IEA Hosted Kenya University Economics Students Association (KUESA)
Post Date: 08 February 2017 | Category: Economic Growth | Hits: 911
As part of its mentorship programme, the Institute of Economic Affairs hosted students studying economics at Kenyatta University to a half-day meeting held at the IEA boardroom on Wednesday, 8th February 2017.
Being upcoming economists, a majority of students were familiar with the Institute’s mandate in shaping the public policy landscape in the Country. However, they needed to understand its function in detail.
After a brief introduction session where each of the visiting students lucidly stated their career ambitions, Kwame Owino, CEO at IEA gave a brief overview of the organisation and some of the salient public policy research work the Institute had conducted and how the findings have informed and influenced decision-making process in Kenya.
To illustrate the deep meaning of economics, Kwame started by saying that real economics is the one, which lives or practiced in our day to-day life not the one on books. He further said that a good economist must possess these characteristics; critical thinking and problem solving skills. He further said that economics should be based on facts. In this scenario, he gave the example of normative and positive economics whereby he said that people should not suffer but made to realise or meet their needs with ease. For instance, the government should increase the minimum wages of casual laborers to reduce poverty. In addition, he said that a good economist must effectively and consistently apply the basic principles of economics.
One basic principle of economics is scarcity, without scarcity of resources then I don’t think the science of economics would exist, said Kwame. If scarcity of resources didn’t exist then it means things would be free. To augment his sentiments, he gave the example of famine and poverty whereby he said that these two are intertwined, and he further said that some people die of hunger not because of famine but because of the affordability aspect of it contrary to how most people view famine with scarcity of food, which is not always the case. "If unlimited needs or wants of a particular good can be met by resources, then that cannot be considered as scarce". The session ended on high note and the students promised to visit IEA again in the near future.