Dr. Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born international economist who analyzes macroeconomics and global affairs, delivered Tuesday’s forum address. She spoke on the macroeconomic, geopolitical and social trends defining our world.
Moyo credited education as playing an incomparable role in her life’s journey. She was raised in Zambia, one of the poorest countries in the world; when she was born, Zambia didn’t issue birth certificates to Black people. Yet, despite that, she received an undergraduate degree in chemistry and an MBA in finance from the American University in Washington, D.C. She went on to receive an MPA from Harvard and a doctorate in economics from Oxford.
Through her education, she went from a woman not recognized by her government to one speaking at large institutions in the United States.
"Without the opportunity to get an education, I wouldn't be standing here,” Moyo said. “If we're not innovative in addressing the deep structural challenges around the world, there may not be stories like mine."
Citing recent stats on education, she cautioned, “For the first time since 1776, one generation in the U.S. will be less educated than the previous one.”
The United States used to rank at the top of the PISA Study, which surveys math, science and reading skills. Now it ranks at bottom of the list, and decline in education could put the U.S. in an economic downturn by 2050. Moyo stressed that countries must invest in the education of their people.
According to Moyo, the economic situation will get worse if these issues are left unaddressed:
- Technology and displacement of jobs
- Demographic shifts
- Income inequality
- Natural resource scarcity and climate change
- Debt of global economy
- Declining productivity
“This is not to make us feel sad,” Moyo said. “It is an appeal to BYU’s community, and the world in general, that we have to do something together to make sure that human progress can continue in a way that is constructive and brings everyone together.”
For addressing these issues, Moyo recommended student innovation and productivity, especially concerning natural resource scarcity and climate change. She also recommends engaging with countries and people who think differently to find solutions.
“I hope to provide a menu of opportunities for us to get engaged and energized for how we can contribute to the world,” she said. “We are going to have to become less ideological and more engaged in the societies in which we live.”
Next Devotional: Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Elder Gary E. Stevenson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will deliver the devotional address on Tuesday, March 2, at 11:05 a.m.
Elder Stevenson’s remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM, and SiriusXM 143.