During the first week of June Anmar Pretorius and Derick Blaauw attended the International Trade and Finance Association (IT&FA’s) 27th International Conference at the Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poznan, Poland. The topic of the conference was: “Leading Issues in International Trade and Finance”. Delegates from afar as New Zealand, China, India and the United States converged in the beautiful city of Poznan. Both colleagues delivered papers at the conference. Anmar and Derick delivered a joint paper entitled: The Impact of Trade on Stock Market Integration of Emerging Markets. Anmar presented a paper entitled: Exports and Exchange Rate Risk: Analyzing Emerging Market Sectoral Exports – co-authored by Heinrich Nel.
The “Keynote speech” was delivered by Professor Leszek Balcerowicz of the Warsaw School of Economics with the theme “Systematic forces, shocks and economic growth”. Prof Balcerowicz was instrumental in Poland’s economic transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. Prof Balcerowicz is a former chairman of the National Bank of Poland and also served as Deputy Prime Minister in Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s government. During the lecture Prof Balcerowicz highlighted the importance of fast and sustainable economic growth without neglecting important social issues as a prerequisite for sustainable development.
This was followed by a Plenary Roundtable, chaired by Joseph Pelzman (George Washington University) with the topic of: “Global Economy in 2017 – Business, Institutional and Academic Perspective”. The rest of the conference consisted of 14 parallel sessions and ended with a guided walking tour of the city centre.
The Society’s President, Prof André Fourçans (ESSEC Business School, Paris) delivered an address at the Gala Dinner on the Economics of Climate Change. Issues dealt with included how economists analyse the phenomenon and its impact.
New contacts were made and the possibility of future engagement was discussed with some of the colleagues of the Poznan University of Economics and Business. Further information on the conference can be found at: http://www.itfaconference.org/
Dr. ShiNa Li from the University of Surrey in UK visited the School of Economics during the week of 29 May to 2 June. She is a co-worker on a project on Tourism and Poverty reduction, which is funded by the British Academy, together with Prof Andrea Saayman, Dr.Alicia Fourie, and Dr. Marco Scholtz. This is a 1-year project, which aims to investigate the influence that various aspects of tourism have on poverty.
During her visit, she presented some research results on the distributional effects of mega events. The case study presented investigates the effect of the Olympic Games, held in Beijing in 2008, on income distribution and opportunities to both urban and rural households in China. The exceptional circumstances in China, where the household registration system (hukou) distinguishes between a rural and urban person, hampers labour mobility. A person with a rural registration has access to poorer educational services and may not migrate to urban areas to search for work there. This has led to an increase in income disparity between urban and rural households in China.
Prof Derick Blaauw was among a number of government, educational and non-governmental role-players invited by the National Planning Commission to attend a Roundtable Discussion on the Social Protection Floor and Cost of Living. The event formed part of a series of research engagements as part of the NDP’s focus to eradicate poverty by 2030. The event took place in Pretoria on the 8th of May 2017. The revised White Paper on Social Welfare as well as draft paper titled “Analysing the impact of State services on the cost of living for the poor” formed the basis of the discussion. The paper was prepared and presented by Dr. Neva Makgetla as a technical and policy discussion on research pertaining to issues that needs to be reviewed for improved standard of living and social protection. The discussion focused on the quality of life for the poor in South Africa in the context of promoting implementation of NDP.
During the April recess Prof Derick Blaauw was part of a multidisciplinary research team doing fieldwork in Cape Town as part of a national study of day labouring in South Africa.
The team consisting of Derick and Professor Rinie Schenck of the Department of Social Work at the University of the Western Cape met the 11 fieldworkers on Monday 3 April 2017 at the UWC Campus for a day of fieldworker training. The fieldworkers were all recruited from graduates of the University of the Western Cape’s Social Work Department. The fieldworkers were carefully selected to accommodate all the languages expected to be encountered on the streets of the Mother City. The training was preceded by two weeks of recognizance by Prof Schenck and Ms Iris Brown to confirm existing and identifying possible new hiring sites. The next step was to execute the operation. Two kombis was used as transport and the team met up at the UWC Campus on Tuesday 4 March. What followed was six days of early mornings (getting up at five o’clock) and long hours on the streets interviewing day labourers trying to make a living from informal employment. The fieldwork went well and 450 interviews were conducted. The fieldworkers were debriefed and valuable time was spent reflecting on the shared experiences of the fieldworkers. This type of research does not leave anybody untouched.