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On the rise

Asiedu named one of 10 ‘Emerging Scholars' by Diverse magazine

A KU economics professor has been recognized nationally for her work on Africa's economic development.

Elizabeth Asiedu is among a group of 10 researchers and educators chosen by Diverse magazine as Emerging Scholars for 2007. Scholars were nominated by department chairs, other scholars in their field and university public relations staff.

Asiedu caught the attention of the magazine, formerly called Black Issues in Higher Education, for her research into the role of foreign nations' direct investments on Africa's economy.

"Africa has received a lot of foreign aid," Asiedu said. "That is all well and good, but unlike foreign aid, foreign direct investment creates employment, fosters the transfer of technology and enhances productivity."

Previous honorees have been recognized for their research influencing the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action at institutes of higher education; leading the development of an instrument for radio astrophysics; and leading research into plastic electronics, which in the future could mean wallpaper that changes at the flick of a wrist or televisions that roll up and carry for travel.

Asiedu has advised policymakers in Africa on how to make a "friendlier" investment climate to attract more foreign investment. She has also worked for several international organizations including the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, International Labor Organization and the International Monetary Fund on issues regarding foreign investment to Africa.

"I am where I am because of the generosity of so many people," she said. Asiedu cites Charles Oswald, a businessman whose multi-million dollar gifts to KU Endowment made Asiedu the first Oswald scholar of economics; Joe Sicilian, chair of the Department of Economics who nominated her; and her colleagues for creating an environment conducive to research.

Asiedu came to KU as an assistant professor in 1998. She's a member of the African Studies Council and Black Faculty and Staff Council and a research scholar at KU's Institute for Policy and Social Research.

She's a graduate of the University of Ghana and completed her graduate work at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.

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