Economics Professor Mbaku Named Brookings Fellow

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University economics professor John Mukum Mbaku has been named a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the influential Brookings Institution based in Washington, D.C.

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization that conducts high-quality, independent research. Based on that research, the organization provides “innovative, practical recommendations” to policymakers in the United States and abroad. Brookings is “consistently ranked as the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank.”

  Mbaku’s appointment comes as a result of being nominated by another Brookings Senior Fellow who he has worked with in the past. Originally from Cameroon, Mbaku has conducted extensive research on the economic and political transformation of Africa, as well as on the continent’s transition to democratic governance.

“As an economist, you aspire to something like this,” Mbaku said. “It’s very prestigious to be affiliated with the Brookings Institution. I’m excited about it. It’s an opportunity to do a lot of work and meet a lot of people.”

During his yearlong appointment as a Brookings Fellow, Mbaku will work with the institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. In particular, Mbaku will continue to pursue his new research agenda on water rights in Africa, especially the contentious issues surrounding access to the Nile River basin, a topic he wrote about in a recent paper.

Mbaku and another Brookings Senior Fellow are currently organizing a conference on the topic for Brookings, which will be held in Washington, D.C. in June. He said his ties to the Brookings Institution will help them bring additional experts from Africa to participate in the conference.

“Brookings has a lot of resources. It’s one of the few organizations actively involved in examining the global economy, especially as it affects developing countries,” Mbaku said. “The institution has taken an active role in researching Africa, giving policy makers there and here in the United States relevant information on what is happening on the continent with regard to human rights, governance, economics and environmental issues.”

Mbaku said the fellowship opens the doors to a lot of opportunities, not just for him, but for his students, especially those in his economic development and international trade courses.

“It’s always good to bring into the classroom what is happening in the real world; how economics is used to deal with the problems that people face on a daily basis. It is important that, as instructors, we strive to demonstrate to our students how economics is used to deal with real life problems,” he said.

Mbaku’s Brookings Fellowship runs until Dec. 31. If he is re-nominated, Mbaku would have the chance to renew for another year.

Mbaku joined the faculty in WSU’s John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics in 1991. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Georgia and recently completed his Juris Doctorate from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.

For more information about the Brookings Institution and its African Growth Initiative, visit

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John Mukum Mbaku, economics professor and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow
801-626-7442 ·
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 •