Research Note The Research Unit


The Research Unit provides technical support to the Foundation in order to enhance its impact in improving the lives of the most vulnerable and building a better South Africa, Africa and world.

The Unit’s research is guided by the principles of relevance, timeliness, credibility, accessibility, and contextuality, and is organized around five inter-related themes:

Economic Inclusion

Inclusion is an ethical and human rights imperative and is also essential to better economic performance.  Inclusivity has become part of mainstream policy focus but there is much to be done on what works and what doesn’t, what the priorities  should be, what tools should be explored further, as well as in monitoring the impact of past polices on inclusion. The Unit will be introducing a formal measure of economic inclusion in South Africa as part of supporting this theme.

Gendered Economics

The need remains to further develop an economics that reflects the differing circumstances between men and women and that  engages accordingly with equity-oriented policies. The Unit will be taking gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) forward, as well as work on the care economy, as part of supporting this theme.

The Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship

The social economy embodies an important synergy of business mindsets and social and environmental values, and holds the potential for job creation, social innovation and better planetary custodianship.

Much work remains to be done however around how best to support and grow the social economy and social entrepreneurs, in South Africa and globally.

Revisioned Economies

New economies need a new economics, and the Unit works to support changes in the economics discipline that give greater weight to ethical and altruistic considerations, acknowledge the need for  a more heterodox economic curriculum in schools and universities, go beyond GDP to better ‘measure what matters’, and meaningfully integrate sustainability, resilience and inclusion into the core of the discipline.

Crisis and Transition Economics

The Unit does research on frameworks for thinking and responding in times of crisis, when virtually by definition time is limited and conventional decisional approaches may not work or be sufficient. Crises may be escalated social tensions arising from inequality and governance failures, pandemics, escalating climate change impacts, or, indeed, the confluence of these developments.

Research Notes can be downloaded below.

Research Note 1 – COVID-19 and the Economic Inclusion of Women and Youth

Research Note 2 – Women’s Labour Market Vulnerability in South Africa

Research Note 3 – South African Youth and the Labour Market

Research Note 4 – 10 Dimensions of Post-Covid Youth Employment

Research Note 5 – University Student Mental Health Diagnostic 

Research Note 6 – Assessing Recovery of Women in the Labour Market

Comments and inquiries are welcomed and can be sent to:

Len Verwey,

Head of Research