Prof Lucas Ferraz
This week TRADE is hosting Prof Lucas Ferraz of the Fundação Getulio Vargas and the Sao Paulo School of Economics for some GTAP research. GTAP stands for the Global Trade Analysis Project and is all about using general equilibrium models to analyse trade issues.
Yesterday Lucas presented a one-day introductory training workshop to staff and PhD students, giving us a taste of what the model can do. He showed an interesting simulation of the impact of a reduction in non-tariff barriers on trade between the EU-25 and Sub-Saharan African countries.
Today he will spend some more time with the PhD students who are examining trade facilitation issues and will be speaking at the seminar series tomorrow.
On the 25th and 26th of August TREES hosted the the 5th Quantitative Approaches in Tourism Economics and Management workshop in Potchefstroom. It is a bi-annual workshop that has traveled from France to Japan and finally to South Africa. The focus is on the latest empirical techniques applied to the field of tourism. For example, Sylvain Petit examined cultural proximity (with and interesting measure of cultural exports) and bilateral tourism flows between OECD countries, using a gravity model. Laurent Botti used a Markovich model from portfolio management to analyse the optimal market mix of French tourism destinations. Our very own Sandra Makumbirofa presented the results of her field experiment to assess divers’ willingness to pay user fees in the Portofino Marine Protected Area.
Yesterday we had the privilege of hosting Channing Arndt of UNU-WIDER at our seminar series. He spoke on the topic of structural change of the South African economy and used mini Social Accounting Matrices constructed for the period 1993 to 2013 to have a closer look at changes in productivity.
He outlined the familiar facts of slow economic growth and a low rate of employment growth over the period – since 2008 these growth rates have been even lower. Linking this to productivity, he characterised the sectors as follows.
We had an interesting discussion on the exports of services and the growth in the skilled wage premium.
On 22 August 2016 Derick Blaauw & Anmar Pretorius met with Ms Crystal Beukes and colleagues from Men on the side of the road (MSR) in Windhoek, Namibia as part of an ongoing NRF-funded research project among informally employed day labourers in South Africa. Namibia has an unemployment rate of around 36%. MSR is an initiative to combat this state of affairs and was established in 2007 by the Dutch Reformed Church Eros. It is a registered welfare and non-profit organisation in Windhoek that aims to improve the skills of Namibian men as well as to prepare them for the job market. Unemployed men are invited to register on MSR’s database. Opportunities exist to take part in the training and placement program for its members. Opportunities include training in for example career guidance, English literacy, money management and entrepreneurship. Ultimately the aim is for members to increase the possibility of getting a permanent job placement. MSR has approximately 1 000 unemployed men on its database. Members get Identity cards listing the skills they have. If a member of the public needs any unskilled or semi-skilled workers they can contact MSR who then aims to put them in touch with suitable workers
The program is supported by the private sector and MSR liaise with the Ministry of Labour and the National Training Authority in Namibia. Derick and Anmar was invited back to Windhoek to continue the discussions and the forging of ties and sharing of ideas. For further information follow MSR Namibia’s Facebook Page.