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Policy Briefs

In order to have the highest possible policy impact, it is critically important that a policy research institute summarises its full research reports into a reduced page Policy Brief format, highlighting the most policy-relevant findings and key messages which can inform the policy process.

Given the length and often very technical nature of the research published in the Working Paper Series, the DPRU also publishes condensed versions of selected working papers as Policy Briefs, specifically targeted at policy makers. Where a Working Paper traditionally answers a research-focused question with in-depth analysis, a Policy Brief usually presents an expert view on a particular policy area. It is crucial that messages from the working papers are available in an easily accessible format, and can be understood by government officials and other stakeholders with no training in economics or poverty analysis.

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Rethinking the Effect of Informality On Inclusive Growth: Lessons from Colombia and South Africa

Cristina Fernandez, Kezia Lilenstein, Morné Oosthuizen and Leonardo Villar
PB 17/47, January 2017
This policy brief uses the case studies of South Africa and Colombia to argue that the relationship between informality and inclusive growth depends on the type of informality in question. We suggest a typology of informality which takes into account the informal worker’s preferences for informality and level of productivity as well as possible barriers to formality. We call the three types of informal workers identified “voluntary”, “induced”, and “subsistence” informality, and suggest policy recommendations aimed at increasing inclusivity of growth for each of these groups of informal workers.
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Vulnerability in the Labour Market: Jobs, Livelihood Strategies & Poverty in South Africa

Haroon Bhorat, Kezia Lilenstein, Morné Oosthuizen and Amy Thornton
PB 16/46, November 2016
This brief explores the two most well-understood ways in which workers can be vulnerable: low pay and informality. Background is provided for the prevalence of each in South Africa, as well as their intersection. An important question is whether or not the low paid are the same people as the informally employed, or whether these are separate groups of workers. Additionally, to what degree does each type of vulnerability correspond with our idea of poverty?
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The South African Township Economy and Informal Micro-enterprises: What are the Prospects for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship?

Andrew Charman
PB 16/45, June 2016
The informal economy provides opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. Work in township micro-enterprises offers the unemployed youth a point of entry into the labour market. Those engaged in ‘make work jobs’ will no doubt abandon informal work for better opportunities and formal employment when available. Whether youth persist in informal work, or exist, the township economy provides opportunities to acquire skills, gain on-the-job experience, and build social networks. There are good business opportunities for those youth able to apply their knowledge and skills, and to mobilise capital. In some sectors, South African young face both competition (and lessons) from immigrant youth entrepreneurs.
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Informality and Inclusive Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Aalia Cassim, Kezia Lilenstein, Morne Oosthuizen, Francois Steenkamp
PB 15/44, December 2015
This brief explores the relationship between informal employment and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa, with a specific focus on South Africa. South Africa is unique in that it has high levels of unemployment and also low levels of informal employment. We find that informality can be both good and bad for inclusive growth, depending on whether the alternative to informality is formality or unemployment.
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Labour and Unemployment in South Africa: Notes Towards a "Grand Bargain"

Ravi Kanbur
PB 15/43, August 2015
The problematic in South Africa is very clear: high unemployment, high inequality and low growth, combined with a lack of consensus on what to do. The basic argument here is that it might be more fruitful to think in “grand bargain” terms, of a package of policies whose thrust is to balance alternative perspectives, whose differences cannot be resolved through technical debate, and to set the needs of short term political economy imperatives against the long time horizon needed for the working of policies and interventions to address deep structural legacies.
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An Open African Data Approach to Improving Data Quality

Lynn Woolfrey
PB 14/42, December 2014
African governments collect primary data on their populations through regular censuses and sample surveys. They also collect primary data as administrative records in the course of governing. This primary data, or microdata, is detailed enough to give government decision-makers an accurate picture of their economies and societies. But there are multiple barriers to microdata-informed policies. A more Open Data approach from official data producers in African countries could ensure government departments get the microdata they need for decision-making.
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Productivity, Jobs, And Growth In Africa: Six Pieces Of The Puzzle

Vijaya Ramachandran
PB 14/41, December 2014
African countries have undergone significant macroeconomic reforms since the late 1980s. Why have these reforms not resulted in more jobs in the formal sector? Why have we not seen more growth in the private sector? In this paper, six charts are presented that describe the situation with regard to employment and growth in the formal sector, and conclude with some possible explanations for what we observe in Africa.
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The Competitive Effects of China on the South African Manufacturing Sector

Lawrence Edwards and Rhys Jenkins
PB 14/40, December 2014
In this paper, we draw on research output to evaluate the competitiveness effects of Chinese trade on the South African manufacturing sector. Firstly, we focus on the direct impact of Chinese import competition on domestic prices. Secondly, the direct impact of Chinese import competition on output and employment in domestic manufacturing. And thirdly, the indirect ‘crowding-out’ impact on South African manufacturing exports from Chinese competition. Before presenting the key findings with respect to each of these effects, the paper first presents a brief overview of bilateral trade flows with China.
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Reflecting On Racial Discrimination In The Post-Apartheid South African Labour Market

Karmen Naidoo, Ben Stanwix and Derek Yu
PB 14/39, December 2014
During the 20th century, South Africa’s economy became increasingly ordered and controlled along racial lines. Since the official demise of apartheid in 1994, the State has implemented various policies aimed at redress. In this paper we use three sets of household surveys (1994, 2001 and 2011) to provide a picture of wage discrimination in post-apartheid South Africa, after almost twenty years of democratic rule. We also use a Re-centred Influence Function (RIF) approach to decompose the impact of discrimination across the wage distribution, and we track this over time.
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Africa’s Employment Challenge and the Role of Agriculture: Is China a Player? A Review of Chinese Initiatives in Rural Africa

Ward Anseeuw, Jean-Jacques Gabas and Bruno Losch
PB 14/38, December 2014
The paper recapitulates first the specifics of African structural transformation, its consequences on the employment challenge and points the remaining and long lasting importance of the rural sector. It then puts in perspective the role of China and its impacts on the sector. Based on new evidence, it reviews Chinese interventions - investments and public aid – and stresses its limitations. The paper finally addresses the evolving role of Chinese cooperation in the rural sector and its uncertainties, between increasing implication in the policy dialogue or withdrawal towards a business-only perspective.
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Beyond statistics A qualitative look at the employment effects in the Chinese trade clusters of Ghana and Senegal

Karsten Giese
PB 14/37, December 2014
This paper explores the direct and indirect employment effects of Chinese entrepreneurial activities in the trade sector of Ghana and Senegal; concentrating on evaluating employment effects with regard to the participation of marginalized social groups, inclusion and empowerment, and broader issues of social transformation. Future research should encompass issues such as the quality of employment relationships or stimuli for informal and self-employment and should also incorporate broader issues of spatial transformation, societal norms and practices.
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How the Private Sector is Changing Chinese Investment in Africa

Xiaofang Shen
PB 14/36, December 2014
The pace of the increase of the Chinese investment in Africa in recent years has, truly, been breathtaking. Until about 15 years ago, China’s capital flow to Africa was almost all government-aid related. China’s investment in Africa is far from monolithic and is growing increasingly diverse. The driving force behind this evolution is the rising role of China’s private sector. Private investors are primarily driven by self-interest, i.e., profits; but profit-based investment can create real economic opportunities for host countries.
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Localization of Chinese Investments in Africa

Barry Sautman and Yan Hairong
PB 14/35, December 2014
Misconceptions abound about almost every aspect of the Chinese presence in Africa, but the most widespread and persistent myth is that most Chinese firms in Africa, out of ignorance, ethnocentricity or venality, refuse to employ or interact with Africans and ignore local laws and customs. Empirically, our book-length study of Chinese enterprise localization in Africa employs descriptive statistics and interview data to ascertain the degree to which Chinese firms in Africa have Africanized their workforces and engaged in other forms of localization.
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China, Africa, Agriculture and Labor Markets

Deborah Bräutigam
PB 14/34, December 2014
Chinese companies have been investing in agriculture in Africa since the mid-1980s. As China opened up to markets at home, Chinese companies in Africa were encouraged to seek new sources of income. Most had arrived in Africa to carry out foreign aid projects during the 1970s and 1980s, although some were sent by their parent companies to explore investment opportunities in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. These investment efforts have accelerated in recent years, although not nearly as far as is commonly believed.
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Job Destruction and Minimum Wage-Setting in the South African Clothing Industry

Nicoli Nattrass & Jeremy Seekings
PB 14/32, June 2014
Employment in the South African clothing sector has been on a strong trend decline, collapsing by almost 50% between 2002 and 2010 (Nattrass and Seekings 2012). Part of the reason is increased international competition, a product of trade liberalisation in the late 1990s, exchange rate appreciation in 2003 and the dramatic growth of Chinese clothing exports after 2004. But minimum wage setting has also played an important role in the destruction of jobs.
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Combining Educational Access and Educational Quality into a Single Statistic

Nicholas Spaull and Stephan Taylor
PB 14/31, June 2014
"What is the purpose of expanding access to formal schooling?" Is it to increase the number of children frequenting a building called a "school", or is it to increase the number of students acquiring the knowledge, skills and values they need to participate in modern society? If it is the latter, then that is what we should measure...
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Africa's Jobs Challenge

Haroon Bhorat and Karmen Naidoo
PB 13/30, October 2013
There is great opportunity for potential growth in Africa, however, there is also the increasing challenge of promoting growth that is job-creating. It is evident that the continent has much potential to achieve the long-term growth that is necessary for reducing inequality and alleviating poverty.
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Minimum Wage Enforcement in the Developing World

Haroon Bhorat and Benjamin Stanwix
PB 13/29, May 2013
Drawing on evidence from developing country studies, this paper considers several key issues. We discuss the impact of minimum wages in the developing world based on a selection of recent studies and highlight non-compliance with minimum wage laws as an important research and policy issue.
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Understanding the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Dispute Resolution System in South Africa: An Analysis of CCMA Data

Haroon Bhorat, Kalie Pauw and Liberty Mncube
PB 10/28, June 2010
This Working Paper is one in a series eminating from the Critical Research Projects funded by the Department of Labour.
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Labour Reform in South Africa: Measuring Regulation and a Synthesis of Policy Suggestions

Haroon Bhorat and Halton Cheadle
PB 10/27, February 2010
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).
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Income and Non-Income Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa: What are the Drivers and Possible Policy Interventions

Haroon Bhorat, Carlene van der Westhuizen and Toughedah Jacobs
PB 10/26, January 2010
The objectives of the study were the identification of the drivers of the increasing levels of inequality in South Africa, as well as the assessment of the impact and sustainability of policy interventions such as the provision of social grants.
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Analysing Wage Formation in the South African Labour Market: The Role of Bargaining Councils

Haroon Bhorat, Carlene van der Westhuizen and Sumayya Goga
PB 09/25, July 2009
This policy document was compiled from the DPRU Working Paper 09/135, Analysing Wage Formation in the South African Labour Market: The Role of Bargaining Councils by Haroon Bhorat, Carlene van der Westhuizen and Sumayya Goga.
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A Synthesis of Current Issues in the Labour Regulatory Environment

Haroon Bhorat and Carlene van der Westhuizen
PB 09/24, March 2009
The project was commissioned to the Development Policy Research Unit (headed by Prof Haroon Bhorat at the University of Cape Town) and the Sociology of Work Unit (led by Prof Eddie Webster at the University of the Witwatersrand) under the auspices of the Human Sciences Research Council (led by Andre Kraak).
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An Analysis of Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Awards

Ian Macun, Daniel Lopes and Paul Benjamin
PB 08/23, November 2008
The paper reflects the analysis of 873 CCMA arbritation awards sampled from unfair dismissal and unfair labour practice cases for the years 2003 to 2005.
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Policy Issues and Policy Lessons from the International Literature on Skills Training

Sean Archer (University of Cape Town)
PB 08/22, August 2008
The Policy Brief reflects the policy issues and policy lessons from the international literature on skills training from the paper.
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Seta Review

Carmel Marock, Candice Harrison-Train, Prof Bobby Soobrayan and Jonathan Gunthorpe.
PB 08/21, August 2008
This policy document was compiled based on the DPRU Working Paper 08/132 SETA Review by Carmel Marock, Candice Harrison-Train, Prof Bobby Soobrayan and Jonathan Gunthorpe.
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Poverty and the 'Second Economy' in South Africa: An Attempt to Clarify Applicable Concepts and Quantify the Extent of Relevant Challenges

Dr Vusi Gumede (Chief Policy Analyst in the Presidency’s Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services in South Africa)
PB 08/20, July 2008
This policy document was compiled based on the DPRU Working Paper 08-133, Poverty and the ‘Second Economy’ in South Africa: An Attempt to Clarify Applicable Concepts and Quantify the Extent of Relevant Challenges by Dr Vusi Gumede (Chief Policy Analyst in the Presidency’s Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services in South Africa). This report was made possible by the National Research Foundation for the author’s post-doctoral grant.
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Costing, Comparing and Competing: Developing and Approach to the Benchmarking of Labour Market Regulation

Paul Benjamin (Cheadle, Thompson & Haysom Inc Attorneys & Professor of Law, University of Cape Town) and Jan Theron (Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group), University of Cape Town
PB 08/19, June 2008
This report was submitted to the Development Policy Research Unit for the Department of Labour and forms part of the Employment Promotion Programme managed by the DPRU.
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The State of Collective Bargaining in South Africa: An Empirical and Conceptual Study of Collective Bargaining

Shane Godfrey, Jan Theron and Margareet Visser at the Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group University of Cape Town
PB 08/18, April 2008
This report was submitted to the Development Policy Research Unit for the Department of Labour and forms part of the Employment Promotion Programme managed by the DPRU.
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Consumer Price Inflation across the Income Distribution in South Africa

Morné Oosthuizen
PB 08/17, February 2008
This policy document was compiled based on the DPRU Working Paper 07/129, Consumer Price Inflation across the Income Distribution in South Africa by Morné Oosthuizen. Funding for this research from the United Nations Development Programme and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is hereby gratefully acknowledged.
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Welfare Shifts in the Post-apartheid South Africa: A Comprehensive Measurement of Changes

Haroon Bhorat, Carlene van der Westhuizen and Sumaya Goga
PB 08/16, February 2008
This policy document was compiled based on the DPRU Working Paper 07/128, Welfare Shifts in the Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Comprehensive Measurement of Changes by Haroon Bhorat, Carlene van der Westhuizen & Sumaya Goga. The paper was prepared as a report for Conflict and Governance Facility (a project of the National Treasury)
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Skills Shortages in South Africa: Key Issues

Reza Daniels
PB 07/15, November 2007
This Policy Brief was compiled based on the DPRU Working Paper 07/121, Skills Shortages in South Africa: A Literature Review researched by Reza Daniels. The paper was prepared as a report for the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA).
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Graduate Unemployment in the Face of Skills: A Labour Market Paradox

Kalie Pauw, Morné Oosthuizen and Carlene van der Westhuizen
PB 07/14, September 2007
This Policy Brief was compliled based on the DPRU Working Paper 06/114, Graduate Unemployment in the Face of Skills Shortages: A Labour Market Paradox researched by Kalie Pauw, Morné Oosthuizen and Carlene van der Westhuizen. The paper was commissione by Business Leadership and funded by Standard Bank.
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Women in the South African Labour Market, 1995 - 2005

Carlene van der Westhuizen, Sumayya Goga and Morné Oosthuizen
PB 07/13, August 2007
This policy document was compiled based on the DPRU Working Paper 07/118, Women in the South African labour market, 1995-2005 by Carlene van der Westhuizen, Sumayya Goga and Morné Oosthuizen.
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Regulated Flexibility: Revisiting the LRA and the BCEA

Halton Cheadle
PB 07/12, July 2007
This policy brief was compiled based on DPRU Working Paper 07/119, Regulated Flexibility: Revisiting the LRA and the BCEA by Halton Cheadle.
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Conditions of Employment and Small Business: Coverage, Compliance and Exemptions

Shane Godfrey, Johann Maree and Jan Theron
PB 07/11, April 2007
This Policy Brief is based on DPRU Working Paper 06/106, Conditions of Employment and Small Business: Coverage, Compliance and Exemptions by Shane Godfrey, Johann Maree and Jan Theron.
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Recent Findings on Tax-Related Regulatory Burden on SMMEs in South Africa

Doubell Chamberlain and Anja Smith
PB 07/10, February 2007
This policy brief is based on DPRU Working Paper 06/105, Recent Findings on Tax-Related Regulatory Burden on SMMEs in South Africa by Doubell Chamberlain and Anja Smith.
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Risks to Global Trade and Implications for South Africa's Economy and Policy

Jeremy Wakeford
PB 06/09, August 2006
This policy brief is based on DPRU Working Paper 06/111, Risks to Global Trade and Implications for South Africas Economy and Policy by Jeremy Wakeford.
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The Post-Apartheid Labour Market 1995 - 2004

Morné Oosthuizen
PB 06/08, July 2006
This policy brief was compiled from DPRU Working Paper 06/103, The Post-Apartheid Labour Market 1995-2004 by Morné Oosthuizen
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Shifts in Non-Income Welfare in South Africa 1993 - 2004

Haroon Bhorat, Carlene van der Westhuizen and Pranushka Naidoo
PB 06/07, June 2006
This policy brief was compiled from DPRU Working Paper 06/108, Shifts in Non-Income Welfare in South Africa 1993-2004 by Haroon Bhorat, Carlene van der Westhuizen and Pranushka Naidoo.
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The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Employment and Earnings of South Africa's Domestic Service Workers

Tom Hertz
PB 05/06, January 2006
This policy brief was complied from DPRU Working Paper 05/099, The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Employment and Earnings of South Africas Domestic Service Workers by Tom Hertz.
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Emergent Black Affluence and Social Mobility in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Rulof Burger, Ronelle Burger and Servaas van der Berg
PB 05/05, August 2005
This policy brief is compiled from DPRU Working Paper 04/087, Emergent Black Affluence and Social Mobility in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Rulof Burger, Ronelle Burger and Servaas van der Berg.
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Poverty, Inequality and Labour Markets in Africa: A Descriptive Overview

Haroon Bhorat
PB 05/04, April 2005
This policy brief was compiled from DPRU Working Paper 05/092, Poverty, Inequality and Labour Markets in Africa: A Descriptive Overview, by Haroon Bhorat
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Internal Migration to the Gauteng Province

Morné Oosthuizen and Pranushka Naidoo
PB 05/03, February 2005
This policy brief has been compiled from DPRU Working Paper 04/088, Internal Migration to the Gauteng Province, by Morné Oosthuizen and Pranushka Naidoo.
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The Labour Market in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Brief Overview

Morné Oosthuizen and Haroon Bhorat
PB 04/02, April 2004
This policy brief has been compiled from DPRU Working Paper 05/093, The Post-Apartheid South African Labour Market, by Morné Oosthuizen and Haroon Bhorat.
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Poverty and Labour Market Markers of HIV+ Households: An Exploratory Methodological Analysis

Haroon Bhorat and Najma Shaikh
PB 04/01, April 2004
This policy brief is a shortened version of DPRU Working Paper 04/083, Poverty and Labour Market Markers of HIV+ Households: An Exploratory Methodological Analysis by Haroon Bhorat and Najma Shaikh
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Policy for Industrial Development: A Case Study of the Clothing Industry in Mauritius

PB 02/P21, March 2002 Read More

Textiles and Clothing in SADC: Key Issues and Policy Perspectives

Samson Muradzikwa
PB 01/P20, December 2001
This policy brief is a shortened version of the following paper: Textiles and Clothing in SADC: Key Issues and Policy Perspectives by Samson Muradzikwa
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Eco-labelling: Overview and Implications for Developing Countries

Eckart Naumann
PB 01/P19, October 2001
This policy brief is a shortened version of the following paper: Eco-labelling: Overview and Implications for Developing Countries by Eckart Naumann.
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The Food Security Situation in the Southern African Development Community

PB 01/P18, October 2001 Read More

Institutional Aspects of the Maputo Development Corridor

Fredrik Soderbaum
PB 01/P17, October 2001
This policy brief is a shortened version of DPRU Working Paper 01/047, Institutional Aspects of the Maputo Development Corridor, by Fredrik Soderbaum.
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Incentives offered by SADC members (excluding South Africa)

PB 01/P16, October 2001 Read More

Free Trade Areas under COMESA and SADC: What the Literature says about the Current Situation

PB 01/P15, August 2001 Read More

A Brief Overview and Analysis of the U.S African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

PB 01/P14, July 2001 Read More

Human Development Indicators in the SADC Region

PB 01/P13, May 2001 Read More

South Africa's Investment and Export Incentives


PB 01/P12, April 2001 Read More

Trade Liberalisation and the Clothing and Textile Industry in Malawi

PB 01/P11, April 2001 Read More

Restructuring of the Mauritius Clothing Industry in light of New Trade Agreements

PB 01/P10, April 2001 Read More

Trade Patterns in the SADC Region: Key Issues for the FTA

Rashad Cassim
PB 01/P9, March 2001
This policy brief is based on the following conference papers and was synthesised by Jolene Skordis: Rashad Cassim: The Determinants of Intra-Regional Trade in SADC, Paul Kalenga: Emerging trends and patterns of foreign direct investment in Southern Africa, Martine Visser: Inter- and intra-industry trade flows between SADC and SACU: Key Policy Issues. These papers were presented at the second ISP Conference, in September 2000.
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What are the potential benefits and pitfalls of a free trade area in the Southern African region

PB 01/P8, February 2001 Read More

What are the implications of the SADC Protocol for the clothing and textile sector in Southern Africa?

Samson Muradzikwa
PB 00/P7, December 2000
This policy brief is a shortened version of the following paper: Prospects for the Clothing and Textile Industry in Zimbabwe: The Implications of the SADC Trade Protocol, by Samson Muradzikwa.
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What are the implications of the SADC Protocol for the Automotive Industry in Southern Africa?

Samson Muradzikwa and Anthony Black
PB 00/P6, December 2001
This policy brief is a shortened version of the following paper: Implications of the SADC Trade and Investment Protocol for the Automotive Industry in Southern Africa, By Samson Muradzikwa and Anthony Black.
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The Maputo-Witbank Toll Road: Lessons for Development Corridors?

Dr Ian Taylor
PB 00/P5, December 2000
This policy brief is a shortened version of DPRU Working Paper 00/044, Public-Private partnerships: Lessons from the Maputo Development Corridor Toll Road, by Dr Ian Taylor.
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Is Macroeconomic Policy Convergence necessary for a Sustainable SADC Free Trade Area?

Charles Harvey
PB 00/P4, July 2000
This policy brief is a shortened version of DPRU Working Paper 00/039, Macroeconomic policy and trade integration in Southern Africa, by Charles Harvey.
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What are the critical issues arising from the SADC trade integration process?

Paul Kalenga
PB 00/P3, July 2000
This policy brief is a shortened version of the following paper: Overview of Trade Relations in SADC: Some Empirical Observations by Paul Kalenga
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What are the major trends and determinants of foreign direct investment in SADC countries?

Paul Kalenga
PB 00/P2, July 2000
This policy brief is a shortened version of the following paper: Foreign Direct Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa by Paul Kalenga
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How will Maputo Development Corridor impact freight flows?

Amanda Driver and Joao Gabriel de Barros
PB 00/P1, July 2000
This policy brief is a shortened version of DPRU Working Paper 00/038, The Impact of the Maputo Development Corridor on freight flows: an initial investigation, by Amanda Driver and Joao Gabriel de Barros.
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