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.
The importance of investing in and educating Africa’s large youth population as a critical component in unlocking untapped productivity and innovation was also foregrounded at a recent Duke University forum on “Inequalities and the erosion of social cohesion in post-apartheid South Africa”. The PII’s Prof. Murray Leibbrandt and former PII visiting professor Prof. Hiroyuki Hino – both visiting research scholars at the Duke University Centre for International and Global Studies – led the discussions with their presentations, followed by input from two Duke scholars who conduct research in Togo and Nigeria respectively.
Health economist Emeritus Prof. Di McIntyre, who served on the PII planning group until her retirement in 2018, has recently received the François Diop Award for her lifetime contributions to the advancement of health economics in Africa, and globally. She received this recognition at the 5th Africa Health Economics and Policy Association conference which was held in Accra, Ghana. Joining her in the celebrations was UCT’s Dr Leanne Brady, from the Division of Health Policy and Systems in the Faculty of Health Sciences, who received an award for an innovative and participatory approach that assists decolonising health policy and systems research.