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DeGiulio, Tanjong awarded African Studies Senior Thesis Prize; Ikpeazu awarded honorable mention

Princeton seniors Zacharaiah DeGiulio and Wilglory Tanjong were named co-winners of the African Studies Senior Thesis Prize. Senior Ifeyinwa Ikpeazu was named honorable mention.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Princeton seniors Zacharaiah DeGiulio and Wilglory Tanjong were named co-winners of the African Studies Senior Thesis Prize. Senior Ifeyinwa Ikpeazu was named honorable mention.

They were recognized at the African Studies Senior Thesis Colloquium on Tuesday, May 11.

The African Studies Thesis Prize was established in 2016, and is awarded to a senior thesis which demonstrates exceptional research on Africa.

DeGiulio concentrated in civil and environmental engineering and earned certificates in African studies, urban studies and environmental studies.

His thesis explicates how architecture and infrastructure projects in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo mediate two seemingly-incongruous regimes — of Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire and Joseph Kabila’s Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Despite the fact that two civil wars leaving millions of refugees and internally displaced persons separate the two regimes, the relatively-permanent buildings and highways constructed or refurbished under both [these] leaders serve as useful objects for analyzing and understanding the evolution of the construction of both the city of Kinshasa and the nation of Zaire/DRC,” he wrote.

Tanjong concentrated in African American studies.

Her thesis relies largely on primary resources to understand how Cameroon, a country built on the premise of hope and prosperity, is now on the brink of a civil war.

“What are the consequences of building African nations from colonialism's remnants and where did it all go wrong?” she wrote. “I [unravel] Cameroon's history and challenges existing scholarship in the field to prove that the country's history is not what many believe it to be.

Ikpeazu concentrated in operations research and financial engineering and earned certificates in African studies and engineering and management systems.

Her thesis verifies the usefulness of the finance gap — a measurement of how much credit a government owes small and medium enterprises — as a tool for economic development in emerging markets, such as Nigeria.

“A low finance gap can positively impact economic growth by sustaining small and medium enterprises,” she wrote. “In Nigeria, inadequate financial access hinders some potential small businesses, forces others to look for funding sources outside the country and precludes most of them from contributing to economic growth. As Africa's youngest, most populous country and largest economy, Nigeria's ability to sustain its small and medium enterprises will have significant impact on the continent.”