Government officials and researchers have said that evidence-based policymaking is making a difference in the delivery of public services.
They said this Friday during a dinner organised by the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR) under the banner, ‘Engagement with Stakeholders’.
IPAR conducts research in the areas of agricultural value chain development, social sector development, economic development, environment and natural resources.
Eugenia Kayitesi, the Executive Director of Institute of Policy Analysis (IPAR), said objective research will continue to help government make policies based on evidence.
She said this would inform the ‘Agenda 2030’ as Rwanda moves to align its development programmes with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Yemesrach Assefa, the economic advisor in the strategy and policy unit at United Nations Development Programme, said there are many areas of collaboration with researchers seeing that SDGs need the role of all partners.
Prof. Thomas Kigabo, the chief economist at National Bank of Rwanda, there is still need for resource mobilisation for efficient work in the field of research.
“We are in a country that is achieving rapid socioeconomic transformation and we need research to inform policy. There is also need to build more capacity,” he said.
Prof. Alfred Bizoza, Director of Research at IPAR, said the body conducted different studies in such areas as customer service (that later informed policy on customer service), research on coffee investment (resulted in the increase of coffee prices for farmers), among other research projects.
Sandrine Urujeni, the Deputy CEO of National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), told Sunday Times the research informed them on pricing of coffee based on cost of production.
“The research recommendations helped us to assess cost of production by considering farmers inputs and efforts, international prices, among others. Cost of production was previously being counted at Rwf100 before but after the study we increase it to a minimum of Rwf177,” she said.
The move has since increased farm-gate coffee prices from Rwf150 to Rwf250.
IPAR was also commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Office to evaluate Imihigo (performance contracts) for civil servants for the past three years.
“We used to evaluate Imihigo by assessing commitments and achievements. However, we realised that something had to be refined. IPAR came in and introduced an innovative formula of evaluation by looking at citizens, their role in planning and if they get satisfied with what is done for them.
“We realised that some infrastructure could be built but is probably not needed or wished by citizens,” said Fred Mufuluke, in charge of good governance at the Local Government ministry.
He said that before IPAR started evaluating Imihigo, results of districts could be above 96 per cent but with IPAR’s innovative approach, performance now range between 70 per cent and 80 per cent.
Currently, councilors, as representatives of the people, are being trained on how they can play a role in the budgeting process.
And, this is a result of IPAR research, officials said.
Kayitesi said IPAR is currently evaluating the Government's seven-year programme (2010-2017) in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister.