The Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) has been ranked in the top 10 of Think Tanks in Sub Saharan Africa.
This is a 19th slot advance from BIDPA 29th position in 2011 in the region. The annual report, generated by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, is the culmination of an 8-month process involving more than 1,900 expert panelists, journalists, scholars, and administrators.
BIDPA is rallying behind South Africa, Ghana and Senegal think tanks in the region. The report distinguishes think tanks by region, area of research, and special achievement.
The report states that rankings process, as in the past, relies on a shared definition of public policy research, analysis, and engagement organizations, a detailed set of selection criteria, and an increasingly open and transparent nomination and selection process. To date there are nearly 6,603 of these organizations currently operating worldwide.
Dr Grace Tabengwa, research fellow and macroeconomist who has been with BIDPA for more 13 years, says that this is quite impressive considering the achievements in line with the policy mandate and of providing policy advice, conducting relevant policy research and capacity building in Botswana.
Reflecting, Tabengwa said that the key policy research on key issues have coined policy landscape such as the privatization policy. BIDPA has been very active in the revisions of the national incomes policy of 1990 which led to the current running incomes policy.
The fourth evaluation of the financial assistance policy was conducted by BIDPA, which recommended its termination to and putting in place the current CEDA.
“These ranks show that the institute has a potential and with a supportive environment, it can achieve a lot and play a role in the policy agenda in Botswana,” said Tabengwa.
She added that BIDPA becomes more critical as a policy advisor and research institute given the current diversification challenges where a lot of research is required to inform the growth strategy that will propel the diversification process.
However, Tabengwa acknowledged that at times providing policy advice is a challenge in that it takes time and requires a lot of resources and expertise.
“The institution has performed well, given that it only started in 1995/96,” she said.