It is right at the end of the academic year and we are making research posts!
Yesterday, Greg Foggitt, a PhD student in Risk Management, presented a paper from his thesis at the ERSA workshop on Financial intermediation in emerging markets. The conference was hosted by the UCT Business School. The title of Greg’s paper was “Identifying the determinants of systemic risk in South African banks”.
Last week Prof Marianne Matthee and Mrs Carli Bezuidenhout (along with Prof Neil Rankin of Stellenbosch University) presented their latest research on South African exporters in Pretoria. Their research forms part of a three-year UNU-WIDER and National Treasury project. The theme of the conference was “Growth and development policy: New data, new approaches, new evidence”. The research used SARS administrative data to examine different topics from the characteristics of exporters and two-way traders, through to productivity, innovation, markups and concentration, the employment tax incentive and determinants of wages.
Marianne and Carli’s work with Neil focused specifically on trade and productivity, as well as exporting and labour demand.
This week Dr Sonja Grater hosted Dr Mikey Chasomeris of UKZN for a guest lecture and research exchange. There has been discussions with colleagues and lunch with the TRADE team. Yesterday Mickey presented some of his research at the ECON625 class.
The topic of the presentation was South African port governance and pricing – the dilemmas and suggested reforms. Mickey showed interesting facts about the eight main ports governed by the Transnet National Ports Authority. Governance dilemmas arise from the approach of cooperation, and not competition, between ports. For example, there is one tariff book for port pricing, though costs differ. Often there is misalignment between Transnet National Port Authority’s plans and priorities and local industrial development zones. Mickey also discussed the interactions between the TNPA and the ports regulator with interesting simulations of the revenue requirement formula and the pricing increases allowed.
Last week a number of colleagues accompanied the NWU’s WTO chair holder (Prof Wilma Viviers) to the 16th WTO Public Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. On the 29th Dr Grater was invited as a panelist in a session was devoted to sharing the results from the North-West University’s TRADE (Trade and Development) research entity and the ICTSD’s on-going work on services and sustainable and inclusive economic development in LDCs and LICs.
Topics that were addressed included the linkages between services and sustainable development, the relationship between services and gender outcomes, and the linkages between service-orientated SMEs and sustainable development objectives. The introductory remarks were handled by Wilma Viviers, Director, TRADE (Trade and Development) research focus area, North-West University. The other panelists were Nicholas Frank, Programme Officer, ICTSD; Sonja Grater, Senior lecturer and researcher, North-West University and Julia Lipowiecka, Independent Consultant.
The Public Forum stimulated debate and acts as platform for voices to be heard. Only by putting words into action will Forums such as this escape the accusation of mere talk and no action, frequently leveled at such gatherings.