The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) held together with all the four Eastern Cape Universities the Emerging Views on Eastern Cape (EC) Economy Conference in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela University (NMU) on 30 September 2019.

This emerging research platform is an attempt to promote EC emerging scholars and connect their research directly to the needs of the province and the country.

This is in recognition of the massive untapped potential of research work (related to economic development) generated each year by emerging scholars and post-graduate students.

The Department has together with the partnering universities undertaken to engage this group with the view to harnessing this potential.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Ms Kosi Yankey who is a Research and Economic Planning Manager at DEDEAT said the aim is to encourage and harness research output in areas that are in line with the provinces priority sectors to promote job creation and reduce poverty and inequality.

Whilst Dr John Reynolds, a Founding Head at Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit maintained that Tourism Sector offers a variety of opportunities ‘even though it is fickle’, he cautioned.

He went further to argue for the agriculture industry and agro-processing as other viable sectors to pursue.

Ms Cebisa Msimboti, a student from the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) agrees with Dr Reynolds on the importance of Tourism as a priority sector as she believes it has a potential to create jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for all including the low skilled segment of the provincial society.

Other partnering universities are the University of Fort Hare, Rhodes University and Walter Sisulu University.

Guided by a vision of an Eastern Cape where economic growth and sound environmental management underpin sustainable development, DEDEAT’s mandate is to lead economic development and environmental management in the province.