About

Iraj Abedian,  is a graduate of University of Cape Town(UCT), and holds a PhD in economics from Simon Fraser University, Canada. He taught at UCT for over 18 years and was professor of economics at UCT before joining Standard Bank as Group Chief Economist in 2000. He was extensively involved in economic and financial policy as well as institutional restructuring of South Africa’s public finance policy after 1994. Alongside active involvement in private equity investments in Africa, Iraj maintains a keen interest in public policy issues and is proactively engaged in professional discourses related to the evolving socio-economic system worldwide.

Articles

Iraj frequently appears in numerous financial journals and magazines. He writes a monthly  column in the African Business Times Magazine entitled “Frank Talk”. He is regularly interviewed concerning financial and economic news as well as other matters of public policy facing South Africa at large. Visit the Articles page regularly to keep abreast with all his latest published interviews and articles.

Media

The blog page will be updated weekly with articles written by Iraj. Topics discussed will stretch far beyond the economy and financial matters. As a student of social sciences, Iraj enjoys research and reflection on  many socio-economic challenges that face South Africa and Africa as a whole and these are what will form the basis for his articles. He welcomes you to comment on any of the articles as he would love to exchange views and considered perspectives  on various matters.

 

Recent Posts

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Pravin Gordhan’s Clarion Call

SA Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, hardly a full two months in the job, stood at the Parliament on Thursday to deliver the toughest budget of the post-Apartheid era. His budget speech had one over-arching objective, and faced many challenges. The strategic imperative was to ward off the looming prospect of the country’s sovereign credit rating down-grade to the junk status. And just moments prior to his speech, Brazil had been downgraded to junk-rating. The Minister made a serious and sobering reference to this fresh development in the global capital...

Global Mega Trends and Africa

One of the critical challenges of strategic policy making is to strike a balance between the short term issues facing the society and the long term challenges and opportunities. The former typically preoccupies the politicians who have to survive the rough and tumble of day to day politics. The electoral cycle further reinforces this tendency. The latter forces, however, are more subtle and yet as relevant for the society’s long term prosperity. But more often than not they are largely neglected in policy and public discourse. In part it...

The World’s Emerging Political Economy Risks

As the world economy is recovering from the prolonged recessionary consequences of the 2008 “great recession” new geopolitical risks have surfaced rapidly, and somewhat unexpectedly. The military developments in Syria-Iraq in the form of the rise of ISIS militia, the instability and social issues growing in Nigeria, the widening reach of Al’Shabab in East Africa, the continued instability in Ukraine, and ongoing tension in the Middle East, together with territorial disputes between China and some other countries of the South East Asia region are the key and high profile...

Social Capital: The Critical Factor for Developmental Success

Developmental success of nations, broadly speaking, depends on two forms of capital. One is the natural and inherited capital, the other ‘made-capital” accumulated over time.   As important as the natural resources are the human-made resources and capabilities too collectively constitute a critical and dynamic ingredient of the nations’ success. In econometric literature this is often referred to as the “made-capital” of a nation, in contrast with the natural endowment of the country. For each generation, then, the national resource (or capital) endowment is made of the natural endowment...

South Africa’s Evolving Democracy: Beyond Elections May 2014

SA national elections on May 7th 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the country’s constitutional democracy. Whilst the ANC maintained its control over the national government with a 62% majority, it had much to worry when examining the details of voting patterns across the 9 provinces and the major metropolitan centres. Nationally, the ANC lost just over 3% of the votes compared with the previous elections five years ago. The party also maintained control of 8 of the 9 provinces, albeit with a declining majority in every single one...

Dr. Iraj Abedian Appears on the “First Name Basis” Talk Show

To view the full episode and interview with Dr. Abedian on the economics based internet talk show “First Name Basis”, please click the link below....

Intergenerational Equity and the Political Economy of South Africa

To watch the full keynote address video by Dr. Abedian go to the following link: http://youtu.be/oC5lseYIgxk Intergenerational equity is a complex issue in public policy. The complexities may be compounded when one views it through the lenses of political economy, philosophy, applied ethics as well as in public policy. More often than not, the notion is invoked in discourses around environmental sustainability and or in politics of public debt. The concept, however, is much deeper and wider in scope. There is a range of sub-issues that are embedded in the...

Today’s Global Uncertainties, Tomorrow’s New World Order

Honourable and distinguished guests, honoured members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i’s of Swaziland, eminent members of the Auxiliary Board of the Continental Counsellors for Africa, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am most grateful, indeed honoured, for being invited to share some thoughts on the subject of the prevailing global uncertainties and their possible and ultimate outcome’ on this auspicious occasion.   As we gather here to celebrate the birth of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, it is befitting to pay homage to His...

Africa Within a World in Transition

The world is indeed in the throes of one of the most profound transitions in history. Not only do technological and economic changes have world-embracing effects, but also the prevailing socio-political dynamics has no historical precedence. This is not to say that in the past the world has not had periods of deep and game-changing transitions. For example the advent of industrialization in the 17th and 18th century culminated in the dawn of a new world order in which the West emerged as a dominant economic, military and colonial...

Modernizing Food Security in Africa

One of the glaring ironies of Africa remains food insecurity and hunger in the midst of plenty. The continent has plenty of arable land, much of it is not used for cultivation and whatever is cultivated it is done so, by and large, without modern technology for production and with little, if any, consideration of optimal financial structuring for the farmers and for the society at large. Consequently, in effect when it comes to food security, much is left to chance and too many risks are unmitigated. Of course,...

Marikana Massacre: A Lesson for Africa

A year after the tragic Marikana Massacre, where over 46 people were killed, the soul of South Africa remains haunted. Last year September, in this column, I dealt with some of the contributing factors that culminated in this tragedy. As South Africa struggles to come to terms with this appalling incidence and its multifarious ramifications, I believe the rest of the continent has much to learn from it too.   The world over, the history has shown that social development assumes meaning only when the public policy consciously and...

SA Quagmire Plunges the Rand

On May 30th, soon after President Zuma addressed a hastily arranged press conference to deal with South Africa’ falling foreign exchange value, the currency plunged by another 2% breaking through the key level of 10 rand per US dollar- trading at R10.07/US$ at the time of writing! That was a shock to the economy and a culmination of a process questioning the president’s leadership and his approach to the complex issues of macroeconomic management. Whilst the President’s speech did not cause the rapid fall in the currency value, his...

University of Pretoria Public Lecture on the Bahá’í Faith

On 14 March 2012, Iraj Abedian delivered a public lecture at the University of Pretoria entitled: “Social Development and Religion: A Bahá’í Perspective”. The lecture had been organized by the Dept of Theology of University of Pretoria. All theology students were obliged to attend as it was part of their academic curriculum.  In addition other interested individuals were free to attend. The lecture was publicized on the university campus. In addition to the students from theology, political  science and sociology, the following high ranking university academics also attended the...

Modern Societies and Ethical Values

Nowadays, the world over, a tangible and troubling rift has emerged between the prevailing socio-economic ‘formal (professed)’ as opposed to ‘informal (practised)’ ethics. For example, in the business sector business executives and corporations formally subscribe to the ‘codes of good corporate governance’. Their annual ‘glossy’ reports are decorated with “impressive evidences” of their socially responsible citizenship. Yet operationally they do not hesitate to collude and/or abuse their market powers. The current “horse meat saga” in Europe and its counterpart in South Africa are cases in point. The conduct of...

Africa’s Triple Challenges

Nowadays Africa is the darling of the global investment community. Report after report highlights the impressive actual growth and the promising prospects for the continent’s economic performance over the medium to long term. The so-called “dark continent” has transmuted into the “bright continent”. And, that is most welcome. However, for these sentiments and opportunities to be converted to sustainable socio-economic developmental momentum a number of key issues need clear recognition and effective solutions. Three of them loom large in this context.   First and foremost, it is critical to...