Mr Blessing Sakupwanya graduated cum laude with his Master of Commerce in Economics during the UKZN Spring Graduation ceremonies.
Sakupwanya, who is from Harare, Zimbabwe, is an expert in the field of economics, specifically policy development and management, development economics, insight forecast, micro and macro economic analysis, public policy analysis, investment portfolio analysis and monitoring and evaluation. He has served as an economist for various banks in Zimbabwe, including Nedbank, before working closely with the then Finance Minister Finance Minister of Zimbabwe, Mr Tendai Biti, and the political Party MDC (Movement for Democratic Change).
At present, he is managing the Bopang Group’s Microfinance subsidiary in Centurion, Pretoria, and privately mentors students from some of the best business schools in the country, including GIBS and Unisa’s Business School.
His dissertation focused on the relationship between Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Domestic Investment (DI) for the South African economy over time. ‘This is an interesting one as you know that most developing countries are going all over the world looking for Foreign Direct Investment, FDI so my focus was to assess the relationship between FDI and Domestic Investment for the South African economy over time and to ascertain the effects of FDI inflows on Domestic Investment in South Africa (that is the crowd in or out effects of FDI on DI). The results revealed that there is an adjustment towards long-run equilibrium arising from shocks in the short-run,’ he said.
Sakupwanya, who did his undergraduate degree Mrewa High School and his honours at the University of Zimbabwe, said that for every US$1 of FDI inflow in South Africa, the total investment in the economy increased by 74 cents. ‘Drawing from the results obtained in this study, it is sensible for South African policymakers to formulate strategies aimed at stimulating DI by encouraging better involvement of domestic investors in production and investment activities,’ he said.
The young economist said he was deeply indebted to a number of people who contributed to the successful completion of his Master’s. Foremost was his supervisor, Dr Sophia Mukorera, whose ‘guidance, suggestions, comments and references have enabled me to finish the longest and most challenging piece of work. She is a star.’ He also thanked staff and friends in the School of Accounting Economics and Finance who lent their assistance and encouragement throughout his studies. ‘My warmest thanks to my mother for the endless support, love and care throughout my life. Your selfless love has constantly encouraged me to the end of one of the most challenging tasks in my life. I wish to thank my wife, Julia, whose love and continued support enabled me to overcome the frustrations that occurred in the process of writing this dissertation,’ said Sakupwanya.
Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
Photograph: Rogan Ward