NWU RESEARCH ON EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES A FIRST IN SOUTH AFRICA
Institutional Office – Economists from the North-West University have developed a research model to identify export opportunities for South Africa. This is a first in South Africa and – as far as scope is concerned – also a first in the world.
Furthermore, the research that preceded the model also culminated in three doctorates and two master’s degrees that were recently obtained at the NWU. Three more doctoral students are currently involved in the research.
The research team, led by Prof Wilma Viviers, Director of the School of Economics on the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus, submitted the research model on 1 September 2010 to the Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria.
This model includes a powerful, interactive computer instrument. It is a so-called “Decision Support Model” (DSM) DASHBOARD, which gives a visual representation of research results and that facilitates the interpretation thereof.
“The DSM provides the research results of the export model in a user-friendly way to the government, export boards and exporters and can contribute greatly to export development in South Africa,” says Prof Viviers.
According to Dr Riaan Rossouw, the developer of the DSM DASHBOARD, all it takes is the click of a mouse for South African export role players to see to which countries they can export their products. In the same way, they can also access information on factors such as market accessibility in the relevant country.
According to Prof Viviers, the instrument will help government and the private sector to put together a joint, focused export promotion plan and to coordinate their efforts in this regard.
According to Mr Riaan le Roux, Chief Operating Officer of Trade and Investment SA (TISA), the research constitutes international best practice.
Another team member, Prof Ludo Cuyvers from the University of Antwerp and extraordinary professor in the School of Economics, is also the designer of the DSM for Belgium. This was adapted and refined by NWU researchers for South African conditions, and applied on a more detailed product level for South Africa.
It is a first in South Africa because, for the first time, it determines export opportunities on a scientific basis, thus facilitating decision-making in the Department of Trade and Industry.
Out of a possible 1,4 million product-country export combinations, 66 705 product-country combinations were identified where South Africa has realistic export opportunities. Ms Ermie Steenkamp, a doctoral student at the NWU and a member of the research team, subsequently further refined the data to arrive at a more manageable 19 000 export combinations.
From left to right, Mr Victor Mathale (Department of Trade and Industry), Ms Ermie Steenkamp (NWU), Mr Riaan le Roux (Trade and Investment SA, Department of Trade and Industry), Prof Wilma Viviers (NWU), Prof Ludo Cuyvers (University of Antwerp) and Dr Riaan Rossouw (extraordinary research scientist NWU).
Issued by Louis Jacobs, Director Corporate Communication, Institutional Office North-West University
Enquiries: Prof Wilma Viviers, Director: School of Economics
018 299 1445 / 082 577 7545
Date: 3 September 2010