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First Day of the AfES

12 July 2018. The African Meeting of the Econometric Society (AfES) gathered world-known researchers, distinguished professors, students, economic practitioners and theorists from Africa and all over the world to Cotonou this last weekend to discuss global economic research advancements and related issues. The conference also welcomed the 2007 Economy Nobel Prize Laureate, Roger Myerson, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Planning and Development of the Republic of Benin.

The first day of the conference was full of learning opportunities for participants, including both plenary and parallel sessions, a keynote address, and time to network and discuss. Following the opening remarks by Professor Leonard Wantchekon and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who warmly welcomed the event, a number of broader issues were discussed in a plenary session chaired by Eliana La Ferrara (Bocconi University) with Dr. Renee Bowen (University of California San Diego), Patrizio Piraino (University of Cape Town) and Habiba Djebbari (Aix-Marseille University). They highlighted issues including the availability of data for research in Africa, institutions’ culture and dynamic change for development, and friction in the labor market in Africa. Economists also held several panels, with topics ranging from Econometrics to Education, Finance, Trade, Women and Development, Agriculture, and Media.

The conference highlighted the fact that “Research on Africa and in Africa” must be promoted and fostered by adequate theory development according to Africa’s specific context. In the domain of theory, conference participants were delighted to hear Roger Myerson bring the first day to a close with his keynote address entitled “Local Agency Costs of Political Centralization,” which showed the benefits of political decentralization through a double-side theory that exposed democratic and autocratic governance and how they impact development.

Overall the first day of the AfES conference demonstrated the vast amount of research and knowledge related to econometrics that is being created globally. It was a full day of learning and connecting for participants, and the beginning of a historic weekend.

Still from the plenary session on “Economic Research on/in Africa: Critical Review and Future Directions.” From left to right: Habiba Djebbari, Patrizio Piraino, Renee Bowen, and Eliana La Ferrara.