Malawi national wins award in UK in development economics

A Malawian, now a student at the University of Oxford, Robert Mwanamanga is passionately leading the way in representing Malawi well.

Malawian wins award in UK

Mwanamanga, broke a record by winning one of the UK’s most prestigious awards in development economics/studies, the ‘2016 DSA/ICEA Best Dissertation Prize’.

In addition, Mwanamanga, became the first African to be conferred honorary membership to ICEA, a distinguished grouping of international economists.

The DSA/ICEA prize is an initiative by the world’s leading organization in development studies, the Development Studies Association (ICEA) which also publishes the leading Development Studies Journal.

The DSA/ICEA Awards are funded by International Consulting Economists Association (ICEA), a grouping of distinguished economists based in London comprising world’s elite economists and now chaired by the British celebrated economist, Sir. David Walker.

The initiative identifies a best dissertation paper in international development.  At that time, Mwanamanga became the first non-Oxbridge student to win the prize since his paper was submitted to DSA by the University of Bradford in the UK where he earned his MSc degree with a distinction.

While at Bradford, Mwanamanga also won other academic prizes including the Bradford’s BCID Award, among others.

Because of this rare achievement in development economics, Mwanamanga  also broke the record of being the first African economist to ever be conferred honorary membership to the aforementioned London based grouping of economists the ICEA chaired by Sir David Walker.

The DSA winner walked away with £1000 and was invited to present his findings at the DSA’s annual conference in the UK this year.

Talking about why judges settled for Robert’s paper, the DSA website states:

Robert’s dissertation titled “Does foreign aid promote growth?  Evidence from Malawi”, reviews the extensive literature on the relation between aid and economic growth and tests different statistical (econometric) models against data from Malawi.

The judges noted: The prize winning paper tackles perhaps the central question of development aid: the extent to which aid contributes to economic growth. It starts with an extremely capable literature review, covering aid growth theories from the 1940s onwards presented in a neat structure of 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation theories.

This is paralleled by a review of empirical studies over the same period. The major criticisms of aid are also reviewed.

After reviewing the broader economic background of Malawi, the paper presents a set of statistical analyses testing different aid-growth economic models reflecting different theories on the mechanisms which link aid and economic growth.

The study concludes that increased aid to Malawi shows diminishing, even negative returns, but recognises that this at least partly reflects the fact that Malawi is one of the most aid dependent countries in the world.

Asked on what the award means to him, Mwanamanga  said, ‘I am thankful to God and I’m delighted to have won this award. Being a proud son of Africa and Malawi in particular, I feel greatly honored because if Africa is to develop, we Africans need to actively participate and contribute to development discourse. It is high time Africans took an active role in telling their own development story. I’m highly grateful my family and friends. Most importantly, I’m indebted to the University of Bradford’s BCID, particularly, to Prof. Jalilian Hossein my supervisor, Dr. Rashmi Arora my tutor and the head of BCID Prof. David Potts’ for their tremendous support.

According to the DSA website, the DSA/ICEA Award comprise all universities in the UK and Ireland.

All member universities nominate their best dissertation papers to be considered for the Award. A winner is chosen by judges comprising renowned academics and practicing economists and experts in the development field. The criteria on a number of criteria including, presentation, analytical tools used, etc.

Currently, Mwanamanga is studying Public Policy at the world’s number one University, the University of Oxford. He is a Start-Up-Nation (SUN) scholar set by Israeli’s initiative for advancing innovations and technologies.

Prior to joining Oxford, Robert worked in the Ministry of Health as the Head of Aid Coordination Unit.

In 2013, Mwanamanga also featured highly at African continent level when he emerged top in the World Bank and SINA Health training programme for Performance Based Financing for African countries held in Mombasa.

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Based upon the foregoing comments on your character and abilities, please allow me to be the first to say: Congratulations, Mr Future President!

Peloma Pepe

Congrats brother! I wonder why you’re doing another MSc and not a PhD. I’m sure there’s a good reason, but I hope your MSc takes you into a PhD programme. You’re a genius and it’ll be a loss to the country if you don’t go as far as PhD. We need intelligent people like you in senior positions of policy planning and implementation. All the best with your studies, you’ve made all of us proud!

Ambilasile Mwenye

Akanakhala mtumbuka tikanavutika , eee ise ndi anzeru vichi vichi. Pano atumbuka nonse mwati ziii. Vindere vakufikapo.


Chindele ndiwe apo

Wilma C. Mhone

Congrats. this guy is super genius and very humble. He knows development economics at depth. Keep being humble and working hard Robert, you deserve it!You are one of Africa’s finest development economists. Remember to come back to Malawi and contribute to its development.May God continue blessing u…

Audrey Nyondo

This guy is a natural genius, humble and understands development economics deeply. I have enough respect for him I have interacted with him before, didn’t know he is now at Oxford he deserves it. Besides, he is very humble and mixes well with people at any level, you deserve it angoni and you’ll go very far. May God bless you…


Indee! tikufuna ana anzeru chonchi mwina dzikoli lingasunthe, congrats to our own Malawian that’s no mean achievement! Africa ili ndi ma genius kukhala number mu UK sizamasewera ayi. Nkhalambazi zinawerenga mabuku akale, we need new blood to propel development!


The name sounds lhomwe and indeed it is. Atumbuka, why are you not commenting. Akakhala atsikana osewera netball ndiye mwano thoo! Mwaonatu quota system yeniyeni. Osamawanamiza anthu kuti ndinu anzeru. Mwamuona mulhomweyu? Mukumva bwanji?


Nyondo and Mhone are not from the north just because you want to make a silly comment


Kkkkkkkkkk. Iwe ndiwe chizeleza chakufikapo.

Mada D Nkhoma

I am next. Thanks potiimirira

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