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.
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