More than a decade after graduating from the African School of Economics, Damase Sossou talks about ASE. He explains the positive experiences he had as a student at this Pan-African university.
The Communications team: Our first point of interest: what was your course of study at the ASE?
Damase Sossou: I was part of IERPE’s first cohort, the oldest of the ASE's institutes. I was one of the first students to graduate with a Master's degree in Public Economy and Applied Statistics (MEPSA) in 2006. Prior to that, I received my education in Statistical Works Engineering at ENEAM (National School of Applied Economics and Management, formerly INE, National Economics Institute).
The Communications team: What was your first job after ASE?
Damase Sossou: I had already been a research assistant when I was still an ASE student. I worked on the school's political economy and local governance research projects. Afterwards, even before graduating from the ASE I was recruited by the civil service in 2008, where I still work.
The Communications team: Did the ASE contribute to this success?
Damase Sossou: Honestly, I successfully passed the civil service recruitment test thanks to the background I got from studying at INE. But I stood out among the rest at work thanks to my education at ASE. The technical capabilities I acquired at ASE enabled me to have good instincts when dealing with certain cases, and I had an especially interesting career path thanks to my particular way of analyzing issues.
The Communications team: Okay, what did the ASE really bring you professionally that makes you stand out among your colleagues?
Damase Sossou: It brought me broadmindedness regarding all sociology and governance-related issues, which often gives my analyses multiple points of view. And these are things an individual who has not received such an education does not necessarily have. I also remember that the ASE helped me get an internship at the University of Cape Town (South Africa) in 2007. It was an enriching experience.
The Communications team: What is your relationship with ASE today?
Damase Sossou: Currently, I work with ASE's CEIPP program as an instructor. I am also an associate researcher. For example, as part of the last communal elections, I worked on a research project with professor Wantchekon, the founder of the ASE, on elections issues. I am also working with the professor and some of his colleagues based at the Toulouse School of Economics and in Spain, on a research project targeting the improvement of the performance of workers in their duties at commune level.
The Communications team: We are almost at the end of this interview, what advice do you have for our readers?
Damase Sossou: I want to specify that all those who studied at ASE stand out everywhere they go; whether Beninese or foreign nationals, they work in the best institutions. Anyone who really wants to impact the world with strategic thinking on development issues must choose ASE. As for those who only need a small training for a short term job, I advise they go for other schools. (Laughter)
The Communications team: Thank you.