Development Finance Core Courses

The MCom in Development Finance is a rigorous modular programme which is taken over two years. The programme covers nine compulsory core courses and students have to choose 1 elective and deliver a research report.

Students attend classes at the GSB Cape Town campus twice a year of between 2-3 weeks each during February/March and in August. Lectures are structured to cover theories in development finance, development finance practice and real-life case studies in development finance.


Please note: Course designs are updated and adapted annually, therefore the topics listed for each course can be considered as a guideline of what students can expect to be covered on each course.


This course aims to develop practical knowledge and understanding of mathematical and statistical methods relevant to financial and management decision-making in development finance.

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • Data Collection & Probability
  • Discrete Distributions
  • Continuous Distributions
  • Sampling Distribution and Estimation
  • Hypothesis Testing and Inference
  • Linear Regression
  • Multiple Regression
  • Model Building
  • Time Series Analysis and Forecasting


The course addresses essential concepts in micro-enterprise finance by examining both institutional finance and finance as a structured approach to decision-making with specific reference to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • Overview of micro-enterprise
  • Sources of finance for micro-enterprises
  • Venture capital
  • Financing choices and harvesting
  • Working capital management
  • Time value of money
  • Evaluating investment decisions
  • Micro-financing


This course aims to explore alternative and critical ways for thinking about economic growth and developmental finance in Africa by unpacking the multi-layered field of Sustainable Responsible Investment (SRI). 

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • The history and evolution of SRI
  • Principles of SRI
  • Regulatory issues
  • SRI as a component of fiduciary capitalism
  • SRI in developed and emerging markets


The main aim of the course is to provide students with insight into concepts, approaches and issues of policy in the context of development finance relevant to the financial and economic development processes.

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • Principal-agent theory, asymmetric information and moral hazard
  • The nature and role of development finance institutions (DFIs)
  • Risks faced by DFIs
  • The role of external finance in development
  • Sustainability issues in finance


This course provides an in-depth analysis of international financial markets, institutions, and instruments and their use by governments and corporations with specific focus on using these markets and institutions to achieve sustainable economic development.

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • Foreign exchange markets
  • Foreign exchange risks
  • Theories of exchange rate determination
  • Exchange rate regimes
  • International debt markets and sovereign debt
  • International trade and capital flows


The course is designed to equip students with the soft and varied skills necessary to conduct a research investigation. In the end, they should be able to conduct research whose results will offer both theoretical and practical solutions to challenges encountered in the business world and emerging economies. The course is structured to prepare students for the research report in the second year of the programme.

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • Conceptualising a research idea
  • Developing an academically sound and practical research proposal
  • Using electronic literature archives and key databases
  • How to conduct a critical review of published material
  • Writing and presentation skills  


This course introduces the primary analytical approaches, tools and techniques that project funders use to make, assess, structure, implement and monitor the funding of large infrastructure projects. Whilst the content of this course emphasises large transactions in the infrastructure and built environment sectors, acquired skills will be applicable across a variety of economic, social, environmental, political and technical contexts as well as to smaller projects/transactions.  

The following topics are covered in this course:  

  • Project finance basics
  •  Risk in project finance
  • The project finance model
  • Sensitivity and scenario analysis in project finance
  • Documenting change in the project finance model
  • Due diligence in project finance


This course provides students with the tools and skills to understand and analyse the underlying concepts and practical trade-offs entailed in public sector finance. This will prepare students to engage constructively in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public sector policies.

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • The nature and role of government
  • The size and structure of the public sector
  • Financial decision-making in the public sector
  • Externalities and public goods
  • Planning and budgeting in the public sector
  • Fiscal decentralisation and intergovernmental finance systems
  • Public expenditure, taxation, borrowing and other sources of finance


The modern globalised world is characterised by rapid information flows, financial instability and volatility, and evolving regulatory frameworks. It is thus necessary to understand the different forms, sources, and interactions of financial risk, as well as the tools and techniques available to mitigate the varied impacts of this risk. This course is designed to give students exposure to modern risk management concepts, theories, and quantitative techniques.

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • The historical development of financial risk management and financial engineering
  • The definition and measurement of financial risk and return
  • Instruments available to hedge financial risk
  • An overview of market, credit, liquidity and operational risk
  • Enterprise risk management practices

Overview | Electives | Research Report | Term Dates | Entrance Requirements | Fees | How to Apply | Available Funding