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Monique Nsanzabaganwa receives honorary doctorate

Stellenbosch alumni Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa received the degree Doctor of Commerce (DComm), honoris causa, on Friday, 17 March, for her role in developing academically sound economic policies for Rwanda, for her contribution in creating world-class institutions and for her actions to establish women as key players in the African economy. Among other roles, Nsanzabaganwa has acted as minister of trade and industry in Rwanda and deputy governor of the Rwandese National Bank.

"Contrary to an alarming trend of our age, Monique does not believe in alternative facts, or in sidestepping responsibility," said prof Stan du Plessis, who proposed the toast to Nsanzabaganwa. "When you speak to her about her decisions as a minister and as a deputy governor, she continuously emphasises accountability and clear leadership, which allows for the emergence of responsible citizenship."

"Rwanda, which once qualified as a failed state, has managed to rise out of the genocide ashes and prospered," said Nsanzabaganwa."At an occasion like this, I feel very humbled. I dedicate this honorary doctorate of commerce to those who aspire and work hard to make Africa and Africans reach their full economic potential."

Dr Nsanzabaganwa gave a special lecture on Monetary Policy in Rwanda on Thursday, 16 March in the Department of Economics. The full video of her inauguration and speech is available on YouTube.
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Centre for Competition Law and Economics opens

Competition Policy has become very prominent in South Africa, through the work of the Competition Commission and Tribunal. Economics play a pivotal role in the analyses of merger and acquisitions and other transactions. The Economics Department at Stellenbosch has been actively involved in this field through both research and teaching activities. We are one of the few South African Economics departments that offer competition policy lectures to undergraduate students and an industrial organisation module at graduate level.

Recognising the need for more academic research in this area, the Competition Commission has decided to collaborate with Stellenbosch University to fund and set up a Centre for Competition Law and Economics. This is a milestone for the Department and recognises the work that has been done in this area by some of the staff, e.g. Prof. Nicola Theron (extraordinary professor and former Tribunal member) and Prof. Willem Boshoff (associate professor). The Centre will have a strong research focus, and will fund a full time PhD student as well as a post-doc position. There is also an Industrial Organisation group which meets on a weekly basis. Teaching and course work will be developed as part of the ongoing functions of the Centre.

The Centre will encompass research and teaching in both law and economics and the co-directors are Prof Boshoff and Prof Philp Sutherland. A formal launch will be held when all the administrative processes have been finalised.

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Rachel Jafta receives recognition for outstanding service

Rachel Jafta is Professor in Economics at the Stellenbosch University, where she lectures International Trade, Trade and Industrial Policy, Development Economics and the Economics of Technological Change.

Her research and publications are in the fields of Economics of Innovation, International Trade, Competition Economics, Social entrepreneurship and innovation, and Black Economic Empowerment. She studied at the Universities of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch in South Africa and Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy, and recently Harvard Business School and the Europass Language Academy, Florence, Italy.

She joined the Naspers board in 2003 and the Media 24 board in 2007. She is a member of the Nominations committee at Naspers and the Human Resources and Remunerations committee at Media24. She chairs the Human Resources and Remunerations committee at Naspers and the Nominations committee at Media24. She was appointed chair of the Media24 board in April 2014 and is a member of the Naspers social and ethics committee. In 2015 she joined the Naspers audit- and risk committees.

She is the founder and chairperson of a number of Community engagement projects, amongst others the Media24 Rachel’s Angels Mentorship Programme and the Cape Town Carnival. She is a member of the South African Economic Society and the Economic History Society.

She has received awards for excellence in research, teaching, and community engagement, as well as the University of Stellenbosch’s Award for Exceptional Alumni (2011).
In 2015 she was appointed to the Management Committee of the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch and to the International Advisory Council of Dom Cabral Business School in Brazil.
On 10 December 2015, she received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Interaction and Social Impact. She was appointed International Advisor to the European Business School, Slovenia, in April 2016.
It is a privilege for the SRC Chairpersons Club to honour this learned and experienced economist for her exceptional service, not only to the South African society, but also internationally.

Photo Below: The annual Postgraduate prize giving ceremony was held at the SASOL Art Museum on 29 March. Johann Pfitzinger (Honours, right) and Lewis McLean (Masters, left) shared the prestigious Cloete medal awarded to the best postgraduate student in 2016. Both achieved an exceptional mark of 84%.

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PhD students attend CSAE conference

It was an exciting and enriching experience to be at this year’s CSAE conference. This has become one of the best organised annual conferences with focus on African economies. What makes it accessible for students is that they offer accommodation and travel tickets for people researching and living in Africa. Stellenbosch was well represented at this year’s conference and the PhD students included the following:

Abel Gwaindepi: Mineral discovery and its effects on fiscal capacity building: Evidence from the British cape colony’s fiscal evolution, 1820-1910
Mike Nyawo: Within and between country price dispersion in developing countries: The role of geography, borders and exchange rate volatility
Tawanda Chingozha: Using remote sensing data to estimate the effects of land reform in developing countries: Evidence from Zimbabwe.
Kholekile Malindi: The tenure and experience profiles of different demographic groups: The South African Case

As PhD students, the feedback obtained for our work-in-progress was valuable and the conference was an important platform to benchmark our work with other PhD students and scholars from around the World. One thing clear was that as Africans researching on African economies we offer very important views and insights to other researchers who have never lived in Africa but have research interests on African economies. So much as we benefited from the conference through the discussions of our work, our contribution to the debates and discussions in different panels was important for other researchers.

Right kind of questions and hypothesis are key for understanding Africa’s potential for development. The World Bank, well represented at the conference, has been trying to prioritise this by recruiting Africans as their country economists. These are people who have spent greater part of their lives in Africa and with the right skills, they are better placed to ask relevant questions. One surprising aspect at the conference was the lack of emphasis on economic history topics. I believe African problems can be solved effectively by incorporating history otherwise many questions and hypothesis are stuck in presentism as they neglect how colonial history bedevils or encumbers our present efforts. I believe that encouraging economic history centred research will make this conference diversified and holistic for unlocking Africa’s potential.

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