IP and Inclusive Growth Talks at MBALI Conference

The second day of the 2018 MBALI International Conference saw delegates engaging in discussions regarding interdisciplinary research, intellectual property rights and inclusive growth in South Africa during the two plenary sessions.

The first presentation by Professor (Prof) Ruth Taplin, the Founder and Publisher of the interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law, set the tone for what eventually was an informative day for delegates. Prof Taplin’s topic was titled “The importance of interdisciplinary research, understanding intellectual property (IP) rights for innovation and publishing”.

According to Prof Taplin, “business law is the fastest growing area of any kind of subject- particularly law. It is growing interest in this country as well”. She encouraged the establishment of independent forums where ideas can be debated and expressed. Most importantly, Prof Taplin emphasised the essence of involving postgraduate students in such forums as “they are the future”.

She then enlightened the delegates on the various areas of IP such as copyrights, patents, brands and trademarks, highlighting the importance of thoroughly understanding these laws. In closing, Prof Taplin challenged academics to conduct research that aims to solve economic challenges.

In his presentation, Dr Montfort Mlachilla, a senior resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for South Africa, shared on “Strategies for Stronger and more inclusive growth in South Africa: The roles of private investment and regional integration.”

Linked to his topic, Dr Mlachilla spoke strongly on policies that needed to be implemented to boost the South African economy. “We are sitting with a lot of economic challenges as a country, mainly poverty and unemployment,” he said, noting that though poverty had been reduced in South Africa in the past two decades, inequality had been constant.

In South Africa, the expenditure GIC has generally been upward sloping up to the 75th percentile. It then slopes downward until the 95th percentile. Put differently, it is mostly the middle classes and the very top who have benefited from growth. Because of this, nearly half of the population is chronically poor at the upper bound of the national poverty line of about R1,000 per person per month,” Dr Mlachilla added.

On the question of what needs to be done to reignite growth Dr Mlachilla said: “There is need to re-establish business and consumer confidence to reignite private investment and growth. In South Africa, like in many countries, there is strong correlation between business confidence and investment growth. The first step, as they tell first-year medical students, is to “do no harm” by speaking with one voice, avoid shooting oneself in the foot, and by having consistent policy messages.”

– Precious Shamase


From Left: Prof Dev Tewari, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Administration and Law (FCAL); Prof Ruth Taplin, the Founder and Publisher of the interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law; Prof Irrshad Kaseeram, FCAL Deputy Dean: Research and Internationalisation and Prof Lorraine Greyling, Head of Department of Economics.

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