Finance Minister invites Harvard economists to give input on proposed policies

Finance Minister invites Harvard economists to give input on proposed policies

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has invited Harvard University economists to meet with him in order to give input on his proposals for boosting the country’s economic growth.

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Harvard University Professors Ricardo Hausmann and Robert Lawrence will be meeting with Minister Tito Mboweni as well as other government officials today in Pretoria.

Hausmann is no stranger to the South African economic climate, having led a panel of international economists between 2006 and 2008, including Lawrence, in advising National Treasury on policies aimed at accelerating the country’s economic growth.

Today's event, organised by the finance minister, will also be attended by Ebrahim Patel ( Minister of Economic Development), Rob Davies ( Trade and Industry Minister) as well as National Treasury Director General Dondo Mogajane, amongst others.

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In a statement released by Treasury on Thursday it was revealed that the professors along with other economists from academia and business would be giving their inputs on state proposals to boost the economy.

Although having recently exited the technical recession, the forecast for the country’s GDP growth rate for the year is expected to be anything from 0.5% and 0.8%, a dismal revelation indeed.

This is nowhere near the growth rate called for in the National Development Plan which had aimed at making a dent in the country’s unemployment rate and relieve poverty and inequality.

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The expert guests are highly regarded, with Hausmann serving as the director of Harvard’s Center of International Development as well as a Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at the prestigious Kennedy School of Government.

Robert Lawrence is actually a South African who had been born in Joburg and emigrated to the States in 1971 and is the Albert L Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment at Harvard Kennedy School.

The finance minister as well as the director general are expected to provide opening statements this morning, before continuing discussions behind closed doors.

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