OGDEN — Weber State University economics professor and Brookings Institution senior fellow John Mukum Mbaku has been honored with the 2012 Topp's African-centered Scholars of the Decade Award.

The award is given once every 10 years to 10 individuals who have built, nurtured and inspired communities of scholars to seriously investigate African issues.

"I hope the award and any recognition that comes from it helps shine a light on the political, social and economic issues that Africans face today," Mbaku said. "It is important for my students and others to remember that we live in an interconnected world. The more we know and understand about each other, the better our relationship and support for each other's needs.”

The honor is named for Joseph "Topps" Wallace, an American entrepreneur who was involved in raising awareness and support in the United States' African-American community for the anti-colonial movement in Kenya in the 1950s.

Mbaku joined the faculty in WSU's John B. Goddard School of Business and Economics in 1991. He earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Georgia and completed his juris doctorate from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.

Mbaku is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution based in Washington, D.C. He has also consulted with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, African Economic Research Consortium and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.