Young African scholar wins prestigious award in Kigali

Nov 2, 2012

Dick Kamuganga receives from Amata Diabate, UNDP Senior Economist Adviser, the award for the Best Research Paper presented at the African Economic Conference held in Kigali (Photo: UNDP/Gisele Nyampinga)

Kigali, January 3rd, 2012- On the occasion of the 7th annual African Economic Conference (AEC) held in Kigali, Rwanda from October 30 to November 2, an award entitled “best research paper” was presented to a young African scholar.

Dick Kamuganga, a Ugandan national and economist at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, won the award for his paper entitled “Does Intra-Africa Regional Trade Cooperation Enhance Export Survival”.  The paper was selected from 500 submissions and presented at the AEC in a session on Regional Trade and Integration. The award was established to recognize and encourage research among young Africans.

In an interview with UNDP, Mr. Kamuganga explained his findings: “this paper explores whether intra African regional trade cooperation increases the likelihood that export relationships will survive longer once established at exporter product market level. It also explores the other underlying factors that restrict or enhance the survival of an African export relationship at exporter product market level once established”.

Furthermore, the paper argues that sustainable export expansion is a key priority for all African countries to achieve sustainable economic growth. It also examines the effects of intra-regional trade cooperation on sustainability of Africa’s exports within Africa and to the rest of the world.  

Kamuganga suggests that regional trade cooperation, or integration, initiatives in Africa have non-negligible effects on enhancing Africa’s export survival. The results also show that the depth of regional integration matters when it comes to lowering Africa’s export hazard rates relative to countries that don’t benefit from any regional cooperation.  He added that fother actors such costs to export, transit delays (time to export), procedures to export, financial depth, and institutional and policy biases against exports provide a natural framework for explaining the observable high hazard rates for African exports.

According to this research, financial under-development in Africa has a crucial role in restricting Africa’s export relationship survival. Additionally, the researcher argues that regional trade cooperation in Africa would greatly reduce export duration, and would result in a reduction in infrastructure-related trade frictional costs.

At the closing ceremony of the African Economic Conference it was said that the award would be an ongoing feature of future AEC annual meetings, which the UNDP co-organizes each year in partnership with the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa.