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26 September 2023

AYGS 2024 Conference preparatory masterclasses

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Leveraging AfCFTA for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa

On 6-7 March 2024, the 18th Africa Young Graduates and Scholars (AYGS) Conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Building up to the event, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will host a Masterclass series to provide a comprehensive understanding of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its potential to drive inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa. All selected delegates are required to attend those classes that pertain to their conference papers and presentations.

The masterclasses will be conducted online, and is open to the public. Register for the masterclasses here.

Led by the HSRC’s Africa Institute of South Africa, these classes will run from October 2023 to January 2024, covering four key thematic areas:

Governance, peace, and security in the implementation of the AfCFTA: This session will explore the role of good governance, peace, and security in the successful implementation of the AfCFTA. It will discuss how a stable political environment can facilitate trade and economic growth, and how the AfCFTA can contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the African region.

Agriculture and food system transformation: This section will focus on how the AfCFTA can catalyse the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and food systems. It will examine the potential of intra-African trade in enhancing food security, promoting agricultural innovation, and driving sustainable development.

The role of science, technology, and innovation in the implementation of the AfCFTA: This session will highlight the importance of science, technology, and innovation in leveraging the benefits of the AfCFTA. It will discuss how technological advancements can facilitate trade, improve competitiveness, and foster innovation.

The role of the AfCFTA in catalysing climate action, green economy, and just transition: This session will explore how AfCFTA can contribute to Africa’s efforts to combat climate change, promote a green economy, and ensure a just transition. In addition, it will discuss the potential of trade policies in promoting sustainable practices and green technologies.


Prof Senia Nhamo, Associate Professor, School of Economics and Financial Sciences, UNISA

Prof Senia Nhamo is an associate professor of economics and financial sciences at the University of South Africa. She is an accomplished scholar with a PhD in economics from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Nhamo received the prestigious African Economic Research Consortium award for master’s and doctoral studies in 2001 and 2004, respectively. With over 15 years of experience in training and capacity development, she focuses on quantitative tools for trade policy analysis. She has expertise in econometrics, international trade and development, and environmental and health economics. Over the past 15 years, her work has involved tuition, research, and academic citizenship. She has been actively involved in developing training material for the Tools for Trade Policy Analysis and training scholars from across the continent. Nhamo’s current research focuses on the importance of indicators and composite index construction towards achieving the UN sustainable development goals. With an unwavering dedication to sustainability issues, she is currently a co-lead in Coast Predict, one of the UN-endorsed Decade of the Ocean programme. Within the Integrated Coastal Zone Management focus area, she assesses the socio-economic vulnerabilities of coastal communities. Nhamo is dedicated to inspiring positive change on a global scale.

Ambassador Solly Mollo, Major General) (rtd), HE Prof, Embassy of South Africa in Guinea

HE Prof Lekoa Solly Mollo is currently the South African ambassador to the Republic of Guinea. His previous positions include serving as the South African High Commissioner to Uganda, the principal of the National School of Government, and as director-general of the South African Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy. He has also served as a special advisor to South Africa’s minister of Public Service and Administration. During his military career, Mollo served as a commandant of the South African Military Academy, and he retired from the military with the rank of major-general in 2007. He also worked at the Directorate of Planning, and Integration at Walmansthal, 7 SA Division, the Transformation Directorate, and the Policy and Planning Directorate at Defence Headquarters, Pretoria. Mollo designed and facilitated numerous transformational leadership courses, and actively assisted in the complex process of integrating the seven military forces into a new South African National Defence Force.

Mollo is the founder and former chairperson of the Forum of South African Businesses in Uganda, and he served as a non-executive director of Denel Aviation (Pty) Ltd, a board member of the International Commission of Military History, and as a trustee of the South African Delville Wood Commemorative Museum Trust.

Dr Lisho Mundia, Director of Research and Innovation, Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation, Namibia

Dr Lisho Mundia is the director of research and innovation, in Namibia’s Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation. Born in the Zambezi region of Namibia, he is a seasoned executive, academic, entrepreneur, and author. His career spans 20 years with about 10 years in education, research, and training. He served as one of the first council members of Space Science under the National Commission on Research Science & Technology in Namibia. Mundia is also a former committee member of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure of the Namibia Statistics Agency, and a board member of the Land Tribunal under the Ministry of Land Reform. Mundia serves as an advisory board member of the Multidisciplinary Research Center of the University of Namibia and as an advisory board member of the Southern African Innovation Support Programme.

He also serves as a board member of the Earth Observations for Sustainable Development Goals Initiative under the Group on Earth Observations. He is also the chairperson of the National Research Symposiums, chairperson of the National Steering Committee on Research Outputs and Journal Accreditations, the founder and chairperson of the Zambezi Innovation Foundation, and the founder and chairperson of the World College of Science and Innovation Pty Ltd.

WANDILE SIHLOBO, Chief Economist, Agricultural Business Chamber of SA (Agbiz)

Wandile Sihlobo is the chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) and the author of two books, “A Country of Two Agricultures: The Disparities, the Challenges, the Solutions (2023)” and “Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity, and Agriculture (2020)”.

He is a senior lecturer extraordinary at the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University and a visiting research fellow at the Wits School of Governance. Sihlobo was appointed as a member of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council in 2019 (and re-appointed in 2022), having served on the Presidential Expert Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture from 2018.

He is also a council member of Statistics of South Africa and a commissioner at the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa. Sihlobo is a columnist for Business Day, The Herald and Farmers Weekly magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Fort Hare and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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