Tanzania has been hailed for strides in economic transformation envisioned in the Vision 2025 and its implementation tool, the Five-Year Development Plan.
This was acknowledged by the United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Alberic Kacou recently when delivering his keynote speech at the launching of the Economic Social and Research Foundation’s (ESRF) 2012-2015 Medium Term Strategic Plan.
The plan highlighted the need to research and build capacity on priority issues outlined in the country’s mid-term development plan.
“Tanzania’s development objectives, the challenges it faces and opportunities available in today’s complex global economic environment only highlight the greater and critical role that ESRF could play in shaping national policies for prosperity under difficult conditions,” said Kacou.
Moreover, he said that as the Strategic Plan itself points out, the need for a strong independent in development research is even more strongly felt in the changing environment created by regional development processes such as the East African Community (EAC).
Kacou highlighted four elements that the ESRF should consider critical in focusing on in making its fifth strategic plan effective in strengthening capacities for policy analysis and national development policy making includes.
The elements include quality research and capacity enhancement, which wants the national policy to be only led in the right direction with quality research and policy advocacy.
A good indication of quality work is how the ESRF expertise is sought by key stakeholders, the goal should be to create such demand and reputation, he underlined.
He said another element is the impact of the policy advocacy it provides to government and other stakeholders on policy decision making. “This is one of the gaps that internal and external reviews of ESRF have identified and needs special attention whereas quality of research and advocacy play a critical role on the impact on national policy,” he said.
Other elements are the use of information technology to reach out beyond for national borders whereby Tanzania has become a favorite subject of research for international scholars.
Another element is technical independence, which states the ESRF’s mandate to be independent. “This is an important aspect in making a positive impression on collaborations including donors,” Kacou.
He said that the purpose could be served only if the organisation has the courage to pinpoint what is right and what is wrong in policy making.
According to Kacou, resource constraints are real in the current turbulent global economic environment and there could jeopardise the effectiveness and relevance of the ESRF, which depends on donor assistance.
He further said that a renewed focus on the above four elements-quality, impact, bridging new frontiers and independence will give ESRF a cutting edge in competing for limited resources through professional excellence.