DStv Channel 403 Friday, 19 April 2024

Winners Announced: Nedbank & Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition Celebrates Excellence


SPONSORED – The Nedbank & Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition, a prestigious annual event celebrating academic excellence and innovative thinking, proudly announces the winners of this year's challenge.

Recognising the brightest minds from across the nation, the competition has once again highlighted the significant contributions of both undergraduate and postgraduate students to economic discourse and policy development. With awards recognising outstanding essays that tackle complex socio-economic issues, this initiative continues to foster a generation of leaders poised to shape the future of South Africa’s economy.

The postgraduate students were tasked with presenting their insights on the concept of the "Just Energy Transition" and its potential ramifications on South Africa's economy. Their essays delved into the examination of whether this transition could act as a catalyst for the nation's economic growth agenda or whether it could present headwinds and ultimately fail to deliver the intended outcomes.

With aspirations of becoming a researcher, University of Johannesburg student Sandile Mbatha’s well-articulated essay secured him the coveted first place, along with an incredible prize of R150 000 in the postgraduate category.

Expressing his excitement following the announcement, Mbatha said “Winning the Nedbank & Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition shows how much I care about this subject. It makes me even more excited and determined to look closely at the country's economic problems and come up with innovative ideas to solve them. I am honoured to have my thoughts and voice recognised in this prestigious competition and by leading figures in the field.”

The Competition also recognised the outstanding essays presented by fellow participants, awarding second and third places to Ziyanda Magazi and Irshaad Mayet respectively. Their exceptional contributions have earned them prizes of R100 000 and R50 000.

In the undergraduate category, Hamzah Mia from Wits University emerged as the winner, earning himself the first prize of R60 000. Shuaib Mahomed from Wits University secured second place in the category, earning the prize of R40 000, while Paula Prinsloo, also from Wits University received the third-place honour, valued at R20 000.

In the undergraduate category, students were tasked with analysing the inflation dynamics in emerging markets from 2017 to 2022, focusing on the implications for monetary policy in South Africa.

Talking about his win, Mia said: "Winning the Nedbank & Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition is an indescribable feeling, a culmination of endless dedication, perseverance, and passion. In this moment, every sacrifice, every late night, and every setback feels worth it. It's a validation of not just my abilities, but also of the unwavering support and belief from my loved ones. Yet, amidst the overwhelming joy, I’m reminded of the journey's humbling lessons and the camaraderie shared with fellow competitors. Now, as I bask in the glow of success, I'm filled with gratitude for this opportunity and a readiness to embrace what lies ahead with newfound confidence and determination."

Over the past 52 years, the Competition has demonstrated Old Mutual and Nedbank’s commitment to intellectual rigour in pursuit of education and solving societal challenges. This competition is a key annual event and has already helped to fund future academic research by some of the country’s most influential economists, intellects, and business leaders.


“The essays continue to demonstrate outstanding academic prowess and innovative thinking, making this cohort of students champions of economic insight and societal progress,” said Old Mutual CEO Ian Williamson.

“We congratulate these exceptional young thought leaders for their commitment to applying their talent to help in solving complex and pressing socio-economic challenges facing our country,” says Nedbank CE Mike Brown.

The essays provide more than uniquely valuable insight into our most vexing challenges but also offer practical solutions for consideration by the country’s decision-makers, added Williamson.

Old Mutual and Nedbank support this annual competition as part of our commitment to being corporates that wish to make our mark in supporting the national agenda to reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality, which are our three most pressing challenges, he added.

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