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Podcasts

Welcome to ERSA’s Conversation Series. In these conversations, we explore topical economic issues and see how they affect our daily lives here in South Africa. Speaking to experienced and knowledgeable people in the field, we gain perspectives and insights from both a practical and a policy level.

Join ERSA for a four-part series: Fiscal Futures

You’re invited to join ERSA’s fellow, Matthew Simmonds, for a four-part series: “Fiscal Futures”

As a contribution to the debate about economic policy making after the Covid shock, ERSA will be presenting a series of conversations about how we think about the economy and the role of fiscal policy. After the initial shock and the short-term welfare response from the state, what is the role of the state and fiscal policy in supporting an economic recovery?

Once the dust starts to settle, we will be faced with a poorer economy, significantly higher debt and interest costs, and legitimate spending pressures. These will mix with a structural deficit that both fails to adequately finance the social and economic needs of the country and stabilize debt. The anatomy of fiscal...Read more

Prof. Estian Calitz on Fiscal Sustainability in South Africa

Date recorded: 
Wed, 08 July 2020

Shortly after the Minister of Finance gave his Supplementary Budget Speech, ERSA’s host, Margaux G met up with Prof. Estian Calitz, an Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Stellenbosch who also wrote ERSA’s second Policy Bulletin. Reflecting on the current fiscal environment in South Africa, Prof. Calitz highlights some of the challenges that lie ahead. Taking into consideration the Budget Review Speech, Prof. Calitz explains that the fiscal dilemma South Africa is currently facing is not because of fiscal shortcomings alone, but rather because of shortcomings in the economy at large.

The growing debt to GDP ratio cannot be viewed as being independent of shrinking market income, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Bringing in the importance of...Read more

Credits: 

The beat used in this production, called ‘Resolutions’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by South African Tourism and can be found on Flickr.

Dr David Fowkes on QE and central bank balance sheet policies: Does South Africa have ‘magic money’?

Date recorded: 
Wed, 24 June 2020

Shortly after the Governor of the SARB gave his speech about the future of Monetary Policy in South Africa, ERSA’s host Margaux G met up with Dr David Fowkes, a Senior Economist at the South African Reserve Bank to understand which policies the Reserve Bank is using and why traditional textbooks get it wrong. Where advanced economies can use standard monetary policy tools to meet their inflation targets, it is more complicated in emerging markets. In this podcast, we unpack what the terms ‘asset purchase’, ‘quantitative easing’ and ‘zero-lower bound’ mean and shed some light on why ‘quantitative easing’ is the buzz word globally. For anyone with the slightest interest in monetary policy, this podcast is not to be missed.Read more

Credits: 

The beat used in this production, called ‘Resolutions’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by Josh Appel and can be found on Unsplash.

Prof Johannes W. Fedderke on the South African – US sovereign bond spread and its association with macroeconomic variables

Date recorded: 
Wed, 27 May 2020

In this podcast, Prof. Johannes W. Fedderke, the Director of ERSA speaks to our host, Margaux G about his research on the South African – US sovereign bond spread. The cost that the South African government faces when borrowing in open markets is high compared to safe markets such as the US, despite being low by South African standards. In his research, Prof. Fedderke looks into what drives this high yield spread and considers macroeconomic fundamentals such as economic growth, monetary and fiscal policy measures; the local asset market and foreign exchange conditions and explains to what extend the things that matter, matter. With insights into the welfare implications for South Africa’s fiscal and monetary policy going forward, especially after the large Covid-19 fiscal stimulus...Read more

For the slides, click here.

Credits: 

The beat used in this production, called ‘Resolutions’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by M. B. M. and can be found on Unsplash.

Dr Neryvia Pillay Bell on the Fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

Date recorded: 
Thu, 23 April 2020

In this podcast Dr Neryvia Pillay Bell, a Policy Associate at ERSA and Senior Economics Lecturer at the University of Cape Town, discusses how South Africa’s labour market and the government budget have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With economic growth expected to decrease by 6%, unemployment levels are likely to rise significantly. Fortunately, the R500 billion fiscal stimulus, which is 10% of GDP and therefore one of the largest fiscal stimulus packages worldwide, will alleviate much social distress that otherwise would have occurred. South Africa is not alone in bearing the burden of an increased government deficit and becoming more reliant on domestic production. Having a phased reopening of the economy specific to geographical area will keep production going...Read more

Credits: 

The beat used in this production, called ‘Resolutions’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by Clay LeConey and can be found on Unsplash.

Covid 19 text handwriting

Manoel Bittencourt on COVID-19 Economic Facts in South Africa

Date recorded: 
Wed, 08 April 2020

In this insightful video, Prof. Manoel Bittencourt, from Wits University’s Department of Economics and Finance, discusses the latest figures relating to the Coronavirus pandemic in South Africa. Using a live map showing the number of confirmed cases (provided by John Hopkins University) and data aggregators, we can see exactly how South Africa fairs relative to Sweden which has not implemented the lockdown, and the global average regarding healthcare expenditure, the share of people using the internet and the investment into primary healthcare. All of these factors have important repercussions regarding South Africa’s future. For now, though, the focus should be on making the COVID-19 testing process efficient.Read more

Click here to view.

Credits: 

The photo is by @marjan_blan and can be found on Unsplash.

South Africa by satellite

Alex van den Heever on South Africa’s public healthcare response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Date recorded: 
Wed, 08 April 2020

In this podcast Prof. Alex van den Heever, the Chair of Social Security at the Wits School of Governance discusses how South Africa’s public healthcare system is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Even although the lockdown was introduced at an optimal time, inefficiencies in the testing protocols means that we could expect a hidden outbreak going forward. Not only would this put additional strain on our healthcare system but would be costly to the economy. We should learn from our efficient TB testing practices, and from those countries who learnt how to handle respiratory pandemics such as SARS and MERS, in order to become better prepared.Read more

Credits: 

The Ari Lennox type beat used in this production, called ‘Every night’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by Tai’s Captures and can be found on Unsplash.

Cape Town

Chris Loewald on the Monetary Policy response to the Coronavirus pandemic in South Africa

Date recorded: 
Mon, 06 April 2020

Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic and an economic downgrade, we speak to Dr Chris Loewald shortly after the Monetary Policy Review. As the Head of the Research Department at the Reserve Bank, and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, he provides insights into how monetary policy can be used, alongside public health and fiscal policies, to protect the economy. After two quarters of slow economic growth in the South African economy, the real contractionary nature of the Coronavirus pandemic comes at a difficult time. Fortunately, with relatively low inflation, there is room for monetary policy to support our economy. By lowering interest rates, easing capital requirements and improving liquidity, the Reserve Bank supports businesses to continue to operate and earn income. Learnings...Read more

Credits: 

The beat used in this production, called ‘Resolutions’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by Captureson Photography and can be found on Unsplash.

Compass

Nicola Viegi on the South African economic response to the Coronavirus

Date recorded: 
Mon, 06 April 2020

Nicola Viegi, Deputy Director of ERSA, talks with Margaux G on the South African economic response to the Coronavirus. Health intervention and household support is the first priority, but policies should also protect the integrity of supply chains and the integrity of labour contracts, even with temporary reductions of wages and public guarantees. The partial freeze of the economy allows speeding up infrastructure maintenance and renewal. The bureaucracy around business licensing and exporting should be simplified to the point of irrelevance. To finance these interventions, South Africa needs instruments that are efficient and coherent with its long term objectives of growth and resilience.Read more

Credits: 

The beat used in this production, called ‘Resolutions’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by Fusion Medical Animation and can be found on Unsplash.

Corona virus

Nicola Viegi on the potential impact of the Coronavirus on South Africa

Date recorded: 
Thu, 26 March 2020

In this podcast, Prof. Nicola Viegi, the Deputy Director of ERSA and SARB Chair in Monetary Policy Studies at the University of Pretoria, discusses the unprecedented nature of the Coronavirus pandemic. With unknowns regarding how long this shock will last and what the direct and indirect effects will be, there is much uncertainty regarding the impact on the South African economy. While the South African economy was somewhat sheltered during the Financial crisis, the Coronavirus and the resulting lockdown pose a real eternal shock to our economy. At times like this, it is important for Monetary and Fiscal Policy to work together to protect the economy. The resiliency of firms also matters because there will be more shocks in future – if not into the public health sector, possibly from...Read more

Credits: 

The beat used in this production, called ‘Resolutions’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by Fusion Medical Animation and can be found on Unsplash.

Corona Map

Differential Impact of the Coronavirus as of end of March 2020

Date recorded: 
Thu, 26 March 2020

Professor Johannes W. Fedderke, the Director of ERSA speaks to our host, Margaux G about the initial impact of the Coronavirus on the world. Exploring the differential impact across countries by focusing specifically on the number of confirmed cases at the time and the corresponding mortality rates, we can take some valuable learnings from countries like Germany and South Korea.Read more

For slides, click here.

Credits: 

The Ari Lennox type beat used in this production, called ‘Every night’, is royalty free and can be found at freebeats.io and the photo is by Fusion Medical Animation and can be found on Unsplash.