A conversation moderated by Eliana La Ferrara with Nicholas Hughes and Leonard Wantchekon spanning economic growth, infrastructure, politics, education and the future of business in Africa. Hosted by Elias Papaioannou of the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development at London Business School and Nicola Gennaioli of Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research at Università Bocconi.
Nick Hughes, OBE, is Executive Fellow of the Wheeler Institute and the Co-founder of M-KOPA and founder of M-PESA. Nick has been at the forefront of mobile commerce activities in emerging markets for over 15 years, pioneering digital fintech solutions that solve real problems. M-KOPA has won multiple awards for its innovative business model and today has reached over 850,000 customers in East Africa, predominantly rural households. Holding a PhD in Applied Science and an MBA from London Business School, Nick has also won The Economist’s Innovation Award for Social & Economic Impact for his work on M-PESA. In 2017 Nick was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to ‘innovation in Africa’.
Leonard Wantchekon is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, as well as Associated Faculty in Economics. A scholar with diverse interests, Wantchekon has made substantive and methodological contributions to the fields of Political Economy, Economic History and Development Economics, and has contributed significantly to the literatures on clientelism and state capture, resource curse and democratization. He is the Founder and President of the African School of Economics, which opened in Benin in 2014.