Feb 25, 2011
DTI is building capacity for industrial developmentBack
Africa|Industrial|Africa|Germany|Japan|South Africa|South Korea|London University|Media Reports|Print Media|Ben Fine|Rob Davies|Wits
© Reuse this
The launch was the culmination of hard work by the DTI and Wits to tailor postgraduate programmes that would help the DTI in building the correct capacity for researching and implementing its industrial policies.
The launch received space in the print media and air time on radio and television because the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, gave the keynote address. Two newspapers took excerpts from the speeches by Davies and our guest speaker, Professor Ben Fine, of London University, to come up with headlines that said that South Africa did not have skills to implement policy and that South African economists were not competent. Some of the media reports missed the point and the importance of the new capacity building programme.
The launch was important because Davies not only acknowledged the capacity challenges faced by the DTI in implementing its industrial policies but also showed South Africans that he and the department were working with Wits to do something about the situation. Further, Davies said that he wanted to work with other South African universities to tackle the economic policy research skills shortages faced by government. The DTI’s capacity building programme at Wits is focused on training existing staff at the department and increasing the pool of appropriately skilled postgraduates available for recruitment by the DTI and other government departments.
There is a certificate programme in economic and development policy taught in the Graduate School of Public and Development Management, and some of the courses in the certificate programme will be taught by the CSID. There is a new honours degree in development policy and theory starting this year and a new master’s degree in development policy and theory starting next year. The programme includes workshops from 2012 for ongoing training for alumni of the programme and a regular seminar series called Economic Policy Dialogues, which will have internationally acclaimed development economists speaking on the latest developments in the field.
All government departments have difficulties getting enough of the correct staff. One of the problems identified by the DTI is that most South African universities do not have the required economics training required by people who will work on economic and industrial policy research and implementation. Fine made the point at the launch earlier this month that this shortcoming is not confined to South Africa but that there is a problem in the way economics is taught in most universities around the world. Mainstream economics courses usually follow neoclassical economic theory fairly closely and are suspicious of State involvement in the economy. They believe that markets left to themselves will correct any perceived market failures. Neoclassical eco- nomists that do see a role for the State say the State should play a small role aimed at improving the workings of the market.
Nonmainstream economists assign a more important role for the State in the economy. South Africa has to draw on academic learning and country experiences where the State has played a significant and successful role in transforming economies. We can learn from countries such as Germany, Japan, South Korea and others how the State actively worked with the private sector to build a successful industrial base and international competitiveness.
These countries did not have the State trying to improve the operation of markets, but had States that actively transform the industrial structure and how markets operate. To deal with our economic devel- opment challenges, including our huge unemployment problems, the South African State will have to work to drive South Africa onto a new economic growth path through the transformation of our industrial landscape. For government departments such as the DTI to be actively involved in devel- oping economic policies to drive this transformation, they require well-trained economists that not only understand that the State should play a big role in the economy, but can also develop and implement those policies.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Seeraj Mohamed News
The Corporate Strategy and Industrial Development Research Programme (CSID) - the University of the Witwatersrand's (Wits') economics policy research unit of which I am director – hosted a launch of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI's) capacity...
We enter 2011 with much global economic uncertainty. South Africans should consider the country's economic policies and activities within the context of an uncertain and volatile global economy.
Updated 6 hours ago Despite various challenges related to the extraction of shale oil and gas, as countries grow accustomed to the idea, the use of shale as a form of energy will be more widely pursued, international oil and gas market analyst Michael Lynch said on Tuesday. Speaking at...
Updated 6 hours ago A consortium led by two Kenyan firms won a government tender to build a 1 000-MW, coal-fired power plant, company officials said on Tuesday, part of moves to satisfy rising demand for energy in East Africa's biggest economy. Kenya suffers from regular blackouts due...
Updated 6 hours ago The announcement of the successful bidder for the construction of Durban’s long-awaited passenger cruise terminal was imminent, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO Tau Morwe told delegates at the African Ports Evolution Conference in Durban on Tuesday. ...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel has announced its fourth consecutive year of profits. The group's results for the financial year 2013/2014 were recently announced at its head office in Centurion, south of Pretoria. Revenues grew by 17%, net...
There is little opportunity for JSE-listed infrastructure company Group Five to grow shareholder value in the domestic market, says CEO Mike Upton. He says value can still be found in the private sector, in the renewable and industrial power sector, as well as in...
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has announced the event dates of the 2015 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS). The event will take place from October 14 to October 25, 2015, at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec.
UK engineering support services provider Babcock is set to deliver the largest order of global truck manufacturer DAF’s truck tractors in Southern Africa to bulk carrier road-based logistics company Ngululu Bulk Carriers (NBC), with 133 trucks to be delivered in...
Digital radio communications in the African local government space can open up the world, but have many challenges to overcome, notes integration and migration of legacy radio communications infrastructure with digital mobile radio company Emcom Wireless head of...