About the BER

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2023

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2017

The Director and Deputy-Director are responsible for the day-to-day running of the institute. The Director reports to the Dean: EMS.
The Governance Committee assists and supervises the BER management. The members of the committee are:

Ex officio:

  • Prof Ingrid Woolard Dean of Economic and Management Science (EMS)
  • Prof Johann Kirsten, BER Director
  • Mr Craig Lemboe, BER Deputy-Director (Secretary)
  • Ms Doris Viljoen, Acting Director of the Institute of Futures Research (IFR)

Appointed by the Dean for 2023-2024:

  • Prof Stan du Plessis, Chief Operating Officer, Stellenbosch University
  • Mr Andrew Donaldson, Former Deputy Director-General: National Treasury and Senior Research Associate, SALDRU, UCT
  • Prof Rachel Jafta, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University
  • Ms Chernay Johnson, Founder, The Papillion Affect
  • Prof Tania Ajam, professor in Public Policy, Economics and Finance at SPL

BER service offering at a glance

The BER strives to act as your “virtual” in-house economics department by staying in regular contact with clients through the distribution of data, in-depth comments on economic developments, regular forecast updates and our unique business and consumer survey data. An important feature of the service is the in-house, or virtual, economic presentations provided by a BER economist.

Clients have a choice between our comprehensive Macro Service that includes all the research done at the BER, and the Executive Service that is more limited in scope. Both services are 12-month subscription products with the Macro Service the flagship BER offering. Depending on client-specific needs, some customisation of the service is possible.

In addition to the Macro and Executive Service, the BER also offers a data subscription service called numBERs and a unique Building Cost Information Service.



BER celebrates it's 80-year anniversary.

Read the celebratory article in the Business Day here

Winner of the Media24 SA Economist of the Year competition for the first time (awarded for the most accurate macro forecasts during 2021).

The BER releases the Other Services survey results to the public for the first time (the survey was conducted since 2005).

BER launches its first mobile app.
BER celebrates its 75 year anniversary.

The BER takes over the Building Cost Information Service.

Prof Johann Kirsten appointed as Director.

BER celebrates its 70 year anniversary.

BER awarded the Reuters Economist of the year award for the fourth time (for 2013).

The BER moves back to Stellenbosch University’s campus.

BER awarded the Reuters Economist of the year award for the third time (for 2008).

A survey of building contractors and civil construction firms registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) was launched. BER won the Reuters Economist of the year award (for 2007).

The Economist Internship Programme for previously disadvantaged individuals commenced.

BER conducted a survey to measure the impact of HIV/Aids on business in South Africa. Asset managers and life insurers were added to round off the Financial Sector Survey.

A Retail and Investment Bank Survey was launched. The BER won the prestigious Reuters Economist of the year award.

The Inflation Expectation Survey launched in South Africa.

BER established itself as a full-scale economic consultancy business/service. The first Purchasing Managers Survey was launched in South Africa.

Prof Ben Smit appointed as Director.

Civil engineers added to the survey panel.

The BER hosted its first conference in Cape Town.

Architects and quantity surveyors were added to the survey panel.

Dr Ockie Stuart appointed as Director.

Prof Attie De Vries appointed as Director. An econometric model of the South African economy was developed to generate macro-economic forecasts.

The first quarterly model was estimated.

The BER develops its first annual model.

Consumer survey launched in South Africa. Refinement of the retail, wholesale and motor trade surveys.

Prof Jan Sadie appointed as Director.

Building contractors and sub-contractors were added to the survey panel and a Building Cost Index was started.

Publication of the first medium-term forecast.

“A survey of post-war economic conditions in the Union of South Africa” was published.

The first business surveys were conducted among manufacturers and retailers. Click here for an example of the very first survey publications (1955).

Research regarding the possibility of conducting a quarterly opinion survey of business conditions in the trade and manufacturing sectors commenced.

Second publication: “Economic Fluctuations in South Africa 1910 – 1949,” by J.C. du Plessis.

First publication “Industrial and Commercial Share price indices in South Africa,” by C.G.W. Schumann and A.E. Scheurkogel. The culmination of a project in which price indices for shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange were noted and compiled.

BER founded as an economic research institute attached to the University of Stellenbosch. Prof C.G.W. Schumann was appointed as the first BER Director and along with one researcher and part time assistance from lecturers and students, its work started.

Click here for more information

To independently generate, analyse and disseminate authoritative information on the South African economy in a user-friendly manner. Through:

Rigorous and evidence-based research

Attracting and retaining top talent

Being sustainable

The BER primarily focuses on the South African macro economy and selected economic sectors. It monitors and forecasts macroeconomic economic and sector trends, and identifies and analyses local and international factors that affect South African businesses.

The organisation has built up and continues to expand its business tendency surveys and macroeconomic forecasting capabilities. Both are used for analysing and projecting South African macroeconomic trends. The BER uses a variety of internationally accepted methodologies and econometric models for the generation and analysis of the data, as well as techniques developed specifically for the unique South African environment. Other activities include commissioned research, courses, conferences and training.

The BER's respected economic analysis and forecasting services are used by a wide range of clients, ranging from small to medium sized firms up to very large JSE listed companies, as well as public sector bodies and NGOs. Financial and investment companies, local and overseas banking groups, multilateral organisations and academic bodies, all make use of the impartial economic information available from the BER.

Although the BER is part of Stellenbosch University, it has to fully fund all its expenses (such as salaries, a university levy, office rent, travel costs and other) from the sale of forecasts, sponsorships and customised research.