Prof Phillipe Burger

Prof Philippe Burger is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Pro-VC): Poverty, Inequality and Economic Development. This position aims to further the university’s strategic focus in improving economic development and reducing poverty and inequality in society, particularly in the city of Bloemfontein and the Free State province. 

As Professor of Economics and with his extensive background in the field, Prof Burger is favourably positioned to fulfil the demands of his role as Pro-VC. Prior to his appointment as Vice-Dean (Strategic Projects) of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences in 2019, he was Head of the Department of Economics at the UFS from 2002 to 2019 and acted as dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences from February 2018 to January 2019. 

Prof Burger authored Getting it right: A new economy for South Africa, during his time as Fulbright Exchange Scholar at the Centre for Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University in the USA during 2016/2017. He wrote three more books and numerous academic articles, and co-authored two International Monetary Fund (IMF) working papers. In 2009, he was a visiting scholar at the IMF and was seconded to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris several times. Prof Burger was President of the Economic Society of South Africa (2012-2014), co-authored a 20-year review of South African fiscal policy since 1994, and was one of the 20 participants in a roundtable meeting with President Ramaphosa in 2018 on how to get economic growth in South Africa on a higher growth trajectory. He was also a member of the South African Statistics Council and a Panel of Experts of the South African National Treasury.

Building on his previous work, the Pro-VC provides facilitative leadership to the Poverty, Inequality and Economic Development initiative, while strengthening research in this strategic field. A key role of the Pro-VC is to foster co-operation across faculties and identify multi-disciplinary engagement aimed at reducing poverty and inequality. This would entail, among others, that postgraduate students from multiple disciplines combine their research, leading to results that would stimulate entrepreneurship and the creation of new business start-ups. 

The success of such initiatives depends largely on creating a strong link between scholarship and society, ensuring that the research addresses community needs. Funds to support such initiatives will be raised through establishing and maintaining corporate and governmental relationships. Accordingly, the Pro-VC is an important point of contact between and among university faculties and external stakeholders in an aim to contribute to the alleviation of poverty, inequality, and unemployment. 

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