Event Details

We host Dr Mariam Altman, national planning commissioner and convenor of Covid-19 Economists Group, as well as Mary Boyd, Shanghai director at the Economist Corporate Network to reflect on lessons that may be drawn from China's approach to restarting its economy and the most appropriate options for policy makers in South Africa to limit covid-related job losses and boost sustainable economic growth over the medium term.



  • Miriam Altman (Commissioner at National Planning Commission)

    Miriam Altman

    Commissioner at National Planning Commission

    A strategist, economist, and social activist who for many years was at the forefront of thinking about employment and is now exercised with how countries become ‘unstuck’ and get activated. She is a Commissioner in the National Planning Commission. In the first term, Miriam was a contributor to SA’s first National Development Plan. In this second term, she leads work on the economy, digital readiness, SOE performance and on education. Some of this work, on infrastructure delivery, state-owned enterprise performance. Miriam brought together the Covid-19 Economists Group to identify solutions aimed at mitigating social and economic effects of Covid-19. This involves improving an understanding of these impacts and more importantly identifying concrete responses. As a Director at Altman Advisory, she advises governments and companies in their economic and commercial strategies. As Chief of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs for the Telkom Group from 2013-2016, she crafted and orchestrated its turnaround from a company in decline to one with sustained improvements in company financials, regulatory matters, customer service and market repositioning. Miriam was Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa from 2002 to 2013. Passionate about the next generation, she recently launched YANDiSA in partnership with enke-Make Your Mark. YANDiSA aims to build the capacity of elected high school leaders to drive constructive institutional change starting with improving education outcomes in their own schools. Miriam has a BA in economics from McGill University, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in economics from the University of Manchester. She is a 4IR Professor of Practice at UJ, Adjunct Professor at UCT, and is associated with the Center for Emerging Markets at CEIBS in Shanghai, and at Tsinghua and Fudan University.

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  • Mary Boyd (Network Director, Shanghai of The Economist Corporate Network)

    Mary Boyd

    Network Director, Shanghai of The Economist Corporate Network

    Mary Boyd is responsible for programme development and client servicing in Shanghai. She also provides research and conceptual support on China for Economist Corporate Network programmes. Before joining the Economist Group Mary Boyd was in the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, serving on assignment in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and China (in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing). Since leaving government service she has researched and published on economic development and governance issues in China, and has undertaken consultancy work for the World Bank and other international institutions, as well as multinational companies. She has written for a number of Economist Intelligence Unit publications, including Country Report, China Hand and Business China. She co-authored the Economist Intelligence Unit report: Taking on the Competition: Domestic Companies in China. Ms Boyd has an MA (area studies) and an MSc (public policy and management) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and has also completed language studies at Nanjing University. Her research interests include local governance and decentralisation policies and public-sector reform.

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  • Herman Warren (Network Director, Africa of The Economist Corporate Network)

    Herman Warren

    Network Director, Africa of The Economist Corporate Network


    Herman Warren is The Economist Corporate Network’s Network Director for Africa. Herman works with corporate clients to provide insight and analysis on a range of topics related to the broad and specific African context, helping clients to prosper in one of the world's fastest growing and most dynamic economic zones. He regularly chairs and moderates events and delivers custom briefings to senior executives. Herman is the author of a number of white papers on infrastructure, financial and commercial developments in the region. Herman has previously worked as a management consultant with Bain & Company, started and run a successful mobile technology company and has held senior posts in both public- and private-sector corporations. Herman holds a BBA degree in Finance from Howard University.

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