Ayabonga Cawe Biography



Ayabonga is the Chief Commissioner of the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC). Trained as a development economist, Ayabonga has published widely in the areas of industrial policy, inequality, labour market policy, local government, and black economic empowerment. He is the author of The Economy on Your Doorstep: The political economy that explains why the South African economy ‘misfires’ and what we can do about it.

Over the last decade, he has been engaged in a series of landmark economic policy developments as a researcher and advisor. He sat on the National Minimum Wage Advisory Panel appointed by then Deputy President and Nedlac in 2016, which advised on the R20/hour national minimum wage proposal. He also sat on the VAT zero-rating review panel tasked by the South African Minister of Finance in 2018, to consider the expansion of the list of food and non-food items exempted from value added tax. He has also been involved in a team, alongside the Department of Employment and Labour and the ILO, developing the South African national employment policy.

Ayabonga is a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa. He also served as a part-time advisor to the South African Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel.

He is a Sessional Lecturer at the School of Economics and Finance at Wits University and a Board Member of the OR Tambo School of Leadership.

Ayabonga holds an M. Com (Cum Laude) in Development Theory and Policy from Wits.

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