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Isaah Mhlanga appointed as RMB's Chief Economist

Isaah Mhlanga appointed as RMB's Chief Economist
31-01-23 / Tommy Jackson

Isaah Mhlanga appointed as RMB's Chief Economist

Johannesburg - Isaah Mhlanga has been appointed as Chief Economist at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) from 1 July 2023. He will join as Markets' Head of Research on 1 February. In addition to his role as Head of Research, on 1 July Mhlanga will take over Ettienne Le Roux's responsibilities as RMB Chief Economist. Le Roux and Mhlanga will work together during this period to ensure a smooth handover. Le Roux will be joining FirstRand Treasury on 1 July.

Mhlanga joins from Alexander Forbes where he was Executive Chief Economist.

RMB CEO Emrie Brown said: "Many of the economies that our clients operate in, are experiencing challenging times. It is therefore key for us to have a top economist like Isaah as part of the team to offer our clients valuable insights to inform their strategies."

In taking up this role, Mhlanga said his focus will be to reposition RMB's Markets Research team as an integral value-add to both the bank's institutional and corporate clients in South Africa, Broader Africa, India, the UK, and the US.

Says Mhlanga: "Expected recessions in major economies and trading partners presents a challenging backdrop for South Africa's economic prospects, which have already been dimmed by economic policy inertia, persistent load-shedding, and high unemployment and poverty levels. 

He adds that rising global interest rates present fiscal and balance of payments funding challenges for some of RMB's markets on the broader African continent. Climate change also continues to have an ever rising and disruptive impact on human settlements, coastal infrastructure and prices, all of which will need enhanced efforts to understand how they will impact clients' businesses over the long-term.

"RMB Markets Research's efforts will continue to bring insights that assist our clients navigate the highly uncertain times we are currently witnessing while highlighting opportunities presented to grow their business," says Mhlanga.

Mhlanga has more than a decade industry experience spanning both public and private sector. He started his professional career as an economist at the International Monetary Fund's regional office in Pretoria and then moved to the National Treasury's economic policy unit. His private sector experience spans roles as an economist at ABSA and RMB, where he was responsible for macroeconomic strategy and forecasting, before he joined Alexander Forbes as Executive Chief Economist. Mhlanga has also lectured undergraduate economics and econometrics at the University of Johannesburg.

He is a trustee of Study Trust and a non-executive board member of Kutlwanong, both of which are non-profit organisations specialising in the education sector. 

Mhlanga, who holds an M. Com in Financial Economics from the University of Johannesburg, is also a Fellow of the Economic Research Southern Africa (ERSA) and a columnist for the Business Day and Sunday Times, where he writes on fiscal policy, monetary policy, financial markets, and investments. He was named Economist of the year 2019 by the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP).

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