September 4, 2014 will be remembered as a celebratory first day of class  at the African School of Economics. Students, staff and faculty members gathered at ASE’s campus in Abomey-Calavi, Benin to commence the academic year. The incoming class of 80 students was full of energy, as they settled into their seats for an introduction of the new ASE staff and faculty members

The President of ASE, Professor Leonard Wantchekon, delivered an opening speech to celebrate this monumental occasion. He encouraged students to consider what they can contribute to the ASE community in the days ahead. A strong emphasis was placed on the importance of studying hard and working together to overcome the impending academic challenges. Prof. Wantchekon reassured the students that their efforts to build a strong analytical foundation will bear fruit in the years to come.

Following the President’s remarks, each faculty and staff member introduced themselves and professed their aspirations for the academic year ahead. The range of experiences and objectives varied between faculty and staff members. The students welcomed each individual with a cheerful reception.

After the jovial introductions, the students parted ways to their respective lectures. The Master in Mathematics, Economics & Statistics (MMES) students started the semester with a Mathematics lecture from Professor Maxime Agbo. At the same time, Professor David Gbaguidi delivered his first lecture of the semester in Macroeconomics to the Master in Business Administration (MBA) students.


Introducing ASE Staff and Faculty members.
From left to right: Prof. David Gbaguidi, Prof. Louise Grogan, Courtney Quinney (Research Manager), Prof. Juste Some, Prof. Agnès Zabsonré, Phil Spencer (Visiting Research Associate), Clementine Assese (Associate Dean of Academic Affairs), Prof. Maxime Agbo, Prof. Akim Adekpedjou.


Professor Maxime Agbo (far right) delivers a Mathematics lecture to the MMES students.


September 15, 2014. Jessica Gregory and Jonathan Liebman, two undergraduate students from Princeton University who spent a couple of months in Cotonou as summer interns at IREEP, presented the highlights of their experience in a poster presentation last Friday September 12 at the Student Research Symposium organised by the Center for Health and Wellbeing (CHW).

The symposium, held at Princeton University, gathered students who conducted research projects and participated in 2014 summer internships sponsored by CHW’s global health and U.S. health policy programs.

Gregory and Liebman’s presentations focused on their participation in an ongoing IREEP research project that analyzes Emergency Care and Political Economy in Benin. During their stay, they assisted in the collection of data for a survey study involving patients, doctors and administrators.

gregory poster

Jessica Gregory presenting the poster


liebman poster

Jonathan Liebman pointing at some of the key findings

September 5, 2014. A week after the opening ceremony took place, we asked two students to share their account of the evening and the year ahead of them. These are their testimonials.

3L Ifede dance troop


Roland Leudjou, Cameroon

MMES Class of 2016

Wonderful!!! At a time when Africa is in the process of integrating several projects for the construction of an African Economic Community (AEC), the African School of Economics (ASE) is contributing a foundation for exemplary integration in the field of education .

Beyond ASE’s vision as the largest center for research and training in economics and management in Africa, this pan-African university "... will contribute to the growth of the African economy through outstanding education, creative research, and effective solutions.” Furthermore, ASE should rely on the love that African students have for their continent. After only one month as an ASE student, I am very impressed by the cohesion that students of almost twenty nationalities and academic staff have among themselves. By sharing a similar of the potential of African human and natural resources, they are also conscious about the challenges they will face as managers and future leaders of economic development in Africa. In my opinion, the African School of Economics has laid the foundation for a pan-African student community of which I am very proud to be one of the first students.

My dearest wish for ASE is for its students and teachers to represent all 54 African nationalities, while sharing the same vigor for the economic emergence of Africa.

Phil Lopez (ASE Summer Intern), Leonard Wantchekon (ASE President), Roland

Leudjou, Hyacinthe Boko (ASE Operations Director)


Anne Khatali, Kenya

MBA Class of 2016

The first time I saw the website of African School of Economics, the name itself caught my eyes. “The largest center for training, research in economics and management in Africa.” I thought to myself, “This is it.”

The Africa School of Economics is a great vision founded by Dr. Leonard Wantchekon in Cotonou Benin. We, the students, like referring to Dr. Wantchekon as “the Professor.”

The mission of the university is to train world class economists, management professionals, and social scientists who make a great contribution to the growth of the African economy.

Africa is the a continent with significant potential for growth because it has diverse resources, good climate, an established large market share and available clientele for its products.

I believe Africa needs more competent and professional leaders that will drive its economy into the right direction.

To become one of these great leaders in Africa you will not go wrong by choosing to study at the African School of Economics. This institution aims to provide quality tertiary education, cutting edge research, and innovative public policy. These are all stepping stones towards the realization of qualified business leaders, scientists and political leaders that will drive Africa towards becoming the best economic continent in the world.

The African School of Economics will soon offer a wide range of graduate degrees including Master in Business Administration, Executive Master in Business Administration, Master in Public Administration, Executive Master in Public Administration, and Master in Mathematics, Economics, and Statistics. ASE offers these very unique programs that are not taught anywhere else in Africa. ASE’s background in Mathematics and Economic History of Africa makes it the ideal location to study. The programs are supported by talented and competent professors from the some of the best universities from around the world (i.e. Princeton University, Yale University, and New York University).

Since the first day I arrived at ASE, I have learnt more than I ever imagined. All of the classes at ASE are compromised of many competent students. The students are the best from a variety of different countries around Africa. As a student of ASE, you cannot afford to lag behind because everyday we are taught academically and we have sessions with our rectors who teach us the importance of upholding good morals and virtue in the society.

I came as a student focused on my studies. Now, I have learnt how to be a “go-getter,” a hard-worker, and a “pace-setter.” I have also acquired a great attitude, which is very important for a great leader.

If you are a student, who is interested in becoming a great leader in your area of expertise, attending the African School of Economics is an excellent choice that you cannot go wrong with.

Anne Khatali Anne Khatali


Wilfriedd Fotso Youmbi, Cameroon

MMES Class of 2016

Generally, there are three manifestations of culture: art, language and technology. The Grand Opening of the African School of Economics (ASE), on August 29 at the Marina Hotel Benin, allowed me to discover some of the Beninese culture.

Early in the evening, the performance of the 3L IFEDE dance troop eloquently presented the genesis and goals of ASE. The performance continued with a traditional dance accompanied by drumming and chanting in a local language. The acrobatic dancing was perfectly synchronized with each member of the 3L IFEDE group. The most striking performance of the evening involved a walking object shaped like a pyramid, referred to in the language local as a 'Zangbeto.' With the verbal encouragement of the performers, The Zangbeto moved and turned by itself. Every time the Zangbeto was turned upside-down, shockingly, there was motor or walking mechanism in sight. I must also recognize the famous IGNATIUS DONMETOCK for his excellent music throughout the performance. My fellow students, Professor WANTCHEKON, and I even performed a few dance moves with him on the stage.

In short, the Grand Opening of the African School of Economics was a success on all fronts. Especially with respect to the cultural activities, event organization, and various presentations. The Grand Opening will remain etched in my memory, as I believe the best is yet to come in my time in Benin. As ASE students, we will not only utilize ASE’s advanced training, but we also take advantage of the diversity of available cultural experiences.

Wilfriedd Fotso Youmbi speaking at ASE’s Grand OpeningWilfriedd Fotso Youmbi speaking at ASE’s Grand Opening



Note: Roland's and Wilfriedd's post was originally written in French and translated into English.

Find below the original texts.


Roland Leudjou


Au moment où l’Afrique est dans une dynamique de projets intégrateurs en vue de la mise en œuvre de son agenda pour la construction d’une Communauté Economique Africaine (CEA), l’ASE (African School of Economics) apporte sa pierre à la construction de cet édifice en jetant les bases d’une intégration dans le domaine de l’éducation au plus sommet du continent africain. Au-delà de la vision de cette prestigieuse institution universitaire qui est celle d’être « le plus grand Centre de Formation et de Recherche en Economie et en Gestion de l’Afrique », l’ASE entend également être ou est déjà une université panafricaine qui « …contribuera à la croissance de l’économie africaine à travers une éducation exceptionnelle, une recherche créative et des solutions efficaces ». Et pour cela, elle devrait compter sur l’amour de la patrie « Afrique » qu’ont les étudiants. En effet, en seulement un mois d’âge d’existence de l’ASE, j’ai été très impressionné par la symbiose entre les étudiants, le corps enseignants, le staff représentant presqu’une vingtaine de nationalités, et partageant tous la même opinion quant aux potentialités en termes de ressources humaines et naturelles que regorge l’Afrique d’une part et même les défis qu’ils devraient faire face en tant que cadres et futurs leaders pour le développement économique de l’Afrique d’autre part. J’ai eu cette impression que nous nous connaissions tous longtemps avant notre admission à l’ASE. A mon avis, l’« African School of Economics » a établi la fondation d`une communauté panafricaine d`étudiants dont je suis très heureux d’être parmi les premiers étudiants.

Mon vœu le plus cher est celui de retrouver sur ce campus au courant des années à venir des étudiants et enseignants représentant les 54 nationalités africaines et partageant tous le même envi qui est celui d`œuvrer pour l’émergence économique de l’Afrique afin qu’elle constitue une bloc capable de faire face aux unions économiques telles l’UE et les États-Unis.


Wilfriedd Fotso Youmbi

On distingue généralement trois grandes formes de manifestations de la culture: l’art, le langage et la technique. La grande cérémonie de lancement de l’African School of Economics (l’ASE) le 29 Aout dernier au Marina Hôtel m’a permis de découvrir un peu la culture Béninoise et ceux à travers le Groupe 3L IFEDE.

Au début de la soirée nous avons d’abord assiste à un théâtre merveilleusement présente par ce groupe dont l’idée principale était la présentation de la genèse et des objectifs de l’ASE. Ensuite c’était une dance traditionnelle accompagnée de battements de tambours et tout ceci en une langue locale. Juste après, une dance acrobatique parfaitement synchronise par les membres de ce groupe. Ce qui m’a le plus marque durant cette soirée c’était cette dernière dance traditionnelle que je traiterai même d’initiatique ou les adeptes promenaient un objet en forme de pyramide, mais légèrement aplati au niveau du sommet qu’on appelle ici en langue locale ‘’ZANGBETO’’ qui bougeait et tournait sur elle-même des que ceux-ci prononçaient des paroles; mais à chaque fois que l’on renversait cet objet on ne voyait rien en dessous. Je ne pourrai finir ceci sans avoir une pensée positive envers le célèbre IGNACE DONMETOCK pour la bonne musique que j’ai écouté ce soir la a travers ces différentes entrées en scène. Mes amis étudiants, le professeur WANTCHEKON et moi avons même effectue quelques pas de dance sur la scène avec lui, c’était merveilleux.

En somme la soirée marquant le lancement officielle de l’African School of Economics a été une réussite sur tous les plans en particulier le plan culturel, tout le monde a apprécié, nous étions tous satisfait de l’organisation et des différentes présentations, elle restera vraiment gravée dans ma mémoire, et je pense que le meilleur est encore a venir car tout au long de notre séjour ici en terre Béninoise, nous ne gagnerons pas seulement la formation de pointe que nous offrira l’ASE mais nous profiterons aussi du brassage culturel qui en résultera.

September 2, 2014. On Friday August 29, Africa’s largest center for training and research in economics and management, the African School of Economics (ASE), was launched with distinguished guests from around the world. Over 300 people, including government officials, members of the international community, current and past faculty, friends, and family gathered at the Benin Marina Hotel in Cotonou to celebrate this joyous occasion.

The evening was hosted by Dônklam Abalo, a local radio personality from Radio Tokpa. The spirit of Benin came to life with an energetic performance from the 3L Ifede  dance troop and a soulful rendition from Don Metok.

After marking the official opening of ASE with a toast, the audience welcomed ASE’s Director General, Professor Leonard Wantchekon, to the podium to share his vision for this ground-breaking institution. His remarks highlighted ASE’s strong analytical foundation and its unique position of understanding into the past and present realities of Africa. As a Pan-African institution, three ASE students from Benin, Cameroon, and Kenya described ASE’s exceptional capacity to lead the continent to new heights.

Wantchekon’s praise for ASE was reiterated by a number of honoured guests. Moïse Mensah, the High Commissioner for Collaborative Governance in Benin, shared his dream that by 2020 the alumni of ASE will present the world with new models of development. Benin’s Secretary General of Government, Alassane Tigri, expressed his hope that ASE will grow in size, quality and reputation.  Similar sentiments were shared by Aurèle Houngbédji, the President of Benin’s Advisor on Investment, as he encouraged ASE students to develop essential skills in mathematics. These inspiring addresses demonstrated the vast potential of ASE to develop analytical solutions for the people of Benin, Africa, and the World.

The evening festivities concluded with a banquet and many laughs on the dance floor. Stay tuned this week, as a number of ASE students will be sharing their account of the evening and the year ahead on our website.

For a complete collection of pictures from the event, check out ASE's Facebook Album here.

August 26, 2014. The African School of Economics will celebrate this Friday August 29 the inauguration of the school and opening of the 2014-2015 academic year.

The grand opening ceremony will take place in Benin Marina Hotel at 7pm in an event filled with authorities, faculty, staff, students and families and friends of the school.

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