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Research and Publications

The Mandela Institute understands the role of research institutes and centres of excellence in building capacity and providing specialist research services to the public, civil society and private sector. Academic research should complement and support policy formulation, development and evaluation to add value to the services offered by universities to the country. The Institute can harness the research capacity in the School of Law towards this objective.

The research and policy advisory services offered by the Institute are principally be in the following areas. However, depending on the needs of the public and private sector we can potentially offer research and policy consultants, advisory and commissioned research services in most of the areas of expertise of our School of Law and the Institute’s academics and researchers.

Current areas (including specific topics) of research focus and objectives are as follows:

1. Investment, Trade and Economic Law

To study and contribute towards the development of an informed trade and investment policy that makes South Africa competitive, while integrating with the SADC and regional economic policies. In this area we also track developments and trends on the impact of global law and policies on South Africa’s economic development.

2. Sustainability, Extractives and Good Governance

To study the impact of the extractive sector in relation to foreign direct investment, sustainability impacts, socio-economic development potential. Legal research and policy studies aim to promote transparency and accountability in the natural resources or extractives sector, to ensure that Africa benefits from the ongoing discovery of critical natural resources that could underpin economic growth. Research in this area covers quantitative regulations, trade and investment in resources and services, in the background of social, economic, cultural and environmental rights.

3. Biotechnology, Intellectual Property and Development

In this area we aim to study global regulatory framework for technology transfer and how Africa can benefit from its biological resources. The pharmaceutical industry is a growth industry and globalisation has opened up developing countries to global competition in the search for biological solutions to some of the persistent health challenges. South Africa and Africa needs to build capacity in the implementation of access and benefit sharing agreements (ABS) to ensure maximum benefit for countries that have biological resources. However the country’s laws must also sufficiently promote innovation and research and development through appropriate rights protection.

4. Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Development

To research continuously law and policy initiatives in South Africa on climate change, renewable energy, green economy and low-carbon development in context of global developments. Academic and policy research in this area is aimed at influencing legal developments and provide South Africa and African countries with capacity to shape the international obligations regarding mitigation, adaptation and low carbon development that response to African needs and priorities.

5. Corporate, Banking and Financial Services Regulation

In the wake of the global financial crises and global; regulatory reforms aimed at spearheading recovery, South Africa and Africa must direct efforts towards ensuring that the already strong banking and financial services regulatory frameworks are resilient, sensitive to local socio-economic imperatives while responding to global pressures. This research programme covers banking, company, pensions, and insurance law. The Institute seeks to o be at the forefront of policy research in these fields and to provide professionals and regulatory institutions in the sector with current updates and research on impact of regulation.

Critical cross cutting themes such as human rights, social and economic justice, environmental justice, and developmental implications of laws and policies in these areas are an integral part our research agenda.