December 12, 2016. The ASE community had the great honor of hosting Dr. Justin Yifu Lin last week (December 8). Dr. Lin has served several renowned institutions throughout his career, including former World Bank Chief Economist as well as Professor and Founding Director of the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University.

Dr. Lin is a longtime friend of Professor Leonard Wantchekon (founder of ASE) and it is evident that they share the same passion and desire to train the next generation of social scientists, particularly in Economics. In his discussion he talked about his education and how it helped him make a significant contribution to China’s growth over the past decade. He also elaborated on what Africa can do to attain this kind of development, as is outlined in his book titled New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy. Dr. Lin explained that in 1987 he was the first Chinese national to obtain a PhD in the US and that when he returned he established the China Center for Economic and Research. The center has grown a lot since then, and provides training in Politics, Economics and Philosophy. One of the thoughts that govern his work, which he also emphasized during his lecture, is that “the right ideas lead to development whilst bad ideas destroy”.

By comparing China’s GDP in 1960 versus Benin’s GDP compared to their GDPs today, Dr. Lin demonstrated the importance of implementing “good ideas” in economic policy in order to attain higher productivity. The event ended with a TV interview with the national television station and a group picture in ASE’s courtyard.


Sill of Dr. Yifu Lin's presentation

Sill of Dr. Yifu Lin and Prof. Wantchekon addressing the audience


November 30, 2016. Finance & Development, a journal published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) includes in its December issue a detailed profile of Prof. Leonard Wantchekon. The text, authored by Ismaila Dieng, covers topics ranging from his most recent research findings to his memories from when he was held prinsoner in Benin.

Click here to access the full text.


November 30, 2016. Representatives from the International Statistical Institute (ISI), Mrs. Nadège Dansou and Mr. Justin Djossou visited ASE last Friday December 25 to present the 2016-2017 International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP) poster competition. The ISLP is under the umbrella of the ISI, which is a committee that was established in 1994 to encourage the development of quantitative skills around the world. Its mission is to promote understanding and good practice of statistics worldwide especially in the application of quantitative knowledge in developing countries. The competition invites students around the world to design a statistical poster. There are two stages for Beninese applicants: a national competition followed by an international competition. The best posters at the national level will be submitted for the international competition and the winner will be announced at the 61st Congress of the ISI in Marrakech, Morocco on July 16-21, 2017.

The theme of the competition this year is “your own country’s history”. Candidates are invited to design a poster that tells a story about their country (or region, district, village etc.) using various statistical methods. After the two representatives explained all the instructions and deadlines for the competition in detail, and a couple of students asked some more questions regarding eligibility and the age restrictions for competing teams. The deadline for poster submissions is January 9, 2017.


Justin Djossou and Nadège Dansou


Still of the presentation

November 22, 2016. The African School of Economics (ASE) community was pleased to welcome Dr. Djalalou-Dine A.A. Arinloye, an Agricultural Economist and Marketing Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to speak during our weekly Academic research seminar. He presented a paper entitled "Marketing Channel Selection by Smallholder Farmers" which studies Beninese smallholder farmers' selection of high value markets such as the pineapple market.

Dr. Arinloye began his presentation by introducing himself. He talked about his background, his professional experience, and briefly described his role in his current position at ICRAF. ICRAF is present in several parts of the world and Mr. Arinloye is based in the Sahel Office. The data he uses in his paper is obtained from a survey of 219 pineapple farmers in different locations in Southern Benin. Using a multivariate probit approach, his results indicate that Beninese pineapple farmers select market channels with high values when they have the expertise and know-how to cope with quality recommendations. Mr. Arinloye's presentation took the form of an interactive discussion, allowing students to ask questions at various points during the talk. At the end of the seminar, students took a group photo with the guest in the courtyard of ASE.


Djalalou-Dine A.A. Arinloye


Group picture

web banner SIER 2016


SIER 2016 will take place in Benin (Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou) from December 12 to 17. It consists of three sessions:

  • Session 1: Training on Research Design (December 12-13)
  • Session 2: Presentation of Research (Conference) (December 14-16)
  • Session 3: Policy Forum and ASE Commencement Day (December 17)


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAM (Subject to Last Minute Changes)


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Beginning on Monday, December 12th, the Summer Institute for Economic Research (SIER 2016) ended Saturday, December 17th, with the Policy Forum and the graduation ceremony of the first cohort of masters students of the African School of Economics, at the “Palais des Congress” de Cotonou.

From Monday to Tuesday, around 100 participants were trained on research design, by instructors from Yale (USA), Makerere (Uganda), Navarra (Spain) and Paris 10 (France).  Wednesday to Friday, featured conference presentations and put many ASE students on stage. The presenters spoke on terrific economic research related to issues such as conflict, climate change, and sub-regional cooperation.

During this time, the mayor of Abomey-Calavi, the town where ASE is located, Georges Bada, paid a visit to the school, he was very impressed by what he saw and encouraged everyone to keep up with the academic excellence.

The policy forum on Saturday started with a debate on advanced scientific research in Africa, with Professor Kizito Omala from University of Makerere (Uganda) and University of California at Berkeley (United States) as a chairperson, and as speakers, Professor Léonard Wantchekon, founder of ASE and professor at Princeton University (United States) and Wilfried Gangbo a Mathematics professor at UCLA (United States)

In the second part, the audience listened to Léandre Adifon, vice president of Enterprise Systems Engineering and Advanced Technology (USA). His address was titled “The Technological Challenges and Opportunities of Developing Countries by 2030”. Aristide Adjinakou, a counsellor of the President of Benin, attended the address as well.


Kizito Omala


Chinasa Ikelu


Still of a presentation at SIER 2016


Léandre Adifon 


Testimonials SIER 2016

"I was pleasantly impressed by the curiosity and the attention of the students at the Summer Institute. Most of them have very clear in mind which carrier they want to pursue after their graduation at ASE. And over the many interactions I had with them, they asked me several questions about what it is like to study abroad, and in particular in the United States. I felt that faculty and staff at ASE are doing a brilliant job in shaping a talented generation of students, who I am sure will have bright careers in many fields. Their strong commitment was evident to me even from the very short experience I had with in Cotonou". Giorgia Barboni (Princeton University)

"I must say that the SIER was a fruitful academic venture. The presentations were extremely impressive, and even more the work of the graduate students were at a global standard. I am certain that if the young who presented keep aiming that high and couple it with high integrity, Africa's future is promising. I desire to associate with this network! Oh, not to forget the fabulous graduation ceremony!" Kizito Omala (University of Makerere; University of California at Berkeley)

"I would say that it has been a great experience for me! Amused by the interest of some of the students in doing good research projects in time series. I hope I will be able to collaborate with some of them! I did a short (2 hours) course in time series and a presentation on fractional integration techniques. I enjoyed some of the presentations I attempted on Wednesday morning. Both the ASE and the SIER are great experiences! Hope to continue in the future" Luis A. Gil-Alana (University of Navarra)

"It was an invigorating experience for me because I participated as part of the team co-ordinating the curation of tweets on social media. I particularly found the teaching on Impact Evaluation and the conference presentations very interesting, they were all enlightening. I believe the African School of Economics (ASE) and the Summer Institute for Economic Research (SIER) has the potential of becoming one of the best institutions and conferences respectively in Africa if the current momentum is maintained". Chinasa Ikelu (Pre-Doctoral student at ASE)