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Wits finalists dominate budget speech competition

- Wits University

Wits University once again leads with the highest number of finalists in the Nedbank Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition.

Nearly half of the budding economists shortlisted to win the prestigious competition are from the Wits School of Economic and Business Sciences. Witsies have managed to secure eight out of the 20 positions in the challenge while the second closest university has four finalists. View the list of finalists.

This year the essay questions centered around two socially relevant issues: Undergraduate students were required to look at problems in the education sector while postgraduate students had to consider the feasibility of National Health Insurance (NHI) for South Africa.

“The undergraduate question definitely hit a nerve with students in the wake of the #FeesMustFall campaign, especially given the daily frustrations that the majority of students face accessing affordable tertiary education. The postgraduate question is of no less importance as so many South Africans lack access to affordable health services,” say Wits academics Lyndal Keeton and Nimisha Naik.

“In a tough competition, which students from all tertiary education institutions in South Africa can enter, we are very proud of the eight finalists, four in each category. Our finalists have demonstrated that Wits Economics students are ready to engage with the tough social and economic issues that our society faces and to help find solutions that can benefit the lives of all South Africans,” add the academics, who kept the motivation levels of the students high during their research and writing process.

The winners of each category will be announced in February 2017 after the national budget speech at a banquet attended by economists and finance industry captains. About R300 000 is up for grabs in the postgraduate category and R120 000 in the undergraduate category.

Launched in 1972, the competition has unearthed some of the country’s young talent and paved the way for lucrative networks and opportunities for the budding economists.