He grew up in South Africa and has an BA from the University of Toronto and a PhD from the University of Manitoba in Canada, both in Economics. He was an activist in the anti-apartheid movement in Canada and South Africa. He has been an adviser to President Mbeki in South Africa and a consultant for several UN and other multilateral agencies. He has written extensively on South African economics and politics, on investment between Asia and Africa, on global value chains in manufacturing and agro-processing, and on the financial services sector. He has taught economics, political science and development studies at universities in South Africa, Canada, the US and Switzerland. He established and ran The EDGE Institute, an independent research organisation in Johannesburg, and has also worked at the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the World Trade Institute in Bern, Switzerland.