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The past few months have been good ones for economists who want to influence government policy and not just analyse or criticise it. In November, President Cyril Ramaphosa called in a select group of about 20 economists to seek their views on what should be done to lift the economy out of its growth slump. In December, finance minister Tito Mboweni followed up with an Economic Colloquium of almost 60 economists, sector experts and officials, which also included economic development minister Ebrahim Patel, trade & industry minister Rob Davies and Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago. A third round is planned for next weekend, just before "Team SA" sets off for the World Economic Forum at Davos, and just ahead of the cabinet lekgotla which will help to shape Ramaphosa's February 7 state of the nation address, as well as of Mboweni's budget speech later in the month.The urgency, it seems, is because the president needs a few compelling things to say about what government is going to...

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