The IEJ is a Progressive Economics
Think Tank based in South Africa.

We provide rigorous economic analysis designed to arm policy-makers and the public with progressive policy options to combat the scourge of poverty, underdevelopment, and inequality in South Africa, the region and the continent.

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REFA Festival 2020

October 1, 2020Event Videos, Past Events, IEJ

Rethinking Economics for Africa (REFA) organises an annual event called the REFA Festival. This year, the REFA Festival’s theme was “practical action towards a pluralist economics curriculum”. The Festival has also come at a...


In The Media

About IEJ

The IEJ’s core objective is to provide policymakers and progressive social forces in South Africa with access to rigorous economic analysis, and well thought through policy options, as a basis for advancing systemic change.

By acting as a research and policy hub, the IEJ builds links between the research community and the labour movement, progressive civil society and activist organisations, and elements within the state and business. Our research agenda is developed in an ongoing collaboration with these social partners, and the project outputs are made accessible and appropriate for policy work. In South Africa, such an organic relationship between an economics research institute and organisations with a mass constituency is unique.

We're hiring: Communications and Advocacy Manager.

Deadline for applications is 24 September 2021.

For more details about the position and on how to apply visit our website here:

“The SRD grant system hurts poor people instead of helping them. It gives us hope that we’ll eat again, then takes it away in a bureaucratic mess.”

Those who argue for the wonders of means-testing are never those who are subjected to them

“Social security is at the heart of social democracies. Social security policies provide options to balance competing interests and determine how the costs and surpluses in any society are allocated.”

RECAP: REFA Festival 2021 Recordings and Presentations -The 2021 Rethinking Economics For Africa Festival was a smashing success! In case you missed it, or want to watch the sessions again, see our newsletter here

“According to Stats SA, each South African needs at least R624 a month to afford the minimum amount of food required to survive every day.”
“The child support grant is now about 25% below the poverty line.”

Have you done research on social protection in Africa? And got some interesting results regarding social protection and state-citizen relations? See our call for papers 👇

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Our projects aim to advance social justice, promote equitable economic development that realises socio-economic rights, and ensure a thriving, democratic, environmentally sustainable, and inclusive economy that places the needs of the majority at the centre.


The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a massive blow to the global economy and is plunging South Africa’s economy deeper into recession.

Budget Justice, Tax Justice and Alternatives to Austerity

 Contributing to an anti-austerity politics and just tax system, in South Africa and the continent.

Challenging Economic Orthodoxies in Africa

Contributing to a vision and concrete proposals for inclusive economies on the continent.

Climate Justice

Transforming our economy to address the climate emergency while ensuring a just transition which protects workers and communities.

Decent Minimum Wages in South Africa and the Region

Working towards fair, just and liveable wages in South Africa and across the continent.

Economics and Human Rights

Advocating for a human rights based approach for a just economy which serves the interests of the general public.

Feminist Economics

Training economists in the subdiscipline of feminist economics.

Finance for Development

Exploring the role and limits of private sector involvement in meeting infrastructural needs in South Africa and Africa and the role of state-owned enterprises.

Macroeconomic Policy for Development and Employment

Research supporting the labour movement to table macroeconomic policy alternatives, and research for the ILO on pro-employment macroeconomic policies in Africa.

Rethinking Economics

Supporting a movement for a more relevant and inclusive economics discourse; promoting curriculum reform; promoting economic literacy and engagement with alternatives.