Alumni Update: Henri Noël Kengne at the University of British Columbia on full PhD scholarship

21st Nov, 202212:48:32 PM GMT


Since October 2022, Henri Noël Kengne, Cameroonian research assistant and master’s graduate of the African School of Economics (ASE), has been in Canada continuing his higher education on a full scholarship. Accepted into the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia, Henri is pursuing his PhD in economics. He chose University of British Columbia not only because of the world renowned economics programs, but also the generous financial packages.

Henri received his bachelor’s and master’s 1 degree in mathematics from the University of Yaounde 1 in Cameroon, then attended the Higher Teacher Training College(HTTC) of Yaounde in 2013, one of the elite schools in the country. Scholarships are nothing new to Henri. In 2015, he won scholarships from both the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI) and the Mathematical Foundation Jacques Hadamard to pursue a one-year master’s program in Mathematics and Application at Felix Houphouet-Boigny University in the Ivory Coast.

The Pan-African graduate student then used his skills to serve others, returning to Cameroon to teach high school mathematics for one year. However, after hearing about ASE, Henri wanted to see how he could apply his advanced skills in mathematics to economic theory, deciding to complete his second master’s degree at ASE.

Henri attributes his success in to both the curriculum and mentorship at ASE. Despite his background as a highschool mathematics teacher with just rudimentary knowledge in economics, ASE allowed Henri to gain advanced knowledge in applied economics. Henri has developed his communication skills through working as a teaching assistant and working as a research assistant on several projects. Some of his notable projects include “Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE),” “The Level of Digital Economy in Benin,” and “Impact Evaluation of Benin’s Youth Employment.”

In addition, Henri thanks Dr. Leonard Wantchekon, Dr. Gabor Nyeki, Dr. Karim Nchare, and Dr. Ian Heffernan for their trust, encouragement, and constant support. He is grateful for ASE’s mission to grant high quality education to those with modest backgrounds, and says that:

“coming from a low-income family, the flexibility of the tuition fee
payments and the scholarship offered by the school fostered my motivation to study at ASE. In Africa, schools with rigorous curriculum similar to the North American model are reserved for wealthy people. However, despite my modest background, my course work at ASE has equipped me with academic skills that I am proud of.”

After completing his higher education in North America, Henri intends to become a professor of development economics in order to critically address questions related to the development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. He is passionate about using cutting-edge machine learning tools in economics, with the bulk of his future research broadly concerning the economics history of Africa.

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