First African Economic Society held In Benin, West Africa


The Econometric Society, the African School of Economics, July 19, 2018—Cotonou

First African Economic Society held In Benin, West Africa


July 12-15th marked the first annual African School of Economics conference in one of the emerging African economic theory hubs, in the République du Bénin. The three-day conference featured academics, theorists and policy makers from around the world who gathered together with the aim to integrate students, teachers and those who have an invested interest in economics to connect and discuss economics both within the African diaspora and within Africa itself. For many, this was an opportunity for those from all over the world to have first-hand a chance to converse and meet the leading scholars in economics, ask questions ask, expand on their knowledge and apply this to their everyday life as well as delve deeper into economic theories presented by the people who actually created them. Some of the delegates who attended, included Noble Prize Winner 2007 in Economics, Roger Myerson, School Professor of Economics and Political Science, Sir Tim Besley and Eliana La Ferrara, Chair in Development Economics, Bocconi University.

Roger expressed his excitement to us about being in Benin “I’m delighted to be here in Benin, where I can see if my theories can be applied internationally” 


The event was organised by the head of the Econometrics society, Leonard Wantchekon, Princeton University and African School of Economics alongside his wife, a fellow Princeton representative and daughter who is studying at Harvard. It is clear to see that they are the Obamas of education. 


Press contacts: Ronke Lawal (Ariatu PR)

Wilfried Gnanvi (ASE) // Ben Martin (TRUE)




Day 1: Thursday 12th July


This day was focused on research and the opportunities that can arise through theory. 


Economic Research on/in Africa: Critical Review and Future Directions: 

Eliana La Ferrara (Bocconi University) chaired the event with, Renee Bowen (University of California San Diego), Patrizio Piraino (University of Cape Town) and Habiba Djebbari (Aix-Marseille University) discussing the direction of Africa with first hand examples and perspectives from a Western standpoint.


Economics Education in Africa: Opportunities:

Roger Myerson, the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. 2007 Nobel Laureate from the University of Chicago spoke had his keynote speech where he discussed the Local Agency Costs of Political Decentralization whilst Vicky

Barham (University of Ottawa) chaired the event.


Day 2: Friday 13th July


This was the busiest of the three-day conference looking at the developments, infrastructure and tourism in Africa. 


New Developments and Challenges in Econometrics:

Chaired by, Prosper Dovonon (Concordia University), Ismail Mourifie (University of Toronto), Nour Meddahi (Toulouse School of Economics) and Sara Lowes (Bocconi University) where they discussed the challenges that are faced from theory and how this would be applicable to the everyday economics of society.


Infrastructure and Development: 

Chaired by Simon Alder (University of North Carolina), Illenin O. Kondo (University of Notre Dame), Moussa Blimpo (The World Bank) and Victor Murinde (SOAS, University of London). The point of this session was to understand the economic and social implications of the current infrastructures in place.


Tourism in Benin:

Eliana La Ferrara, Fondazione Romeo ed Enrica Invernizzi Chair in Development Economics, Bocconi University led this conversation with Maria Micaela Sviatschi (Princeton University) who discussed Media and Behaviour Change and the Social Effects of Edutainment. 


There was a Presidential Address to Sir Tim Besley, School Professor of Economics and Political Science and to W. Arthur Lewis Professor of Development Economics at the London School of Economics, which was chaired by Moussa Blimpo (The World Bank)


Day 3: Saturday 14th July


This day was packed with parallel sessions for people to have smaller groups to discuss their own personal views with professors. 


There was the annual general meeting of the Econometric Society, which included the Africa Region Evaluating Institutions was chaired by the three top men of the institution, Sir Tim Besley (London School of Economics), Roger Myerson (University of Chicago) and Leonard Wantchekon (Princeton University and ASE)

The stature of the conference attracted the local press on the first and the last day for them to gather an understanding of how economics could affect the lives of the Benin people and to add some glamour to what are often called, “boring conferences”. Following the press junket, the evening rounded up with a dinner and music show with the traditional music and dance for all to enjoy.