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Africa Think Tank Summit focused on reforms to state institutions

25 Apr, 2019

The Sixth Africa Think Tank Summit, bringing together private, institutes and state agencies, tasked with national research and planning, kicked off in Nairobi on Wednesday, with calls for political parties in Africa to craft long-term policies and build robust public institutions.

The Summit, convened by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) in partnership with the Government of Kenya and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), focused on addressing weaknesses in the implementation of state policies and the opportunities for think tanks to deliver well-crafted policies.

The experts, drawn from developmental organisations, development bank and policy research institutes are meeting in Nairobi to discuss the main challenges facing African countries in the implementation of policies.

According to Lamin Momodou Manneh, Director, Regional Service Centre for Africa at the UN Development Programme (UNDP), policies crafted in Africa by respective government agencies usually get outdated before time because of poor planning context.

Mr. Manneh regretted that most governments depended on advice from international management consulting firms rather than investing in national think tanks to enrich the national government planning.

He said most countries also lack planning, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms which also need to be adjusted for policies to effectively produce their desired results.

Professor Kevin Chika Urama, Senior Director at the African Development Institute, an organ of the African Development Bank Group, stated that most African think tanks and universities perform low in international rankings. Urama said research carried out by the Civil Society Programme at the University of Pennsylvania, estimated that 60% of think tanks in Africa are at risk of disappearing for lack of funding and brain drain.

Prof. Urama said it was regrettable that 14 million students in higher education accounted for 6.4% of the global higher education enrolments globally while Africa’s share of research financing was less than 1 % of government expenditure on the national economy.

However Prof. Urama concluded by saying that the African Development Bank Group will continue to strengthen the African Development Institute (ADI), with the goal to further strengthen capacity development effectiveness on the continent. The ADI will work in consonance with ACBF, think tanks and universities to drive this agenda.

Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana