The past decade has seen a growing consensus re-emerging on the importance of industrialisation, as well as on the relatively poor performance of African countries in this regard, including South Africa. To better understand the challenges of industrialisation, the Industrial Development Think Tank (IDTT) was established in 2017 at UJ under an MoU with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The IDTT is housed in CCRED, in partnership with the SARChI Chair in Industrial Development, and supported by the DTI. The IDTT will build on existing research undertaken by CCRED and the SARChI Chair in order to provide analysis and advice, build capacity and inform the wider debate on industrialisation.


Governance of the IDTT is exercised through a Project Steering Committee (PSC) that is convened and chaired by a representative of the DTI. The PCS considers and approves research priorities, allocates and approves budgets, considers and approves reports, and provides overall guidance to the work of the IDTT. The PSC consists of the following members: 

  • Nimrod Zalk: Chairperson and Industrial Development Policy and Strategy Advisor, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Stephen Hanival: Chief Economist, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Garth Strachan: Deputy Director-General: Industrial Development Policy, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Ilse Karg: Chief Director for Future Production Technologies & Industry 4.0, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Fiona Tregenna: South African Research Chair (SARChI Chair) in Industrial Development, and Professor in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg
  • Simon Roberts: Executive Director, Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development, and Professor in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg


The IDTT’s multi-year industrial development research examines structural transformation of the South African economy, with emphasis on diversification, value-addition and employment-stimulating industrialisation of the sub-region. 

The work programme in the first year is anchored by an overview study on post-apartheid structural transformation. This involves an overview paper and three separate industry studies. The selection of the industry studies include: a sector where policy has been largely within the purview of the DTI (auto); an industrial grouping where interventions stretch across minerals, energy (metals) and manufacturing (metals and machinery); and, a grouping which covers the links from agriculture through manufacturing to retail (agro-processing and food). 

The overview study, therefore, combines an analysis of the structure of manufacturing in South Africa, including an analysis of linkages, productivity and capabilities, and how these have evolved over time, with three detailed case studies of industrial policy. 

Knowledge base

The work of the IDTT builds on previous projects undertaken by CCRED that are directly relevant to structural transformation and industrial development. 


This study focuses on assessing the impact and effectiveness of government interventions for industrialisation focusing on the orientation and interests of large firms and their decisions, strategies and responsiveness to government interventions.



This project seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the economy of Johannesburg and the ways in which City of Johannesburg can best use the tools at its disposal to drive the city towards an inclusive, job-intensive, resilient and competitive economy.