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Prof Johan Fourie

Inaugural lecture:

May 17, 2022 @ 17:3018:30

Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences

South Africa’s Long Walk to Economic Freedom: A Personal Journey

Through the history of my family, the Fouries, I tell a story of South Africa’s economic development. From the arrival of Huguenot refugee Louis Fourie at the southern tip of Africa 333 years ago to the birth of my son Dawid Fourie in 2021, the Fouries shaped and were shaped by the economic, political and social changes of a country that took many wrong turns but, as I hope to show, also moved forward. Despite the gloomy outlook today, it is worth remembering that we live better lives than our ancestors could ever have imagined. But more work lies ahead to ensure that prosperity is shared by all.


Short biography

Johan Fourie is professor in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University where he teaches economic history to undergraduate and graduate students. Fourie joined the department in 2006 as Junior Lecturer. In 2012, he graduated with a PhD in Economic History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, which won the ‘Best Dissertation’ prize in Early Modern History at the World Economic History Congress in Kyoto in 2015. He received the Ken Sokoloff fellowship during his PhD studies.

Since 2015, Fourie has been coordinating the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa’s Past (LEAP), an interdisciplinary research unit within the Department of Economics. LEAP currently hosts two large projects. Fourie is Principal Investigator (PI) for the Biography of an Uncharted People project (2018–2022), an Andrew W. Mellon funded project, and co-PI (with Erik Green) on the Cape of Good Hope Panel project (2021–2026), a Riksbankens Jubileumsfond funded project.

Fourie has published more than 80 research papers in leading economics and economic history journals, including the Economic History Review, Explorations in Economic History and World Development. His 2019 paper with Dieter von Fintel in the Journal of Comparative Economics received the Montias award in 2020. Fourie is a founding member of the African Economic History Network, a former editor of Economic History of Developing Regions, a former president of the Economic History Society of Southern Africa and in July 2022 will join the Executive Committee of the International Economic History Association.

RSVP to this Inaugural Lecture



May 17, 2022

Organizer (event)

Amira Brown


Room 1046, Van der Sterr Building, Bosman Street, Stellenbosch
12 Bosman Street
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7600 South Africa
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Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences