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Jean-Pierre Tchanou, the first researcher from Vi Cameroonian member, the University of Yaoundé II, to receive a fellowship from the Virtual Institute, focused on Central African competition policy during his research stay at UNCTAD April 18 to May 27.

With the support of his mentor, Yves Kenfack, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC), Tchanou undertook an analysis of the relationship between the quality of competition policy institutions and the attainment of the objectives of these policies within countries in the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC).

Tchanou began by developing criteria based on World Bank, United States, European Union and UNCTAD sources, to evaluate the national context and institutional infrastructure of fledgling institutions in CEMAC countries. The idea is to provide a weighted assessment tool that will provide an efficiency "rating" to the competition policy institutions in the region.

Particularly helpful to Tchanou was "the availability of our coaches, Hassan Qaqaya (Chief of DITC's Competition and Consumer Policies Branch) and Yves Kenfack, who were there to encourage us and especially to help us better understand our research question, and the staff of the Virtual Institute, who spared no effort to ensure the fulfillment of our research mission."

The work undertaken during his fellowship, part of his preparation for the "concours d'aggrégation" – the highest professor certification in the French university system -- will likewise serve to complement Tchanou's frequent consultations with government officials. Already, while at UNCTAD, he discussed the assessment tool with  Amadou Dieng, Director of Competition at the Economic Community of West African States (WAEMU), who expressed his interest in continuing the dialogue at his intitution's headquarters.

Tchanou also had the opportunity to establish contact with other Vi fellows in residence at UNCTAD.

"I shared a lot with Dr. Chérif Kane, of Senegal, and our discussions have borne plans for collaborative research projects," Tchanou said. "I also discussed with my colleague and compatriot, Dr. Henry Atangana Ondoa, on the future of our African universities, sinking through lack of means to support researchers. It is clear that the future will depend on the quality of their research and thus on the quality of the training for young instructors, who will take over the different spheres of government of our country."

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