Africa’s turn? Socioeconomic and business trends in the continent

A recording and write-up of this event will be available soon.

A conversation moderated by Eliana La Ferrara with Nicholas Hughes and Leonard Wantchekon spanning economic growth, infrastructure, politics, education and the future of business in Africa. Hosted by Elias Papaioannou of the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development at London Business School and Nicola Gennaioli of Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research at Università Bocconi.

Nick Hughes, OBE, is Executive Fellow of the Wheeler Institute and the Co-founder of M-KOPA and founder of M-PESA. Nick has been at the forefront of mobile commerce activities in emerging markets for over 15 years, pioneering digital fintech solutions that solve real problems. M-KOPA has won multiple awards for its innovative business model and today has reached over 850,000 customers in East Africa, predominantly rural households. Holding a PhD in Applied Science and an MBA from London Business School, Nick has also won The Economist’s Innovation Award for Social & Economic Impact for his work on M-PESA. In 2017 Nick was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to ‘innovation in Africa’.

Leonard Wantchekon is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, as well as Associated Faculty in Economics. A scholar with diverse interests, Wantchekon has made substantive and methodological contributions to the fields of Political Economy, Economic History and Development Economics, and has contributed significantly to the literatures on clientelism and state capture, resource curse and democratization. He is the Founder and President of the African School of Economics, which opened in Benin in 2014.

Elias Papaioannou is co-academic director of the Wheeler Institute and economics professor at London Business School, focusing on international finance, political economy, applied econometrics, growth, and development. In the academic year 2019/2020, Elias held the Varian Visiting Professor of Economics at the MIT Department of Economics.

Eliana La Ferrara is the Fondazione Romeo ed Enrica Invernizzi Chair in Development Economics at Università Bocconi.  She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University (1999) and a M.Sc. in Economics and Social Sciences from Università Bocconi (1993). Her research covers topics related to development and political economics, and has been published in leading academic journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and the Journal of the European Economic Association. She is the recipient of various research grants from the European Research Council (ERC) and the European Commission.

Nicola Gennaioli is a Professor of Finance at Università Bocconi, IGIER and CEPR. His research interests revolve around the intersection of psychology and finance and economics of political and legal institutions. He has published several papers in leading international journals.

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