Policy Briefs

  • Year 2017
  • Publication Author(s) Wendy Nyakabawo, TIPS Economist
South Africa through its Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) identifies local content as a strategic industrial policy instrument, which can be used to leverage the power of public procurement; reduce the country’s trade deficit; address market failures; foster infant industries; and increase the governments tax base (the dti, 2016). Although…

  • Year 2017
  • Publication Author(s) Neva Makgetla, TIPS Senior Economist
Since 2011, Eskom has experienced a sharp decline in demand, while the electricity-intensity of the South African economy has fallen by a quarter from 2005 to 2017. This briefing note analyses the factors behind the fall in demand and, on that basis, a range of strategic responses. It concludes that…

  • Year 2017
  • Publication Author(s) Sithembiso Mtanga, TIPS Senior Researcher
South Africa’s motorcycle industry is waning while other emerging markets are expanding their production activity, usage and trade performance, and are developing integrated value chains for motorcycles. South Africa is a net importer of motorcycles and imports have been declining for the past five years. No local manufacturing is taking…

  • Year 2017
  • Publication Author(s) Sandy Lowitt, TIPS Research Fellow
This brief presents three pragmatic industrial policy implementation ideas based on recent heterodox thinking. The examples were identified during the research for a theoretical think piece on current heterodox industrial policy literature. The ideas are presented without the context of supporting theory, but simply as ideas that incumbent industrial policy…

  • Year 2017
  • Publication Author(s) Mbofholowo Tsedu, TIPS Senior Researcher
This policy brief provides an overview of South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry’s industrial park revitalisation programme (IPRP). It then highlights some key success factors for implementing successful spatially-targeted industrial development interventions such as industrial parks. Although infrastructure provision is a crucial (and necessary) investment facilitator, other key factors…

  • Year 2017
  • Publication Author(s) Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, Senior Economist: Sustainable Growth
Renewable energy technologies have experienced an exponential growth in South Africa, thanks to the procurement of large-scale power plants. However, South Africa’s electricity sector still lacks a level playing field. Significant vested interests have maintained overwhelming support for centralised, coal-based electricity generation, preventing the development of renewable energy technologies to…

  • Year 2017
  • Publication Author(s) Christopher Wood, TIPS Economist
This policy brief provides context for technical regulation in the region. It then offers some cross-cutting solutions for developing monitoring mechanisms that can allow policymakers to identify problem areas, and some specific interventions for the Standards, Accreditation and Metrology functions that can build capacity at low cost. It provides some…

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Faizel Ismail
This policy brief considers the three main options available to South Africa in a post-AGOA trade and investment relationship with the United States: to stay in AGOA, negotiate a Free Trade Agreement, or fall back on Most Favoured Nation terms and the Generalized System of Preferences.

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Neva Makgetla
The National Treasury proposed 20% tax on sugary soft drinks derives from the National Department of Health strategy to reduce obesity. It is rooted in the scientific consensus that these kinds of drinks are a key factor behind rising obesity and the attendant ailments of diabetes, heart disease and some…

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Blessing Chipanda
There is scope for a number of strategic interventions by the South African government to support agro-industrial production. These could make a significant difference to the country’s foreign trade and its domestic employment record. This policy brief outlines the potential impact that a more labour-intensive agriculture sector, which is also…

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Neva Makgetla
The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) reported that the country lost a total of 355 000 jobs from the last quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, for an astonishing 2,2% decline in a single quarter. But the figures seem unreliable, due at least in part to the…

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Neva Makgetla
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF revised downward its growth forecast for most countries and for the world as a whole. This note briefly reviews some of the key revisions. 
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  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Gillian Chigumira
Aquaculture is the fastest growing food producing sector in the world, and although abalone contributes a relatively small proportion to aquaculture, it is one of the most highly prized seafood delicacies and most sought-after invertebrate. With high returns, farmed, fished or ranched abalone is able to generate foreign currency earnings…

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Tracy Ledger
Agro-processing is an increasingly important market access point for agricultural producers. The development of the agro-processing sector thus has significant potential to create opportunities for smaller agricultural producers, thereby supporting the creation of new employment and livelihood opportunities in rural areas. However, market access points are not homogenous from the…

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Neva Makgetla
Responses to Eskom’s request for compensation for additional costs and for lower than expected sales in 2013/4 should be designed to support industrialisation. From this standpoint, the regulator’s response to Eskom’s proposals should take into account the following. Eskom should be guaranteed compensation for the cost of diesel and other…

  • Year 2016
  • Publication Author(s) Neva Makgetla
The commodity boom and the drought confront South Africa with difficult challenges that require innovative responses. In these circumstances, this briefing note assesses  proposals for using the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s current and accumulated surpluses – currently worth over R100 billion –  to support economic growth without impacting on the sustainability of…

  • Year 2015
  • Publication Author(s) Mbofholowo Tsedu
The 2007 launch of the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) could not have anticipated the impact that the global financial crisis of 2008/2009 and subsequent recession would wreak on South Africa’s economy. With its strong focus on the manufacturing sector as a key driver…

  • Year 2015
  • Publication Author(s) Stephanie Seguino
This briefing note considers three key questions about inflation targeting in South Africa, drawing on international experience as well as an assessment of the conceptual framework for monetary policy. First, does inflation in the low single digits promote development and growth? If not, raising interest rates at low rates of…

  • Year 2015
  • Publication Author(s) Gaylor Montmasson-Clair
Industrial development and climate change mitigation have historically been opposed to each other. This is reflected in the industrial and climate change policy frameworks in South Africa. As a result of these two opposing frameworks and the disruptive and complex nature of the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy, the…

  • Year 2015
  • Publication Author(s) Georgina Ryan
A global benchmarking of policy instruments for effective climate change mitigation demonstrates the need for a mix of policy measures. The optimal policy package is characterised by the complementarity of its policy components, and the recognition of context: the appropriateness of the mix of measures varies from country to country depending on unique…

  • Year 2015
  • Publication Author(s) Blessing Chipanda
Asia has been an important export market for South Africa’s trade-induced industrialisation strategy, China being the country’s main trading partner in that region. This case study explores the potential of increasing trade with other Asian countries such as Indonesia, rather than focussing mainly on China. The case study details potential opportunities…

  • Year 2015
  • Publication Author(s) Mbofholowo Tsedu
Technical regulations lay down compulsory requirements for product or service characteristics or their related processes and production methods. They have specific administrative provisions and conformity assessment requirements with which compliance is mandatory for safety, health, environmental control and consumer protection. The capacity to comply with international standards, norms and technical regulations underpins the…

  • Year 2014
  • Publication Author(s) Blessing Chipanda
Promoting exports to develop manufacturing remains a key growth strategy in the National Development Plan. Super-exporters dominate almost all South Africa's export sectors. They are the main drivers of export growth and they define the country's export structure. However, despite their dominance, super-exporters have been losing dynamism and competitiveness, with…

  • Year 2013
  • Publication Author(s) Wendy Nyakabawo
South Africa has embarked on a drive to attract private investment in ports, with the objective of not only acquiring investments but also as a means to build up local expertise and develop capacity. Due to its strong regulatory and legislative framework, as well solid entrepreneurial culture, South Africa has…

  • Project ASSET Research
  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Marco Pauw
The principle that the person or the organisation responsible for pollution or environmental degradation should be responsible for the restoration of the affected ecosystem has been established in South African law. However, what constitute successful restoration remains a contentious issue. This policy brief considers two examples and make recommendations for…

  • Project ASSET Research
  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Helanya Fourie; David le Maitre
This policy uses the Agulhas Plain as an example to compare two different pos-clearing land-use options that can be used to support livelihoods in the area: restoring natural capital to allow wildflower harvesting, or using the land for bioenergy production. Authors: Helanya Fourie, Western Cape Department of Agriculture and ASSET…

  • Project ASSET Research
  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) DJ Crookes; JN Blignaut
The marketability of the natural environment is influenced by different forms of restoration activities, which in turn has cost implications depending on the different types of ecosystems and the extent of the damage. This brief adopts an economic approach to explore some of the key market challenges. Authors: Douglas J…

  • Project ASSET Research
  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Alanna Rebelo; Katie Gull
There has been a global shift in the way that water provision for urban water use is viewed. Governments are increasingly choosing to invest in environmental health. By protecting river systems, governments can reduce management costs. In this brief, examples of international case studies related to such government interventions are…

  • Project ASSET Research
  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Jacques Cloete; Nico Smit
An increase in tree density, or bush thickening, beyond a certain threshold may be detrimental for the ecosystem and reduce the productivity of such rangeland for agriculture and conservation. However, the woody plants in areas where there is bush thickening present at opportunity to harvest the wood as bio-fuel. Authors:…

  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Dinga Fatman
Geographical Indications are goods that derive the uniqueness of their quality from the region where they originate. Provision for protection of such goods is provided for in the TRIPS Agreement among WTO member countries. This policy brief looks at some international examples where goods have been protected based on a…

  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Gaylor Montmasson-Clair; Peet du Plooy
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the main indicator used to measure economic activity. However, GDP is not designed to assess the welfare of a nation. This policy brief recommends the construction of a tailor-made sustainability indicator for South Africa, based on the Adjusted Net Savings methodology that would track the…

  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Thomas Höppli
Emigration of highly skilled people has become an increasing concern in South Africa. While it is uncontested that such emigration can have detrimental effects in the form of a brain drain, this policy brief argues that South Africa could also draw some benefits from this emigration. It recommends that the…

  • Year 2012
  • Publication Author(s) Graham Sherbut
The need to address sustained economic growth while simultaneously preserving the natural environment presents important policy challenges for countries such as South Africa. Growing concerns about climate change, a loss of biodiversity, and the poor management of natural resources such as forests and water all indicate that the benefits of…
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  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
Southern African Development Community (SADC) members signed the Trade Protocol in 1996, however progress in the region to reap the benefits purported to accompany regional economic integration appears limited. Although SADC has adopted a growth and development through trade strategy, indications are that more needs to be done to implement…

  • Year 2012
Countries in Southern Africa have only recently begun considering the possibility of jointly developing comprehensive industrial policies under the auspices of regional integration bodies such as the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Regional co-operation in industrial policy design and implementation has the potential to both identify and capitalise on the…

  • Project TRALAC
  • Year 2011
For many African states, negotiations to liberalise trade in services is a relatively new experience. Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community (EAC) member states are set to negotiate services at several levels – regional, bilateral, multilateral and even at…

  • Year 2012
What if unemployed people in South Africa had a right – a real right – to a minimum level of regular work on decent terms? In 2005, India passed a law guaranteeing rural households up to 100 days of work a year, at minimum wage rates. Over 55 million households…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
In 1997 the EU introduced a requirement that beef imports be traceable through a computerised system. To ensure continued access to the EU market, Botswana introduced the livestock identification and traceback system (LITS). The objectives  of this study are to estimate the costs associated with implementing the system and determine…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
Globally, a rapid increase of mobile tertiary education seekers has been observed. In 2005, more than 2.7 million tertiary education students were studying in a country other than their own, representing an increase of about 61% since 1999.  Trade in education services is increasingly becoming important worldwide. Saner and  Fasel…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
The quest for new sources of energy away from traditional petroleum products has in recent times led to the development and use of biological material (biomass). As the name suggests, biofuels are developed from organic materials. Thus an increase in the price of oil has also increased demand for biofuels,…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
The objectives of financial sector reform in Uganda were interest liberalisation, reducing directed credit, improving prudential regulation, privatisating financial intermediaries, reducing reserve requirements, liberalisation of securities markets and pro-competition measures. Interest rate liberalisation focused on positive interest rates, with rates linked to the weighted average of an auction-based treasury bill,…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
There is increasing evidence that export diversification is linked to growth. However, possibly less than 10 African countries show signs of export diversification, with manufacturing making up at least 25% of total exports. Botswana and Zambia are both heavily reliant on primary commodity exports. In Zambia, the dominance of copper…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
In their quest to achieve higher economic growth and development African governments have experimented with different growth and industrialisation models. Prominent among these is the import substitution industrialisation (ISI) model adopted after gaining independence in the 1960s and 1770s. It is widely believed that the ISI model failed, and after…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
Maize is the most important staple cereal consumed in the Southern African region. Global warming and accompanying increased volatility in rainfall, rising populations and the shift to maize-fed biofuels pose risks of substantial price increases in the future that may affect food security. The general view is that a combination…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
A number of factors have propelled the rapid demand for foreign higher education services. These include the need for internationally recognised qualifications, the demand for highly skilled labour in both developed and developing countries, and the inclination by several countries towards promoting foreign collaborations to improve the quality of domestic…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
Having a vibrant production base is the foundation of economic prosperity. The more goods a country produces the more jobs are created. The specialisation resulting from the production of goods tends to result in newer technologies and higher levels of income, which leads to even higher growth. There is little…

  • Project SADRN
  • Year 2011
Sugar cane remains a major contributor to the Mauritian economy. In 2003 it was cultivated on 85% of the arable land by 28 000 planters, with most planters being smallholders. One in three rural families is directly or indirectly involved in the sugar industry. Annual sugar production averages 575 000…