UFH Economics Students gain wealth of experience at SA Reserve Bank Inaugural Winter School

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The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) recently hosted its inaugural Winter School programme, and six University of Fort Hare (UFH) students who are studying towards their B.Com Honours in Economics formed part of the first cohort – gaining profitable experience.

Altogether, thirty postgraduate students from universities across South Africa who are studying in the fields of Economics, Statistics, Mathematics and Finance and Actuarial Science were selected, and UFH had the highest representation in the programme.

The students were chosen following a rigorous application process that required the submission of a motivational research paper of no more than 600 words, explaining why central banks should be concerned about climate change. One of the requirements was for an average pass of 70% in their academic studies.

The students who represented Fort Hare are:

  1. Samkelo Mtyaphi
  2. Akona Chwane
  3. Sinesipho Mbadla
  4. Siphokazi Mjoli
  5. Simbulele Tube
  6. Zoko Luthu

The week-long training programme was hosted in Sandton Johannesburg. The in-person experience gave the postgraduate students access to best thinking on emerging research topics from local and international speakers and experts on the theme of climate change and central banking.

They were also afforded the opportunity to showcase their passion and skills through action-based learning tasks and debates that exposed and emersed them into the SARB culture.

All six UFH students completed their undergrad qualification at UFH where most of them graduated cum laude.

Reflecting on their participation, it was evident that the programme was a life-changing experience for them, one that has shaped their futures.

Mtyaphi from Bizana said he had just lost his father, who was his greatest supporter, a week before attending the programme. “He was excited at the news of my selection. He was aware of my desire to work for the SARB one day and he supported it. Now I feel closer to realizing that dream.”

Chwane who hails from Port St Johns said the experience gave a lot of valuable insight, especially for her research paper on the relationship between financial development and income equality in South Africa. Chwane was among the students who made it to the advanced stages of the debate competition.

Mabandla from Kwa Bhaca (Mouth Frere) thanked the Head of the Economics Department, Prof Forget Kapingura for his advice and guidance through the process. “Now we have a deeper understanding of how the climate impacts the economy and the financial sector.”

Mjoli and Tube who both hail from Qonce (King William’s Town) said they enjoyed every moment. “We were given first-hand experience from experts on the impact of climate change in the financial sector and the role of the central bank.”

Lutho from Bizana who experienced her first flight during the trip said what she took away from the experience is that public speaking was very important. “It is all good to have ideas, but in order to action them, you need to share them.”

The students counted meeting one of the Deputy Governor of the SARB, Ms  Fundi Tshazibana as one of the highlights of their experience.