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Somalia's ICT boom: the untold story
13 August, 2015

"Somalia and the Somali people have long been misunderstood internationally," says Mohamed Elmi, who is in the second year of his Commerce PhD programme in Information Systems. "I believe I have a responsibility to share the nuances of my country and its people." Elmi's research focus is on the potential of Somalia's thriving information and communication technologies (ICT) sector to spur stability and economic development in the war-torn African state.

Somalia's recent history is a tragic one: ripped apart by civil war in 1991, the country has had no effective, functioning state apparatus for over 20 years, creating a void filled by warlords who rule by ideology and violence. Today Somalia is the textbook case of a 'failed state' – a country equated with militant Islamic group Al Shabaab, and international piracy. But there is another story Somalia has to tell: a story of a growing economy and a thriving ICT sector, which according to Elmi, may offer a glimpse of Somalia?s path to future stability and prosperity.

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Using statistics to dissect addiction
22 July, 2015

Dr Andre Hofmeyr, undergraduate convenor in the School of Economics, explored the economics of addiction in a dissertation primarily focused on methodological and statistical issues on the boundary between economics and psychology. Abigail Calata interviewed him on this research and his PhD experience.

Q: How does experimental economics differ from experimental psychology?

A: In some areas of research, like addiction, there is an overlap between the methods that experimental psychologists and experimental economists use. For example, when investigating time preferences or discounting behaviour, experimental economists and experimental psychologists often present research participants with choices between monetary rewards which are available at different points in time.

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Breaking down silos in teaching and learning
15 July, 2015

The project analysed the new competency framework of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, and asked how their courses could provide students with the broad range of skills they required.

There was the logistical challenge of dealing with a class of 450 students, as well as the need to maintain a realistic load in the programme as a whole.

They achieved this, inter alia, through designing tasks that required students to bring insights from all of their academic disciplines to the analysis of annual financial statements of several listed South African companies.

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