The 2022 Public Economics Winter School takes place from 30 August to 1 September under the theme: Reviving public infrastructure investment for community development

Our second virtual Public Economics Winter School will offer an exciting opportunity for final year and post-graduate senior economics and social science students and young economists to participate in a range of lectures, panel discussions and student debates that look at the delivery of water and electricity services to communities, and how the delivery of “network goods” is organised and financed, both nationally and at a local level.

Experts in the field will look at South Africa’s infrastructure challenges within the fiscal and institutional architecture, the economics of urban concentration and how municipalities navigate the regulatory, institutional and financial requirements set by provinces and national government.

Through a series of plenary sessions a handful of leading academics and economics practitioners and policy makers will unpack the complexities of these challenges through both national and local lenses, analysing the difficult and important economic, financial, and institutional dynamics that are at play that impact on service delivery to citizens.

What will I gain from attending the Public Economics Winter School?

The Winter School is an opportunity to engage with current policy debates and meet leading researchers and fellow students while exploring issues that are not always well represented in the academic curriculum.

The Public Economics Winter School offers participants the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills on a range of public finance topics. It is also a great opportunity to network with economists working in National Treasury and its agencies as well as with renowned academics and specialists in the field.

Who can attend?

The Public Economics Winter School is open to final year and post-graduate economics and social science students and young economists in government.

There is no fee for attending the Winter School but due to limited space, the 2022 Winter School requires the following commitment from interested students and young economists:

  • Ability to attend the full Winter School from 30 August – 1 September.
  • Participate actively during the workshop. This entails opportunities to facilitate small group discussions, act as rapporteur or chair sessions.

After registration, look out for an email from the Airmeet online platform to confirm your access and get the link to the event. Also check your spam folder. You are welcome to contact us if you need assistance.

Programme

Winter School

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Day 1: Tuesday 30 August 2022

Setting the context

Day 1 of the 2022 Winter School kicks off with the Acting Head of GTAC, Ronette Engela and Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, welcoming students and officials to the sixth annual Winter School. The main purpose of the first day is to create context, and to ensure students are familiar with the complex relationship between the responsibilities of national government and municipalities. Although economics and social studies programmes recognize the role of decentralized government and local service delivery responsibilities, it is often underrepresented in theories of development and political economy. As an example, policies and regulations are formulated at a national level, but most delivery functions, such as distribution and cost recovery, happen at a municipal level. Speakers will explain why, despite considerable progress in extending access to services, we are still facing challenges such as load shedding, severe flood damage in some areas and water shortages in others, and why these deficiencies are symptoms of inadequate planning, investment, and network coordination.

Other highlights will include: 

  • A presentation by Professor Matt Glasser, who assisted National Treasury to revive the municipal credit market, will share his immense knowledge of the South African municipal finance market to reflect on fiscal design, inter-governmental fiscal design, and financial management, in an effort to understand municipal finance.
  • Andrew Donaldson and Prof Ivan Turok will present a session titled “Contextualising SA’s infrastructure challenges: Fiscal and institutional architecture”
  • Tarafara Setai from National Treasury’s Intergovernmental Relations department will cover how municipalities navigate the regulatory, institutional and financial requirements set by provinces and national government

Day 2: Wednesday August 31 2022

A focus on service delivery in metros and cities

On Day 2 of the Winter School, we will focus on the metro and city perspective. South Africa’s Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF, 2016) helps to articulate the circumstances and development agenda for the country’s major conurbations as it increasingly urbanises. In this set of sessions, a framing address will be presented by Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa who is the former Mayor of Tshwane and current Head of the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency. He will share what he sees as the key to effectively driving investment and delivery at the city level. Students will then receive and analyse a set of case studies, training on how to take systems view in the diagnostic process. Finally, students will have an opportunity to engage with key actors – practitioners and analysts – from various aspects of the metro infrastructure and service delivery cycle to engage more deeply about emerging themes, issues and intervention opportunities.

Other highlights will include:

  • A panel discussion on infrastructure and service delivery in metros and cities facilitated by Nosipho Hlatshwayo, South African Cities Network
  • An interactive session on systems thinking led by Samuel Njenga from Systems Thinking Africa

Day 3: Thursday 1 September 2022                    

A focus on service delivery in district municipalities

On Day 3 the focus will shift to specific services, with a particular focus on the delivery of water and electricity at a local level. These are basic services and are critical determinants of the quality of life of individuals and households, and of business and employment opportunities. Municipalities are mandated to provide and maintain the infrastructure and basic services that support a favourable investment climate, without which disinvestment, deepening unemployment and poverty will follow. However, municipalities have varying degrees of capacity and financial resources, and confront diverse spatial and environmental circumstances. Furthermore, accountability to local residents is sometimes compromised by political dynamics and the local government regulatory environment is complex. At the end of the 3-day programme we hope participants will appreciate the complexity of the delivery of selected basic infrastructure services to communities, and how the delivery of “network goods” is organized and financed, both nationally and at a local level.

Other highlights will include: 

  • Barbara Mgutshini from KZN Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs will cover the delivery of services at a local and district municipal level
  • A session on resident/civil society perspective on basic service delivery and oversight facilitated by Kate Tissington, Senior Research at Public Affairs Research Institute
  • The very popular student debates will take place on the last day, with small teams of students debating for or against a topic discussed during the Winter School.

Check back soon for the full programme.

Contact

If you have any questions, please email GTAC Winter School