National Institute for Economic Policy

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National Institute for Economic Policy - in its early days this group was known as the Macro Economic Research Group.

"The concept of an economic policy for South Africa evolved out of the ANC's Department of Economic Policy, which was established in 1986 and based in Zambia. A number of conferences were held which resulted in the ANC's first Economic Policy Draft Discussion Document. At this time the ANC was the only political party in South Africa, which had an Economic Policy Document for discussion. After the unbanning of the ANC, it was felt that the ideas presented in the Economic Policy Document needed further investigation. Out of these investigations, two recommendations emerged:

  • That an immediate start be made on the creation and operation of a Macro-Economic Research Group (MERG), and
  • That an independent national institute be created to undertake economic policy research, education and training.

"The Macroeconomic Research Group (MERG) was set up in late 1991 by the African National Congress to formulate a macroeconomic policy for a democratic South Africa. Dr Vella Pillay was appointed to its Economic Policy Advisory Group � a peer group of economists to assess the research being undertaken by the Group. In December 1992, Dr Pillay was invited to co-ordinate and direct the work of MERG. Given the early prospects for a general election based on universal suffrage and hence the need for a policy framework on the economy, Dr Pillay redirected the role of MERG into preparing such a policy framework, organised two major sets of workshops having the purpose of preparing the documentation and discussing these within the democratic movement and with the participation of researchers and economists from universities and other institutions in the country and from abroad. An editorial team was organised to pull together the relevant research and produce a coherent and unified economic policy framework. This was published in December 1993, under the title Making Democracy Work.

"The National Institute for Economic Policy (NIEP) was established in December 1993, as the successor to MERG. Mr Max Sisulu was appointed as its first Executive Director. Building on the critical foundation work undertaken by MERG, the NIEP has emerged as a key agency in shaping the economic research and policy agenda in the new South Africa. With the dawning of democracy, the NIEP itself is undergoing a transformation and implementation of economic policies designed to positively impact the reconstruction and development of South Africa." [1]

Funding (in 2002)

"NIEP activities are funded from two sources: income from commissioned research and international donor support. Its current research and capacity building programmes are partially funded by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)." [2]

Associates (in 2000)

Accessed April 2008: [3]


Web: (no longer works)

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Internet Archive (2002), accessed April 5, 2008.
  2. About, Internet Archive (2002), accessed April 5, 2008.
  3. Associates, Internet Archive (2000), accessed April 5, 2008.