On Tuesday, February 7th, 2017, ASE students learned about economic growth in Benin in 2016. The weekly academic seminar featured Singbo Delphin Watchinou, a Beninese economist, expert in project management and civil servant in the Forecasting and Economics Directorate of the Ministry of Economics and Finance.

Economic growth at the global level, which has declined from 2015 to 2016 according to the International Monetary Fund, provided the context for Watchinou’s discussion of economic changes affecting Benin’s public finances in 2016. Consumption, inflation, income – Watchinou provided an overview of all the parameters that affected the national economy during the year. 

According to the ASE administration, the students' success also depends on good relations between them. One of the tools to strengthen these relationships is mentoring. The first edition of the Mentoring Ceremony, was led by the Communications Department of the Pan-African University.


The atmosphere was friendly on February 6th on the campus of the African School of Economics. The goal of this ceremony is very simple: to match newcomers from ASE’s January intake of students with new mentors. These mentors, who are already students at ASE, will facilitate their integration through advice, attentive listening, and good camaraderie. Communications Manager, Wilfried Gnanvi, in ​​his opening speech encouraged the students to maintain a good atmosphere within ASE, whose student body is made up of nearly a dozen nationalities. He also announced an Integration Day that will involve initiatives designed to enable the various nationalities within the African School of Economics to know each other better and to accept one another. About thirty students took part in this ceremony, most of them new to ASE; a number of the peer mentors were participating in fieldwork for IERPE research and could not attend. The names of their mentees will be communicated to them by e-mail by the communications team, represented at the ceremony by Philile Shongwe and Wilfried Gnanvi. Student delegate, Lewis Atta and MMES representative, Christelle Zozoungbo participated in the organization of the ceremony. The students appreciated the initiative and are looking forward to Integration Day.

2017 02 10 Francis William Touola Meda

Francis Touola Meda will be pursuing a PhD in politics at New York University starting in the fall of 2017. Francis explains that his acceptance demonstrates “the international recognition of ASE’s effectiveness in producing top-tier students in the social sciences”. He adds: “I was a mathematician before joining ASE. This school gave me a strong quantitative analysis background, and now I am doing political Economy”.

Francis cited the prestige of the university and the quality of its professors in political economy as his motivations for selecting NYU. In addition, ASE President Leonard Wantchekon has a strong connection to NYU, where he worked as a professor in the Politics department from 2001 to 2011. For his thesis work, Francis was advised by Prof. Wantchekon, and extended his previous work on elections in situations where there is the threat of violence.

Francis came to ASE from Cameroon, and graduated from ASE in December 2016. In ASE’s pre-doctoral fellows program for top ASE graduates, he prepared for the GRE and TOEFL exams and wrote his applications to PhD programs in the US and Canada. He has also been involved with IERPE’s research projects on girls’ education and supplementary mathematics courses for girls in secondary schools. After completing his graduate studies, he hopes to use his training to be at the forefront of innovative leadership in Africa.





Gaetan Tchakounte Nandong, a former ASE student (Class of 2016), has been accepted to one of the world’s top-ranked universities to pursue a PhD in politics. At Princeton, he will join ASE President and Princeton professor Leonard Wantchekon, who serves on the faculty of the politics and economics departments at the university.  According to Professor Wantchekon, “Gaetan’s admission to Princeton is a clear signal of the growing international reputation of the African School of Economics and talent of our students. There is much more to come”.

Gaetan came to ASE from Yaoundé, Cameroon, and graduated from ASE in December. He acquired extensive experience conducting research during his time at ASE and recently presented his master’s thesis on healthcare delivery in Cameroon at the Working Group in African Political Economy’s 2017 conference in Abu Dhabi. Gaetan was already one of the most high-achieving students in his class, ranking near the very top in GPA. In ASE’s pre-doctoral fellows program for top ASE graduates, he prepared for the GRE and TOEFL exams and wrote his applications to PhD programs in the US and Canada.


For his doctoral dissertation, Gaetan is interested in continuing his research project on ethnicity and entrepreneurial attitudes, noting that there are some ethnic groups throughout Africa that are more likely to be entrepreneurs, such as the Chaga in Tanzania, Mossi in Burkina Faso or Igbo in Nigeria. Once he has completed his PhD, he hopes to work as a professor at a major research university.



Damase Sossou, an Impact Evaluation specialist, talks about the Impact Evaluation in Public Policy program offered by the African School of Economics.

Communications Team: How do you contribute to a successful Certificate in Impact Evaluation in Public Policy (CEIPP) program?

Damase SOSSOU: Well, I can say we contributed to designing the program. It came as a result of discussions I personally had with Professor Wantchékon; I actually work in the department in charge of public policy evaluation and government action analysis at the presidency of the Republic. The need was obvious. The ASE started the program and it is my duty to support the initiative so that executives who take part in it receive effective training. I also teach two class modules. One is Introduction to Impact Evaluation, and the other is Experimental Methods.

Communications Team: Why is the CEIPP program important for professionals in general?

Damase SOSSOU: This program is important in that it directly touches upon how people implement public policy programs globally. The existing monitoring system unfortunately does not make it possible to see the value added. This certificate will make it possible for participants to acquire adequate technical skills so they can determine the added value of a program being implemented in their sector – especially with regards to peoples' living conditions – using a rigorous statistical method.

Communications Team: What distinguishes ASE from other institutions offering the same course?

Damase SOSSOU: ASE's program is a certification, not a degree program. The certificate here is characterized by having a larger focus on quantitative methods.

Communications Team: What are the entry requirements for the CEIPP?

Damase SOSSOU: Any professional who holds at least a Master's degree can take part in the certificate program we are offering. This program does not exclude candidates based on their profile, however, it would be easier for someone with a background in areas such as economy, planning, and project management to take this course. What we are offering does not necessarily lead people to become experts in impact evaluation but they do understand the impact evaluation process, and a manager who understands this process has more skills and can better implement programs. This program is therefore not only for experts; it is also for managers.

Communications Team: I understand the need for workers to have the certificate, but what is the need for students who have not started working yet?

Damase SOSSOU: This certificate is necessary for students in that it goes a little beyond the academic setting because case studies are presented to participants. They are introduced to concepts that cannot be presented in an academic course. The teaching method is pragmatic, i.e. the teachers are not university lecturers, but practitioners; this offers a much more interesting prospect than an ordinary academic course. So for students who are about to complete their studies, this is a certificate that enables them have more opportunities with regards to employment than just an academic or professional degree. The CEIPP is also professional but is much more centered on real-life practice and on program management.

Communications Team: We are almost at the end of our interview; do you have anything else to add?

Damase SOSSOU: I would like to encourage all the people who want to improve their performance in their professional positions, and managers to register for this certification. This is an investment I encourage them to make because this will enable them improve their performance in the tasks assigned to them. There are currently many flagship projects being carried out by the government, and it is important for a manager to have these skills in order to better carry out their duties.