Following the release of her ground-breaking research into the way in which local exporters assessed foreign markets, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has formally honoured North-West University (NWU) Professor Wilma Viviers as one of seven global candidates for its latest Chairs Programme.
Viviers, who heads up the Trade and Development (TRADE) research entity at the NWU’s Potchefstroom campus, noted during her acceptance speech on Wednesday that the programme would be a resource to, and a representative of, the WTO in South Africa, with research initiatives by the Chair endeavouring to inform national and provincial governments’ trade policies and steer the country’s trade and investment efforts.
It would provide the TRADE team with an opportunity to assist with the policy debate through high-level research and engagement at a time when trade-related challenges and questions about global competitiveness were high on the agenda – both in South Africa and in the surrounding region.
“The Chair appointment will also ensure that the NWU remains at the cutting edge of research in these critical policy spheres.”
“At the same time, it will nurture the talents of new and more experienced researchers, as well as increase the number and enhance the quality of its masters and PhD students,” she commented.
WTO deputy director-general David Shark told the gathering that the establishment of the WTO Chair at the NWU recognised the commitment of the academic community in South Africa, which had played a vital role in educating, training and analysing matters related to trade policy and international trade, at national, regional and international level.
“Academics are in a position to approach issues with a breadth and depth of analysis, which is simply not a practical possibility for many others – such as politicians, for example. Academics have space to consider changes in the global economy so they can identify not only today’s challenges and opportunities, but also those of tomorrow,” he asserted.