South Africa is a beautiful and fascinating country. But twenty years after the end of Apartheid, its economy faces a host of challenges. The economy suffers high unemployment, low productivity growth, and labor strives. Cronyism under the Zuma administration has sunk the stock market and the currency, causing a political crisis. With the recent resignation of Zuma and the instatement of Cyril Ramaphosa as President, the country appears to be at a crossroads. Will a change in leadership be enough to improve the country's economic and social situation? Can the country regain its competitiveness?
In this course, we will study the opportunities and challenges of doing business in South Africa. An understanding of South Africa’s extraordinary history, its politics and institutions (its labor markets, the powerful unions, the broad-based black economic empowerment, the role of the ruling political party ANC) is a pre-requisite for this. With this background knowledge in place, the main focus of the class will be on how individual firms “do business” in a developing economy such as South Africa. How do firms succeed in Africa? How do they overcome the structural and institutional challenges? Our aim is to cover a wide slice of the South African economy and industry sectors, from tourism and the wine industry, to banking, mining, services and its budding entrepreneurs. The course will travel to Johannesburg and Cape Town March 16-23, 2019.
Global Immersion Program classes bridge classroom lessons and business practices in another country. These three credit classes meet for half a term in New York prior to a one week visit to the country of focus where students will meet with business executives and government officials while working on team projects. Upon return from the travel portion of the class, students may have one wrap up meeting at Columbia Business School. The 2018-2019 Global Immersion Program fee for most classes is $1850 and provides students with double occupancy lodging, ground transportation and some meals; unless an increased fee is otherwise specified in the course description. It does not cover roundtrip international airfare. Attendance both in New York and in-country and regular participation are a crucial part of the learning experience and as such attendance is mandatory. Students who miss the first class meeting may be removed from the course. No program fee refunds will be given after the add/drop period has closed. Please visit the Chazen Institute website to learn more about the Global Immersion Program, and visit the Global Immersion Policies page to review policies affecting these courses.
Eli Ginzberg Professor of Finance and Economics
Wouter Dessein is the Eli Ginzberg Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School. He served as chair of the Economics division from 2017 until 2021 and as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization from 2013 until 2019. He is also an Associate Editor of the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics. Dessein's research interests center on the economics of organizations: the allocation...