My Top 5 books of 2019

My Top 5 books of 2019

The Economics Blog

My 2019 reading list was filled with exciting, insightful and thought-provoking books; all of which sparked a new idea, provoked emotion and rendered clarity to my blurry thoughts. This list is far from exhaustive, but it captures diverse genres that caught my attention and made a good impression.

Headscarves and Hymens, Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy

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I remember reading this book on a train ride home and as I flipped through the pages, drops of tears escaped from my eyes. I was enraged, shocked, inspired and enraged again.

In Headscarves and Hymens, Eltahawy brings to light anecdotes of abuse, atrocities and injustice taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the power imbalances in the Middle East and the deep consequences it has had on the lives and autonomy of women. It also…

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Megalopolis (The Future of City Structure)

The Student Real Estate View

For the first time in human history statistics are beginning to show more people living in cities than outside areas and these numbers are continuing to rise at an ever increasing rate. In many areas world wide cities are quickly expanding into each other, creating huge urbanized areas known as ‘Megaregions’ which are found in nearly every continent, with the majority in North America, Europe and South East Asia. The definition of a Megalopolis is generally defined as a clustered network of cities with a population of more than 25 million and this urban concept is quickly becoming the standard city design as the rate of city expansion continues to rise. It is already fast becoming a reality in the United States in three key areas which are the ‘North East Megaregion’ (population 49,600,000) which stretches from Boston to Philadelphia and Washington, the ‘Southern California Megaregion’ (population 24,900,000) which currently…

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Happy Birthday

Agu Nwaanyi

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Dear Nigeria,

So I know this is coming late but Happy Birthday!!

I asked my mum about you the other day

About how your birthday was going, whether there was going to be a party I would miss

You know I love any reason to eat your delicacies.

“There is nothing to celebrate” ,she said. “Nigeria is not happy”

My heart broke

But I was not surprised

I had seen you on the news lately but I didn’t think it was that bad

They said your family was not getting along anymore

That some people were no longer interested in being part of the family

I know every family has issues but isn’t that supposed to bring us closer?

I was desperately searching for some hope

So I asked my best friend about you

“Celebrate ke? Nne there is nothing to be proud of”

Another spear to my heart

I…

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The Myth of Free Trade

The Myth of Free Trade

Le Savoir

The Secret History of Protectionism

Between the 60s-70s, rich countries grew by 3.2% per year. During this period, they comfortably used protectionist policies like high tariffs, subsidies, and so on. When they implemented neoliberal policies (free trade), they grew by 2.1% per year. “Growth failure has been particularly noticeable in Latin American and Africa, where neo-liberal programs were implemented more thoroughly than in Asia.”[1] In the 1960s and 1970s, Latin America’s per capita income grew at 3.1% per year. In the 1990s, it grew at only 1.7% per year; between 2000 and 2005, it grew only 0.6%.[2]

In the 18th century, Robert Walpole, the first British prime minister enacted a group of protectionist policies that provided the foundation of economic growth:

“Britain’s average tariff on manufacturing imports was 45-55%, compared to 6-8% in the Low Countries, 8-12% in Germany and Switzerland, and around 20% in France.[3]

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The Economic Impact of Malaria

The Economic Impact of Malaria

The Economics Blog

When I think of malaria, the first thing that comes to mind is “weakness”. Unfortunately, it has a comparable effect on economic growth. It is somehow incomprehensible and mind-boggling that such a deadly parasitic disease is transmitted through the mere bite of something as irrelevant as the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito.

Disease and poor health signify a huge burden to affected individuals. Although it is difficult to quantify, the welfare losses to the individual are highly significant. This problem is exaggerated in developing regions where there is a limited provision of healthcare, infrastructure and social security.


Malaria is preventable and treatable, yet nearly half of the world’s population remains at risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries (an increase of about 5 million over 2015). Likewise, Malaria deaths reached 445, 000 in 2016. Africa…

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​Africa​ is Open for Business but, Nigeria isn’t Quite Ready

​Africa​ is Open for Business but, Nigeria isn’t Quite Ready

“Instead of constantly claiming to be the giant of Africa, how about we begin to act like it” – Stephannie A

The Economics Blog

Renowned economists like David Ricardo, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes have all supported the idea of free trade on the basis that it encourages specialisation and comparative advantage.

Although free trade has the tendency to negatively impact domestic production, the increased competition is beneficial for consumers because they receive better quality products at a relatively cheaper price. Consumption is a key determinant of economic growth. Therefore, when individuals and households increase their demand for goods and services, there is a positive spillover effect into the economy.


On the 21st of March, 44 countries gathered at Kigali, Rwanda, to sign an agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Out of the 55 African Union (AU) member states, 10 did not sign the agreement. Nigeria was one of them.

This agreement is supposed to be highly beneficial for the entire continent. It intends to encourage intra-African trade by creating a single continental market…

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From Genocide to Gender Parity: Rwanda’s Experience

From Genocide to Gender Parity: Rwanda’s Experience

The Economics Blog

Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Nicaragua and Rwanda are very distinct countries, yet they share one striking similarity; their commitment to promoting gender parity. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Gender Gap Index, these countries are at the forefront when it comes to closing the gap between men and women. The index ranks countries based on the degree of female participation in the economy, their health, their educational attainment and their political empowerment.

Alongside Namibia, Rwanda is the only African Country to make the top 10 and has been labelled as the best place to be a woman in the continent.

1994 was an extremely dark year for Rwanda. It experienced one of the most brutal and bloodiest genocides in modern history. In the span of 100 days, close to a million Tutsi’s lost their lives and over 350,000 women were victims of sexual abuse. In July 1994, Paul Kagame’s…

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