A few weeks ago, PII member and director of UCT’s Development Policy Research Unit, Prof. Haroon Bhorat, gave a presentation at the World Bank’s Africa Economics Seminar series, in Washington D.C., on invitation from the Office of the Chief Economist in the Africa Region. Speaking about "Wage polarisation in a high inequality emerging economy: The case of South Africa", Prof. Bhorat discussed the "missing middle", and shared some of the DPRU research on wage polarisation in South Africa. During his visit, he was interviewed for the World Bank’s Afronomics Podcast series, which focuses on the most recent economic trends that are impacting growth and development on the African continent.
Data gaps have been identified as one of the main constraints in achieving international development goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which comprise a total of 17 goals, 169 targets and 232 individual indicators, pose an even greater data challenge for governments than the previous Millennium Development Goals. Lynn Woolfrey, manager of UCT’s DataFirst unit, told a recent SDGs seminar hosted by the African Centre for Cities that the SDG process can also be an opportunity for governments to build better policy data systems.
UCT’s potential contribution to evidence that will inform Africa’s progress towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals has received a substantial boost through SALDRU’s participation in the African Centre of Excellence for Inequality Research (ACEIR). This comes as ACEIR, which is hosted by SALDRU under the direction of Prof. Murray Leibbrandt, was invited to submit a multi-million rand funding proposal to support capacity building and partnerships as one of the 13 centres of excellence of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA). The funding is made available through ARUA’s partnership with the Global Challenges Research Fund, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which will channel a total of £22.8 million (roughly R421 million) to the ARUA centres.
South Africa’s latest unemployment figures once again set off alarm bells over the well-being of the country’s youth. Not only is the overall youth unemployment rate of 39.6% a record high, but the figures also point to a particularly vulnerable group: the 15 to 24-year age group who is affected disproportionately with an unemployment rate of 55.2%. Young people of these ages in South Africa are negotiating the crucial transition from adolescence to young adulthood in the context of multiple challenges of deprivation. Of concern are the just over three million 15 to 24-year-olds who are not in any form of education, employment or training (NEET). With a growing body of research pointing to the harmful long-term effects of such disconnect on NEET youth, a SALDRU-led coalition project is in the process of designing an intervention programme that can give such young people support that is tailor-made to their individual circumstances.