Research conference to find ways to drive the economy


With the theme “Driving South Africa’s Industrial Development Agenda”, South Africa is to host its first Economic Research Advisory Network (Eran) conference in East London later in March to find ways to boost the country’s economy.

The event will be a platform for policy makers, academics, traditional leaders, NGOs, business, labour, students and members of the general public to discuss potential and real economic issues that hamper industrial development and economic growth.

“Discussions at the conference will centre mainly on issues related to how to build a progressive developmental state that is capable of growing the country’s economy, thereby creating employment and eradicating poverty and inequality,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Minister Rob Davies said in announcing the conference last week.

The DTI helped set up Eran in 2015 as a national research network dedicated to promoting high-quality economic and development research. Its members come from national and provincial economic development departments, other government entities, universities and research institutions.

Davies said research underpins South Africa’s economic policies, such as the Industrial Policy Action Plan.

“We are on a mission to restructure our economy to set it on a more value-adding, labour-intensive and environmentally sustainable growth path,” he said. “Research plays a critical part in ensuring that our plans and objectives are built on well-research empirical evidence.

“Research should contribute to sustainable development and the competitiveness of the South African economy.”

The conference is a partnership between the DTI and the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism. It will be held at the East London International Convention Centre from 10 to 11 March.