WSU Professor Honored for African Scholarship

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University economics professor and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow John Mukum Mbaku has been honored with the 2012 Topp’s African-centered Scholars of the Decade Award.
The award is given once every 10 years to 10 individuals who have built, nurtured and inspired communities of scholars to seriously investigate African issues.  

The honor is named for Joseph “Topps” Wallace, an American entrepreneur who was involved in raising awareness and support in the United States’ African American community for the anti-colonial movement in Kenya in the 1950s.

This year’s awardees were named at the 30th Annual Conference of the Association of Third World Studies convened at Berry College, Rome, Georgia.

Mbaku attended the conference to present a paper on effective ways to deal with corruption in Africa. During his presentation, Mbaku stressed that the most effective way for African countries to minimize corruption is for each country to provide itself with institutional arrangements that guarantee the rule of law.

Mbaku said that the award came as a surprise but also as a great honor, especially since it is bestowed so infrequently.

“I hope the award and any recognition that comes from it helps shine a light on the political, social and economic issues that Africans face today,” Mbaku said. “It is important for my students and others to remember that we live in an interconnected world.  The more we know and understand about each other, the better our relationship and support for each other’s needs.”

Mbaku is also 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. 

According to the dean of the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics, Jeff Steagall, students receive a greatly enhanced world view of economics from Mbaku’s  outstanding research and teaching.

“I'm so honored to have a world-class scholar such as Dr. Mbaku teaching Goddard School students,” Steagall said. “He shares his personal experiences in a way that opens their minds to the economic and human development situation in Africa.”

Mbaku’s books include “The Transition to Democratic Governance in Africa: The Continuing Struggle,” “Multiparty Democracy and Political Change: Constraints to Democratization in Africa,” “Institutions and Development in Africa,” “Culture and Customs of Cameroon,” and “Corruption in Africa: Causes, Consequences, and Cleanups.”

He has also consulted with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, African Economic Research Consortium, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

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

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John Mukum Mbaku, professor, Department of Economics
801-626-7742 •

Jeffrey Steagall, dean, John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics
801-626-7253 •
Allison Barlow Hess, director of Public Relations
801-626-7948 •