In this first quarter of the year the staff of the School of Economics were involved in two big events. The first is the Faculty’s new Economic Literacy Centre.
The Literacy Centre is the brainchild of Prof Ermie Steenkamp who was inspired by a visit to a NCEE facility in Mexico a number of years ago. The idea was create a space where learners visiting campus can be introduced to the economic and management sciences. There is a “movie theater” with big screens showing the latest economic indicators. There are interactive electronic games in which a learner can allocate the family’s budget. Another shows the power of compound interest and the benefits of starting to save early. Visitors also have the opportunity to play a card game and learn about the R1-man. If we can get more learners to study maths at school, and more of them to consider the economic and management sciences, we will be very happy!
The second major event was the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa’s Tomlinson lecture.
This prestigious memorial lecture was co-hosted by the School’s agricultural economists, lead by Dr Ernst Idsardi and those from UFS (Dr Flippie Cloete).
Dr Kobus Laubscher presented the lecture on the theme: “Relevance versus indispensable in making the long-term urgent – Agricultural Economists can choose to shift the responsibility or to shift the paradigm”. Dr Laubscher is an independent Agricultural Economist and Strategist with 27 years as an agricultural economics academic. He is an expert in several fields such as rural development, business process re-engineering and corporate governance.
The event was attended by the leadership of the AEASA, academics and representatives of industry and government.
Dr Flippie Cloete of the School’s Agricultural Economics programme has received the Agriculture Writers SA’s award as the agriculturalist of the year, North West.The award acknowledges the contribution that he makes to the agricultural industry.
Flippie is well-know in game farming circles. He frequently does presentations to farmers and writes in the popular media about the game industry. At the recent Aardklop festival he was also a discussant on RSG.
Flippie and Ernst on stage
Drs Flippie Cloete and Ernst Idsardi is in Aarhus, Denmark this week to present papers at the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s (IFAMA) world congress. The theme of the Congress is Food Security 2050.
The research that they will be talking about is:
- Trends and Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa’s Agro-food Sector – by Ernst Idsardi, Flippie Cloete, & Henri Bezuidenhout.
- Breaking the ‘big data’ barrier when selecting agricultural export markets: An innovative approach – Wilma Viviers, Martin Cameron, & Ezra Steenkamp (presented by Ernst Idsardi).
We have some new staff members on the hallway and we want to briefly introduce them over the next few weeks.
The four Agricultural Economists have been at the NWU for a while, but in 2016 they officially joined the School of Economics. The fourth and final one that gets an introduction is Dr Johnny van der Merwe.
Johnny van der Merwe
He recently completed his PhD, specialising in the field of competitive analysis, price mechanisms and development. Dr van der Merwe’s master’s degree was judged the best master’s degree in 2010 at the University of the Free State and was also submitted into the best national thesis competition at the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA). Dr van der Merwe’s research is currently focused on analysing the impact of wheat grading, pricing and innovation on the competitiveness of the South African wheat industry. Some of his other research work focuses on the trade, development and sustainability of the South African agricultural sector.