The Presidency – 27 September 2019
President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council with effect from 1 October 2019.
The Council was announced by President Ramaphosa in the State of the Nation Address to ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy and ensure that government and society in general is better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances.
Comprising local and international economic thought leaders, the Council will advise the President and government more broadly, facilitating the development and implementation of economic policies that spur inclusive growth.
The Council is a non-statutory and independent body chaired by the President and brings together prominent economists and technical experts drawn from academia, the private sector, labour, community, think tanks and other constituencies. The members, who will volunteer their time and be compensated for subsistence and travel, are appointed to serve a three-year term.
The Council constitutes expertise in international economics; macroeconomics (including fiscal policy and monetary economics); labour economics; economics of education and the economics of poverty and inequality and urban development. Other areas of insights entail microeconomics with a focus on network industries, regulation and competition, trade, energy and climate change.
It is expected that the Council will serve as a forum for in-depth and structured discussions on emerging global and domestic developments, economic and development policies, and to facilitate socialisation and diligent execution thereof.
It will be supported by a Secretariat drawn from National Treasury and Policy and Research Services in the Presidency that will, inter alia, feed enhanced economic research into deliberations of the Council. The Council is further expected to establish clear protocols for engaging with other critical structures such as the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).
The Council will meet quarterly at first and will in due course decide on timelines that will best enable deliberations among Council members and the Council’s interface with the President.
This operating model is intended to enhance the work being undertaken to build a capable state, as demanded by the National Development Plan. The Council will also be instrumental in building a knowledge base of policy and implementation lessons, best practices and field-tested success stories.
Members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council are:
Prof Benno Ndulu: Served as the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania from 2008 until 2018. As a professor at the University of Dar es Salaam in the early 1980s, he led a series of seminars on the economic crisis Tanzania was facing. This work made important contributions to the economic reforms that were implemented in the second half of the 1980s by the second phase government. After this, he worked as a Lead Economist with the Macroeconomic Division of the World Bank for Eastern Africa from the Tanzania Country Office. He is best known for his involvement in setting up and developing one of the most effective research and training networks in Africa, the African Economic Research Consortium.
Prof Mzukisi Qobo: Professor of International Business, who has written extensively on trade and political economy. After leaving the International Trade Desk at the Department of Trade and Industry, he went on to lecture at the Universities of Pretoria, Johannesburg and (currently) Witwatersrand.
Prof Dani Rodrik: Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Prof Rodrik is a world-renowned economist who has written extensively on international trade, industrial development, political economy and development economics. He has also conducted specific research on the South African economy.
Prof Mariana Mazzucato: Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, and Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at the University College London. She is the winner of the 2014 New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy, the 2015 Hans-Matthöfer-Preis and the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. She is also a member of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP).
Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya: First National Bank Chief Economist. Prior to her appointment, Mamello was a senior macroeconomic analyst in the FNB Economics team. Before joining FNB, Ms Matikinca-Ngwenya worked as a macroeconomic analyst in the RMB global markets research team. She started her career at the Bureau for Economic Research.
Dr Renosi Mokate: Former Executive and Dean, University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL), and former Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank. Before joining the SBL Dr Mokate was an independent consultant for the Ministry of Finance and National Treasury as well as a member of the Investigation Steering Committee of the Municipal Demarcation Board. She is a former Executive Director of the World Bank Group, where she represented Angola, Nigeria and South Africa and also served as the Chairperson of the Audit Committee as well as member of various other committees. She holds a PhD and MA from the University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware and a BA from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. Her areas of specialisation are Development Economics, Urban Economics and Policy Analysis.
Dr Kenneth Creamer: an academic economist based at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has Masters degrees in Law (Wits) and Financial Economics (SOAS, University of London) and a PhD (Wits) for which he was awarded a Gold Medal by the Economic Society of South Africa in 2010. Creamer is an NRF-rated researcher with a range of publications on fiscal policy, monetary policy, open economy macroeconomics, competition policy and labour market policy, published in local and international academic journals. He worked as Research Coordinator in Cosatu’s Parliamentary Office in the 1990’s. In addition to his senior lecturer position at Wits University, Creamer is a member of the Management Committee of SASSFE, which raises funds for tertiary education students in need of support, and serves as a director of Creamer Media, publisher of Engineering News, Mining Weekly and Polity.
Prof Alan Hirsch: Director of the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, University of Cape Town. Professor Hirsch is an academic and former Chief Economist at the Presidency where he managed economic policy and represented the Presidency at the G20. He was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School, a regular visiting professor at the Graduate School of Governance at Maastricht University, directed the International Growth Centre’s research in Zambia for 5 years, and was a member of the OECD secretary-general’s Inclusive Growth Advisory Panel. He coedited the Oxford Companion to South African Economics.
Prof Tania Ajam: Prof Ajam teaches public financial management at the University of Stellenbosch School of Public Leadership. She is a public policy analyst and an economist with broad experience in the design, analysis and implementation of fiscal policy, intergovernmental fiscal relations and government-wide monitoring and evaluation systems. She holds a Masters in Business Science from the University of Cape Town and a PhD (Public Management) from the University of Pretoria.
Dr Grové Steyn: One of South Africa’s leading infrastructure and regulatory economists, Dr Steyn combines high-level strategic insight with strong economic and financial analytical skills. He takes a keen interest in the economic and institutional complexities of developing infrastructure and appreciates the challenge of aligning the stakeholder perspectives of investors, financiers, service users, policy makers and regulators in order to facilitate development in the infrastructure industries.
Mr Wandile Sihlobo: Agricultural Economist and Head of Agribusiness Research at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa. He is a leading young agricultural economist who served on the land Reform Advisory Panel appointed by President Ramaphosa. He holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.
Dr Liberty Mncube: Former Chief Economist at the Competition Commission and current scholar at Wits University. Prior to joining the Competition Commission Prof Mncube was a Researcher at the Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
Prof Fiona Tregenna: Professor in the Department of Economics and Econometrics at the University of Johannesburg. She is an expert in industrial organisation and policy and has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cambridge, a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and earlier degrees from the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal). Prof Tregenna holds a B rating (“internationally acclaimed researcher”) from the National Research Foundation. Her primary area of research is on structural change, with a particular focus on de-industrialisation. She has published on topics including: the specificity of the manufacturing sector as an engine of growth.
Prof Haroon Bhorat: Professor of Economics and Director of the Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town. Professor Bhorat’s area of research has concentrated on labour economics and poverty/income distribution mainly in South Africa, and has recently been expanded to other parts of Africa – in which he is a world-renowned authority. He consults for a number of supranational organisations such as the World Bank, the UNDP, and the ILO to name a few. He also works as a Non-resident Senior Fellow at Brookings on the Africa Growth Initiative programme.
Mr Ayabonga Cawe: Development economist actively engaged as a public intellectual. He is Managing Director of a platform involved in advisory, facilitation and content development across a wide range of fields. Prior to this he was Economic Justice Manager at Oxfam South Africa (OZA) working on policy advocacy and research. He has also worked as an Associate Consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, a global development strategy consulting and policy advisory firm. Ayabonga served on the National Minimum Wage Advisory Panel appointed by the Deputy President and Nedlac. He also served on the VAT zero-rating review panel, tasked by the Minister of Finance to consider the expansion of the list of food and non-food items exempted from value added tax. He holds an M. Com (Cum Laude) in Development Theory and Policy from Wits.
Prof Vusi Gumede: Professor at the University of South Africa and former Director of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute. Prof Gumede previously worked in different capacities in government for more than a decade. He taught economics at the University of Durban-Westville where he obtained his Masters of Commerce in 1999 and has lectured economics in different universities in the past 10 years. He is affiliated with numerous institutions as board or committee member or a fellow or adviser or honorary professor and editor-in-chief. He holds a PhD in economics obtained in 2003 and a postgraduate diploma in policy studies obtained in 2009. Prof Gumede is widely published and undertakes research for many institutions in Africa. He was also Distinguished Africanist Scholar at Cornell University and Yale World Fellow at Yale University as well as Chairman of Southern Africa Trust, among institutions he has been part of.
Dr Thabi Leoka: an economist who has worked for various organisations in the financial sector and was recently appointed by President Ramaphosa to the Public Investment Corporation Commission of Inquiry. She was appointed by the Minister of Finance to review the zero-rated products in order to support the poor and vulnerable in the country. She is also a non-executive director of SA Express where she chairs the Stability and Sustainability Committee. She serves on the Statistics South Africa Council where she chairs the Economic Committee. Dr Leoka started her career as an Economist at Investec Asset Management in South Africa and London.
Prof Imraan Valodia: Economist and Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at the University of Witwatersrand. His research interests include inequality, gender, competition policy, and industrial development, and employment in developing countries. Professor Valodia has played a central role in establishing and leading Wits University’s Southern Centre for Inequality Studies (SCIS). Professor Valodia is a part-time member of the Competition Tribunal in South Africa. He is also a Commissioner of National Minimum Wage Commission and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) Standing Committee on Science for the Reduction of Poverty and Inequality. In August 2016 Professor Valodia was appointed by (then) Deputy President Cyril Rampaphosa to chair the Advisory Panel on the National Minimum Wage.
The Presidency is in the process of finalising the appointment of a seasoned economist and leader from West Africa who has accepted an invitation for her to serve as a member of the Council.
President Ramaphosa has thanked the Council members for accepting the invitation to serve South Africa’s development in their capacity as members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and assured them that their insights, critiques and recommendations will ultimately serve to build a sustainable and inclusive economy that meets the needs of citizens and is globally competitive at the same time.