News and Media
Road infrastructure: Pr. Wantchekon offers solutions live on ORTB
Wednesday, December 4th, 2016, Professor Leonard Wantchekon was the guest on the morning talk show on the National Television channel, ORTB (Benin national Radio and Television Corporation).The founder of the African School of Economics was called upon to speak on the issue of road infrastructure on the program dubbed “5/7 Matins”.
Marie-Louise Perrin was the host, interviewing the eminent economist. The discussion pulled out solutions based on scientific observations. Having carried out numerous research studies on the subject, Pr. Leonard Wantchekon challenged the clichés and stressed that the most important thing for a country like Benin is to build transverse roads to support the current network with its longitudinal trajectories.
To explain his position, the member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences points out that in terms of national road infrastructure, the existing one is inherited from the colonial era and was gradually reinforced by new additions. “The current roads are not an advantage for the emergence of local markets, especially in areas of agricultural production”, he said.
“With this, people are forced to make detours of about 100 or 200 or even 300 kilometres” to travel between nearby cities like Abomey-Calavi and Dangbo (Southern Benin), Cove and Dassa (Central Benin) or Kouande and Kandi (Northern Benin), separated by an average 10 to 30 km, the expert argued.
The immediate consequence is farmer impoverishment in landlocked areas, as the latter sell their products to infrequent buyers at ridiculously low prices, because of the impact of the high cost of transportation on these buyers.
To conclude the interview, the journalist of the National Television also tried to get the eminent professor’s point of view on the Government’s Action Plan presented last December, an action plan that Pr. Wantchekon analyzed scientifically.
Testimonials SIER 2016
Participants share their thoughts about SIER
Chinasa Ikelu, Pre-doctoral student at ASE
It was an invigorating experience for me because I participated as part of the team co-ordinating the curation of tweets on social media. I particularly found the teaching on Impact Evaluation and the conference presentations very interesting, they were all enlightening. I believie the Africa School of Economics (ASE) and the Summer Institute for Economic Research (SIER) has the potential to become one of the best institutions and conferences respectively in Africa if the current momentum is maintained.
Kizito Omala, University of Makerere; University of California at Berkeley
I must say that the SIER was a fruitful academic venture. The presentations were extremely impressive, and even more the work of the graduate students were at a global standard. I am certain that if the young who presented keep aiming that high and couple it with high integrity, Africa's future is promising. I desire to associate with this network! Oh, not to forget the fabulous graduation ceremony!
Prof. Luis A. Gil-Alana, University of Navarra
Well, I would say that it has been a great experience for me! Amused by the interest of some of the students in doing research projects in time series. I hope I will be able to collaborate with some of them! I did a short (2 hours) course in time series and a presentation on fractional integration techniques. I enjoyed some of the presentations I attempted on Wednesday morning. Both the ASE and the SIER are great experiences! Hope to continue in the future.
Marina Sénami Monkoun, MBA student at ASE (Class of 2016)
During this SIER 2016, I presented my Thesis on "The Impact of Mobile Money Transfers through Financial Inclusion in Economic Growth in West African Countries". This experience was wonderful; I improved my knowledge in the financial sector and in econometrics models. This Summer School allowed me to share my key findings and to express myself in English in front of prominent researchers from IERPE, ASE, USA as well as PhD students of GIMPA/Ghana and my classmates. I really appreciated the presentation of our guest speaker Mr. Leandre Adifon during our graduation, it was very encouraging.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Impact Evaluation/Research Design session. Through the session, I learnt how to estimate the real impact of projects or programs on some target groups. I intend to put this newly acquired knowledge to good use. I also observed various presentation styles from almost all presenters at the Conference. I must say that both the ASE and SIER are encouraging indeed.
Gaétan Nandong, pre-doctoral student at ASE
I was honored to be invited for a presentation at SIER 2016, my second invitation since its inception in 2015. During SIER, I presented my paper on "Public Service Management and Maternal and Infant Health", the thesis for the completion of my Master's Degree at ASE. Comments I received from participants were very insightful and will help me improve my paper.
I believe that the Summer Institute for Economic Research (SIER) definitely needs to be organized each year as it allows African scholars to be exposed to cutting-edge research techniques and also because it creates an environment where African researchers from different disciplines debate issues the continent is currently facing.
ASE Celebrates Class of 2016 Graduates and Closing of SIER
December 21, 2016. Beginning on Monday, December 12th, the Summer Institute for Economic Research (SIER 2016) ended Saturday, December 17th, with the Policy Forum and the graduation ceremony of the first cohort of masters students of the African School of Economics, at the “Palais des Congrès” in Cotonou.
From Monday to Tuesday, around 100 were trained on research design, by instructors from Yale (USA), Makerere (Uganda), Navarra (Spain) and Paris 10 (France). Wednesday to Friday, featured conference presentations and put many ASE students on stage. The presenters shared impressive economic research related to issues such as conflict, climate change, and sub-regional cooperation (https://youtu.be/Iz0jICdf8uw).
During this time, the mayor of Abomey-Calavi, the town where ASE is located, Georges Bada, paid a visit to the school, very impressed by what he saw and encouraged all participants to keep up the academic excellence.
The forum on Saturday started with a debate on advanced scientific research in Africa, with Professor Kizito Omala of the universities of Makerere (Uganda) and University of California at Berkeley (United States) as chairperson, and as speakers, Professor Léonard Wantchekon, founder of ASE and professor at Princeton University (United States) and Wilfried Gangbo, a Mathematics professor at UCLA (United States).
In the second part, the audience listened to Léandre Adifon, vice president of Enterprise Systems Engineering and Advanced Technology (USA). His address was titled “The Technological Challenges and Opportunities of Developing Countries by 2030”. Aristide Adjinakou, a counsellor of the President of Benin, attended the address as well.
The first Masters of ASE!
In the afternoon, a colorful ceremony was held in the same room as the morning address, and celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of students at the African School of Economics (https://youtu.be/2NPl47fnG38) : 14 Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and 48 Masters in Mathematics, Economics and Statistics (MMES). 56 students were present to receive the diplomas, with others absent as a result of having secured internships and jobs in several countries. Some will continue onto the PhD program next year. Speeches from Dean Father Claude Domfang, the patron of the commencement Léandre Adifon, Professor Leonard Wantchekon, and former Dean David Gbaguidi, encouraged the graduates to continue with working hard, maintain their intellectual curiosity and integrity, and remain connected to ASE. The former Student Delegate, Apollinaire Appalo, reiterated students’ commitment to be worthy ambassadors of the ASE as they continue into the workforce or continue with their education.
During the ceremony, staff, students and their guests enjoyed performances of traditional poetry, song, dance, and acrobatics by group “3 L Ifèdé”. The master of ceremonies, Ozias Sounouvou, kept the ceremony moving with humor and grace.
The day ended with a reception, filled with lively and excited exchanges, finishing the academically rigorous and immensely enjoyable week on a high.
From left to right: Fr. Claude Domfang (Dean), Prof. Leonard Wantchekon (President and Founder), Mr. Leandre Adifon (Patron)
Le Summer Institute for Economic Research (Université d'Eté pour la Recherche en Economie - SIER 2016) s'est tenu du lundi 12 décembre au samedi 17 décembre, s'est achevé avec le forum des politiques et la cérémonie de remise des diplômes à la première cohorte d'étudiants en Masters de l'African School of Economics, au "Palais des Congrès" de Cotonou.
Du lundi au mardi, à peu près 100 participants ont reçu une formation sur la planification de recherches, offerte par des instructeurs venus de Yale (Etats-Unis), Makerere (Ouganda), Navarra (Espagne) et Paris 10 (France). Du mercredi au vendredi, beaucoup d'étudiants de l'ASE étaient sous les projecteurs pour faire des présentations. Les présentateurs ont entretenu leur auditoire sur d'excellentes thématiques de recherche économique liée aux questions comme les conflits, les changements climatiques, et la coopération sous-régionale.
Pendant ce temps, le maire d'Abomey-Calavi, la ville où se situe l'ASE, Georges Bada, a visité l'école. Il était très impressionné par ce qu'il a vu et a encouragé tous à maintenir l'excellence académique.
Le forum des politiques de samedi a commencé par un débat sur la recherche scientifique de pointe en Afrique, sous la présidence du Professeur Kizito Omala de l'université de Makerere (Ouganda) et de l'Université de Californie à Berkeley (Etats-Unis), et avec la participation en qualité d'orateurs du Professeur Leonard Wantchekon, fondateur de l'ASE et professeur à l'université de Princeton (Etats-Unis) et de Wilfried Gangbo, Professeur de mathématiques à UCLA (Etats-Unis)
Au cours de la deuxième partie, l'assistance a écouté Léandre Adifon, vice-président d’Enterprise Systems Engineering and Advanced Technology (Etats-Unis). Son allocution était intitulée "Les défis et opportunités technologiques des pays en voie de développement d'ici 2030". Aristide Adjinakou, conseiller du Président de la République du Bénin, faisait également partie de l'assistance.
SIER 2016 kicks off
December 14, 2016. The highly anticipated 2016 Summer Institute for Economic Research (SIER) officially kicked off at 9:30 am on Monday with an opening ceremony that welcomed all participants to the second edition of the conference that will take place from 12 – 17 December 2016. In his opening remarks, the Founder and President of the African School of Economics (ASE), Professor Leonard Wantchekon briefly presented ASE and its aims, and further highlighted how SIER gives an opportunity to ASE students to share their work with researchers from some of the best universities in the world, and to expand their professional networks at the same time. He also made special mention of some of his friends and colleagues from various universities who will be presenting their research during SIER. Some of these distinguished guests include Constantine Manda from Yale University, Kizito Omala from the University of California at Berkeley, Luis Alberiko Gil-Alaña from the University of Navarra and Giorgia Barboni from Princeton University. He also welcomed a delegation of researchers from Accra, Ghana who will also be participating in the conference. From ASE, he welcomed faculty who will also be presenting their research, notably the Director of the Institute for Economic Research in Political Economy (IERPE), Dr. Markus Olapade, and Associate Professors Sam Aguey, Alice Bonou and David Gbaguidi. He also congratulated the exceptional ASE students and pre-doctoral students who will also be presenting their work during the conference.
The program for this year’s event does not only include an impressive list of presentations by researchers from all over the world, but also covers a wide range of topics in Economic research, including research methodology, finance, politics and education (click here to download the program). Although most of the program will take place on ASE’s campus in Abomey-Calavi, the conference will officially close on Saturday, December 17th at the Palais de Congrès in Cotonou after which ASE’s graduation for the Class of 2016 will take place.
Prof. Leonard Wantchekon gives the opening remarks
Still of a presentation
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Résumé de la cérémonie d’ouverture du SIER 2016
Suite à la mise en place des invités et des participants, le SIER a débuté à 9h30 par la cérémonie d’ouverture présidé par le Président fondateur de l’ASE en la personne du Professeur Léonard Wantchekon. Durant son allocution, après avoir présenté brièvement l’ASE et les différents programmes qu’ils couvent, il n’a pas manqué de préciser que le Summer Institute for Economic Research(SIER) qui est à sa deuxième édition est un creuset de réflexion et d’échanges qui réunit plusieurs chercheurs de différents pays notamment des Etats Unis, de différentes universités et plusieurs participants. Le Professeur Léonard Wantchekon a fait part de la grande joie qui l’anime d’accueillir ses amis et ses collègues qu’il a convié au SIER pour des présentations. A cet effet il n’a pas manqué de présenter quelques-uns d’entre eux qui étaient déjà présents sur les lieux, notamment Constantine Manda qui vient de Yale University, Kisito Omala de l’University of California at Berkeley , de Luis Alberiki Gil-Alana de l’University of Navarra et de Giorgia Barboni de Princeton University à qui il souhaite la bienvenue. Il a ensuite également précisé qu’une forte délégation d’une dizaine de chercheurs ont fait le déplacement depuis le Ghana pour prendre part au SIER avant de présenter le corps professoral de l’ASE, notamment le Directeur de l’IREEP Markus OLapade, Sam Aguey , Alice Bonou , David Gbaguidi qui prendront une part active au SIER.Il a souligné également les étudiants de l’ASE sont venus nombreux participer au SIER, notamment les doctorants, les Pré-doctoral students , les étudiants du Master II et ceux du Master I. Il a fini son allocution en présentant brièvement le programme du SIER qui se tiendra du 12 au 16 décembre à Abomey Calavi, au campus de l’ASE et le 17 décembre au palais des congrès,le tout qui sera clôturé par la cérémonie de graduation de l’ASE CLASS of 2016.Il a également fait une brève présentation du contenu du SIER qui se déclinera en trois grandes sessions , que nous pourrons parcourir dans le programme.
Former World Bank Chief Economist, Dr. Justin Yifu Lin visits ASE
December 12, 2016. The ASE community had the great honor of hosting Dr. Justin Yifu Lin last week (December 8). Dr. Lin has served several renowned institutions throughout his career, including former World Bank Chief Economist as well as Professor and Founding Director of the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University.
Dr. Lin is a longtime friend of Professor Leonard Wantchekon (founder of ASE) and it is evident that they share the same passion and desire to train the next generation of social scientists, particularly in Economics. In his discussion he talked about his education and how it helped him make a significant contribution to China’s growth over the past decade. He also elaborated on what Africa can do to attain this kind of development, as is outlined in his book titled New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy. Dr. Lin explained that in 1987 he was the first Chinese national to obtain a PhD in the US and that when he returned he established the China Center for Economic and Research. The center has grown a lot since then, and provides training in Politics, Economics and Philosophy. One of the thoughts that govern his work, which he also emphasized during his lecture, is that “the right ideas lead to development whilst bad ideas destroy”.
By comparing China’s GDP in 1960 versus Benin’s GDP compared to their GDPs today, Dr. Lin demonstrated the importance of implementing “good ideas” in economic policy in order to attain higher productivity. The event ended with a TV interview with the national television station and a group picture in ASE’s courtyard.
Sill of Dr. Yifu Lin's presentation
Sill of Dr. Yifu Lin and Prof. Wantchekon addressing the audience