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Ayabonga Cawe


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Ayabonga is the Managing Director of Xesibe Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a company involved in advisory, facilitation and content development across a wide range of fields. He is an author of the book "The Economy on Your Doorstep" and writes a regular column for the Business Day.

He also recieved the 'Prof Thandika Mkandawire Prize for Outstanding Young Scholars in African Political Economy.


- Keynote Address for a Public Health Focused Non-Profit

- Podcast Host for an Investment Company and Development Agency

- Panel Moderator at a Business School Seminar

- Presented Insights to the Board of a Listed Mining Company on Executive Remuneration Policy

Ayabonga is a Johannesburg-based development economist, author, columnist and activist.

He is the Chief Commissioner of the International Trade Administration Commission of South

Africa and a regular column writer for Business Day. He is a part-time Special Advisor to

Minister Patel at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and has previously

worked as Economic Justice Manager at Oxfam South Africa (OZA) working on policy advocacy

and research. Ayabonga is a former Associate Consultant at Dalberg Global Development

Advisors, a global development strategy consulting and policy advisory firm and the recipient

of the 2022 Prof Thandika Mkandawire Prize for Outstanding Young Scholars in African

Political Economy.

He has experience in economic research, policy and supply chain analysis, labour markets,

advocacy and development program design. He has participated in a wide range of research,

advisory and policy engagements on development issues in agriculture, inequality, urban

design and labour market policy. His international experience on issues of sustainability and

business includes conducting primary research with farmer organisations in Indonesia, for a

multilateral client. He has also conducted primary research in Nigeria, for a market entry

strategy on behalf of a global pharmaceuticals manufacturer. Ayabonga sat on the National

Minimum Wage Advisory Panel appointed by the Deputy President and Nedlac in 2016, which

advised on the R20/hour proposal and the VAT zero-rating review panel, tasked by the

Minister of Finance in 2018, to consider the expansion of the list of food and non-food items

exempted from value-added tax. Ayabonga is a Presidential Economic Advisory Council

member, chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He is a Sessional Lecturer at the School of Economic and Business Sciences at Wits University

and holds an M. Com (Cum Laude) in Development Theory and Policy from Wits.

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