A good start to the year 2021

I know when 2020 ended, most people were looking forward to a new start, a new beginning, forget the hardships of the exceptional year 2020 was. We have arrived in 2021 and it doesn’t seem to be much better for some people, even worse for others. For example, in my country Malawi, and many other places, things have been exceptionally challenging for many people and their families.

Despite all this, I want to share some good news on how my 2021 has started and hopefully you can rejoice with me and have hope that if it has not started well for you, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way.

So, as of the end of January, we had finally established members and committee of the Indigenous Economics Society of Malawi (IESM) and I am the current president. When I started this as a club in college back in 2008 under the guidance of Prof. Chinyamata Chipeta, I did not know we would have colleagues who would get together to continue on in this way and generate knowledge on Economics on how it applies to our local societies, beyond the convention. I am excited about the team we have, their energy and intellect and looking forward to developing Indigenous Economics together.

I also got good news that my research project on the Role of Trade Policies in Innovation had moved one step closer to being approved by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). I learnt so much by being both a discussant to two proposals and having my proposal scrutinized in the biannual sessions end last year. I realized that in reviewing the work of others in detail I was already realizing some things that needed to be improved in my own proposal. It was interesting to be in both positions, especially as this was a more thorough review than you would normally get at a conference. Also it was within the same theme and it was very eye-opening and a good learning experience. I consider myself as still having much to learn in this area, and I am grateful that AERC provides mentorship that for young researchers.

To top it off, I was selected as a Junior Research Fellow to the newly forming Pan-African Scientific Research Council, led by one of the African Professors I look up and had the chance to meet and the founder of the renewed Africa School of Economic, Prof. Leonard Wantchekon. I first met Prof. Wantchekon in Morroco in 2019 together with yet another renowned Prof. Gyimah-Brempong (picture below), at the Africa Meeting of the Econometrics Society. Prof. Wantchekon was the first black African to be to be pronounced Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2018 and I was very intrigued by his story and achievements. I asked him to share about how he got where he is and he shared a bit about his incredible journey of perseverance of which there is a detailed account in his autobiography (in French).

This is how I learn from those ahead of me. I have close contacts with researchers that are much older and more experienced than me and talking to them is invaluable, beyond the things we may read in their research.

Okay that’s January 2021, its an exciting start to the year for me, because I want to be relevant in Economic research and generating evidence for policy makers in Africa. Research is not easy but I enjoy the challenge and these opportunities will help be stay active as a researcher.

How has the year started for you? Let me know in the comments and here is to a productive new month and of course being the first post of the year, Happy New Year!!!

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