African economists inspire growth, reduce poverty
Roads to Knowledge
The stories of three IDRC-funded research consortia demonstrate the range of fruitful approaches available for harnessing expertise
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AERC awards research grants on issues such as poverty, trade and finance and manages collaborative Master’s and PhD programs in economics with dozens of African universities.
“Within the first 10 years of AERC support for economic policy research, many African countries began to see growth rates turn around and go from negative to positive,” says William Lyakurwa, AERC’s executive director. His own country, Tanzania, is one example where AERC support has built capacity and strengthened the management of the Tanzanian economy.
"AERC alumni are in key government decision-making positions across Africa. They include central bank governors and ministers of finance," Lyakurwa says. "They are using the knowledge that they obtained from AERC, but also from their interactions with each other."
In addition to such key topics as industrialization and agricultural development, AERC has recently grappled with fallout from the global economic crisis, which resulted in substantially higher food prices in many African countries. In two workshops, over 200 economic researchers and policymakers from across the continent discussed how to reinforce the agricultural sector’s development and food security.
By supporting post-graduate studies in economics and by strengthening departments of economics in regional universities, the consortium is slowing the "brain drain" and building capacity for economic policy research across Africa.