By Nwabisa Moyo
Masters in Economics student Claire McCann was recently selected as one of thirty students to attend a highly competitive, fully-funded economics training programme.
The African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) runs for two weeks and includes lectures and seminars by leading African and international economists. It aims to build the participants' capacity in economics and economic policymaking. This course touches on the most important developmental aspects critical to African countries by providing an in-depth understanding of developmental issues at work. Through her participation in the programme, McCann will receive intensive high-level training and interact with some of the best development economists in the world. Essential topics such as structural change, industrial policy, rural poverty, inequality, and financialisation will be covered in the programme.
As a person who is devoted to the idea of economics, policymaking, academics, and civil society activism, McCann is thrilled to have been selected as one of the participants of the programme this year. Her hopes for this course lie in gaining a deeper understanding of development economics and learning from the insights and experiences of her peers who, like her, come from developing countries which need original thinkers. Although this course will provide her with valuable academic knowledge, McCann hopes to use this opportunity to assist people in her community and the greater society. She states, "Often, we leave the economics and industrial policy to the 'experts', and I think, in doing so, we neglect the voices and ideas of many talented people. I aim to make the learning from this opportunity accessible to my community. Hopefully, this will open up a space to brainstorm strategies for change in our own contexts and ways to advocate for the industrial policy that we believe will be most beneficial to ordinary people in South Africa."
Shortly after completing the APORDE programme, McCann will head to Oxford University to complete her Master of Science degree in Development Economics through a Rhodes Scholarship. As much as she is excited about learning at a prestigious university such as Oxford, she is most looking forward to learning from people whose contexts are different from hers and making new friends in her new environment.
During her time at Oxford University, McCann hopes to gain many new experiences. She states, "I hope to make deep connections, broaden my understanding of the world, and eat many scones! I hope that my time at Oxford will be one of immense learning from my lecturers, supervisors, and peers and that, when I come back to South Africa, I can use these insights to contribute to creating a more just and equitable economy."
This will not be the end of her academic journey, as she plans to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree in International Development. With great minds like hers, the country has a bright future.