Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 28

pivotal economic
challenges facing
South Africa
Currently the most cited economist in South
Africa, Bhorat is committed to adding to the base
of knowledge in a dynamic way, through his own
research and relationships with research partners
in South Africa, Africa and globally.
“We want to ensure that our work within the ambit
of the SARChI initiative becomes globally renowned,
and is at the cutting edge of current academic
thinking,” he says.
Bhorat, who is also the director of the Development
Policy Research Unit, is widening his research in
Africa, from inequality on the continent to Africa’s
manufacturing malaise, as well as looking at
resource dependence and inclusive growth.
In one such example, he is studying six African
economies in research on growth, inequality and
poverty under the SARChI initiative.
Drafting the SDGs
Bhorat’s focus on Africa also flows from his work for
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). He was
selected to lead a team that conducted research to
underpin the thinking of the 17 SDGs announced last
October. The high-level panel included the heads of
state of Liberia, the United Kingdom and Indonesia.
“With the theme of ‘Leaving no-one behind’, we
needed to move from the framework set by the
millennium development goals towards taking into
account a whole range of new considerations on the
environment, sustainability and gender,” says Bhorat.
“The SDGs need to ensure that all sub-groups
– be they at country level, or disadvantaged or
marginalised groups within a country – experience the
same kind of progress. The goals around equality are
really about having a more equal growth path for all
marginalised groups in a society.”
Bhorat considers the opportunity to be part of the
historic drafting of the SDGs to be a career highlight.
Researching two of the key
challenges of our time – poverty
and inequality – is at the heart of the
work carried out by UCT economics
Professor Haroon Bhorat, who
holds the DST/NRF SARChl Chair
in Economic Growth, Poverty
and Inequality: Exploring the
Interactions for South Africa.
“It was an incredible experience, and very humbling to
recognise that the core skills sets you have can be used
on a global scale.
“What’s important is that it allowed us to elevate
our thinking as South African economists to where
the global discussions are, and to where they have
resonance at a global level.”
Bhorat – who has a PhD in economics from
Stellenbosch University, studied at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, and was a Cornell University
research fellow – says the research for the UNDP in
New York helped to provide a road map for the goals.
“The challenge now is to ground all of the goals
and lofty ambitions, and mould the SDGs into a

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