On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research-Rwanda(IPAR-Rwanda) and the University of Rwanda(UR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU), taking a giant step towards building cooperation between both institutions in the areas of research and capacity building.
The agreement, which was signed at the University of Rwanda, by IPAR-Rwanda Executive Director Ms. Eugenia Kayitesi and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda Prof. Philip Cotton, aims at using IPAR-Rwanda experience and expertise to transform research produced by the university of Rwanda into evidence informing policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders.
Both institutions have committed to strengthening evidence based decision making by providing relevant and usable evidence to decision makers, with a focus on economic issues. This will be achieved by identifying research topics relevant for the business policy and the economic development of Rwanda ; conduct joint academic research on the identified topics ; translate academic research findings into timely and relevant evidence tailor-made for decision makers and other stakeholders ; and disseminating research findings to the relevant policy makers, stakeholders and users through publications, workshops and conferences for improved research uptake.
In the area of capacity building, IPAR-Rwanda will host 4 to 8 PhD/Post-doctorate students from the University of Rwanda in business and economics who will be tackling the identified critical research topics that are vital for Rwanda’s economic development. Students and Researchers of the University of Rwanda will also have direct access on IPAR-Rwanda data collection services and database.
Emphasizing the importance of the MoU, IPAR-Rwanda Executive Director, Ms. Eugenia Kayitesi said, “We are very grateful for this partnership. Through this MoU, IPAR-Rwanda looks forward to working very closely with University of Rwanda to transform research produced by the university into evidence relevant to policy-making.”
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda Prof. Philip Cotton said the partnership with IPAR-Rwanda will enable the University to improve its research products with focus on research that can be used by the policy makers and other key stakeholders in the development of the country. “This is a hugely important partnership for us,” said Prof. Cotton.
Prof. Cotton further noted that the university of Rwanda produces a lot of academic research, however, it faces a challenge of determining policy recommendations from the research it produces although it has a project that is responsible for identifying policy recommendations at the college of business and economics in Kigali. With this partnership, the university sees a solution.
“We have not quite progressed as first as we would like in other parts in the university and this partnership with IPAR enables us to work much more focused together in developing research with policy recommendations that policy makers can make use of and to present that research in usable form," Prof. Cotton further said
The MoU between the University of Rwanda and IPAR-Rwanda is set to benefit the Government of Rwanda and other stakeholders in decision and policy making by increasing the number and quality of research products with solid evidence that could be utilized by the policy and decision-makers.
It is a common belief that Governments and their stakeholders rely heavily on research evidence to design new policies and to reform existing ones for better results. In Rwanda, the government is no exception and it has shown strong desire to base its policy and decision making on research evidence.
Established in 2008, IPAR-Rwanda is the leading non-profit, independent think-tank in Rwanda. The institute has a huge mandate of improving policy and impacting change in Rwanda, which it implements through research and public policy analysis ; public policy dialogue and debate and capacity building to strengthen research and policy analysis skills especially among young promising researchers.
Over the past ten years, IPAR-Rwanda has contributed evidence which has been key in informing both policies and programmes by the Government of Rwanda.
Major examples include evaluation of the central and local government performance contracts (locally known as Imihigo) and evaluation of Seven Year Government Programme (7YGP 2010-2017) in addition to other important research projects.