Economist Léonce Ndikumana, known worldwide for his work on capital flight from African countries, is being recognized as a Spotlight Scholar.
Ndikumana believes strong public policy can lay the framework for more equal, inclusive economic development across the continent of Africa. With a foot in both the research and policy worlds, Ndikumana is peeling back the impoverished, conflict-ridden layers of African society to reveal its vastly underexploited potential—potential he insists can be realized through open dialogue and informed policies.
Ndikumana directs the African Development Policy program in the campus’s Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). He recently co-authored a book with PERI colleague James Boyce titled “Africa’s Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent.” The book has been highly praised for providing a compelling analysis of the problem of capital flight, one of the structural problems that perpetuate Africa’s low performance and its economic dependence.
Ndikumana says that researchers in the U.S. are just beginning to broach the issues that plague African countries. For this reason he was inspired to return to UMass to contribute to expanding teaching and research on Africa. “I think it’s a huge opportunity for us,” he says.
In 2011, Ndikumana was appointed the first Andrew Glyn Professor of Economics, an endowed chair held jointly in PERI and the department of economics. He has held several directorships with the African Development Bank and currently serves as a member of the UN Committee on Development Policy.