Twentieth century British economist John Maynard Keynes once said, “The master economist must possess a rare combination of gifts; he must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher in some degree. He or she must understand symbols and speak the words he must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature or his institutions must be entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood, as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near to earth as a politician."
This quote came to light after sitting down with newly appointed First National Bank (FNB) Research Market Manager, Daniel Kavishe, and hearing him passionately explain the art of economics.
With a similar line of thinking to Keynes, Kavishe, still in his twenties, explained that being an economist is just not about numbers or explaining the GDP of a country, but more than that as it is linked to every sector of life and an economist is always trying to understand and make sense of it all for the benefit of others.
“My passion for economy started when I was in 10th grade when I discovered that economics is defined as a subject that allows humans to make choices and decisions based on their unlimited wants but in an environment with scarce resources.”
The fact that it had to do with helping people make choices was a decisive factor for Kavishe as he notes that at times people have issues making decisions. So, with a giggle, he recalls choosing to study to become an economist. For him, it was responding to his dream; “It would give me the ability to solve problems in the world and help individuals make decisions.”
He thus realised that economics is broader as it is linked at different aspect of life, it is a scientific subject but also a social one, although specific, its scope is vague and he emphasizes that he was fortunate enough to enjoy every aspect of economics that was taught; “I also realised that there is a bigger need of economists in all kinds of work and that most people working as economist are not labeled as such.”
Kavishe is now a holder of a Bachelor of Economics degree (honors) from the University of Namibia and his areas of interest and research are behavioral and experimental economics with applications in the financial market and consumer behavior.
As the FNB market research manager, he is responsible for supplying the strategic marketing department with timely research regarding developments within the banking industry.
The information Kavishe supplies ranges from specific banking data to general economic news. He also runs several indices that have been developed within the bank, namely housing and tourism indices, while ensuring that the products the bank offers remain competitive and relevant in the market.
However, Kavishe notes that he would not like to limit his scope of work at this point, but instead wants to remain open and creative going forward as well as to learn about and conduct new research that might be of interest in the banking environment.
Before he joined the bank industry, Kavishe worked at a University newspaper called ‘The Economist’ which he perceived as a sign that specialising in economics was the right choice.
After, he moved to a financial service firm, Simonis Storm Securities (SSS) (Pty) Ltd, where he worked as an economy researcher. The financial firm offers various financial indices such as inflation, money and banking statistics reports amongst other various financial services.
Those prior work experiences led to his position at FNB, Kavishe speaks of various skills that he learned along that journey. “During my tenure as a journalist, I learned how to write and present ideas, how to communicate, how to ask valid questions and be critical and know that you got to take information with a pinch of salt; and the opportunity to interview prominent people in various sectors has helped me understand my path better and has taught me to be a humble person,” he said.
The well-spoken and intelligent young man added that at the financial service firm, he learned to be a very hard worker. “In addition, it taught me how to think critically, be analytic and know the specific person to ask the different type of questions, thus I would say that every single step I have taken so far has brought me to this point. My passion has allowed me to do and achieve what I have managed to do so far. All in all it’s been by the grace of God and I would never take it for granted,” he asserts.
Working in the banking sector, is a step in his life journey he always knew he would get to as most of those he regards as his mentors in the economic area have always been linked to the banking sector.
It is no surprise that today, he is thankful to be working hand in hand with one of his mentors Namene Kalili, FNB Manager of Research and Competitor Intelligence, whom he describes as a man of integrity, intelligence and competence to provide analytical and honest research that provides the truth. A truth that is sometimes painful to hear, but ultimately helps in making correct decisions for the country’s well being.
As Kavishe points out, being an economist means helping the public and most importantly guiding leaders to the right decision. For this reason, one needs to exactly know what they are doing and be acquainted with relevant information from all sectors of life.
He adds that as an economist, in order to stay relevant, one needs to constantly read, study all situations and keep networking amongst knowledgeable peer economists in order to keep abreast of what is new.
“You have to learn that sometimes you might not be right and learn that you have to keep learning and gather all the information.”
Kavishe is happy that he pursued his passion because it allowed him to accomplish what he wanted from life so far. He is further thankful for the opportunity offered by FNB as he knows it is a good platform to learn and grow within the financial sector.