Willem Fourie is Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria. He has written widely in the public media on South Africa’s realisation of the SDGs, and has been invited to speak on the topic in South Africa and abroad. Since 2011, Willem has acted as expert advisor the African Union’s NEPAD Agency on issues related to development effectiveness. He was the lead author of the Africa Union Transformative Leadership Programme (AU-TLP), and he was closely involved with drafting the Africa Action Plan on Development Effectiveness.
Willem’s contribution to matters related to Africa’s medium- and long-term development priorities is enabled by his research on state and non-state actors’ role in accelerating development. His research initially focussed on the role of religious actors, and he conducted research on this topic at Stellenbosch University as well as at the University of Tübingen (2006), University of Bamberg (2008) and Humboldt University in Berlin (2008, 2012). He published numerous articles on matters related to the notion of ‘public theology’, focussing on religious actors’ engagement with the political sphere in general and development in particular. His interests later expanded to include the role of the private sector in driving socio-economic development, and he conducted research on this topic at the Nelson Mandela University’s Business School (Port Elizabeth) (2009).
Since his appointment at the University of Pretoria (2011), his research evolved to also include a focus leadership and development. At the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, he managed a large leadership research project on leadership in Africa, in collaboration with the Uongozi Institute in Tanzania. He has published on leadership and development, and notably co-authored the first extensive review of research on leadership in Africa.
Willem has published close to thirty peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and he authored a peer-reviewed monograph and edited a peer-reviewed collection of essays. He has received a number of research awards, notably an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship.
He also acts as Programme Director of the newly established Master’s in Development Practice. This innovative new postgraduate qualification is the first to equip participants with the multidisciplinary competences needed to implement complex development agendas such as the SDGs.
Selma Karuaihe is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria (UP). She is a resource and environmental economist with a vast, teaching, research and consultancy experience, performed at different institutions and in different capacities around the world. Selma’s professional career involves visiting lectureship at the University of Applied Sciences, Schmalkalden, Germany; Head of Economics Department at the University of Namibia (UNAM); Senior Economist at the Department of Economic Development, City of Johannesburg; and Senior Researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). Her interest is in development and issues arising from utilization of natural and environmental resources for sustainable development, with a focus on water. Selma has a sound understanding and knowledge of macro- and micro economics; data collection and analyses using various techniques. In her career, Selma coordinated various projects with public and private institutions, which produced policy relevant and academic based outputs.
During her time as Head of Economics at UNAM, Dr Karuaihe taught and supervised students, and one of her MSc student received the highest award for best thesis in 2008. Dr Karuaihe was responsible for mentoring and promoting junior researchers and academics as part of capacity building at UNAM and at the HSRC. This helped her strengthen her skills in managing multi-disciplinary groups.
During her time as Senior Economist, at the City of Johannesburg, Dr Karuaihe interacted with politicians and policy makers for the development of the city’s economy, as the country’s economic hub.
Dr Karuaihe’s international exposure started in the 1990s when she joined the Academic Board of the renowned African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), based in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of her duty at UNAM. In 2002, she was appointed as Visiting Lecturer for International Trade and Economic Integration at the Sixth International Summer School of the University of Applied Sciences, Schmalkalden, Germany. There she taught a cohort of students from different continents, such as: the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. To date, Dr Karuaihe is a Visiting lecturer of the AERC Collaborative Masters program offered by a network of 13 Universities.
Lebone Nkhumeleni is the SA SDG Hub’s Associate Co-ordinator. She is also a lecturer at the University of Pretoria specializing in Business Management and Strategy. Her background in business and non-governmental environments includes working with international NGOs focusing on human rights, active community citizenship particularly in facilitating corporates, governments and communities where social development is concerned. She previously lead strategic social investments, transformation and sustainability reporting initiatives at one of the Top 40 JSE listed companies.
Sa’diyah Ebrahim is Operations Manager for the South African SDG Hub. Sheholds a BCom Business Management cum laude (UP), a BCom Hons in Business Management (UP) and is currently a studying an MPhil Supply Chain Management (UP). She is passionate about supply chain management and fifinding solutions to sustainability and developmental concerns in Africa. This is reflflected in her academic research which focuses on integrating a firm’s sustainability strategies and practices with supply chain partners.
Isak van der Walt leads the SA SDG Hub’s team of developers. Under his guidance, they are exploring the potential of deep learning for improving the search function of the Hub. At the University of Pretoria, Van der Walt is the Digital Scholarship and MakerSpace Manager.
Associate: Private Sector
Zotha Zungu is responsible for developing SDG training and reporting solutions for the private sector. She is a graduate of the University of Florida in the United States with a masters in Sustainable Development Practice. She also earned a BA: International Relations and Diplomacy degree from the University of South Africa. Zotha has worked in local government international relations as well as with international development agencies and the private sector; consulting and advising on corporate social investment programs and strategies.
Associate: ML and AI
Hannes Strydom is responsible for improving the Hub’s search function by developing a tailored machine learning solution. He is also investigating the potential of Artificial Intelligence. Hannes did his undergraduate degree in biotechnology with the main focus on human genetics and biochemistry. His honours degree research project was on bioinformatics, attempting to streamline the process of genetic linkage map and genome integration. His Master’s project focuses on the possibility of creating a mathematical model to simulate the effects of a new pest control method.
Advisors to the South African Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub provide strategic input, particularly with regard to its usability and relevance. The following representatives from the South African government, development partners, academia and multilateral organisations act as advisors:
UNDP South Africa
Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation
Presidency of South Africa
Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership
University of Pretoria
USAID Southern Africa
Department of Science and Technology
UNDP South Africa
NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency
German Embassy, Pretoria
University of Pretoria
Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa