G.A.S. Welcomes the Second Cohort of Yinka Shonibare Thesis Scholarship Recipients

G.A.S. Welcomes the Second Cohort of Yinka Shonibare Thesis Scholarship Recipients


Stockholm School of Economics is kicking off our 2024 calendar year at G.A.S. Foundation with a dual residency for two bachelor's thesis students. Victor Svensson and Eric Oetterli, SSE students of Retail Management, are in residence at G.A.S. this January, conducting research on cryptocurrency adoption in Nigeria. They are recipients of the Yinka Shonibare Thesis Scholarship, launched in cooperation with Art Initiative and Misum, Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets. The scholarship gives SSE students the opportunity to do a field study on-site in Nigeria. This is the sophomore edition of the scholarship residencies, with the first pair of recipients being Alexei Moore and Miranda Hagborg, who were in residence at G.A.S. in May 2023.

Victor and Eric aim to understand the motivations behind the country's widespread adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, examining its impact on the retail industry, economic growth, and financial inclusion. This analysis will take into account, the distinctive cultural and historical context of the country. Despite the official ban on cryptocurrencies in Nigeria at the time of their proposal, this residency comes at a timely juncture following a Central Bank of Nigeria directive, in December 2023, to withdraw the ban, and begin to officially regulate Virtual Assets Service Providers (VSAP). The students are optimistic that their time in Nigeria will contribute real research value to stakeholders both in Nigeria and Sweden.

Beyond their research pursuits, Victor and Eric express a keen interest in experiencing Nigeria to the fullest, from its culture and politics to its vibrant economic landscape, making meaningful connections along the way, and engaging the local community via a workshop for practitioners whose interests are inclined towards blockchain technologies.


Stockholm School of Economics. Photo via https://www.hhs.se/en/education/study-at-sse/


What is the current focus of your practice?  

Currently, we are both Bachelor students at Stockholm School Of Economics where we study Retail Management. Our creative practice is channeled into our Bachelor thesis, which is an attempt to dive deep into the unique role of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria. We will approach this not only as an economic study but also as an exploration of the social and cultural narratives that shape motivations and attitudes towards the phenomenon among individuals, firms and policymakers. Ultimately, we want to understand the setting of Nigeria within the context of the high cryptocurrency adoption to, as a result, draw wider conclusion in terms of implications for economic growth and financial inclusion.


Eric Oetterli on site at G.A.S. Lagos.  Photo © G.A.S. Foundation 2024. 


What drew you to apply for this residency and how do you think it will inform your wider practice?

Our attraction to this residency stems from its unique combination of creative freedom, safety and source of social connections to help us understand cultural setting of Nigeria. Hence, we believe this will be represent an ideal environment for us to conduct our research. The residency's emphasis on exploring impactful and contemporary issues resonates with our passion for financial inclusion and empowerment. We believe that immersing ourselves in the Nigerian context characterized by rich cultural, historical and economic dimensions will significantly improve our understanding and analysis.


Victor Svensson on site at G.A.S. Lagos. Photo © G.A.S. Foundation 2024.


Can you give us an insight into how you hope to use the opportunity?

During our residency, we aim to delve into the practical and theoretical aspects of cryptocurrency adoption in Nigeria, focusing on its implications for the retail industry, economic growth, and societal well-being. We will try to engage with local communities, experts, retail professionals and other key stakeholders to the largest possible extent. As a result, we genuinely believe this hands-on experience, together with academic research, will not only lay the foundation for a strong and academically value - adding thesis but also enhance our understanding of the global financial landscape. Furthermore, we hope to establish a dialogue between traditional financial practices and emerging digital trends, using our findings to contribute to discussions on financial inclusion and economic development.

Ultimately we are both driven by unlocking the power of finance for the better and contributing towards financial inclusion. We will use this opportunity to develop our tools, perspectives, and network in the pursuit of moving closer to this vision. In practical terms, as the purpose is to amass the fundamental data basis for our thesis, we want to use this opportunity to provide new, actionable, and insightful research which hopefully can be valuable for relevant stakeholders in Nigeria as well as in Sweden at SSE where will finalize and hand in the thesis.





Victor Svensson and Eric Oetterli are final year Bachelors students at Stockholm School of Economics, where they are both recipients of the Yinka Shonibare Thesis Scholarship at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Victor, 23, hailing from Linköping, is driven by a passion for financial inclusion. He has gained experience in start-ups and established financial institutions alongside his studies at SSE. Eric, 22, is deeply passionate about personal finance, financial inclusion, corporate finance, and global economics. He won the Swedish National Championship in Economics in 2022, and has gained practical experience in various Swedish financial institutions. 




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