Rhodes>ISER>People >Staff >Prof Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha, BA (Hons) Rhodes, MA(Rhodes), PhD (Rhodes)

ISER Director's Profile


Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha


BA in Political Studies, Economics and Applied Linguistics

MA (Economics)

PhD (Economics)  

Prof. CN Mbatha is the current Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University, after acting as Dean and CEO at the Unisa School of Business Leadership in early 2020. In 2015 he was the first Director of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) - Regional Leadership Centre in Southern Africa (RLCSA), an initiative by the former US President, Barack Obama. Mbatha was also Chief Research Manager and Head of the Labour Markets Research Unit (LMRU) at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) from 2012 to 2013, before becoming Head of Finance and Economics at Unisa's Business School. Before joining Unisa in 2009 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics he was a Senior Lecturer at Rhodes University’s Department of Economics and Economic History, where he taught undergraduate and post graduate courses in Environmental Economics, Public Finance, Microeconomics, Development Economics. At Unisa’s Business School he taught macro and microeconomics for business leaders and managers.  He actively conducts research on natural resources management, including research on South Africa’s land and water laws, agricultural economics and land reform projects across the African continent. His other research interests include topics on the interface of labour markets and skills development. In the last 15 years he has been a senior research consultant on topics including Public Finances Management, Labour Markets & Further Education and Training, International and Regional Trade Integration for numerous government departments and research councils in South Africa as well as for international donor organisations like the UNDP in Botswana and the World Trade Organisation.  


Mbatha, CN. Livestock production and marketing for small emerging farmers in South Africa and Kenya: comparative lessons. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension. Vol 49 No. 1 2021: 141-161. 

Mbatha CN, 2019. Diversification in Production and Marketing Strategies for Higher Returns on farmlands located in a coastal and tourist district of Kenya: lessons for RSA’s land reform projects in similar locations. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. Vol 8 (1)-2019.   

Mbatha CN, 2019. South Africa and USA trade: What are the scenarios beyond the “Africa Growth and Opportunity Act’ (AGOA for South Africa’s wine exports and the wine tourism sector? African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Vol 8 (3)-2019. 

Mbatha CN, 2017. How to Understand, Evaluate and Influence Efficient Progress in South Africa’s Land Reform Process: A Typology from Historical Lessons from Selected Sub-Saharan African Countries. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences. Vol 20.1: 1-21

Muchara B and Mbatha NC. 2016. Role of institutional Innovations on Smallholder Agricultural Entrepreneurship in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Journal of Human Ecology (J Hum Ecol) Volume 55 (1.2):41-50, 2016.

Mbatha NC and Muchara B. 2015. Slow progress in South Africa’s Land Reform Process: Fear of Property Rights and Free Markets? Journal of Green Economy and Development, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2015.

Mbatha CN and Roodt J. 2014. Recent internal migration and labour market outcomes: Exploring the 2008 and 2010 National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) panel data in South Africa.  South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences Vol 17, No. 5. 

Mbatha CN and Antrobus GG. 2013. Institutions and Economic Research: A case of Location Externalities on Agricultural Resource Allocation in the KRV, South Africa – A Rejoinder. Agrekon Vol 52 (2):135-145.   

Mbatha CN & Gustaffson M, 2013. The Standard Error of Regressions: A note on New evidence in African Agricultural Economics. The Journal of Agricultural Economic Research and policy: March 2013 Agrekon Vol 52 (1)

Mbatha CN, &  G.G Antrobus, 2012. Cooperative Benefits in Land Redistribution on sugarcane farms. Agrekon 51(4) 2012 Journal of Agricultural Economic Policy and Research.

Mbatha CN, 2011. The Relevance of the European Union- South Africa trade and the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) from a Perspective of South Africa’s Agricultural Exports between 1997 and 2008. Agrekon, Vol 50 December.

Mbatha, C.N. & Antrobus, G.G.  2010. Price Premiums in the Land Redistribution Process: A case of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal Sugarcane farms, Agrekon. Vol 49 (2) 90-106.

Mbatha, CN & Antrobus, G.G., 2010. Physical and political obstacles to economic development: A case of the Kat River Valley. The International Open Geography Journal, 3:257-268.

Mbatha, C.N., 2009: Cliff, E.M. (2009) Review: How language is used to do business: essays on the Rhetoric of Economics. Journal of Cultural Economics. 33:151-155.

Mbatha, C.N. & Charalambides, N., 2008.  What is Really in the Economic Partnership Agreements for the Southern African region? A perspective from Botswana’s Beef Export Markets. Agrekon. Vol 47, 4:410-433.

Mbatha, C.N. & Antrobus G.G., 2008. Institutions and Economic Research: A case of Location Externalities on Agricultural Resource Allocation in the KRV, South Africa. Agrekon. Vol 47 (4):470-492.

Mbatha CN and V Reddy, 2019.  Mid-high school certificate is a game changer for South Africa. The Conversation [https://theconversation.com/mid-high-school-certificate-is-a-game-changer-for-south-africa-124927].

Mbatha CN. 2018. Kenyan Model shows how to support farmers. Farmers Weekly 2018 (18040) 6-7.

Wildschut A and Mbatha NC. 2016. History and the Economy matters for artisanal skills planning. Labour Market Intelligence Project (LMIP) Policy Brief 17. HSRC.

Mbatha CN, 2013. Relationships Drive Success in the land redistribution process. The Human Science Review Volume (HSRC) 11:1

Mbatha CN, 2015. Rushing Land Reforms only slows it down. The Mail & Guardian. [Available online: http://mg.co.za/author/nhlanhla-mbatha]

Towards Understanding the Distinctive Nature of Artisan Training: Implications for Skills Planning in South Africa. macroeconomics lens. 2014, LMIP Report No. 2. Human Sciences Research Council.  Available online lmip.org.za

Impact of global recession on the KZN economy: A study for the Department of Economic Development and eThekwini municipality, 2010. Imani Development

United Nations Development Report for Botswana, 2008. Chapter Contribution: Links between Open Trade and Poverty Reduction. with Nick Charalambides

Provincial Poverty Profiles and Public Capacity to Alleviate Poverty in South Africa, 2008. A report in collaboration with the HSRC for the National Development Agency, NDA.

An historical presentation of the evolution and effects of political and business institutions on agricultural irrigation schemes: a report to the Water Research Commission. 2006.     

Business partnerships in irrigation agriculture: investigating the institutional environment in which they are initiated: A report to the Water Research Commission. 2005. A case study of the Hertzog Agricultural Cooperative (HACOP), in the former Ciskei homeland, Eastern Cape (1994-2006). A report to the Water Research Commission (Jan 2006).          

Some news opinions/analyses:

Farmers Review Africa : Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future https://www.farmersreviewafrica.com/commentary/2019/08/14/land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future/

The Daily Maverick:http://bit.ly/2lnlRWu Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future

AllAfrica.com: http://bit.ly/2lTsP5W Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future

Bizcommunity.com: http://bit.ly/2kc5hc6 Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future

SABC news broadcast discussion: SA-US AGOA trade issues June 2019 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOKwAFbjza0]

SAfm Moneyweb discussion: Challenges SA's wine sector wil face when Agoa falls away [https://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-radio/challenges-sas-wine-sector-will-face-when-agoa-falls-away/]

The Dailymaverick: Land reform report is big on historical context, sketchy on the future [https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-08-15-land-reform-report-is-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future/#gsc.tab=0]

Agoa Benefits of critical value for SA [https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-star-south-africa-late-edition/20190612/281736975961464]


Memberships (Past and Present):

Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA)

Agricultural Economics of Southern Africa (AESA)

International Atlantic Economic Society (IAES) 





Last Modified: Thu, 17 Feb 2022 12:41:19 SAST