Yesterday, Tuesday (3 August 2018), saw the commencement of the highly-anticipated second biennial Management, Business, Administration and Legal Initiatives (MBALI) International Conference.
Held at the Peermont Umfolozi Casino, the three-day research conference is hosted by the University of Zululand’s (UNIZULU) Faculty of Commerce, Administration and Law with the intent of bringing researchers from academia and the business world closer so that they can share the latest developments in the fields of economics, information management, business and legal fields. It also aims to establish better understanding among policymakers and other stakeholders.
In addition to the latter, the conference provides faculty staff and postgraduate students a platform to present research papers in an interactive international space while also enabling them to network with and learn from a broad group of national and international researchers.
The theme for this year’s conference is “Redefining management, business, finance, administration and legal initiatives for inclusive growth and development in an emerging economy.”
In his opening address, Professor Sandile Songca, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to ABSA Bank limited for its “steadfast” commitment to funding the higher education sector- and more importantly the MBALI conference which it has funded since its inception.
The financial services provider sponsored R500 000 towards the hosting of the event. ABSA Managing Executive Ronnie Mbatsane explained that the bank recognises the vital role the MBALI conference plays in addressing societal challenges through the various research projects that are presented. He added that with community development being among ABSA’s priorities, it thus felt natural for the bank to “step up and sponsor funding towards this conference”.
“A new dawn is needed to take the country to prosperity and economic growth. A conference of this magnitude is a vital platform to address these critical issues that are faced by our country today. As Absa, we are very proud to partner with the university in this initiative that focuses on all kinds of challenges we face. South Africa needs leaders who are capable of weathering the storm, providing a moral compass and addressing the complexities of the fourth industrial revolution,” said Mbatsane.
The fourth industrial revolution issue was tackled at length by the Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Daniel Mminele, during the first plenary session. His focus was on the future of work and the implications for central banking. According to Mminele, the fourth industrial revolution will have a huge impact on society as 16% of all jobs could be automated in the next 12 years. He continued, saying other areas such as higher education would experience rapid changes as well.
“This topic is very relevant for an institution such as yours. Machines are developing in a rapid speed. The future not only requires a different skillset but also a different way of learning. It is not just a matter of manual tasks, rather technology is now developing rapidly,” Mmilele said. He echoed Prof Songca who had earlier stressed that higher education needs to better prepare students for the ever-changing workplace by ensuring that the curriculum is on par with what takes place in the various fields.
In his keynote address, Bongumusa Makhathini, Chairman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and proud UNIZULU alumnus urged postgraduate students to continue to work diligently as “Africa requires a different future; a future that should be informed and computable.”
Daniel Mminele, Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, during the first plenary session at the 2018 MBALI International Conference.