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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Cornell academic focuses on international trade in inaugural lecture at the UFS
2013-11-12

 
Prof Muna Ndulo
Photo: Stephen Collett
12 November 2013

Prof Muna Ndulo, Professor at the Cornell Law School, delivered his inaugural lecture as Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Mercantile Law at the University of the Free State (UFS). The topic of his lecture was: Facilitating regional and world trade through international trade.

With this topic, Prof Ndulo said that trade is a recognised contributor to the Growth Domestic Product of countries and its role can be used to reduce global poverty and inequality. “Although Africa’s GDP is 5-6% on average, with a positive increase in direct foreign investments, its meaningful participation in world trade has been decimal,” he said.

Trade between African countries is 12%, which is the lowest in the world. This is in comparison to intercontinental trade in European states (72%), North America (48%), Asia (52%) and 26% in Latin America. The EU and USA are Africa’s key export markets. High transport costs, import substitution, intra-regional transactions, conflict of rules and bills of exchange remain as challenges. There are also no common standards with regards to the development of manpower as an important factor in production.

Prof Ndulo suggested solutions which Africa can use to achieve harmonisation. This includes the introduction of normative rules designed in a framework of a treaty. A modern law approach could be used to develop legislation and ensure uniformity; and lastly, the formulation of commercial customs and practice. “Harmonisation demands a high level of expertise and quality research,” said Prof Ndulo.

He added: “When legislation is developed, it must resemble the needs of our trade laws in order to maximise benefits.”

He concluded that, for harmonisation to be achieved, the political environment must play a major role in regional and world trade.

Prof Elizabeth Snyman-Van Deventer, Head of the Department of Mercantile Law, made sincere closing remarks on how much we as a continent have become an enemy of our own self by not having trade relationships among ourselves as Africans. Prof Snyman urged those in the legal fraternity to be part of the harmonisation of trade laws and eliminate the barriers by improving legislation.

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