October 20, 2014. The African School of Economics (ASE) welcomed a representative from Nigeria’s Centre for Public Policy Alternatives (CPPA) to discuss internships and research opportunities with students. Professor Wantchekon briefly introduced Dr. Olufemi Olarewaju, a CPPA Research Fellow with a PhD in Public Affairs from the University of Texas. Dr. Olarewaju has an extraordinary background in environmental sustainability, business, and public policy.

The Centre for Public Policy Alternatives’ research focuses on public policy solutions to issues of population living standards and state capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to Dr. Olarewaju, it is important to think about how we can utilize statistics, such the median age in Nigeria, to develop sound policy solutions.

ASE students asked Dr. Olarewaju about the availability and application process of internships and research programs at CPPA. Dr. Olarewaju emphasized the need to think differently about research. CPPA does not need the physical presence of students; rather they need the ideas of students. In the end, Dr. Olarewaju stressed the need for students to focus and work hard on their studies.


Under the authority of the President of the African School of Economics (ASE), the Director of Finance and Administration will coordinate all services and activities related to the Department of Administration and Finances. This position is critical in guaranteeing the administrative and financial operations of ASE. The successful candidate will work directly with the secretariat, finance and human resources teams, in addition to the Department of Communications, Academic Affairs, Operations and Planning.

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October 14, 2014. Last Tuesday, Prof. Agnes Zabsonre presented a seminar to students, staff, and researchers at the African School of Economics (ASE). She began by describing the main idea of her research, which was to assess the impact of scaling up active antiretroviral therapy (ART) on risky sexual behaviors in Burkina Faso. Recent literature suggests that with an increase in access to ART, people will engage in riskier sexual behavior. She builds a model containing endogenous binary variables and uses a two-year panel data set from Burkina Faso.

Prof. Agnès Zabsonré presenting some data and statistics     

     The audience was very interested in Prof. Zabsonre’s research, as her research question was dynamic and relevant. The audience’s interest led to an enriching debate about the issue of AIDS in Africa. Some students questioned Prof. Zabsonre as to why she choose the variables in her model. These students were keen to understand the intuition behind Prof. Zabsonre’s model.

     In conclusion, Prof. Zabsonre shows that increasing access to antiretroviral therapy does not necessarily lead to an increase in risky sexual behaviors. By using panel data, the results of her research are contrary to the results of previous literature. Instead, Prof. Zabsonre finds that there is a significant reduction in risky sexual behavior associated with an improvement in the availability of antiretroviral therapy in Burkina Faso. The results also suggest that there is less risky sexual behavior when people are more educated.

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Gaetan Tchakounte (right) questions Prof. Zabsonre on her research


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Still of the research seminar

October 14, 2014. The latest Academic Research Seminar took place on October 8th at ASE. Professor Louise Grogan presented a talk entitled, “Household electrification, fertility and employment: Evidence from the Colombian censuses.”


Professor Grogan begun by highlighting the goals of her research paper: examine how households’ electrification in Colombia altered fertility women, work behavior and children’s’ schooling. In her presentation, she demonstrated the importance of this question by highlighting the lack of plausibly studies currently in publication.

To fill this knowledge gap, Professor Grogan identifies the causal effect of households’ electrification based on Colombian censuses and a 2007 World Bank data set. As other economists stated, there is a large positive change in women’s work behavior and children’s schooling when a municipality receives an electricity connection. This is especially true for those who do not have electricity, but their neighbors have an electricity connection. This effect can be described as a positive externality of household electrification.

Professor Grogan posed a brainstorm question to the audience, ‘’How could electrification change the resources allocation in households?’’ As it seems below, Kalemba Tite (MMES, Class of 2016) suggested that ‘’Electrification changes the resources allocation by saving time and helping families finish more work projects in a day.’’

In her conclusion, Professor Grogan demonstrated the advantages of having electricity, while  reinforcing the need for further research explaining the casual employment effects for women.

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Caleb Jeremie Dohou (MMES, Class of 2016) tunes into Prof. Grogan’s presentation


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Kalemba Tite replies to Prof. Grogan’s question on the benefits of household electrification

On Saturday, October 4, 2014 the Muslim students of the African School of Economics (ASE) celebrated Aid El-Kebir, more commonly referred to in West Africa as Tabaski, at the International Student Residence. The Muslism students invited all their friends and professors to join in the celebration of Tabaski, which is one of the two most important festivals in the Islamic calendar.

The holiday was divided into three parts: prayer in the morning, a ceremonial sacrifice of a goat followed by a communal meal, and entertainment into the night.

At 9 a.m., Mohamed Baro along with his Muslim peers visited the mosque wearing their finest cassocks. One of the students, Adama Aziz, was elated to celebrate his first Aid El-Kebir in Benin.

With some students at the mosque, others began to prepare for the festivities. Students washed and cut up oranges. They chopped tomatoes and boiled water for rice. Outside of the kitchen, students swept the house in preparation for the guests’ arrival.

After three hours of prayer, Mohamed, Adama and the other Muslism students returned from the mosque. Upon their arrival, the goat was sacrificed, cleaned, and prepared for cooking.

With the food heating up, the invitees began to arrive. The first visitor was Ms. Clementine Assede, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, along with her three sons. One at a time, the guests arrived and began to fill the places in the living room. Guests were welcomed with fresh popcorn, peanuts, and soft drinks. The ASE professors who joined in the celebration included Mr. Maxime Agbo, Mr. Juste Some, Ms. Agnes Zabsonre, and Mr. David Gbaguidi. At around 3p.m., the feast of mutton, vegetables, and rice began. It was a festive occasion with plenty of food for all.

With bellies full and plates empty, everybody was content with the offerings of the feast. The meal was a fantastic example of teamwork amongst all the students. The quality of the food and hospitality was proof of a successful celebration. This celebration continued on into the night with photos, music, and dancing.


From left to right: Mr. Juste Some, Ms. Agnes Zabsonre, and Mr. Maxime Agbo take part in the feast.