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AERC among Top Development Think Tanks Internationally in the 2016 Global Index

African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) has again emerged among the very top International Development Think Tanks in the 2016 Global Index. It is listed first in this category in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and placed at position 26 globally.AERC is also separately listed among the top in other categories, including Top Economics Think Tanks Worldwide;Best Independent Think Tanks Internationally; Top Think Tanks Worldwide (Non-US); and Think Tanks with the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy.

 

This programme involved over 6,500 think tanks and other civil society actors worldwide in various categories, and it was conducted by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP).  The organization conducts surveys on the role policy institutes play in governments, and in civil societies around the world.

 “Over the last 26 years, the TTCSP has developed, and led a series of global initiatives that have helped bridge the gap between knowledge and policy in critical policy areas such as international economics, international peace and security, globalization and governance, environmental issues, information and society, poverty alleviation, and healthcare and global health. These international collaborative efforts are designed to establish regional and international networks of policy institutes and communities that improve policy making while strengthening democratic institutions and civil societies around the world,” said Dr. James G. McGann, Director, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program during the presentation of the results.

“This is a delightful news for the Consortium. We are very excited that AERC has achieved consistently high rankings globally over the years, including the five star global transparency rating just recently.  In addition, the new category of recognitions, that puts us among top independent think tanks internationally and think tanks with the most significant impact on policy, are a testimony to AERC’s tradition of independent inquiry for evidence base policy in Africa. While it is gratifying that we are getting high global ratings as part of think tank rankings, it is imperative to note that AERC is not just a think tank. It is a think tank plus; a highly integrated knowledge organization with multiple arms, including research, collaborative graduate training, policy outreach, and a vast network with substantial emphasis on capacity building. Its alumni are visible around the continent, including numerous governors of central banks and high level policy officials,” said Prof Lemma W. Senbet, AERC Executive Director.

This Global index marks the ninth year of continued efforts by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide. Their initial effort to generate a ranking of the world’s leading think tanks in 2006 was a response to a series of requests from donors, government officials, journalists, and scholars to produce regional and international rankings of the world’s preeminent think tanks. Since its inception, the objective for the GGTTI report is to gain understanding of the role think tanks play in governments and civil societies, and assist in improving the capacity and performance of think tanks around the world.

 As part of the nominations process, 6,846 think tanks catalogued in the TTCSP’s Global Think Tank Database were contacted and encouraged to participate, in addition to over 4,750 journalists, policymakers, public and private donors, and functional and regional area specialists. This group of peers and experts was surveyed to both nominate and rank public policy research centers of distinction.

About AERC

AERC, established in 1988, is a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in the world, with a focus on Africa. AERC’s mission rests on two premises: First, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy. Second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cadre of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. AERC builds that cadre through a programme that has three primary components: research, training and policy outreach. The organization has now emerged as a premier capacity building network institution integrating high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond. AERC has increasingly received global acclaim for its quality products and services, and is ranked highly among global development think tanks.

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For more information about this workshop or AERC, please contact:

The Executive Director
African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
Middle East Bank Towers, 3rd Floor, Jakaya Kikwete Road,
Tel: (+254-20) 273-4150 / 273-4157
Fax: (+254-20) 273-4173

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
www.aercafrica.org

 

 

 

Policy seminars discuss Service Delivery Indicators for improved outcomes in health and education

A two-day policy seminar was held in Nairobi to deliberate the Service Delivery Indicators (SDI) project, part of a large-scale research project conducted by AERC in partnership with the World Bank.

Dubbed the Institutions and Service Delivery project, it started in the mid-2000s and later incorporated the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The project was initiated to review the quality of service delivery in primary education and basic health services and provide measures for benchmarking service delivery performance in Africa.

The SDIs examine the efforts (what providers do) and abilities (what providers know) of health providers and educators and the education and health facilities’ resources that contribute to a functioning school or health facility. In education, providers’ ability is measured by teachers’ minimum knowledge to master the curriculum and quality of instruction they offer while in health, it is measured by health workers’ diagnostic accuracy, adherence to clinical guidelines and management of maternal/neonatal complications.

Providers’ effort in education is measured in terms of teachers’ absence from school, absence from classroom and time they spend teaching while in health, it is measured in terms of health workers’ absence from facility and caseload per provider. Finally, inputs in schools are measured by assessing availability of teaching equipment, infrastructure, student-teacher ratio and students per textbook while in health facilities, it is measured by availability of equipment, drugs and infrastructure.

In the three countries of focus, namely Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, the key findings from the surveys were:

·         there was fairly high absenteeism rates both in schools and health facilities across countries;

·         there were low rates of correct diagnosis by public health providers of at least 4 out of 5 very common conditions – suggesting either existence of knowledge gaps or failure to adhere to professional guidelines (or both); and

·         a significant proportion of primary school teachers do not exhibit mastery of the curriculum they teach.

Since the launch of the SDI country reports, further research has been undertaken by AERC, with support from the World Bank, to better understand and exploit this rich data set in order to inform policy making in Africa. The research in question has focused on understanding service delivery in health and education in three countries, names, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

 

The seminars also involved media and civil society organizations in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. With increased discussions and use of SDIs, it is expected that findings of SDIs will become integrated into education and health policymaking processes for improved service delivery, performance and accountability in the two countries.

 

AERC attains maximum five star Transparency Award

 

The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) has for the third time in a row been conferred the coveted supreme five (5) star rating by Transparify. Transparify recently launched a report on the financial transparency of 200 think tanks worldwide. This is an initiative devoted to advocating for greater think tank transparency globally, including financial transparency. It rates the extent to which think tanks publicly disclose their sources of funding, the funding levels, and specific research projects, in an open and timely manner, in addition to disclosure on website.

Transparify assessed 200 think tanks worldwide for its 2016 report and AERC achieved the maximum 5-star rating. This means that AERC is among the global best in terms of financial transparency, a select group that includes some of the best-known names in the field. AERC is one of the most transparent think tanks in the world.

“We rated each institution on a scale from 0 to 5 stars based on how much information it reveals about where it gets its money from. The report gives citizens, journalists and policy makers the ability to identify think tanks that are committed to transparency and integrity in policy research and advocacy. At the same time, it shines a spotlight on those organizations that accept money from hidden hands behind closed doors,” observes Dr. Hans Gutbrod, Executive Director of Transparify.

AERC’s high transparency rating is coming in the wake of its global recognition as one of the top development think tanks as recently recognized by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP). The organization was ranked most recently as among the top 25 international development think tanks worldwide. In addition, AERC was listed among top independent think tanks. AERC was selected for review by Transparify because it is regularly listed as among the leading institutions in Africa.

 

“We are thrilled with this five star transparency ranking. AERC endeavors to observe best global practices in everything it does, and it is heartening that our exemplary efforts are receiving global acknowledgment,” says Prof. Lemma Senbet, AERC Executive Director.

 

“While we treasure the global think tank rankings, we also wish to recognize that AERC is not just a think tank.  It is a think tank plus; with multiple arms, including research, collaborative graduate training, and policy outreach with heavy emphasis in capacity building,” adds Prof. Senbet.

There is no question that think tanks, including the think tank arm of AERC, play a positive role by generating new ideas and producing independent research to inform the political class, the media and the general public. Their role is also very significant in public debates and during policy formulation. Transparify, however, points out policy recommendations by think tanks should not be driven by the vested interests of their funders as opposed to truly independent research and analysis. These interests have resulted in a number of think tanks failing to disclose who funds them, thus creating the appearance of hidden agendas, consequently undermining the credibility of the think tanks. What is important to note, and which Transparify stresses, is that think tanks have become key players in policy discourse and therefore have a responsibility to be transparent about their operations.

About AERC

The AERC, established in 1988, is a public not-for-profit organization devoted to advancement of economic policy research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. AERC is the leader in policy-oriented economic research in the continent and is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in Africa. AERC’s mission rests on two premises: First, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy. Second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cadre of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. AERC builds that cadre through a programme that has two primary components: research and training. The organization has now emerged as a premier capacity building network institution integrating high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond. AERC has increasingly received global acclaim for its quality products and services, and is ranked highly among global think tanks.

 

 

For more information about AERC, please contact:


The Executive Director

African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)

Middle East Bank Towers, Milimani Road, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: (254-20) 273-4150 / 273-4157

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.aercafrica.org

 

Inclusive Finance for Low Income Countries

Inclusive finance is intended to enhance access to, and availability of financial services to the broadest segments of society at affordable terms. The segments are broad enough to include the youth, women, small farmers, small firms, small entrepreneurs, rural areas, etc. The available evidence is that finance and financial development promote economic development.  However, it is not clear how inclusive financial development delivers inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Recent empirical research, though, shows that in low income countries (LICs), there are financial development gaps as well as financial inclusion gaps; and Africa features large gaps relative to other LICs, with women, the poor and rural households having no or limited access to a range of quality financial services at affordable prices.

The current consensus is that there is urgent need for research on inclusive finance and its potential contribution to lifting low income countries to the level of their medium income peers. Led by Professor Victor Murinde at the University of Birmingham, a consortium of partners, including African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), will collaborate on a £2.02 million (approximately US$2.93 million) research project on finance for low income countries with a focus on Africa. The project is inspired and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), shortened as DFID-ESRC - Growth Research Programme (DEGRP). The Consortium is the winner of the global bid for this large scale project [DEGRp call 3 (2015/2016)].

 

The research project was launched in conjunction with the AERC Biannual Research Workshop in Nairobi on Monday, 30th May, 2016, and pre-launched at the AERC Senior Policy Seminar on “Financial Inclusion in Africa”, Nairobi, March 2016. The launch presentations were led by Professors Victor Murinde, Lemma Senbet, and Robert Lensink, with other partner organization members in attendance and in active dialogue. Both the AERC biannual research workshop and the senior policy seminar provided an opportunity for exchange of views on the project with key stakeholders including AERC network researchers, international resource persons, senior policy officials, private sector actors, and civil society.

The Consortium is international with a focus on the North-South partnership, and it includes the United Kingdom (University of Birmingham; SOAS University of London; Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex; Loughborough University; the Overseas Development Institute; and the University of Nottingham), the Netherlands (CIBIF - Centre for Development Finance and Impact Analysis, Faculty of Economics and Business, the University of Groningen), North America (Université Laval in Québec, Canada and Columbia in the United States) and, crucially, Africa (the University of Ghana-Legon; and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), a pan African institution headquartered in Nairobi).

 

“The conversation in Africa has now shifted beyond the growth renaissance the region has witnessed over the years, to that of inclusive growth that is sustainable.  Inclusive finance is at the center of this transformation, and hence the project is very timely.  AERC is privileged to be a partner, since the project pervades its entire capacity building framework inclusive of research, collaborative graduate training, policy outreach, and vast network”, said Professor Lemma W. Senbet, AERC Executive Director and the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, University of Maryland, during the launch.

 

“The research project focuses on delivering inclusive financial development, with a focus on low income countries in Africa,”  Professor Victor Murinde, the Principal Investigator, said adding that “the project will: deliver rigorous, high quality research to support financial inclusion policies; develop innovative financial products in collaboration with households, banks, and the private sector; involve collaborative research to enhance methodologies and data for the promotion of inclusive finance; and engage with policy-makers to provide research-based advice on financial inclusion in Africa”.

 

This research is vital for embedding financial inclusion in African economies, and aims ultimately to have a significant impact on livelihoods. The project’s other important dimensions pertain to capacity building of early career researchers in low income countries, with a focus on Africa, to conduct policy-oriented research of global standards, and to influence policy dialogue and formulation among senior policy decision makers as well as non-state actors, such as the private sector.

 

About AERC

The AERC, established in 1988, is a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in the world, with a focus on Africa. AERC’s mission rests on two premises: First, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy. Second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cadre of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. AERC builds that cadre through a programme that has three primary components: research, training and policy outreach. The organization has now emerged as a premier capacity building network institution integrating high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond. AERC has increasingly received global acclaim for its quality products and services, and is ranked highly among global development think tanks.

 

# # #

 

For more information about this workshop or AERC, please contact:

The Executive Director
African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
Middle East Bank Towers, 3rd Floor, Jakaya Kikwete Road,
Tel: (+254-20) 273-4150 / 273-4157
Fax: (+254-20) 273-4173
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.aercafrica.org

 

Integrating African Markets: The Way Forward

Most African markets are moving towards integration. Deepening regional integration in Africa is critical to maintaining economic competitiveness. Most assessment of the progress in regional integration in the continent has focused on market integration associated with trade in goods. Yet, regional integration, in its broadest terms, including goods, labour, and finance, is an important pathway for economic transformation and diversity. Regional integration is a priority for Africa because it is seen as a rational response to the difficulties faced by a continent with many small national markets and landlocked countries. As a result, African governments have concluded a very large number of regional integration arrangements, several of which have significant membership overlap. While characterized by ambitious targets, their performance record is unimpressive.

Read more: Integrating African Markets: The Way Forward
 

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