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University Diary

Young Scholars Initiative: Theme: Rethinking Economics and Economic History in Zimbabwe: Theory and Practice

Theme: Rethinking Economics and Economic History in Zimbabwe: Theory and Practice

Date: Saturday, 22 April 2017

Venue: University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Host: Department of Economic History

Background and Rationale

It is generally acknowledged the most parts of Africa continue to face serious economic challenges in spite of various ideological and/or policy measures. Zimbabwe has not been spared and her economic decline has been a source of wide debate. The country has experienced radical economic changes since the late 1980s socialist rhetoric of the government contributed to huge budget deficits. This brought about a need for economic support from the IMF in the 1990s bringing another dimension of crisis. The IMF induced liberal reforms are a familiar story and like elsewhere they contributed to large scale unemployment and other social ills without any formidable positive impact to economic growth and development. The new millennium also came with its own package of economic challenges triggered in part by deleterious economic and political policies. The country experienced unprecedented shortages of basic commodities such as fuel and food. In 2008, the country peaked its hyperinflations to levels second only to Hungary in the world. Dollarisation in 2009 brought a temporary relief to the economy only to plunge into a liquidity crunch which became increasingly visible from around 2014. As Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular continue to face challenges in their economies, the questions being asked are:

➢ What should the role of upcoming and current economic think tanks be?
➢ What has been the role of academics in capturing and evaluating these economic challenges and what substantial impact have they made for policy makers?
➢ Are these changing economic fortunes being adequately and accurately captured and reflected on and if so how?
➢ In the light of this phenomena, what is the role of theoretical modeling in economic studies and why have these not offered lasting solutions?
➢ What methodologies can be developed to be more effective in understanding and influencing the changing economic climate?
➢ In terms of teaching economic studies, what synergies and linkages can be established between different subjects that promote economic thinking with a view towards remodeling for more effective impact?

With these questions in mind, the Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) Africa Working Group in partnership with the Department of Economic History at the University of Zimbabwe and Rethinking Economics’ local Zimbabwean group, Economic Thinkers - ZimChapter are coming together to engage and explore the ways in which economic studies can be more relevant. The One day workshop to be held on Saturday the 22nd of April 2017 seeks to bring together senior and upcoming academic economic thinkers as well as seasoned and junior economic practitioners. Efforts will be made to fund some of the interested participants particularly those based in the country. Those from outside the country who can fund themselves are still welcome. However, there is limited space for the whole workshop. Those interested in participating kindly forward a statement of purpose of not more than 500 words to the following emails

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Areas of Discussion

a) Changing and emerging methodological trends in economic history and economics and their relevance to Africa/Zimbabwe
b) Economics and Economic History – Synergies and Linkages for greater effectiveness
c) Theory and Practice - Economic History and Economics in Africa/Zimbabwe
d) Researching and Teaching on economic crises - The African/Zimbabwean case
e) Teaching economic thinking from early years - “Catch them Young”:

Workshop Organisers
- Ushehwedu Kufakurinani – Chairperson, Department of Economic History, University of Zimbabwe/Economic Thinkers National Coordinator.
- Ryan Johnson – YSI Africa Coordinator
- Takesure Taringana - PhD Candidate in African Economic History
- Honest Koke - University of Zimbabwe, Student in Masters In African Economic History

Location University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

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