African History through the Lens of Economics wins EEA Award

Wheeler Institute for Business and Development course recognised for ‘Innovation in Teaching’


The Wheeler Institute for Business and Development at London Business School (Wheeler Institute) is proud to announce that it has won the inaugural European Economic Association (EEA) Award for ‘Innovation in Teaching’.

The Wheeler Institute received the EEA award for its groundbreaking interdisciplinary, open-access 10-week lecture series that explored African history, drawing on the expertise of experts from across the disciplines of economics, history, political science, cultural anthropology, business and psychology.

The series, titled ‘African History through the lens of Economics’, provided a forum of stimulating dialogue and dynamic engagement, providing a new perspective on the continent, from precolonial statehood, Africa’s slave trades, the ‘Scramble for Africa’, colonization and, later, independence movements, the Cold War, concluding with a discussion of the continent’s future.

The series covered recent contributions in economic history and African development that, using geospatial data from anthropological maps, colonial archives and secondary sources, explored current economic and development challenges by drawing parallels between the past and present.

LBS Economics Professor and co-Academic Director of the Wheeler Institute Elias Papaioannou; Leonard Wantchekon of Princeton University and the African School of Economics; Nathan Nunn of Harvard University, and Stelios Michalopoulos of Brown University led the lecture series for students, scholars, and professionals interested in economic development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking about the lecture series, Professor Papaioannou said that he and his colleagues at the Wheeler Institute, together with associates from other leading academic institutions, had been “incredibly proud” to devise and deliver the course, the quality and standing of which has now been recognised by EEA.

The last two decades have seen a surge of research on African history as academics sought to understand the way in which the history of Africa continues to influence its modern economic, social, and political landscape. ‘The African History through the Lens of Economics’ initiative was a first of its kind open-access lecture series developed by the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development.

The series gathered over 27000 people from more than 160 countries and 1000 universities between March to August 2022 to gain insight into cutting-edge research on Africa’s economic history and political economy. The lectures brought together a global audience who share a curiosity about Africa’s intricate political and economic history and the way in which these dynamics have ultimately contributed to the continent’s greatest challenges.

About the EEA

The EEA aims to contribute to the development and application of economics, improve communication and exchange between educators, researchers, and students in economics in different countries, as well as develop and sponsor co-operation between teaching and research institutions in Europe. The EEA Award for Innovation in Teaching is given to individuals and groups who have demonstrated innovation in their teaching.