The short break between semesters is the conference season, and if you are lucky you could also get good news about publications.
In the latest issue of Africa Growth Agenda magazine staff from the School of Economics have three of the four articles and we are always happy to tell everyone of work being published:
- Global Value Chains: A New Era For South Africa’s Foreign Trade – Prof. P D F Strydom & Prof. Wilma Viviers.
- South Africa’s Export Diversification Options: The End Of The Road For Traditional Export Markets? – Prof. Marianne Matthee.
- To “Spot” And “Point”: Managing Waste Pickers’ Access To Landfill Waste In The North-West Province – Prof. P F Blaauw, Dr. J M M Viljoen, Prof. C J Schenck and Prof. E C Swart.
Our Research posts are about the latest academic research being done in the School of Economics. This week we are happy to link to a research brief that Dr Henri Bezuidenhout published for SAIIA’s Economic Diplomacy programme.
The global arena for foreign direct investment (FDI) has become much more fluid and complex in the five years from 2010 to 2015. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a region has shown exceptional growth but relatively lacklustre FDI inflows. Investment protocols might be revised, as SADC needs to re-envisage itself as an investment destination. It currently receives mostly resource-based investment in subsequent supporting service industries. The end of 2014 saw sharp declines in commodity prices, especially oil, and forecasts show a sluggish return to previous levels. This requires SADC policymakers to take a new look at current investment policies and attitudes. Global value chains and spatial factors show that dated ideological policymaking will need to be replaced with proven, growth-orientated developmental strategies.
You can download the whole research brief here.
During our recent visit to Croatia and Slovenia Anmar Pretorius and Derick Blaauw visited the organization DESA in Dubrovnik. DESA was founded in 1993 by refugee Croatian women hiding in a Dubrovnik hotel during the war and siege of the city. The organization started as a spontaneous reaction of women, crocheting household articles from torn fabric, in order to develop activities supporting women during the war and post-war period. Many of the women were left to take care of families when their husbands died in the war, were severely injured or were left unemployed after the war. Anmar and Derick were warmly welcomed by Seka Lomov, herself a survivor of the war and siege of Dubrovnik.
Today DESA focuses on sustainable development of Croatian regions. With tourism the current cornerstone / foundation of the Croatian economy, many of the recent projects had a tourism focus. Projects included language proficiency (in English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian) to improve communication with tourists, cooking jam from local oranges, and training in entrepreneurship. Through some of the projects cultural heritage are preserved while creating opportunities in the tourism industry. While mostly involved in the economic empowerment of women through education, DESA also offers projects for young unemployed people living on remote islands – where they only have access to primary schools. Recent projects were in the form of workshops, seminars, lectures and round-table discussions. Various partners and donors are involved in DESA projects including local centers of development, civil society, Croatian ministers, the European Union and universities (from Spain, Switzerland, Croatia, etc).
A truly inspirational story shared with us by a remarkable woman! We undertook to remain in contact and will follow DESA’s progress regularly.
Last week Anmar Pretorius presented a paper “Stock market integration of emerging markets: A factor analysis” at the 13th INFINITI conference on international finance held at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 8-9 June 2015. The co-author of the paper is Prof Alain Kabundi.
Derick Blaauw attended the tenth Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, held at the University of Split in Split, Croatia from 11-14 June 2015. The special focus of the conference was: “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Contemporary Social Change”. He presented a paper entitled: “The Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) of Waste Pickers in the Free State Province of South Africa”. The paper was co-authored by Anmar Pretorius from the NWU School of Economics as well as two external corroborators namely: Prof. Rinie Schenck, HOD of the Department of Social Work, University of the Western Cape and Dr. Kotie Viljoen from the Department of Economics and Econometrics at the University of Johannesburg. The paper provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the SWB of particularly vulnerable and marginalised sections in South Africa’s informal economy by incorporating variables from the international literature in a South African context. The paper was received very well and will now be readied for submission to an accredited journal.
Derick shared the session with Prof Jutta Gutberlet (University of Victoria in Canada). She is a renowned scholar in the field of recycling in the informal economy in Brazil. They discussed possible areas of research and we hope this will have tangible results in the not too distant future.