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2020 has been an eventful year mainly because of the global pandemic and the economic disruptions that have affected our lives as a result. In keeping the focus on the economy the Economics department at Stellenbosch University in conjunction with Die Burger newspaper held the annual Young Economist competition in July. The primary aim of this competition was to allow first-year students the opportunity to forecast economic indicators as accurately as possible using key variables. For this competition, the variables were economic growth, inflation, interest rate, commodity prices, and exchange rates. Teams were obligated to submit forecasts (with motivations) before particular deadlines, points were awarded to each forecast on the basis of accuracy as well as how convincing the motivation provided was. The competition was open to students who are registered for an economics course at Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town, and the University of Western Cape could enter. Students could participate in teams 1 to 3.
Alticia Legoka is a first-year Business Science: Economics student at UCT and she is currently funded by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Scholarship, which is administered by Career Wise. She describes her as introverted and very inquisitive. Her family says she introverted because she isn’t usually the type of person to enter competitions or do things to put attention on her in the public domain. The inquisitive part is something that she has been nurturing from a young age through reading the newspaper (i.e. focusing on business and the economy) and watching economic news to hear the latest economic indicators.
She caught wind of the Young Economic competition at the end of her 1st semester break i.e. July. The competition piqued her interest and given her inquisitive nature she decided to enter. Her thinking was: “Why not, there is absolutely nothing to lose and a lot to gain if she wins”. At the time of entering the competition she was trying to decide which path her studies should take between Economics and Math since she enjoyed both them a great deal. She thought: “If I win this competition, then it’s a clear confirmation that Economics was the path for her to follow”. The results for the competition were recent released and she was taken aback by being announced as the overall winner. According to the judges/markers, she outscored the competition quite impressionably, by providing solid explanations for my economic forecasts, which is the foundation of any good economist and beat 36 teams to claim first place. This is the second year running that UCT wins the competition. This year was also the first year that the top 3 teams were all females.
Alticia is very proud of herself for winning given that it’s the first time ever that she has entered a competition. Her family was very shocked by the news as she didn’t tell anyone about entering the competition until she was announced as the overall winner. The prize for winning is as follows:
- 1st place prize money of R12 000.