Communique of the 2019 Africa Think Tank Summit “Tackling Implementation Challenges for Africa’s Sustainable Development”

Published on 14th May 2019

Preamble  

1. We, the African think tanks and delegates to the Sixth Africa Think Tank Summit, have met in Nairobi, Republic of Kenya, on 24-26 April 2019 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. As we conclude our 2019 Summit on the theme “Tackling Implementation Challenges for Africa’s Sustainable Development”, we would like to express our deepest and sincere appreciation to the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for organizing this Summit in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Kenya, and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA).  

2. We would like to also express our appreciation to our partners namely the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank), the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), On Think Tanks (OTT), the Think Tank Initiative (TTI), the OECD Development Centre (OECD-dev), the Southern Voice, and the Transformative Development Capacities (TDC).  

3. We note the importance for African countries and their governments to trust, consult and utilize think tanks, making African think tanks strategic intellectual partners and reliable institutions in the provision of home-grown solutions to tackling implementation challenges for Africa’s sustainable development.  

4. We also note that African think tanks can and should contribute in supporting African countries given that they are recognized as being able to provide sound and world-class policy research, advice and advocacy on the challenges facing our continent. Their expertise should therefore be trusted and supported as well as fully utilized.  

African think tanks and contribution to tackling implementation of policies and programs  

5. We reiterate our deep concern about the consensus that African countries, regional economic communities (RECs) and continental bodies have many well-crafted policies and programs, but the majority are not effectively implemented.  

6. We acknowledge the issues highlighted in the various sessions of the 2019 Africa Think Tank Summit – in terms of necessity of capacities at the policy design, front-line implementers, and resource levels as well as coordination at the local, national, regional and continental levels.   

7. We urge African governments to pay attention to issues such as the lessons learned from the private sector and the solutions proposed via South-South Cooperation to effectively succeed in implementing policies and programs.  

8. We recognize that African think tanks, if given more support in view of their role in shaping policy and public life, have a key role to play in contributing in tackling policies and programs implementation issues.  

9. We commit to continue providing advice on the policy options and innovative solutions available to successfully tackle policies and programs implementation issues using knowledge and networking while expanding our outreach to policy actors and making our research in the area accessible.

10. We urgently call on African governments, private sector, and other non-state actors to collaborate with think tanks so that home-made solutions are provided to policies and programs implementation challenges. 

11. We also call for think tanks and policy makers as well as other stakeholders to work together to strengthen the research-to-policy linkage, which is critical for Africa’s development and the implementation challenges.  

12. We call for and reiterate on the need for a transformative leadership at all levels and sectors which is key to successful implementation of development projects and programs.   

Supporting African think tanks to better tackle policies and programs implementation issues  

13. We note that implementation challenges for policies and programs can be associated with insufficient operational capacity for managing the development process as well as challenges in harmonizing policies at the national, regional and continental levels.  

14. We acknowledge that to better contribute in tackling implementation issues, African think tanks need also to be supported and their own challenges addressed. While think tanks should make all efforts to ensure their sustainability, African governments are called upon to institutionalize their support to think tanks through the provision of political and financial support as well as conducive environment.  

15. We call for continued support to ACBF and other supporters of think tanks to enable them create new think tanks where needed, strengthen the capacities of existing ones and ensure that platforms such as the Africa Think Tank Summits are convened, and networks such as the Africa Think Tank Network are sustained while the recommendations of the Summits are brought to the attention of the African Union Head of State and Government Meetings.  

Moving forward  

16. We, think tanks and delegates, note that the 2019 Africa Think Tank Summit provided a unique opportunity for open and comprehensive discussions on a wide range of critical issues in Africa, key among them are policy and program implementation challenges and the role of think tanks, which will facilitate the development of mutually agreed solutions.  

17. We are committed to support and contribute to the African research agenda on the effective implementation of policies and programs and the establishment of the Alliance for Implementation Capacities proposed during this 2019 Africa Think Tank Summit and call on African governments, the private sector, civil society organizations and all other stakeholders to join efforts in implementing the proposals.  

18. We call upon ACBF, as the specialized Agency of the African Union for capacity development, to coordinate the development of a capacity development program on implementation of policies and programs in Africa.  

Presented on 26 April 2019 in Nairobi, Republic of Kenya


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