Africa Must Nurture the Think Tank Culture

Published on 15th May 2019

The 2019 Africa Think Tank Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, provided a unique opportunity for open and comprehensive discussions on a wide range of critical issues in Africa.  It noted 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 challenges facing the continent.  

The act of African governments neglecting the think tank culture has seen African governments craft and adopt half-baked policies; sign pacts embedded with Trojan horses and front negotiators with limited capacity. One of Africa’s biggest weakness in talks and policy formulation is the low capacity and skills of its team. The team is usually politically handpicked, not well-prepared with fact-based research from think tanks and averse to any new set of brilliant thinkers who can inject new thinking and approaches to the continent’s advantage.

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.  African governments, private sector, and other non-state actors must collaborate with think tanks and encourage the think tank culture so that Africa sound thinking informs policies and programs.  


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