Trevor Manuel


Honorary Professor, University of Cape Town. Former Minister of Finance, South Africa


“This generation, our generation of people who benefited, must always be the pioneers who look to younger people and say mediocrity is not accommodated in what we do.” 

Trevor Manuel, who served in the South African government as Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, during the presidencies of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, and subsequently as Minister in the Presidency under President Jacob Zuma, will be the first plenary speaker at the Global Evidence Summit in September in Cape Town.

During his two decades as a Cabinet Minister, Trevor Manuel also served as a Member of Parliament, representing the African National Congress.

His career highlights include major social and economic developments within the South African economy. As Minister of Trade and Industry, he led the process of reintegrating South Africa into the global economy after decades of sanctions and disinvestment. He introduced extensive support measures for small, medium and micro-enterprises to boost local economic development and grow business enterprise.

As Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, he also oversaw the drafting of the broadly-accepted and first National Development Plan for the country.

Mr Manual has held leadership positions within a several international bodies, including the United Nations Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the G20, the African Development Bank and the Southern African Development Community.

He has been internationally recognised for his accomplishments within social and economic development, and holds eight honorary doctorates from South African tertiary institutions in a range of disciplines including Commerce, Law and Technology as well as a Doctor of Laws from McMaster University, Ontario Canada.

Currently, he is an Honorary Professor in the School of Development Policy & Practice at the University of Cape Town where he is also a Senior Political Fellow, and Professor Extraordinaire at the University of Johannesburg.