Policy Briefs, Working Papers and Reports

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming impact across the world on all spheres, affecting the fulfillment of the economy, social security, food production and just to name a few. Measures taken to combat the virus have had a disproportionate negative impact of the most marginalized groups, more especially among women, children and the elderly. It is States responsibility to ensure that all efforts to mobilize the necessary resources to combat the virus are done in the most equitable manner. SPII has produced a report that addresses “How the Pandemic Impacts South Africa’s responses and obligations to the UN Committee ….Read More

  • The introduction of a universal cash transfer, a Basic Income Grant, has been hotly contested as a policy option to address vulnerability and social and economic and political exclusion of working age people and their households in South Africa for over ten years. In this paper we being with a review of current spending on social assistance in South Africa. We then provide an overview of levels of unemployment, inequalities and poverty in South Africa in 2014. We also review the policy options that have found favour to address these challenges within government seemingly rather than a BIG. We suggest ….Read More

  • Dr Wiseman Magasela

    Address at the Decent Standard of Living Colloquium, 31 October 2019, Burgers Park Hotel, Pretoria Challenges and Contestations: Building an inclusive society and remaining true to our constitutional values through advancing a comprehensive decent standard of living approach. Ladies and Gentlemen! Let us start with the important but often forgotten fact: In South Africa, it is the majority of citizens that is poor. It is the majority of the population that is poor. It is not some minor, low percentage of the population. It is an overwhelming majority of South Africans that are poor. South Africa presents a very exciting ….Read More

  • On 27 September 2013, Studies in Poverty and Inequality (SPII) and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) held the first consultative team meeting to discuss a National Minimum Living Level. The meeting was held at NEDLAC House, Rosebank, Johannesburg. Presenters and individuals that attended the meeting have an interest in a Minimum Living and were advocating for it in their respective institutions. In his opening remarks, the CEO of NEDLAC, Alistair Smith, called for a social compact in the reality of the current policy stalemate. Isobel Frye, the director of SPII, set out the objectives of the process and provided a detailed overview of the subject. Download Full PDF Document ….Read More

  • The examples of the measurement of local economic development presently available are mostly located in a developed country context. The challenge arises in identifying indicators for measurement in the context of a developing country and a relatively large informal sector in which data collection is not easily done. What is local economic development? The World Bank1 defines Local Economic Development (LED) as “a process by which public, business and non-governmental sector partners work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation”, with the aim of “building economic capacity of a local area to improve its economic future ….Read More

  • In the absence of economic activities in the formal sector, unskilled, poor and marginalised South Africans rely on the informal economy and government cash transfers for survival. The informal economy due to its easy access provides various economic generating activities for the poor in South Africa. The structure of the economy favours the development of established formal businesses that meet the minimum standards such as registration. This business development strategy can be traced back to apartheid policies that prevented black people from operating registered businesses in urban areas. Apartheid policies favoured the social and economic development of the white minority at the expense of the black majority. As a result, the majority remain in the areas that are ….Read More

  • The development of many emerging economies is hindered by the so-called “missing middle”, the small, medium and micro enterprises that serve as important drivers of job creation and economic growth. The challenges faced by these enterprises include regulation, lack of access to capital, informality that limits access to services, and high levels of bureaucracy. This has resulted in a need to develop support services for SMMEs. Because of the different needs of the sector, support policies should also take this diversity into account when designing programmes. A range of countries has, over time, provided different forms of support to SMMEs ….Read More

  • Central to recent development discourses in the Global South1 is the role of social protection systems in poverty alleviation. Social protection was critical to the recovery post-World War II for countries in Western Europe. These social assistance mechanisms enabled Europe to address immediate challenges faced by the most vulnerable groups of their respective societies. Sixty years later, social protection programmes such as conditional cash transfers, social pension and public works programmes and in-kind transfers have been successfully implemented in varied developing countries and contexts. Bateman and Chang (2013) argue that these conditional cash transfer programmes are better suited for the ….Read More

  • Access to microfinance and microcredit for the poor has sparked critical debates over its ‘acclaimed’ successes and failures. Advocates of the microfinance agenda argue that expanding access to microfinance and microcredit to the poor forms an important constituent of the new developmental agenda. Becker et al (2008) argue that financial ‘exclusion’ is a barrier to economic development, and that there is a need to build financial systems that will foster more financial ‘inclusion’. Murdoch (1995 and 2005) argues that due to its positive results, the microfinance sector has grown, expanded and gained popularity. Impact assessments on the effects of access ….Read More

  • The role of local economic development (LED) represents policies to redress the economic marginalisation and dualism in the South African economy as a result of the legacy of apartheid in which economic activity was concentrated in certain areas at the expense of rural development, in particular in the former homelands. LED further aims to address various market failures which have contributed to high unemployment rates, low levels of income and wide spread poverty, including the often cited lack of entrepreneurial activity in South Africa, weak support mechanisms for small firms, lack of access to financial and business development services, as ….Read More