Wilma Viviers is a professor of International Trade, director of the TRADE research focus area and NRF-rated researcher at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). She has an impressive array of publications, and is a leading authority in the fields of export promotion, competitive intelligence (CI) and economic development.
Prof Viviers’ passionate research interest in, and active contribution towards the realisation of, strategies to improve South Africa’s trade performance and competitiveness, are acknowledged both locally and internationally. Notably, the TRADE-DSM® (Decision Support Model) for the identification of South African export opportunities – which she has launched in this country – is being lauded in both government and business circles as a refreshingly efficient approach to export market selection.
Prof Viviers sits on several national and international committees, and is frequently asked to speak to stakeholder groups about her research initiatives. She has also received numerous awards in recognition of her ground-breaking research over the years. In 2014, she was honoured with the award of a WTO Chair from the World Trade Organization.
Waldo Krugell is a professor in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). He has wide-ranging research interests. Recent work with students has included studies on macro topics such as inclusive development, financial crises and policy uncertainty. At a micro level, he has undertaken firm-level analysis of exporters, the characteristics of volunteers and willingness to pay for environmentally friendly tourism.
Prof Krugell is currently the editor of the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences (SAJEMS).
Derick Blaauw is a professor in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Prior to joining the NWU, he lectured in economics at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Soweto and Bloemfontein Campuses of Vista University. Prof Blaauw’s research interests and experience largely lie in labour and development economics. His current work focuses on the socio-economic dynamics of vulnerable groups in the informal economy, such as car guards, day labourers and waste pickers.
Prof Blaauw has an extensive list of publications in accredited national and international journals to his credit, and he has presented many conference and research papers at local and international forums.
Ewert Kleynhans is a professor in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Prof Kleynhans’ research focuses mainly on the competitiveness and efficiency of industries and firms on a micro-economic level, which are influenced by factors such as resources, human capital, market conditions, demand and supply patterns, firm structures, productivity, support programmes, spill-overs, environmental conditions, economic geography and new technologies.
Prof Kleynhans has published more than 50 articles in accredited journals and has delivered more than 60 papers at local and international conferences. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals and also acts as a reviewer. He is a national council member of the South African Academy of Science and Arts (SAAWK) and often acts as an external examiner and moderator at the postgraduate level for the NWU and other universities.
Henri Bezuidenhout is an associate professor in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). His research interest and expertise lie mainly in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa, and he has several publications to his credit in the area of international factor flows. He serves as the convenor of TRADE’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) programme.
Prof Bezuidenhout is the official South African and African research partner for the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment at Columbia University in New York and also works closely with domestic stakeholders such as the South African Institute of International Affairs, Provincial Investment Promotion Agencies (PIPAs) and various multinationals. He is a certified cultural intelligence and cross-cultural specialist as well as a formal executive business coach and member of the International Coaching Federation. In his coaching role he focuses on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), mergers and acquisitions, negotiation tactics and transformational leadership.
Ermie Steenkamp is an associate professor in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Prof Steenkamp’s research focuses mainly on international market selection, the measurement of market accessibility and export promotion in South Africa, as well as the analysis of export potential on an intra-regional level.
Prof Steenkamp’s other research interests include the measurement of the developmental impact of increased exports, especially on unemployment. She serves as the convenor of TRADE’s export diversification and competitiveness programme.
Sonja Grater is an associate professor in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) where she lectures undergraduate and postgraduate courses in international trade. Prior to joining the NWU she spent some years in the freight forwarding industry. Prof Grater’s research is mainly focused on trade in services and she has authored several publications in this field. She is particularly interested in the potential of services trade for South Africa.
Prof Grater contributed to the development of the TRADE-DSM® (Decision Support Model) for services which is designed to inform government entities and businesses about export market opportunities for different service sectors. She is also currently involved in a number of projects, involving other academics and industry representatives, on trade facilitation (with a focus on customs administration), global value chains (with a services focus), trade facilitation and FDI.
Anmar Pretorius is an associate professor in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), where she currently teaches econometrics. In keeping with her research interest in financial economics, her doctoral thesis investigated South Africa’s financial market integration with the rest of the world.
Prof Pretorius has published in both local and international journals and has presented various papers at local and international conferences. She has also acted as a reviewer of papers and a discussant at international conferences focusing on international finance, as well as a reviewer for local and international journals. She serves as the convenor of TRADE’s economic development programme.
Ernst Idsardi is a senior lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). He obtained his BSc in the Netherlands, his MSc in Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State and his PhD in International Trade at the North-West University.
Dr Idsardi's research focuses on agricultural development, food security and international trade. He has worked on numerous research projects for both national and international stakeholders in the agricultural sector. He serves as the convenor of TRADE’s agriculture programme.
Dr Johnny van der Merwe is currently a senior lecturer in the field of Agricultural Economics and a member of the TRADE research entity at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). His PhD focused on analysing the impact of wheat grading, pricing and innovation on the competitiveness of the South African wheat industry. Results from that study are currently being used by Grain SA as a key element in negotiations aimed at creating a more competitive environment for wheat producers in South Africa.
Another major focus area for Dr van der Merwe is his involvement in sustainable profitability studies in the grain and horticultural industries of South Africa. He also has more than 10 years’ experience in various development projects for the agricultural industry.
Carike Claassen is a senior lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Since obtaining her PhD in Economics, with her thesis title being ‘The state of decoupling before and during the Great Recession’, Dr Claassen’s research has mainly focused on understanding the ways in which gender influences labour market outcomes. Specifically, she examines occupational segregation and the personal experiences of women and gender-non-conforming individuals in the labour market.
Gabila Nubong is a senior lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Prior to joining the NWU, Dr Nubong was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Strategic and Political Affairs (ISPA) at the University of Pretoria, a researcher at the Centre for Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria, a project officer at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) based in Maastricht in the Netherlands and a socio-economist with the European Union Delegation to South Africa.
Dr Nubong’s research focus is heavily geared towards regional economic integration, with particular reference to the African Union and European Union approaches to regional integration. His other research interests include the capacity dimension of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), economic development and economic transformation.
Carli Bezuidenhout is a senior lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) where she lectures undergraduate courses in the BCom Economics and BCom International Trade degree programmes. Prior to joining the NWU, she worked in the economic consulting field.
The focus of Dr Bezuidenhout’s research is South African export behaviour at the firm level within a broader labour market context. She is particularly interested in the employment premium and wage premium of exporting firms as well as the distribution of wages. She recently obtained her PhD in Economics at the North-West University and her thesis topic was ‘Essays in export behaviour at firm-level’.
Jan Venter is a senior lecturer in Political Studies in the School of Social and Government Studies at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). He holds qualifications from the North-West University, the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany and UNISA. His PhD contained a reconstruction of the ideologies within the Tripartite Governing Alliance in South Africa.
Dr Venter's research interests include political philosophy, political economy and business intelligence. He has also participated in various research projects in collaboration with organised agriculture, helping to broaden people's understanding of the political economy and the dangers of policy uncertainty in the agricultural arena and other sectors. He sits on the editorial boards of a number of national and international academic journals.
Adelia Jansen van Rensburg is a senior lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Prior to taking up this position, Dr Jansen van Rensburg was a postdoctoral research fellow for TRADE and before that she served as a diplomat for the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) secretariat in Namibia.
Dr Jansen van Rensburg’s research focuses mainly on how trade policies can be optimised to suit different countries’ and regions’ circumstances, and the ideological tension that exists between the multilateral trade policy approach and the bilateral and regional trade policy approaches evidenced in preferential trade agreements. A new area of research interest is the digital economy and how it can be leveraged for enhanced trade performance.
David Spies is a senior lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Dr Spies’ interests lie in the fields of production economics, value chain analysis, marketing and trade. Through his work, he has made a particularly important contribution to the South African red meat industry, both in the commercial and informal sectors. Future research work that Dr Spies is planning will include improvements to agricultural productivity in the informal sector in South Africa.