“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” ― Assata Shakur

Busi Sibeko (aka Sbusisiwe)



Organisation / Company

Parliamentary Budget Office


As a finance analyst in the Parliamentary Budget Office, thirty-year-old Busi Sibeko’s work is primarily concerned with explaining what the budget means for the average South African. Her job is to provide independent and objective analysis and advice to parliament on bills presented by the executive, and any other documentation or reports with fiscal implications. Her area of focus is fiscal policy — expenditure and revenue analysis. By analysing real per capita trends in spending, which take into account the needs of the population, population growth and inflation, she shows the budget’s real effect on South Africans. In addition, Busi is responsible for revenue analysis — explaining the effect of tax proposals on income and wealth redistribution as well as the broader economy. She is part of parliament’s Gender and Women Rights Forum. Busi wants to use her qualifications and experience to boost socio-economic development in South Africa and on the rest of the continent. “We all deserve to live in a just and equitable society,” she says. Busi is juggling being a full-time employee and a full-time doctoral student — she is working towards a PhD in applied development economics.


Bachelor of Science in Economics, Duke University.
MSc in the Political Economy of Development, SOAS, University of London.


In 2020, I was invited to be a panellist on a roundtable by a series of renowned economists on Rebirthing the Global Economy to Deliver Sustainable Development by the United Nations secretary general. Covid-19 posed new questions for economic policymakers around the world and provided an opportunity to rethink the way that macroeconomic policies are designed. It also induced a high demand for voices from scholars from the Global South, such as myself. What I learnt is that we must always be prepared to take a seat at the table, that intersectional and marginalised voices are needed in these spaces and that you are never too small in the greater scheme of things. Importantly, your work will always speak for itself.


My life is filled with mentors and sponsors who have, and continue to, play a significant role in my life. In my high school and early university years, my mentors played a critical role in exposing me to successful black women from a variety of sectors. When I chose economics as my degree, my mentors introduced me to the likes of Dambisa Moyo and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (who is now the seventh director general of the World Trade Organisation). They wanted me to see myself in these women and to know that success is possible for me. My academic mentors have continued to push for my intellectual growth. This has culminated in me enrolling in the SOAS-Wits joint PhD in applied development economics.