Feb 25, 2011
DTI is building capacity for industrial developmentBack
Africa|Industrial|Africa|Germany|Japan|South Africa|South Korea|London University|Building|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 building...
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 4 hours ago The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has outperformed its targets over the past financial year and contributed R3.1-billion to the gross domestic product in the 2013/14 financial year. CTICC CEO Julie-May Ellingson said the convention centre had been...
Updated 5 hours ago Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has released details of the remuneration of the chairpersons and nonexecutive directors of the various State-owned company boards falling under her Ministry. The remuneration figures, which are attached, are based on figures...
Updated 5 hours ago Installed wind power capacity could swell by 530% to 2,000 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, supplying up to 19% of global electricity, a report from a trade association and Greenpeace said on Tuesday. It said installed wind energy capacity totalled 318 GW at the end of last...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
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 road...
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.
This Week's Magazine
The broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) alignment process in the con-struction sector has begun, dur-ing which the sector codes of the Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC) will be aligned with the revised Codes of Good Practice (CoGP), which come...
It is second time lucky for Toby Venter. Ten years ago he negotiated to buy the Kyalami racetrack, but “the deal did not materialise”.
Environmental solutions company I-Cat started construction work on its R22-million, 1 949 m2 environmentally sustainable office and warehouse facility, commissioned by I-CAT Environmental Solutions, at a launch event in October. The new sustainable I-CAT campus,...
Effective file synchronisation and sharing across an organisation’s structures can provide the basis for robust mobile-device and document management while maintaining proper backup, version control and content distribution. These are the lessons learned by complex...
Hotel group Carlson Rezidor currently holds the largest hotel pipeline in Africa with 30 hotels and 6 300 rooms under development. The hotel group develops and operates Radisson Blu in the upper upscale segment and Park Inn by Radisson in the mid-market segment. With...