Francis Wilson Memorial Lecture: Mr Trevor Manuel

08 April 2024 | Emer Prof Linda Ronnie

Dear colleagues and students

I am pleased to invite you to the second annual Francis Wilson Memorial Lecture, which will be hosted by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in partnership with DataFirst on Tuesday, 16 April 2024.

The lecture is titled “How to build – and break – a capable state: structural reform and institution building in the democratic era”. It will be presented by Mr Trevor Manuel, one of South Africa’s and the world’s longest-serving ministers of finance.

Mr Manuel had a distinguished career in public service. During his tenure in government, he also served as Minister in the Presidency and as head of the National Planning Commission. Before 1994, he was an activist and a stalwart of the anti-apartheid movement.

He is currently a non-executive chairperson of Old Mutual and trustee of the Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies. He is also a senior advisor to the Rothschild Group, deputy chairperson of Rothschild SA, and a board member of several companies.

Amongst many international posts, he has chaired the International Monetary Fund’s Development Committee, served as Special Envoy for Development Finance for United Nations secretaries-general Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon, and served on the Commission for Africa and the task team on Global Public Goods. In 2011 he became a co-chair of the Transitional Committee of the Green Climate Fund, a UN fund to help poorer nations combat and adapt to climate change. Mr Manuel has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards, including being named Africa Finance Minister of the Year in 2007.

The lecture will be held as follows:

Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Venue: Lecture Theatre 3, Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, UCT
Time: 18:00 SAST
Format: Hybrid

Please join us at the lecture as our guest speaker delivers what will be an insightful take on matters of national interest.

The lecture is hosted in honour of Francis Wilson, who was the founding director of SALDRU (in 1975) and of DataFirst (in 2001) and who was among the most pre-eminent economic researchers of his time. His work, combined with a strong social conscience, made him a leading voice for economic justice in apartheid South Africa, exposing the hardship and poverty caused by the migrant labour system and the mining industry. He spearheaded the first nationally representative survey of South Africa and was a fierce proponent of open data.

SALDRU carries out applied empirical research and capacity building with an emphasis on poverty and inequality, labour markets, human capital and social policy. They strive for academic excellence and policy relevance. DataFirst is an open data service that disseminates over 500 studies to researchers throughout the world. It has run workshops on data curation and data quality for many African national statistics agencies. The unit was the first recipient of the NSTF-South32 award in data for research.


Emer Prof Linda Ronnie
Acting Vice-Chancellor

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