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Commerce: HEQSF 8 Courses

  • Economic Problems in Africa
  • Policy analysis
  • Development Economics
  • Labour Economics and Development Economics
  • Business, Government and Society


Convener: A/Prof M Keswell (HESQF level 8, 14 NQF credits)
Course Entry Requirements: See admission requirements for Honours in Economics or by permission of the convener.
Course Outline: After independence, many parts of Africa suffered serious relative economic decline. Recent growth rates have been very promising. This course is therefore about the challenges confronting economic development in Africa (generally excluding South Africa). It seeks to provide a detailed overview of African development, and exposes students to debates regarding past problems, current issues and future possibilities. The focus is applied and policy oriented. Topics include the state in Africa, challenges of managing capital flows, aid, resources and conflict, agriculture and industrialisation.


Convener: A/Prof M Keswell (HESQF level 8, 14 NQF credits)
Course Entry Requirements: See admissions requirements for Honours in Economics or by permission of the convener.
Course Outline: This course will give students exposure to policy issues in a number of key economic domains. While precise topics will vary each year, examples are industry, trade, HIV-AIDS, resources, regulation and privatisation and fiscal policy. Students will encounter real policy issues and techniques and tools to deal with them. The course will utilise real policy issues that have emerged in the current context in South Africa. Outputs will take the form of policy briefings, cabinet memoranda and the like and there will be a strong emphasis on discussion and participation in class.


Convener: A/Prof M Keswell (HESQF level 8, 14 NQF credits)
Course Entry Requirements: See admission requirements for Honours in Economics or by permission of the convener.
Course Outline: This course covers a range of macro and microeconomic issues of particular relevance to developing countries. While precise topics covered will vary‚ examples include the nature and measurement of development‚ sustainable development and climate change‚ poverty and inequality‚ privatisation and deregulation‚ financial liberalisation‚ industrialisation and trade strategy‚ globalisation‚ transnational corporations and foreign investment and the role of the state and industrial policy. While key theoretical issues are dealt with‚ the approach is primarily applied with extensive use made of actual policy experience in a wide range of developing countries.


Convener: M Keswell (HEQSF level 8 14 NQF credits)
Course entry requirements: See entrance requirements for Honours in Economics.
Course outline: The Honours course in labour economics intends to introduce a number of topics that are important for the analysis of economies in developing countries as well as our own. The course will focus on the following topics: labour supply and returns to education, inequality and the labour market, discrimination, international migration, intergenerational mobility, data analysis in labour economics, schooling, growth, poverty and inequality: the role of labour markets, minimum wages, labour regulation, enforcement and violation, trade unions, collective bargaining and wage-employment dynamics, labour regulation.


Convener: R Hamann and T Koelble (HEQSF level 9, 10 NQF credits)
Course entry requirements: Admission to the MBA degree
Course outline: Students will become familiar with a variety of economic, social, environmental and political trends and developments that may impact either directly or indirectly on the strategy and operations of businesses in an emerging market economy such as South Africa, and to consider the role and some of the current responses of the business community to these trends.
The course commences with introductory sessions that considers the risks facing business leaders, both globally and in South Africa, and the role that companies have in contributing to or alleviating such challenges. The rest of the course consists of two sets of lectures, firstly focusing on economic and political dimensions and secondly discussing social and environmental issues. The key purpose of the course – to think critically about the dynamic context and role of business and to consider implications for strategic decision-making – cuts across these dimensions.
During the course key characteristics of emerging markets are considered, focusing in particular on the role of the state and of institutions, or the “rules of the game”. These will be discussed with regard to implications for economic growth at the country level, making use of important examples such as South Korea and Argentina. They will also be considered with regard to business strategy, including in particular decisions to invest in emerging market countries and basing these decisions on country risk assessments. The course then moves to a focus on the increasing expectations for companies to play a positive role in sustainable development, or the alleviation of poverty and inequality while protecting local and global ecosystems. We discuss ongoing debates surrounding the purpose of business, the possible tensions between shareholder returns and stakeholders’ interests, and calls for business strategy to identify “shared value” for both the company and society.
We consider the requirement for companies in South Africa to publish “integrated reports” and how they respond to social-ecological challenges within and outside firm boundaries. Many of these challenges defy resolution by any one organisation or even sector, so we close with a discussion of cross-sector collaboration. There is seldom a single answer to many of these issues or a simple template by which a business can form a strategy in relation to these issues. These issues are by their very nature highly complex and require a good understanding of complexity management in order to address and control for them. The course aims to provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon these issues and begin to understand how businesses might respond to or influence them