TIPS In the News

14 February 2008

In his State of the Nation address in February 2007, President Thabo Mbeki announced some stimulus towards the industrial policy strategy totalling over R7-billion in tax incentives and support. This was followed by some details in the Budget Speech provided by Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel in the subsequent week. Read more...

28 January 2008

The inconclusive economic partnership agreement (EPA) of 2007 has had to give way for other trade-related topics as developing countries having other challenges to face. EPAs have always been associated with additional confusion beyond multiple memberships. Implementation of the regional integration in Southern Africa in conjunction with the EPAs was always going be complicated from a developing country view and there are still concerns that EPAs will undermine regional integration initiatives. Read more...


The Southern African Development Research Network (SADRN) is a new regional initiative funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and managed by Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS). SADRN's objective is the co-ordination and delivery of policy-relevant research in the southern and eastern African region, as well the provision of related technical support to policy-makers. Its launch workshop in October 2007 was attended by more than a dozen regional economic and research institutions.

SADRN will capitalise on existing networks in the region and operate through annual rounds of stakeholder consultation, as well as workshops and seminars. Research efforts are focussed within three broad thematic areas identified as key at the Launch Workshop:

  • Industrial policy and sector development at the regional level;
  • Service sector development and the impact on poverty; and
  • Trade policy and its linkages to pro-poor growth.

Implementation of these research themes will provide an opportunity to bring the regional and relevant global research communities together to engage in an ongoing policy debate and development process. This process will also involve institutional capacity-building and institutional strengthening in the region. In addition, the Network aims to provide an effective channel for training and dissemination of research and policy activities. The envisaged outputs of the Network in the medium term are as follows:

  • Increase the supply of policy-relevant research in the SADC region;
  • Improve the policy relevance of research through strengthening the capacity of policy-makers to be discerning research '˜users';
  • Develop an appreciation for evidence-based policy-making by engaging policy-makers in the design, specification, implementation and review of research projects; and
  • Build institutional capacity in key policy research institutes in SADC via the creation of Working Groups in focused thematic areas of research.

SADRN is therefore inviting interested regional institutions to submit Expressions of Interest to host one of the themes described above for a minimum of two years. The scope of activities in the specified thematic area shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Conduct policy-relevant research in the selected thematic area;
  • Identify existing research and knowledge gaps;
  • Conduct training courses, seminars and workshops;
  • Maintain consistent communication and network with regional policy-makers on the subject;
  • Create, maintain and update a database of existing information on institutions, available research and expertise in the region;
  • Disseminate the outputs and outcomes of all activities; and
  • Involve and develop younger researchers and provide mentoring support of a technical nature.

We invite interested institutions from Southern Africa, including research organisations and relevant university departments, to submit brief technical and financial proposals by Friday 29 February 2008. Further information may be obtained from Mmatlou Kalaba - e-mail:, tel: 012 431 7900 or fax: 012 431 7910.

A new programme, the 2nd Economy Strategy Project has been added to the website. The purpose of this project is to contribute to reducing poverty and inequality in South Africa by supporting the government to develop a Strategy for the Second Economy, as part of its Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (Asgi-SA), located in the Presidency. Asgi-SA'™s target is to halve poverty and unemployment in SA by 2014. Find out more here.

TradeInvestSA - 8 January 2008

One of the major talking points around the EPAs is that negotiations have greatly undermined regional integration initiatives in Eastern and Southern African and elsewhere. The State of Doha Round - It has been more than six years since the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) was launched at the Fourth Ministerial Conference (1). The agenda initiated negotiations on agriculture and services. The Fifth Ministerial Conference was supposed to be a review where members would agree on how to complete the rest of the negotiations, but progress was hindered by disputes on agricultural issues and ended in deadlock on the new generation issues


TradeInvestSA - 21 October 2007

Post-apartheid South Africa embarked on a trade policy framework to make the economy competitive by engaging the international community. That framework took the economy through a gradual process of reforms that resulted in a shift - from being one of the most protected and distorted markets in the world to the one that reflects openness. The momentum was carried forward by the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994 and implementation of the free trade agreements (FTAs) with the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2000.

Furthermore, South Africa has given consideration to FTAs with China, India, Brazil and Unites States as it tries to broaden trade relations across the globe. The most observable feature of these commitments is the reduction of import protection. This is based on the principle that resources will flow from uncompetitive sectors to sectors with a comparative advantage as competition increases, known as allocative efficiency. The same argument can be used to refer to the trade partners that dominate relations with South Africa: that trade should be biased in favour of the competitive ones at the expense of uncompetitive ones.

View the attached document to read more.


The revision process that was carried out on the 2006 Southern African trade data has been completed. The 2006 data (for most of the SADC member states) are back online - please visit the database at If you have questions around the Southern African trade database, please contact Mmatlou Kalaba.

Business Day - 13 July 2007

The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) is just over a year old but has quickly established itself as a force to be taken seriously. From its comprehensive reports on SA's electricity crisis to its two landmark petroleum pipeline decisions, it has show that it is a regulator in the true sense of the word and not a negotiator.

View the attached news article to read more. - 13 April 2007

GENEVA, April 12 (Xinhua) -- World trade is expected to grow slower in 2007 given the prospect of weaker economic expansion in the coming year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Thursday.The global trade growth could slow down to 6 percent from 8 percent last year as world economic growth is expected to slip to 3 percent from last year's 3.7 percent, the WTO said in a report on trade in 2006 and prospects for 2007.


The University of Adelaide website - 5 January 2007

The University of Adelaide's Institute for International Trade is undertaking a $456,000 12-month study to identify the best trade policies for poverty reduction in the Asia Pacific region. The project is being supported by AusAid and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and will involve several Schools within the University of Adelaide as well as academic and business researchers throughout the region.


24 October 2006

Johannesburg - The presidency has commissioned the country's first national income study to help the government get a better understanding of the extent of poverty. The study, which gets under way next year, is an acknowledgment that poverty remains a central issue. The national income dynamic study will be conducted by the SA Labour Development Research Unit (Saldru) based at the University of Cape Town (UCT), rather than by Statistics SA or the Human Sciences Research Council. The study will track 8 000 households indefinitely to provide policy makers with a better understanding of the dynamics of poverty.


24 October 2006

Even if South Africa is to create new jobs in the period leading up to 2015, this is unlikely to make a major dent in reducing poverty. This emerged as the central policy question (aside from differences over the extent of poverty) during a debate on poverty and inequality at last week's Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies and the University of Cape Town Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) conference.


Business Report - 20 October 2006

The release of important economic data always makes headlines. But Corne van Walbeek, a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town (UCT), warned yesterday that the statistical authorities and the financial press should treat initial releases with caution. Van Walbeek, of UCT's school of economics, raised the issue in a paper presented at a conference arranged by the Development Policy Research Unit [and Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies].


Business Day - 20 October 2006

Efforts by Transnet and Eskom to promote the development of local suppliers of capital goods for their infrastructure programmes aimed to address the real risk that parastatals might struggle to source some of the items they need on global markets, and would not delay the infrastructure roll out, the official responsible for driving the supplier programme said this week. The public enterprise department's Edwin Ritchken was speaking at a conference on accelerated and shared growth in SA, hosted by the University of Cape Town's Development Policy Research Unit and TIPS (Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies).


Mail & Guardian - 21 October 2006

Robert Pollin, Jerry Epstein, James Heintz and Leonce Ndikumana of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, US presented brief highlights of the major proposals from their recently published book An Employment Targeted Economic Programme for South Africa at the 2006 Forum. Pollin is a director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.


Finance24 - 3 September 2003

South Africa's socio- economic performance since 1994 will come under the spotlight at a forum to be held in Johannesburg next week...


Business Day- 10 May 2003

A RESEARCH paper by a trade and industry think-tank has echoed the urgent need to create more jobs in the country. The paper, published by Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (Tips), showed a drop in employment across all industrial sectors except one from 1990 to 2001...


Business Day - 9 September 2003

SA's manufacturing performance since the 1990s has been below par and the trade and industry department's incentive strategies to boost the sector have not been effective, according to the department's former chief economist...

Business Day - 16 September 2003

SHOULD SA have an inflation cap on increases in administered prices? The Reserve Bank, MPs and others have fingered administered prices as an inflation culprit. Tariff increases implemented by public entities, in sectors such as telecommunications, electricity and transport, have run ahead of the inflation target range, putting upward pressure on prices and undermining efforts to bring inflation down to within the range...


Business Day - 28 October 2003

THE South African economy has experienced significant trade reforms in the past decade...


Business Day - 29 October 2003

THE World Trade Organisation (WTO) was, and largely remains, developing countries' best hope for mitigating the uneven power relations between large developed nations and small developing countries in the trading environment.


Business Day - 3 May 2004

Data on the small business sector remains varied, leading to confusion and ignorance over its role...

Business Day - 3 May 2003

Tisa says local manufacturing industry has continued to grow, while reliance on gold and diamonds has halved Trade and Industry Correspondent TRADE and Investment SA (Tisa) a government agency responsible for promoting investment and export development...


Business Day - 11 May 2004

GOVERNMENT should step in to halt the deterioration of Gauteng's East Rand, which has been reduced from "SA's workshop" into "SA's rust belt"


Financial Mail - 22 October 2004

The World Bank's new chief economist for Africa, John Page, says Africa needs a political deal to foster economic growth. He spoke to Carol Paton at the Tips/Development Policy Research Unit's annual forum in Cape Town.


Business Day - 11 January 2005

THERE is growing concern about stagnating growth in the numbers of small businesses, it emerged in the latest review of the sector by the trade and industry department. Government's policy for the small business sector has come under fire from entrepreneurs and small business practitioners, who say it is not doing enough to boost the sector's contribution to economic growth.

See attachment

Financial Mail - 10 December 2004

The overall numbers of small businesses and entrepreneurs in SA are growing strongly but there are marked differences between the formal and informal sectors. Informal entrepreneurship is booming - it grew 11% from 2002 to 2003 - but formal sector small business has stagnated and even shrunk slightly (0,5%) over the same period (see table). By far the most informal enterprises were initiated by African women, whose participation in the formal sector simultaneously regressed. These are the findings of the "Annual review of small business 2003", a report commissioned by the department of trade & industry and conducted by policy think-tank Trade & Industry Policy Strategies (Tips).


Business Day - 8 February 2008

AUSTRALIA's Deputy Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Bruce Billson urged developing countries yesterday to make substantial reductions in their trade barriers to encourage economic growth and trade among themselves.


Business Report - 31 March 2005

In two recent research papers posted on the website of Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies, a local think-tank with close ties to the government, the researchers focused on the debate about whether government had cut import tariffs too quickly, harming major industries such as clothing and textiles


Business Day - 5 May 2005

Commentators say government should provide financial assistance where there is a crisis that may have significant economic and social consequences, and where temporary aid can provide breathing space for a turnaround that will set a company on a sustainable path.


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