Colloquium 2013 1

Yesterday the Honours  / fourth year students in Economics, Risk Management and International Trade presented the research that they have been doing for their mini-dissertations. The term colloquium is from the Latin colloqu for conversation, to talk together, and we had some interesting discussions. The presentations that I attended included topics like:

  • Analysis of FDI in Africa, using deal-level data.
  • Distinguishing between Chinese and Western approaches to FDI in Africa.
  • The links between shocks in the agriculture sector and the rest of the economy using structural path analysis.
  • Looking at market access for exports into Africa.
  • The efficiency of small SA banks after the financial crisis, using data envelopment analysis.
  • The economics of rhino poaching.
  • Cost-benefit analysis of nuclear energy.

There were some good presentations on interesting work. Congratulations to the class of 2013 and the supervisors.

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Research: What we learned at the UNCTAD Virtual Institute research seminar Reply

Two weeks ago staff from the School of Economics and TRADE research niche area presented a paper at the UNCTAD Virtual Institute’s research seminar in Geneva, Switzerland.

The team at UNCTAD

The team at UNCTAD

The title of our paper was “Identifying new product and service export opportunities for South Africa using a decision support model”. We argue that:

One of the challenges in designing and implementing effective export promotion strategies is identifying the right markets, given South Africa’s ever-fluid skills, capacity and trading relationships.  The Decision Support Model (DSM) is an export market selection tool that makes use of a sophisticated filtering process to sift through an extensive range of product-/service- and country-related data to reveal those product-/service-country combinations (‘export opportunities’) that are the most realistic and sustainable.  The DSM, which has been applied for Belgium, Thailand and South Africa, not only brings greater precision to the export market selection process, but also unveils opportunities that may not have been contemplated before – thus supporting the quest for export diversification.

But what other work do you find at a VI seminar?


Navorsing: Hidrobreking in Suid-Afrika Reply

Mnr Requier Wait van die Skool vir Ekonomie het verlede week die plaaslike werksgemeenskap van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns toegespreek oor “Hidrobreking in Suid-Afrika: ‘n Ekonomiese perspektief.

Requier by SAAWKDit is werk wat hy saam met Riaan Rossouw doen en hulle het ‘n Algemene Ewewigsmodel gebruik om die ekonomiese impak van ‘n toename in die produksie van gas te bepaal.

Laai sy PPT aanbieidng hier af: R Wait_Hidrobreking.

The NDP: Getting down to business? Reply

On Friday Prof Raymond Parsons delivered the opening address at the national congress of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut. We are happy to share it here:

Prof Raymond Parsons

Prof Raymond Parsons



The effective implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) was not only now urgently necessary for the achievement of SA’s socio-economic goals but was also essential to strengthen business and investor confidence at a challenging time, warned Professor Raymond Parsons, of the NWU Potchefstroom Business School today. If SA faced another credit downgrade, there would be negative consequences for bond yields and the currency, and hence for the economy.  In his opening address to the AHI National Congress in Potchefstroom Professor Parsons said that, against the background of the current weak performance of the SA economy and the need to promote a shared vision of where SA wanted to be by 2030, the NDP provided a vital roadmap to develop an economy which would be bigger, stronger and better by then. SA needed to recognize that time was not on its side if it wanted to avoid the economy drifting into a ‘low growth trap’. The real test of the NDP’s implementation would come once the 2014 elections were over, he said.

Professor Parsons told the AHI that a number of red lights were flashing and exposing ‘soft spots’ in the economy, making it imperative to take remedial steps sooner, rather than later. It was essential to inject more long-term thinking into decision-making by both the public and private sectors in addressing key structural issues in the economy. He emphasised that it would require the closest collaboration between government, business and other stakeholders to make a success of the NDP. He said that reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to the NDP should again be reflected in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on 23 October and its fiscal implications more clearly spelled out. There needed to be less talk and more action in implementing what had been decided in ways that would make a visible difference to the average citizen. In this process, said Professor Parsons, the private sector also needed to understand that it could no longer be ‘business as usual’ if the NDP was to be implemented properly. More…