Eastern Cape’s economic challenges under microscope in webinar

NMU associate professor and acting department head Prof Syden Mishi hopes to see lively and sustained debates in the webinar, from 9am to 11am.
TACKLING ISSUES: NMU associate professor and acting department head Prof Syden Mishi hopes to see lively and sustained debates in the webinar, from 9am to 11am.
Image: Supplied

A panel of experts from Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and the Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council will address the province’s economic challenges in a webinar on Tuesday.

The webinar, which is free and open to the public, is the second phase of a joint project between the department of economics and the socio-economic consultative council in which they work together to find practical solutions to serious problems facing the Eastern Cape.

Associate professor and acting department head Prof Syden Mishi said he hoped to see a lively and sustained conversation in the webinar, from 9am to 11am.

“Evidence-based policy-making is ideal for sustainable and resilient economies and we aspire to continue shaping the Eastern Cape’s road to recovery and growth,” Mishi said.

He said SA’s national development plan for 2030 criticised higher education for “poor knowledge production that often did not translate into innovation”.

The webinars tackle this by putting high quality and pertinent research into the public space, with the aim of influencing policy to benefit the economy.

The webinar panel comprises university postdoctoral fellows Dr Iniabong Akpan, Dr Clement Moyo, Dr Izunna Anyikwa and Dr Tafadzwa Chitenderu, as well as a representative of  the socioeconomic consultative council.

They will discuss topics such as migration and its effect on the labour market, labour productivity, a report on the digital economy, and an analysis of fiscal policy options and impact — all focused on the Eastern Cape.

“Academic institutions focus on extending boundaries of knowledge and also finding solutions to societal problems, among other agendas,” Mishi said of the partnership with the council.

“On the other hand, policymakers and every other member of society, including businesses, are in need of ideas and solutions today and in future.

“Until the two anchor institutions — academia and government — can find a common ground to share challenges, knowledge and solutions, the problems will persist.”

Mishi said the webinars, which have been held monthly since late 2020, were one way to share NMU findings and recommendations. 

However, researchers often did not have easy access to the data they needed or did not know how the government worked.

In turn, the government did not always understand what academics could offer or how they needed to do effective research.

“Interaction needs to happen from the onset, with input from all stakeholders,” Mishi said.

“We look forward to participants from different sectors — academia, business and government — so that our ideas can find a home, and our work is critiqued as we continue to work on finding solutions.”

Phase three of the project partnership with the socioeconomic consultative council is under way and the university hopes to share the findings in August. 

To join the webinar, visit the website. 

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