The 2008 economic review report indicates that Rwanda registered real GDP growth of 11.2% last year. However, uplifting the majority of Rwandans out of extreme poverty by increasing per capita income, from the current US$280 to US900 by 2020, remains a challenge.
This requires a more than double digit growth, and more importantly; viable macroeconomic policies.
Thus, it is imperative to comprehensively assess existing policies to evaluate and recommend what works and what doesn’t.
The Institute of Policy Analysis and Research-Rwanda (IPAR), established in May 2008, comes to contribute to this goal. This involves not only conducting policy analysis and research but also building a workforce in key institutions equipped with skills in policy analysis and promoting culture of debate and dialogue about policy issues.
To begin with, IPAR sought to educate itself on the key issues facing the country, and to ensure that its research agenda is based on sound analytical foundations.
This would enable it to speak credibly and authoritatively on these issues. More important, the research agenda would provide clear rationale and justification for the specific research work.
Subsequently, a comprehensive consultative exercise among 55 institutions, including; public and private sectors, civil society and development partner organisations was done.
In addition, situation analyses of four critical sectors; Agriculture, Private Sector, ICT and Education were done to obtain baseline information for benchmarking IPAR research work.
Based on the consultative exercise, IPAR developed a Research Agenda, built on four cross-cutting themes: Skills for tomorrow: Skills for tomorrow: Transforming Human Capital, Citizen-Centred Services: Putting Citizens at the Center of Service Delivery, Rural Lives & Livelihoods: Pathways to Prosperity for the Rural Poor, and Rwanda SA: Developing a Thriving Private Sector.
During IPAR’s anniversary on Friday July 31, 2009 at Serena Kigali Hotel the Minister of Finance, James Musoni acknowledged the IPAR‘s importance.
“IPAR has embarked on a challenging, but important mission of strengthening the evidence base available to government and other stakeholders by providing critical, but constructive advice and useful insights into complex policy issues.
The Executive Director of IPAR Antonia Mutoro says the institute’s vision for Rwanda is built on three fundamental values; Prosperity, Opportunity and Inclusiveness.
The Think Tank was initiated nine years ago but got fully operational last year. IPAR builds capacity of researchers in the country through the Economic Policy and Research Network (EPRN)—a forum that brings together researchers and planning officers belonging to partner institutions like World Bank, National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda , Central Bank, Ministry of Finance, and National University of Rwanda.
Through last year, the institute built partnerships with regional and international peer institutions to create a forum for exchange of expertise and experiences in research.
The institute has published work on; Agriculture Sector Situation Analysis, Poor Customer Care and its impact to Rwanda Economy and a Policy Brief on Girl Education: What Works.
IPAR got seed funding from Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the Government of Rwanda.