We have some new staff members on the hallway and we want to briefly introduce them over the next few weeks.
Dr. Ernst Idsardi
The four Agricultural Economists have been at the NWU for a while, but in 2016 they officially joined the School of Economics. The third one that gets an introduction is Dr. Ernst Idsardi.
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 and international trade – specifically agricultural product space. He has worked on numerous research projects for both national and international stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
Every year Nedbank and Old Mutual host the Budget Speech Competition. It is an essay- writing competition in which undergraduate and postgraduate students get to address the issues of the day. Finalists are then selected and they get the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, participate in interviews, and attend the Budget Speech in Parliament.
This year the undergraduate entry of the NWU’s Potchefstroom campus won the day. Tiaan Meiring wrote an essay on The potential impact of a national minimum wage policy in the South African context. He receives a R60000 scholarship for Honours studies in South Africa. He wants to further his studies development economics and examine ways that we can grow the economy and address inequality.
You can check out a very relaxed looking Tiaan doing a CNBC Africa interview, giving his views on the 2016 budget.
The School had two more finalists at the competition in Cape Town. Esti Swart also participated in the undergraduate category and Gabriel Mhonyera in the postgraduate category. Gabriel also spoke on CNBC Africa before the Budget Speech.
Finally, a big word of thanks should go to the lecturers involved. Drs Carike Claassen and Anmar Pretorius work hard to encourage and support the students who enter the competition. If you are keen to enter in 2016, follow the link above or find out more about it from these lecturers in the ECON311 or ECON627 courses.
The first colloquium of the year is also known as the “pitch” colloquium where students pitch their research ideas to get some feedback before they get too far down the road. Yesterday the Master’s students in Risk Management / Finance presented their ideas. Here is a quick list of topics:
- Michaela Zietsman will be looking at enhancing options trading using volatility forecasting.
- Johnny Janse van Rensburg wants to examine the business cycle and performance measures.
- Margarethe Grobbelaar aims to evaluate the more reliable performance measures for the JSE top-100.
- Ben Volkwyn will analyse equity market-neutral trading strategies and market efficiency, and
- Wico du Toit is setting out to identify indicators of financial crises.
We wish them all the best of luck with their studies in 2016.
The 2016 National Budget introduced in Parliament today underscores the economic challenges facing South Africa, says NWU Business School economist Prof Raymond Parsons.
Prof Raymond Parsons
‘The 2016 Budget Speech delivered in Parliament today gave a realistic and sober outline of the economic challenges facing SA. Finance Minister Gordhan delivered a serious message about what was needed meet these challenges and the measures required to turn the SA economy around. Minister Gordhan made it clear that, although the world economy was now less supportive, the fundamental policy choices must be made domestically. Key policy decisions and leadership are therefore needed to address the deteriorating economic outlook. The strong reaffirmation of the official commitment to the National Development Plan (NDP) in the Budget speech is welcome and provides a degree of certainty and predictability about the overall policy framework.
In deciding how the pain of adjusting to new economic realities is to be spread over various stakeholders, the Budget has had to maintain fiscal prudence in ways which do not harm investment and growth. This is a difficult balancing act, given that growth in 2016 is likely to be even be lower than the 0.9% projected by the Budget. Within its limited space, the Budget has nevertheless helped to promote fiscal sustainability, laid the foundations for a possible improvement in the economy next year, and provided more confidence about the economic road ahead for SA. Expectations must nonetheless remain realistic as to what a single Budget can achieve and the ambitious projected lower government debt ratios may well yet be challenged.