TRADE-WTO Awards Reply

On 13 August three separate WTO funded awards were given at the TRADE-WTO Award function. These awards aim to recognise and encourage excellent scholarship and research on WTO related themes. The awards were given to for the best PhD thesis, the best WTO related paper and the most promising honours student at TRADE.

Antoinette van der Merwe & Prof Wilma Viviers received their award from Prof Waldo Krugell.

Antoinette van der Merwe & Prof Wilma Viviers received their award from Prof Waldo Krugell.

Dr Ernst Idsardi received the award for the best PhD thesis, titled “South Africa’s Agricultural Product Space: Diversifying for Growth and Employment.”

Earlier this year WTO Chair prize for the best Masters’ dissertation was presented to Mr Francois van Heerden  at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences Academic Prestige function. The title of his dissertation was: “Identifying employment-intensive export sectors in South Africa’s services industry”.

Antoinette van der Merwe and Prof Wilma Viviers received the award for the best research paper. The title of their paper was “Promoting sustainable economic growth in South Africa through the production and export of low-carbon environmental goods.

And finally, Gabriel Mhonyera was awarded the prize for the most promising honours student of 2015 following some excellent academic results during the first semester of the year.

Gabriel Mhonyera receives his award for the most promising honours student of 2015

Gabriel Mhonyera receives his award for the most promising honours student of 2015

You can read more about TRADE and the WTO chair here.

Prof Blaauw’s inaugural lecture Reply

Yesterday evening we celebrated the inauguration of Prof Derick Blaauw as Professor in the School of Economics.

The academic procession with Prof Blaauw and the Dean, Prof Visser

The academic procession with Prof Blaauw and the Dean, Prof Visser

The inaugural lecture was attended by friends, family, colleagues from the Faculty, post-graduate students and fellow economists from UFS, UJ and Rhodes. Prof Blaauw spoke about his research into the informal labour market in South Africa – and the “missing pieces of the puzzle” that make for his future research agenda in this field.

Congratulations Derick!

The future of Economics Reply

This semester Me Carike Claassen is organising a number of events for the third year Development Economics students to engage with a few issues of the day. Last week we showed the documentary The end of poverty and this week sees a discussion about the future of Economics.

Econ curriculum discussion This is quite a hot topic and we thought that it may be useful to provide some background reading:

  • The Economist is a good place to start with an article on changing the Economics curriculum.
  • Diane Coyle’s VoxEU post lists some of the common reform themes and what it may mean in practice.
  • Core-Econ is a project that develops the resources needed to change the curriculum. The tag line is: “Teaching Economics as if the last three decades had happened”.
  • Heavy weight economists are also taking on one another and recently Paul Romer had the econoblogosphere going with his criticism of “mathiness” in Economics. The Noahpinion blog has the highlights. Justin Fox also writes about it at the Bloomberg View.

The issues have also been discussed in the South African context. Have a look at this Daily Maverick article on the scholarship, policy and practice of Economics in SA.

Economists, of course, love a good argument with a “on the one hand, and on the other hand” and have replied to the debate in numerous posts. Here are links to a few of those:

Come and join the discussion at the coffee shop.

Conference news Reply

NWU’s WTO chair and team showcase Decision Support Model at the WTO’s 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva, Switzerland

WTO conference July - W, E, S in front of WTO gateTrade is unquestionably one of the key drivers of economic growth and development in the world, yet high trade costs and other barriers to efficient and sustainable trade practices are hampering many countries’ efforts to take advantage of global and regional market opportunities. Clearly, trade facilitation initiatives need to be stepped up and become more entrenched at the policy and operational level, with the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement constituting a key instrument in this regard. This was the central theme of the World Trade Organization’s 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 2015 at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Prof Wilma Viviers, director of the TRADE research entity and WTO Chair at the North-West University, who was invited to deliver a paper at the WTO event, remarked: “Attending the WTO’s Global Review gave me and my team fascinating insights into the current dynamics in international and regional trade circles, and paved the way for some very promising collaborative ventures between our research entity and a number of international trade development organisations.”