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October 13, 2016. The African School of Economics (ASE) resumed weekly Academic Research seminars with a presentation from Hola Kwame Adrakey, a PhD candidate in Statistics from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, UK. His research focuses on developing Bayesian methods for model fitting in epidemiology, plant and animal diseases with the goal of predicting the risk of spread into disease-free areas. In his presentation he introduced ASE students to the notion of stochastic dynamical modelling in a Bayesian framework.

Mr. Adrakey began his presentation by introducing himself and by imparting words of wisdom to the students. He advised students from French speaking countries to cease all opportunities to improve their English, as this will be crucial when they pursue their PhDs. He also urged all students to not simply wait for opportunities, but to actively go out and find them.

After defining what “Stochastic” means Mr. Adrakey gave some real life examples and then showed the difference between “Stochastic” and “Deterministic” models. He also introduced the ASE community to the Bayesian notion. He explained that we use Bayesian modelling in our daily lives when making predictions based on our prior beliefs. He then talked about Markov chain Monte Carlo which is a Bayesian computational method. He concluded the presentation by explaining that while Markov chain Monte Carlo makes some complex problems tractable, it takes a long time to compute and to develop code from scratch. In the Q&A session that followed his presentation, students expressed their interest in Mr Adrakey’s research and posed specific questions to some of the more technical aspects of the presentation.

The event ended with a group photo in the courtyard of ASE’s campus.


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 Hola Kwame Adrakey


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 Still of Mr. Adrakey's presentation


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 Group picture


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 Picture (from left to right): Agugua Egwim, Meritxell Roca, Chief Gregory Ibe, Leonard Wantchekon, Giorgia Barboni and Chris Eze Nwoke.


October 5, 2016. Chief Gregory Ibe, Chancellor and Founder of Gregory University in Nigeria, visited Princeton University last Tuesday October 4 to meet with Professor Leonard Wantchekon and discuss partnership opportunities with the African School of Economics (ASE). The meeting is the first step towards an agreement that will eventually focus on four major efforts: recruitment, launch of joint graduate programs in Nigeria, set up of a technology lab at ASE and research projects involving both institutions. The meeting was attended by Giorgia Barboni, Post-Doctoral Research Scholar at the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance, Agugua Egwim, ICT Department at Gregory University, Chris Eze Nwoke, US-based Liaison officer of Gregory University and Meritxell Roca, ASE Program Manager.

Gregory University is a private university located in Uturu, Abia State in Nigeria. It was established in 2012 and its mission is to train, "ethically sound, highly skilled global leaders who shall be catalysts for the technological and socio-economic advancement of themselves and their environment".




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September 26, 2016. Swaady Martin is the Founder and CEO of the SWAADY GROUP, a socially responsible group of brands that process African raw commodities into high-value products distributed globally. Passionate about agro-beneficiation, Swaady first launched YSWARA, a company that offers high quality African tea and artisan teatime accessories. Today YSWARA is present in 15 countries throughout high-end stores, restaurants, hotels and spas such as Selfridges and the Four Seasons Hotel Group. The brand was awarded the SME Excellence Award in 2014. Prior to launching YSWARA, Swaady had a 10-year career at General Electric Co., where she held leadership positions in several divisions across the world. Her most recent position was GE Transportation Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and acting-CEO for GE South Africa Technologies. Swaady has received numerous distinctions and awards such as being named one of the "Youngest Power Women in Africa" by Forbes, as well as being selected for the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme in 2012. Swaady holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Lausanne and an MBA from the London School of Economics (LSE), NYU Stern Business School and HEC Paris Business School.

The Board of Directors is the supervisory organ of ASE. It influences the overall vision and strategic direction of ASE while making sure that ASE stays true to its mission. Together, its members will bring a wealth of expertise in academia, higher education institution management, fundraising strategies and Africa's development problematic. Click here to read more about its members.



September 15, 2016. ASE welcomed last Tuesday September 13 Mr. James M. Roberts, from The Heritage Foundation, for the first Professional Seminar of the 2016-17 academic year. James Roberts, an expert in issues of economic freedom and growth,  addressed ASE students and staff members including the Dean, Father Claude Domfang and Professor David Gbaguidi. James Roberts gave a presentation on economic freedom, with a focus on Benin and its neighboring countries. This topic prompted lively discussion among the audience, especially from the students whose questions showed deep engagement with the speaker.

Mr Roberts was accompanied by the Public Affairs officer of the Embassy of the USA in Benin, Kanishka Gangopadhyay, as well as another member of the staff from the embassy. He offered the school library twenty copies of the book "2016 Index of Economic Freedom, Economics Promoting Opportunity and Prosperity." He also distributed  a booklet summarizing this book at the event. Like James Roberts, Kanishka Gangopadhyay lauded the impressive work of the students at ASE, also adding that the beauty of the campus was of a notable standard in Benin. The event started at 9 am and ended at 11 am with a family photo.

The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank whose mission is to promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.


Students and staff attended the seminar



Mr. Roberts getting ready for the presentation


Mr. Roberts addressing the audience


Mr. Roberts addressing the audience