Thursday, December 17, 2020

Socrates Majune,the inaugural winner of the 2020 Trade Economist
Thematic award.

School of Economics Scholar, Socrates Majune, has won a top award by the World Trade Organization (WTO) after his policy paper emerged best among dozens drawn from around the world.

Mr. Majune, a tutorial fellow and PhD candidate has now made history by becoming the inaugural winner of the 2020 Trade Economist Thematic award, a new research focused competition.  The young scholar beat 26 other contestants to the award which also comes with a monetary reward of Kshs. 620,000.

According to the award organizers, this year’s competition focused on the effects of Covid-19 on trade and trade policy around the world.

Mr. Majune’s research, titled “The Effect of Lockdown Policies on International Trade Flows from Developing Countries: Event Study Evidence from Kenya” analyzed the impact of lockdown measures on the country’s import and export business with its trading partners.  He assessed the hit on the economy using a weekly series of product-by-country data for food and medical supplies, both imports and exports, for the period between July 2019 and June 2020.

 In the paper, Mr. Majune found that the introduction of lockdown measures by trading partners led to an average increase of weekly exports by 12 percent and an average decline of imports by 28 percent “The decline in imports was mainly caused by the disruption of imports by sea from countries that introduced lockdown measures. However, for the import and export of food commodities, a notable increase was recorded of 18 percent and 25 percent respectively.”

"This showed how demand for food commodities sustained Kenya's exports. Overall, Kenyan exports to countries that had more stringent public health policy responses were significantly lower while imports from these countries were significantly higher," He noted.

In his acceptance speech, the scholar said ‘‘I’m deeply honored to be the first recipient of the award which emphasises my deep interest in international trade. It’s also a statement about the quality of teaching and training in Kenyan and African universities.’’

Mr. Majune’s work was praised by a high-profile panel of WTO economists and members of its advisory board, including Robert Koopman, the director of WTO’s Economic Research and Statistics Division.

You can read a copy of the scholars winning policy paper here: Majune’s Paper