Events 2014

2014 events


22 July and 25 November 2014: The energy economics initiative

In the middle of 2014, TRADE launched a new initiative called ‘The energy economics initiative’. The main aim of this initiative was to bring researchers from a variety of disciplines together so that they could jointly consider the energy economics field and possibly arrive at multidisciplinary research ideas and/or projects.

The first meeting was held on 22 July 2014 and took the form of a general discussion on energy economics between representatives from Economics, International Trade, Environmental Sciences, Engineering and Law. Ideas were exchanged and it was concluded that follow-up initiatives should be launched in order to take the process further.

In this regard a more focused workshop was held on 25 November 2014. At this second workshop, Mr Martin Cameron gave a presentation on: ‘System Dynamics Modelling’. The workshop was attended by several staff members, a number of outside participants and potential students.



21-23 October 2014: NWU and NWPG Research Showcase

From 21-23 October, the North-West University (NWU) and the North West Provincial Government’s Research Showcase took place at the NWU’s Mahikeng Campus. This three-day event brought national and provincial government officials, researchers and business leaders to the Mahikeng Campus to promote their mission of collaborating with various stakeholders, including government.

The theme of the showcase was: ‘Supporting the implementation of Vision 2030 through evidence-based research in and about the North West Province’.

Prof Wilma Viviers, together with Prof Riaan Rossouw and Mr Martin Cameron of the TRADE research entity, presented the keynote address on the topic: ‘Economic overview and moving towards an integrated manufacturing and export strategy for the North West Province’.

The group was later joined by other TRADE members, namely Dr Flippie Cloete and Dr Noleen Pisa, for an hour’s roundtable discussion on: ‘Trade and development for the North West Province’.

For more information regarding the showcase, read the news report from Mahikeng Campus here.

Above: The TRADE team and other NWU staff with Prof Amanda Lourens (NWU Potchefstroom Campus Vice-rector: Research and Planning), Ms Hantie Hoogkamer (North West Development Corporation) and other officials from the North West Provincial Government

24 September 2014: NWU Postgraduate Open Day

The first NWU open day for postgraduate students took place on the NWU's Potchefstroom Campus on Heritage Day. This was an ideal opportunity for interested students to find out more about the Master’s and PhD programmes on offer at the North-West University, and many students visited the campus for this purpose. If you missed the day, you can find out more about the NWU Potchefstroom Campus postgraduate study options as well as the Master’s and PhD programmes on offer at TRADE.

23 September 2014: Prof Wilma Viviers on KykNET 'Dagbreek'

Prof Wilma Viviers made an early morning appearance on the breakfast programme 'Dagbreek'. Prof Viviers discussed her role as a WTO Chair holder, while also reflecting on the current state of South Africa's trade and potential for future improvements.

16-17 September 2014: WTO Chair Launch

Prof Wilma Viviers, whose ground-breaking research has propelled her to the top echelons of her profession by redefining the way local exporters assess foreign markets, was formally honoured on 17 September 2014 as one of seven global candidates chosen by the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 80 applicants for its latest Chairs Programme. In the photo on the right are: Prof Wilma Viviers from NWU, WTO DDG Mr David Shark, Prof Dan Kgwadi from NWU and International Trade Economist Mr Maarten Smeets.
During her acceptance address, Prof Viviers made reference to the obstacles that South Africa faces, saying, “this is also indicative of sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, where the Gini index of inequality rose by 9% between 1993 and 2008.  The 2014 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index, published last week, saw South Africa’s overall ranking drop another three places, to 56th out of 144 countries.  Why is the index important?  Because it is an annual barometer of performance of institutions and other factors that determine a country’s level of productivity.  The South African economy is dealing with major constraints, such as inadequate infrastructure, energy insecurity, poor educational standards among the workforce, troubled labour relations and corruption – all of which contribute to low labour market efficiency.  But perhaps even more worrying are the divergence in attitudes and the lack of trust and shared values among many of the interest groups in South Africa.  It is an epidemic that the North-West University, together with the WTO, can help to curb.

“The WTO Chairs Programme will be a resource to, and a representative of, the WTO in South Africa. The Chair’s research initiatives will endeavour to inform national and provincial governments’ trade policies and steer the country’s trade and investment efforts.  At the same time, the Chair will nurture the talents of new and more experienced researchers, as well as increase the number and enhance the quality of its Master’s and PhD students. Mr David Shark, Deputy Director-General of the WTO, told the gathering, “I see the establishment of the WTO Chair at the North-West University in Potchefstroom as recognising the commitment of the academic community in South Africa, which has played a vital role in educating, training and analysing matters related to trade policy and international trade, at national, regional and international level.

“Academics are in a position to approach issues with a breadth and depth of analysis which is simply not a practical possibility for many others — such as politicians, for example. Academics have space to consider changes in the global economy so they can identify not only today’s challenges and opportunities, but also those of tomorrow.” In conclusion, Prof Viviers said, “the WTO Chair gives me and my TRADE team an opportunity to assist with the policy debate through high-level research and engagement, at a time when trade-related challenges and questions about global competitiveness are high on the agenda – both in South Africa and in the surrounding region.  The Chair appointment will also ensure that the North-West University remains at the cutting edge of research in these critical policy spheres.”

For more information regarding the WTO Chairs Programme, click here.
















5 September 2014: TRADE visits the National Treasury

Prof Peet Strydom together with Dr Cees Bruggemans and some of the other TRADE team members visited the National Treasury in September. Two papers were presented, i.e. ‘The global economy and South African foreign trade’ (Prof PDF Strydom) and ‘Identification of South Africa's export opportunities: A DSM approach’ (Prof Wilma Viviers, Prof Waldo Krugell, Dr Ermie Steenkamp, Dr Sonja Grater and Mr Martin Cameron). In the photo: the full team at the National Treasury.

3-4 September 2014: Prof Peet Strydom visits TRADE

Prof Peet Strydom, extraordinary professor at the North-West University and a member of the TRADE team, visited the Potchefstroom Campus to discuss the opportunities and gaps in trade, which are special interest areas in the WTO Chairs Programme.


27-29 August 2014: Agbiz conference

The theme of this year’s Agbiz conference was: ‘Shifts Happen! - Manage them’. The conference had a comprehensive programme that focused on the threats, risks and opportunities brought about by major shifts in the socio-political and economic power dynamics across the globe, and how to manage them. Prof Wilma Viviers and Mr Martin Cameron, together with Ms Lindie Stroebel (Agbiz) and Mr Tinashe Kapuya (Agbiz), presented a paper on: ‘Trading to compete and win’. The conference was also attended by two of the NWU Economics Honours students, Mr Christian Schlotveldt and Mr Jan-Hendrik Strauss, who finished in the first and second teams respectively of the student competition run by Agbiz. They wrote a short summary of their experience at the conference:

"Students often complain about not getting enough experience of the workplace or of not being exposed to industry before completing their studies. The recent Agbiz congress in Somerset West was, however, a rare experience; for as a student one not only enjoyed the opportunity of getting to know the corporate side of agriculture, but one was also able to meet some of the most influential people in the sector. The congress was centred on the theme: ‘Shifts Happen – Manage them’. Speakers addressed changes that are taking place in the sector, and there was opportunity for experts in their fields to engage in dialogue on topics such as rising input costs, changing market dynamics, land reform and even training tomorrow’s farmers. On top of that, we as students had the opportunity to take part in a case study competition. Sixteen students from various South African universities were mixed and divided into teams of four and had to work together shortly after getting to know one another. After half a day of brain storming, editing and scuttling about to find alternative solutions to deal with the threat of another EU citrus ban, students had to present their solutions to a jury, which consisted of Agbiz board members. On the final day of the congress, the best two teams had the opportunity to present their solution to 250 congress-goers, which was a daunting task. To summarise the experience of the congress from a student’s point of view: A rare chance to get to know an entire industry in a matter of days.”








Above: Mr Christian Schlotveldt, Prof Wilma Viviers, Mr Danie Marais (NWK) and Mr Jan Hendrik Strauss at the conference

28 May 2014: World Trade Organization accolade for NWU

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has selected the North-West University (with Prof Wilma Viviers as International Trade Research Professor and director of the TRADE research entity as the Chair holder) as one of only seven successful Chairs worldwide for its latest WTO Chairs Programme (WCP). The WCP, which spans a four-year period and involves a substantial grant, aims to create a better understanding of the multilateral trading system among academics and policymakers in developing countries through a range of curriculum development,  research and outreach activities conducted in selected research institutions such as the NWU. Prof Viviers’ appointment is the outcome of a rigorous international selection process aimed at identifying academics and academic institutions that, through their analytical work in the areas of trade policy and practice, are well placed to make a significant contribution to the policy-making process in their respective countries and regions.

Commenting on the award of a WTO Chair to Prof Viviers, the Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), Prof Susan Visser, said, “the Faculty is delighted that the WTO has honoured Prof Viviers in this way and is very proud that her team’s research work on trade issues has won international attention and recognition.  In particular, through pioneering development work, the Decision Support Model, which assists exporters in selecting the right foreign markets, has become a sought-after strategic instrument in trade promotion circles in South Africa and other countries. This has laid an important foundation for Prof Viviers and the TRADE team’s impressive track record which now enjoys the respect of global peers at the WTO.”

Reacting to the news, Prof Viviers said, “I am greatly honoured by the award and look forward to partnering with the WTO in this exciting initiative. The WTO Chair gives me and my TRADE team an opportunity to assist with the policy debate through high level research and engagement, at a time when trade-related challenges and questions about global competitiveness are high on the agenda – both in South Africa and in the surrounding region. The appointment will also ensure that North-West University remains at the cutting edge of research in these policy spheres.”



May 2014:  Prof Raymond Parsons contributes a chapter to a book

Prof Raymond Parsons wrote a chapter ‘Social dialogue: New light on an old story’ for a book titled: ‘Liberation diaries: reflections on 20 years of democracy’, edited by Busani Ngcaweni and published by Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd.

30 March 2014: Prof Raymond Parsons' Business Day Live article

Prof Raymond Parsons wrote an article for Business Day Live titled: ‘Pause for thought gives rise to jitters’.


17-24 March 2014: Prof Ludo Cuyvers visits TRADE

TRADE's extraordinary professor, Prof Ludo Cuyvers, visited the TRADE research niche area for discussions with members of the TRADE team.  The main discussion points were the TRADE-DSM, future research topics and other possible focus areas. In the photo on the right: the TRADE team with Prof Ludo Cuyvers.
Ludo Cuyvers visits TRADE

19 March 2014: South African Regulations Conference

Prof Riaan Rossouw and Mr Requier Wait delivered a paper at the South African Regulations Conference.  The topic of their paper was: 'The role of licensing and tax policy for developing the upstream oil and gas industry: The case of South Africa'.


17 March 2014: ERSA Industrial Organisation workshop

Mr Requier Wait delivered a paper at the ERSA Industrial Organisation workshop in Johannesburg.  The paper, the title of which was: ‘The governance of the shale gas revolution in South Africa’, was the result of research conducted with Mr Geoffrey Chapman from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

January 2014: Dr Sonja Grater receives international trade qualification

Congratulations go to Dr Sonja Grater who received her Advanced Certificate in International Trade (Exports) from the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa (ITRISA).