Thursday, August 3, 2017. The dynamics of innovation is still under way at the African School of Economics (ASE). To add to the weekly Video Workshops, which allow students to learn about innovations in the field of economics, ASE launched the Thematic Reading Groups (TRG’s). These intellectual circles will give students the opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge research in their areas of interest. The groups are classified around various themes: IT and Management, Education and Health, Political Economy and Governance, Economic and Social History, Agriculture, Infrastructure and Trade, and Finance.

The Finance group kicked off its first meeting yesterday at IREEP, supervised in person by Professor Sam Aguey and online by the President of ASE, Leonard Wantchekon. In his introduction, Prof. Wantchekon stressed the three important aspects of students' experience at ASE: classroom teaching and learning; research experience and fieldwork; and discussion based reading groups. He explained the reading groups were designed to help students find potential research topics for their theses, but also for their future PhD studies and overall professional development. As all students are required to join two groups, Prof Wantchekon stressed student attendance and participation in weekly TRG meetings.

During the Finance meeting, participants introduced themselves and their research interests. In total, there were twenty students including Professor Sam Aguey. Since it was the first session, students mainly discussed their interests and aspirations for what they wished to learn from the group. Popular themes included microfinance, macro-finance, financial systems in Africa, and personal finance.

At the meeting’s conclusion, Professor Sam Aguey reminded students that the Finance group was created for those with significant knowledge about the subject as well as for those with no background in finance at all. In the end, the goal of the group is for everyone to learn as much as they can about diverse fields related to finance, improve their presentation and discussion skills, and broaden their intellectual horizons.