King’s student takes top prize in CC intelligent aid comp

King’s College London student Stephanie Effiom has won a place on Clifford Chance’s summer vacation scheme and £1,000 for the Build Africa charity following her victory in the magic circle firm’s ‘Intelligent Aid’ competition.

Part of Clifford Chance’s 2011/12 graduate recruitment activities, Intelligent Aid asked undergraduates to write a 500-word essay answering the questions: Trade or aid – what offers a brighter solution for Africa? And as Africa’s economies develop, what role can lawyers perform in helping more people in Africa benefit from economic transformation?

The top ten applicants were then selected to take part in a final round ‘Dragons Den’-style presentation at the firm’s Canary Wharf office before a panel of judges including Clifford Chance partner Geeta Khehar and senior associate Titus Edjua.

Khehar commented: “We were hugely impressed with the quality of the entries and the presentations this year. After careful consideration of each presentation and responses in the Q&A sessions, we felt that Stephanie, Juliana and Catherine did a particularly good job of combining creative ideas with clear thinking, and bringing practical insights to bear on the challenge we set.”

Effiom’s winning essay focussed on a plan to invest in infrastructure expansion through the use of public-private partnerships, using the Maputo Development Corridor, which links South Africa with the deep water port of Maputo in Mozambique, as a case study.

In addition to the investment potential, Effiom said “Transcontinental PPPs will alleviate the endemic corruption in Africa’s governance by introducing responsibility and accountability fostered by private sector participation, meanwhile, appropriate government regulation can ensure that Africa’s poor are not explotied and have access to services.”

Juliana Apopo of the London School of Economics and Catherine Laitner of the University of Exeter were awarded second and third places respectively and both have also scooped places on the firm’s vacation scheme.

Effiom also won an iPad2 and a weekend trip to Casablanca for two.

In addition to Khehar and Edjua, the judging panel comprised Alexander McLean, founder and director general of the African Prisons Project, Henry Obi, chairman and chief operating officer of Helios Investment Partners, Joel Kibazo, chief executive officer of JK Associates, and Lawyer 2B editor Christian Metcalfe.

The other student finalists were Iulia Nicolescu of the University of Essex, Janina Moutia-Bloom of Cambridge University, Katjana Cleasby of King’s College London, Patricia Maphosa of the University of Sheffield, Sui Hang Hui of University College London, Thomas Wheeler of Oxford Brookes University and Tim Pfefferle of Queen Mary, University of London.

The winner last year was University College London student William Green [16 March 2011].