Development Economist, Columnist. Radio Presenter and Activist
Ayabonga is a Johannesburg based development economist, author, columnist, broadcaster and activist. He is Managing Director of Xesibe Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a platform involved in advisory, facilitation and content development across a wide range of fields. He hosts MetroFMTalk on MetroFM, writes a regular column for Business Day and is a part-time Special Advisor to Minister Patel at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. Ayabonga has previously worked as Economic Justice Manager at Oxfam South Africa (OZA) working on policy advocacy and research. He has also worked as an Associate Consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, a global development strategy consulting and policy advisory firm.
He has experience in economic research, policy and supply chain analysis, labour markets, advocacy and development program design. He has taken part in a wide range of research, advisory and policy engagements on development issues in agriculture, inequality, urban design and labour market policy. His international experience on issues of sustainability and business includes conducting primary research with farmer organizations in Indonesia, for a multilateral client. He has also conducted primary research in Nigeria, for a market entry strategy on behalf of a global pharmaceuticals manufacturer. Ayabonga sat on the National Minimum Wage Advisory Panel appointed by the Deputy President and Nedlac in 2016, which advised on the R20/hour proposal and the VAT zero-rating review panel, tasked by the Minister of Finance in 2018, to consider the expansion of the list of food and non-food items exempted from value-added tax. Ayabonga is a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He is a Sessional Lecturer at the School of Economic and Business Sciences at Wits University and holds an M. Com (Cum Laude) in Development Theory and Policy from Wits.