The Broker is part of the Secretariat of INCLUDE, the Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development Policies, together with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS/EUR), and the African Studies Centre (ASC). INCLUDE is one of five knowledge platforms initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contribute to knowledge and effective policies in the Netherlands, other donor countries and developing countries. Established in June 2012, INCLUDE brings together researchers from African countries and the Netherlands who work with the private sector, NGOs and governments to exchange information and ideas on how to achieve better research-policy linkages on economic transformation and inclusive development.
“There is already a wealth of knowledge; the challenge is to make that knowledge ‘work’ for policy-makers and practitioners.”
While most African countries have registered high growth in the last decade, a large number of people remain excluded from the benefits of this progress. More inclusive development requires policies for economic transformation, productive employment and social protection, to ensure that vulnerable and poor groups, especially young people and women, benefit from growth. However, such inclusive policies can only be realized if they are supported by coalitions of strategic actors across state and society that can overcome resistance to change among the ruling political and commercial elites.
To promote policy relevance, there is a strong focus on country-specific research that embeds dialogue between researchers, policy-makers and practitioners right from the outset. To this end, the Platform has established a research programme. The tendering for the programme is in the hands of NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development, which has published three calls for proposals. For each theme, a number of research groups have been selected to address pressing research questions, and to bring their results to the attention of decision-makers in the public, non-profit and private sectors. In addition, the Platform helps to gather and package existing knowledge from a range of stakeholders. By helping to generate new insights and make knowledge available, INCLUDE supports policy dialogue and formulation on relevant inclusive development issues.
Members agreed on the Platform’s overarching theme at the first meeting: Making Development in Africa More Inclusive. To address the issue, three sub-themes for further examination were identified that focus on key aspects of inclusive growth and the elimination of extreme poverty in African partner countries: productive employment; strategic actors; and social protection.
- Promoting Productive Employment. This theme aims to support research on promoting productive employment in Sub-Saharan African partner countries and a research-supported dialogue on employment promoting policies
- Identifying and Supporting Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development. This theme investigates the role that strategic actors can play in implementing policies that favour long-term inclusive development in Sub-Saharan African partner countries.
- Social Protection. This theme aims to enhance insight into the cost-effectiveness of social protection interventions in achieving inclusive growth, compared to other social policies with the same objective.
In addition to the three core themes, the Platform will also work towards identifying those issues that connect thematic issues and/or are cross-cutting. INCLUDE will interact closely with the different research groups and follow the progress of the research projects. Potential synergies and opportunities for complementary activities will be detected early on by the Platform and approached accordingly. This will help the Platform to share a comprehensive and contextualized perspective regarding the thematic interests.
To stay up to date on INCLUDE, please visit the website: http://includeplatform.net/.
Photo credit main picture: Platform meeting October 2014