The conference ‘Sustainable Growth and Development in Africa’, Dakar, 25-26 November 2013, aimed to create a bridge between research, policy and practice and to promote evidence based policy making.
It was attended by researchers from various countries, mostly African, as well as policy makers and other development agents. The event was opened by Senegal’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, Prof. Mary Tew Niane, who stressed the need for evidence based policy making to promote sustainable growth in Africa. He also highlighted the willingness and commitment of the Senegalese government to work with UN University towards its implementation.
The conference offered only plenary addresses, with speakers reflecting broadly on assigned topics (rather than presenting detailed research results). This was followed by ample discussions which aimed to set an agenda for identifying key research areas for the new UNU institute in Dakar.
Some 15 speakers from UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, University Cheikh-Anta-Diop (UCAD), Consortium pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (CRES), African Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) covered the following topics:
- Local development, regional integration and globalisation
- Agriculture and structural transformation of African economies
- Human capital, population and migration
- Growth, equity and redistribution
- Sustainable employment and development
- Knowledge, innovation and development
For many participants, one of the biggest challenges was the lack of reliable data, seen as key to conducting informative research for policy making. The new UNU institute should play a major role in this while promoting a linkage between researchers, policy makers and development practitioners – thus creating more informed policy making.