Global Value Chains

  • Date: Thursday, 21 January 2016
  • Venue: Tram Village, 317 Tram Street in Pretoria
  • Main Speakers: Thomas Farole ; Faizel Ismail ; Ben Turok


Session 1: 9:30 – 11:15

  • Thomas Farole – World Bank
  • Faizel Ismail – UCT and the dti
  • Ben Turok – Institute for African Alternatives


Session 2: 11:30 – 12:30: Panel Discussion

Background:  The concept of Global Value Chains (GVC) takes forward the idea that the activities that bring a product from its conception to its end use and beyond are divided among multiple firms and / or spread across multiple geographic locations / countries. This includes activities such as design, production, marketing, distribution and support to the final consumer.  GVCs are being promoted by some as the way forward for economic development for developing countries, that value chains need to be invested in, and an enabling environment needs to be created to attract the kind of investment that would promote GVCs. Others are more sceptical about the opportunities for developing countries in these GVCs and the extent to which firms are able to upgrade and move up the value chain. Thomas Farole will introduce the results of recent World Bank research and discuss the relevance and implications of GVCs for South Africa and the wider region. 

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Thomas Farole is a Lead Economist at the World Bank, where he works on the intersection between jobs and productivity, trade, and private sector development. He is the author of a number of books and papers on topics such as special economic zones, FDI spillovers in local markets, and the implications of trade for lagging regions. He holds a PhD in economic geography from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Faizel Ismail has recently been appointed as Adjunct Professor at the UCT School of Economics. He is also an advisor to the dti on International Trade and Special Envoy on the African Growth and Opportunity Act. He has served as the Ambassador Permanent Representative of South Africa to the WTO (2010-2014). 

Ben Turok was a Member of Parliament in South Africa until recently, representing the ruling party, the African National Congress. In the 1994 democratic government, he was first Head of the Commission on the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in the Gauteng Provincial Cabinet and then moved to Parliament in 1995. He was Co-Chair of the Committee on Ethics and Member’s Interests of both Houses in Parliament. He was a member of the Liberation Movement for decades, was an accused in the 1956 Treason Trial, served three years in prison, and was in exile for 25 years, returning in 1990.