Dr. Miriam Altman

Dr. Miriam Altman is recognised as a leading economist, strategist, thought leader . A passionate communicator, she has extensive proven experience charting uncertainty and achieving great things in difficult circumstances.

She speaks on the future of the South African economy, and more broadly on economic strategy in emerging markets. Miriam shares principles that drove Telkom’s rapid turnaround.

Miriam is Director of an advisory where she supports governments and companies in their economic and commercial strategies. To date, this has involved African market development in e-commerce, education technology, electrical hardware, tourism and communications.

She is currently lead drafter of the SA Government’s National Infrastructure Plan 2050. She was a Commissioner on the National Planning Commission (NPC) in the Office of the South African Presidency from 2010 – 2021. This body was established to guide long term planning for South Africa. She was a significant contributor to the writing of SA’s first National Development Plan.

From 2013 to April 2016, Miriam was Chief of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs for the Telkom Group, SA’s largest fixed line telecommunications operator. She was recruited to craft and chart Telkom’s strategic repositioning and turnaround. In 2013, Telkom was generally disliked by most stakeholders and failing by most metrics. The early success of this programme is reflected in its share value rising by 6 times with significant, sustained improvements in company financials, regulatory matters, customer service and market repositioning.

Miriam was Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa from 2002 to 2013. The “Employment Scenarios” was her flagship at the HSRC. This drew leaders from government, the private sector, labour and academia together over a period of years to define a vision and practical strategies to address extremely high unemployment in South Africa. The HSRC Employment Scenarios were heavily relied on in the conceptualisation and direction of South Africa’s first National Development Plan.

Miriam has a BA in economics from McGill University, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in economics from the University of Manchester. She is a Professor of 4IR Practice at the University of Johannesburg, and previously was Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, University of Cape Town, a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Emerging Markets at CEIBS in Shanghai, and is associated with Tsinghua University’s Graduate School of Public Policy and Management (Beijing) and Fudan University’s Economics Department (Shanghai).

Miriam has produced more than 100 publications. She was commissioning editor of approximately 400 policy papers and publications, and was guest editor of four special edition journals.