23 February 2017, Cape Town - Business and government leaders last night celebrated the brilliance and promise of South Africa’s young economics students – finalists of the annual Nedbank and Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition - at a dinner hosted by Nedbank and Old Mutual, with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as guest of honour.
Xolani Mazomba (from the University of Johannesburg) and Raphael Ngarachu (from the University of Witwatersrand) won the postgraduate and undergraduate categories respectively. Apart from the obvious prestige associated with being a Budget Speech Competition winner, the winners and finalists received a total of R420 000 in prize money, including R150 000 awarded to the postgraduate winner and R60 000 to the undergraduate winner. All cash prizes have to be used for academic purposes.
Nedbank Chief Executive Mike Brown and Old Mutual Emerging Markets Interim CEO Iain Williamson hosted the event, which is designed to encourage young South African students to apply their minds to the economic debates shaping the country.
In his keynote speech, Brown encouraged the students to think of themselves as the hope of the people of South Africa for a better, more prosperous and sustainable future.
“I urge you to keep this in mind as you continue your studies. Do not think of what you are doing now as getting a qualification for a job - rather think of it as preparation for future greatness. South Africa needs leaders who are passionate and astute. We need thinkers, visionaries, and brave men and women who are not afraid to take action for the good of their country and its people,” said Brown.
Williamson thanked National Treasury for their ongoing support of the competition, now in its 45th year. “We value working together with government to tackle the key economic challenges facing South Africa, and believe that investing in education is a critical step towards building a strong inclusive economy. We are proud that through this competition we are able to nurture and inspire young students, who are the leaders of tomorrow and whose fresh ideas will contribute positively to transforming our nation.”
Postgraduate entrants were asked to unpack the viability of the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) programme given SA’s current fiscal constraints, and suggest an appropriate funding model for the NHI. Undergraduates had to speculate on possible reasons for the lingering gap between high national education investment and still low national education standards, and propose ways in which the nation’s education challenges could be addressed.
(From left) Mike Brown (CE of Nedbank); Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Postgraduate winner Xolani Mazomba (from the University of Johannesburg) and Iain Williamson (Interim CEO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets)
(From left) Mike Brown (CE of Nedbank); Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Undergraduate winner Raphael Ngarachu (from the University of Witwatersrand) and Iain Williamson (Interim CEO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets)