New collaborative programme focusing on economic transformation and inequality launched with South African government and other regional organizations

Konstantin Makrelov
Monale Ratsoma, National Treasury

UNU-WIDER launched its newest programme ‘Southern Africa – Towards Inclusive Economic Development (SA-TIED)’ on 30 November 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. Together with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and a number of South African government agencies, the Institute will work to deliver an ambitious and comprehensive research and capacity-building programme focusing on economic transformation and inclusive growth in the region of southern Africa. The South African partner organizations include the National Treasury (NT), the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS).

Constructing new partnerships and networks between South African organizations and regionally

The local partners have been crucial in the formulation of SA-TIED and they play a key role in its implementation. To ensure its impact on policies promoting economic transformation and curbing inequality, the programme builds on best practices on policy research by incorporating the key users of the research — policy makers and technical staff in government departments — into the design of SA-TIED. This is the first time the five South African organizations collaborate in policy research in this manner, this entails interesting opportunities and synergies within the framework of SA-TIED.

Finn Tarp, UNU-WIDER

Focus on economic transformation and turning the tide on inequality

SA-TIED taps into IFPRI’s and UNU-WIDER’s extensive network of researchers, connecting these experts with senior staff of the South African institutions. These partnerships will produce high-quality research to inform policy-making in South Africa and at regional level for six thematic work streams:

  1. Enterprise development for job creation and growth
  2. Public revenue mobilization for inclusive development
  3. Macroeconomic modelling for policy formulation
  4. Turning the tide on inequality
  5. Climate and energy as drivers of change
  6. Regional growth for Southern Africa’s prosperity

Learning by doing

In addition to the extensive body of research produced during the programme’s lifespan, SA-TIED will prioritize the development of human and institutional capacities within the participating South African institutions, thus its activities address the specific policy priorities.They include research collaborations across institutions, co-authoring of policy-relevant research papers, building technical capacity of junior staff, and improved collection and management of public data for research purposes.

The various capacity-building initiatives will be launched from 2018 onwards to develop research skills and analytical capabilities locally and regionally. Opportunities to engage with SA-TIED will be advertised in due time on the programme’s website.

Building on a track record of partnering for research based policy making

The new research programme builds on the successful collaboration between UNU-WIDER and the National Treasury during 2014-16 on Regional growth and development in Southern Africa. That programme produced new insights on firm-level performances, public revenue mobilization, and regional trade opportunities. Notably, the research outputs were successful in informing several policies, laying the groundwork for a scaled-up engagement under the new SA-TIED programme.