From January 16 to January 26, Professor Ravina, Director of the NCID, and Juan Soto, research assistant, visited South Africa to meet with our local partners, strengthen our relationship with them and establish new partnerships and collaborations with other major South African actors.
In Johannesburg, Prof. Ravina and Soto met Dr. Terence McNamee, Deputy Director of the Brenthurst Foundation, one of the most prominent (policy research foundations/thinktanks) foundations in Africa. Dr. McNamee is a long-time contact of the NCID and they discussed new avenues of collaboration between our institutions. They also met Mr. Ferran Casadevall and Mr. Emilio Calvo, of the Commercial Office of the Embassy of Spain and, once again, their insight of the situation in South Africa for Spanish companies, bilateral cooperation between Spain and South Africa, etc. was truly enlightening.
The meetings they held were, to a large extent, aimed at developing relationships with institutions with expertise in urbanization and connectivity. In that context, they met Mr. Tilman Feltes, deputy director of the Konrad Adenauerâ€“South Africaâ€™s office. They discussed African cities and the challenges they present for policy-makers, economists, sociologists. They also met with Tresor Katembo and Mr. George Onatu, of the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Johannesburg.
They also met Ms. Mienke Steytler, Head of Media and Public Affairs at the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR). They discussed the work the IRR does, as well as the fields of research, areas of interest, etc. of NCID. Ms. Steytler also provided several documents and reports that will surely be helpful for our research. Finally, they met Ms. Iona Tip, Operations Director at the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA). We discussed the democratic struggle of South African institutions, trade unions and political parties to put an end to the Apartheid Regime.
In Pretoria, they visited the University of Pretoria and met Prof. Rangan Gupta and Dr. Alex Bignotti. Prof. Gupta, Professor at the Department of Economics, is coauthor with some NCID resident fellows and Dr. Bignotti, lecturer at the Department of Business Management, has also been involved with the NCID in the past.
They also visited two long-time contacts in Cape Town: Mr. Garreth Bloor, former Councillor of the Municipality of Cape Town and Mr. Michael Howe-Ely, co-founder of Ineng.