others are rich, and which new industries are likely to emerge as drivers of growth in a country. EC’s ability to predict future economic growth trends more accurately than conventional governance measures was a source of particular interest to the delegates. The ‘Scrabble theory’ of economic development was also given attention and several policy implications were debated with reference to international research findings in the EC field.
Delegates also had the opportunity of sharing their statistical data requirements (and frustrations) with the rest of the group – which will assist the ongoing TRADE-DSM® development work ‒ and of debating the role of a research department in the trade and investment world.
29 January 2018: Guest lecture by Prof Jonathan Calof
On 29 January 2018, Professor Jonathan Calof, professor of International Business and Strategy at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa and now (since 2018) also an extraordinary professor in the TRADE research focus area, visited TRADE to give a guest lecture. The topic of his lecture was: 'Global Competitive Intelligence (CI) Practices Study - Preliminary results and some interesting insights'. The lecture was recorded on video.
25 January 2018: TRADE meets to discuss SACU-EFTA Free Trade Agreement
On 25 January 2018, Professor Wilma Viviers and Dr Adelia Jansen van Rensburg from the TRADE research entity at North-West University had the privilege of meeting a small delegation from the Embassies of Switzerland and Norway in South Africa, to discuss issues surrounding the SACU-EFTA Free Trade Agreement.
The Swiss delegation was led by HE Ambassador Helene Budliger Artieda. She was accompanied by Mr Balz Abplanhalp, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland, Mr Azwimpheleli Langalanga, Economic Counsellor of the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, and Mr Alf Yngve Friisø, Counsellor of the Norwegian Embassy in South Africa.
The Free Trade Agreement between the EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa) was signed in Höfn, Iceland, on 26 June 2006. The Agreement covers trade in goods and lays the foundation for further engagement between the parties regarding intellectual property, investment, trade in services and public procurement. The Agreement is currently under review and the parties will meet from 30 January until 2 February 2018 to take the discussions forward.