Experts urge Governments to Use Evidence for Improving People’s Lives Effectively

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During the 11th Africa Evidence Summit held in Nairobi, experts emphasized the importance of evidence-informed policies for improving the lives of people in Africa. They highlighted that governments should prioritize research evidence to set development priorities, design cost-effective interventions, and enhance program implementation.

Dr. Eliya Zulu, the founder and executive director of the African Institute of Development Policy, noted that academic institutions play a crucial role in producing research on complex issues. However, there are often barriers preventing this evidence from reaching policymakers in a timely manner. Bridging the gap between research, policy, and practice can enable policymakers to access the latest research and make informed decisions that positively impact people’s lives.

Dr. Zulu emphasized the need for academic institutions and researchers to better understand the evidence needs of decision-makers and effectively communicate their research findings to policymakers. Rather than solely pointing out government failures, local academics should actively engage in public policy discussions and contribute as strategic agents of Africa’s development transformation.

Dr. Amos Njuguna, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension at the United States International University-Africa, emphasized the importance of practical, context-specific, and transparent causal research for policymakers. He also highlighted the demand for African researchers with skills in impact evaluation methodology as the continent strives for inclusive and sustainable development.

Dr. Edward Miguel, Faculty Co-Director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) and Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley, emphasized the role of CEGA in advancing the scholarship of African researchers and collaborating on locally-led development solutions. He expressed hope that the Africa Evidence Summit could provide a platform for African scholars to increase the impact of their research.

The Africa Evidence Summit is an annual gathering that brings together East and West African scholars, U.S.-based faculty, global policymakers, and practitioners to discuss research findings on economic development and poverty alleviation. The summit aims to promote the integration of evidence into decision-making, elevate African scholarship, and foster collaborations. It is organized by the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA) and the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA).

This year’s summit covers topics of paramount importance to African leaders, including health and resiliency, growth and inequality, and making evidence more inclusive and beneficial for policymakers. It brings together various organizations and researchers working to alleviate poverty in Africa, fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing to address pressing development challenges on the continent.

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