College of Economic & Management Sciences

Globally impactful research recognised

Over the last decade, the field of financial sector development has become a large and vigorous research area. “I have contributed by exploring a range of emerging markets, particularly in China, Hong Kong, and Africa, and have contributed to macro growth literature,” says Dr Sin-Yu Ho, a senior lecturer in Unisa’s Department of Economics in the College of Economic and Management Sciences (CEMS). Ho boasts a C2 rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF), clear recognition that her studies are broadly relevant to emerging and developing economies.

Dr Sin-Yu Ho (College of Economic and Management Sciences: Unisa)

Ho says: “Although development economics and finance are some of the largest fields in economics, there are numerous important topics yet to be studied thoroughly as the global economy undergoes a transition to a virtual economy. The field provides insights for future developments in the economy, especially after changes brought about by the recent COVID-19 pandemic and by political uncertainty in the world.”

In their reports, the NRF reviewers state that they consider Ho as a well-established mid-career researcher with some international recognition in the field of financial sector development. She remarks: “They agreed that my research findings can be informative also to policy makers in various countries. The rating allows me to expand my research capacities in terms of research funding, and collaboration opportunities with domestic and international scholars. It also opens the way to serving as a reviewer and editor in internationally accredited journals.”

An impressive track record in research output

The NRF reviewers agree that Ho has achieved an impressive research output over the period of 2012-19, publishing 21 articles. These articles are mostly related to the common theme of understanding the determinants of important macroeconomic indicators such as GDP per capita and stock market development in some Asian and African economies. “They referred to the contribution that I have made by means of my publications to the field of financial sector development, the awards I have won, and my growing citation counts in Google Scholar,” she says. “Over the period of 2012-19, I have published in quality journals that have an impact factor of two and above, and are regarded as competitive in the field of economics.”

Growing her research interest

One of Ho’s current research projects investigates the impact of trade openness on financial development in 43 sub-Saharan African countries, and the Journal of Developing Areas will publish the paper later this year. She says: “I am also currently conducting research on how global uncertainty in the form of, among others, stock market, foreign exchange market and inflation influences, exchange rate returns and volatility in a group of African countries.”

She says: “One of my future focuses would be to review all the research that I have conducted and identify a set of macroeconomic factors or policies that are common or present in a set of African and Asian countries. I would then develop a research framework for a comparative study.” Ho’s goal is to contribute to the understanding of applied macroeconomics in Asian and African countries.

According to Ho, the COVID-19 pandemic also presents a unique environment for her to investigate its impact on the economy. “One of my recent works examines the financial consequences of rising global investor attention or risk attitude related to the pandemic for African stock markets,” she says. “Another recent work examines the nature of the exchange rate exposure before and during the pandemic in the South African stock market.”

In conclusion, Ho says that she feels honoured to receive an NRF research rating. “This rating,” she says, “not only serves as a recognition of my research, but also motivates me to strive to be an exemplary scholar in my field of study.”

*By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2021/05/11