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Trudi Makhaya was first asked to be Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic adviser in 2014, back when he was deputy president. "At the time I was starting a business and keen to start a family, [and I knew that] raising a child would be a journey," says Makhaya. So she declined. In April 2018, newly appointed president Ramaphosa resumed the conversation. This time Makhaya "didn’t even think of saying no". Her daughter was two and she’d learnt how to juggle work and family. Besides, the political climate was exciting. "There was so much optimism; I felt a duty to my country." She has two degrees from Oxford and plenty of private and public sector experience. It’s clear Ramaphosa saw her as a new broom. His plan to attract $100bn in investment to the country coincided with her appointment. In October she spearheaded the inaugural SA Investment Conference where almost $20bn was pledged. She also ushered in the recently announced SA Infrastructure Fund. Makhaya’s interest in economics was piqued wh...

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