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Posts tagged ‘Africa’

A new political economy of research uptake: overview from studies in Latin America, Africa and Asia

This posts summarises a number of studies produced by ODI, IDEA International and others between 2009 and 2012 on the political economy of research uptake. It presents cases from South America, Africa and Asia, edited books and other resources.

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Rethinking how research is communicated: two cases from Cameroon

[Editor's note: This post was written by Sandrine Ebakisse, a knowledge manager by profession. She carried out this analysis with a research grant from the Communications Division of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). In it she reflects on the strategies of two policy research organisations working in Cameroon's forestry sector.

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A quick and dirty “Transparify-like” assessment of TTI think tanks

Transparify has just published an excellent report in which it reviews the financial transparency of over 150 think tanks across the world. Inspired by this effort I have rated the group of think tanks funded by the Think Tank Initiative. For no other reasons that it is a fairly clear set, not too small and not too large, and representative of three developing regions. In this blog post I argue that Transparify has opened a door that other should follow.

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“Think Tanks in Africa: Catalysts for Ideas and Action” by Dr. Frannie Léautier

In this post Peter da Costa turns his attention to Dr. Frannie Léautier's presentation at the think tank summit. She argues that think tanks play a number of important roles as: Mediators, Trusted Advisors, Transformers, and Independent Thinkers. More importantly, she makes a strong case against the obsession with results: “If ACBF wanted immediate impact it would never have invested in think tanks for more than 20 years!"

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Is knowledge meant to solve technical problems or change the world?

In this second post on the think tanks' Summit, Peter da Costa reflects on Prof. Achille Mbembe's presentation at a recent African think tanks summit and poses an important question: can knowledge ever help change Africa unless it is critically grounded in reality? Otherwise, does it risk being nothing more than a provider of narrow solutions to even narrower expert-defined problems?

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Observations from a gathering of African Think Tanks: Of visas, rankings and existential threats

Peter da Costa reflects on a meeting of African Think Tanks where concerns about global rankings and threats to think tanks were discussed. He argues that think tanks in the region need to come together to learn from each other -but this needs to be an African initiative if it is ever to be successful.

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The external evaluation of the Think Tank Initiative: “what we’re learning, and how we’re responding to those lessons”

In this post, Peter Taylor, Program Manager of Think Tank Initiative, outlines the main findings of the TTI's first phase evaluation. The evaluators also identified a number of lessons and recommendations for the second phase: sharing, learning and collaboration are among them.

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Supporting think tanks series: Economic Policy Research Institutes in Sub-Saharan Africa

In this third think piece on supporting think tanks, Stephen Yeo critically outlines a not so recent history of initiatives, funds and projects. He identifies a number of compounding challenges: funding, human resources, lack of competition, and leadership. One of the overall results is a limited incentive for transformative change.

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Calls for new national think tanks in Africa: one or many?

Calls for new think tanks in Africa are getting more common. But while some see an opportunity for supporting the formation of several think tanks others favour large national Brookings-style centres. One big one or a few small ones?

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Economic downturn affects think tank funding

Foreign funding for think tanks seems to be decreasing, affecting institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world. Dependence on foreign funding and few domestic sources paint a worrying picture for their future. But is it the same for all?

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