What are your research interests?
My research endeavours to make significant contributions to both Econometrics and Development Economics. It focuses on advancing key econometric techniques for small sample inference and for model specification, selection and evaluation. I am interested in important questions in economics that are relevant for policy, especially those that require the development of new econometric techniques, estimation, and testing methods. In addition, I have been working in the area of Development Economics where my research examines constraints to occupational choice, entrepreneurship and productivity in Africa.
What will you be speaking about at AFES 2018?
I will be giving a lecture at the Africa Meeting of the Econometric Society on how we use econometric tools to analyse policy questions.
Have you been to AFES before and what were your impressions?
Yes, I went to the AFES in 2010 in Cairo. It was a very good experience. I got to meet many scholars from everywhere in my field and others. We had a lot of fruitful discussions and exchanges. I got good feedback from the paper that I was presenting and I also learned a lot from recent advancements in economic research.
The main objective of AFES 2018 is to promote the use of mathematics and statistical tools to better understand economic trends. Why is this important?
My own background is in mathematics and I did an engineering program in statistics prior to my Doctoral studies in Economics. Mathematical models are very important fundamentals for describing economic behaviour and making predictions. Statistics are excellent tools for quantifying policy and understanding the mechanisms surrounding economic behaviour. Being able to combine mathematics and statistics is a cornerstone of economic research today.
What is the current state of the African economy and its influence on the global economy? How is that changing?
The common agreement is that Africa today is at an important point in history. It has a huge potential, natural and human resources and a growing population, so it will definitely have an important role to play in the future of the global economy. We can also agree that, Africa is still far from its development frontier, in spite of this extraordinary potential. There are key issues that still need to be addressed, such as access to credit for micro-entrepreneurship, regional integration, energy issues, resources misallocation in agriculture and manufacturing, and so on. Those are some of the challenges Africa is facing right now and must therefore take its responsibility seriously. So the AFES is a useful platform to bring researchers and policy-makers together from all over the world to discuss these issues pertaining to the continent as well as to the global economy and propose immediate solutions.
What role can the African School of Economics play in shaping global economics?
The African School of Economics is playing a crucial role in training young Africans in cutting edge-methods of policy analysis and economic modelling. With such an objective we can hope to see a new generation of African economists and policymakers taking leading roles in all areas of the economy worldwide. The ASE is a project that should be supported and encouraged. It’s a great idea and has made a lot of progress towards its objectives. Africa is at an important moment so we need organisations that help us to think about and contribute to issues and topics that are important for the African continent and global economy. It provides the opportunity to meet with and learn from scholars from everywhere and exchange ideas that lead to the improvement of welfare and progress.