The Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has called for the use of research-based data to drive policies for accelerated development in Africa.
He said African countries would not achieve the desired results if professionals, policymakers, donor partners and the international community failed to use or rely on reliable research recommendations to support them in their policy implementation.
"I believe sound data and evidence can be used to improve policies and ensure that we achieve the desired socio-economic outcomes.
The use of well-researched evidence will ensure that we are following the best course of action to achieve our goals," Dr Bawumia added. Event The Vice-President made the call at the second Africa Evidence to Action Conference in Accra yesterday.
The two-day conference will discuss accountability and the responsibilities of policymakers and implementers in the use of evidence to improve development agendas. It is being attended by policymakers, development practitioners and researchers from Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya.
The conference, organized by the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED), is hosted by the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Legon. It is on the theme:
"Responsibility and accountability: Strengthening evidence generation and use in support of policy reform and development agenda". Research recommendations Dr. Bawumia said judging by the numerous challenges facing Ghana and Africa, the need for strong evidence to inform policymakers and implementers was felt more now than ever.
"We must use research and data to ensure that the images of helpless, hungry citizens are no longer part of our evening news,” he said.
He said to achieve such a goal, there was the need to deal effectively with the issue of moving research or evidence acquired into action, adding that some policymakers and implementers often ignored credible research-based recommendations.
In the case of Ghana, he said, the government had realized that moving evidence into action could be difficult, especially if a considerable amount of discretion was allowed, hence the decision to digitize establishments such as the ports, the National Health Insurance Authority, and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DLVA).
Government policy The Vice-President explained that the establishment of a ministry solely for Monitoring and Evaluation in the country was a testimony to the seriousness the government attached to using evidence to guide policy implementation.
He said since it was set up, the ministry had been supporting other ministries, departments, and agencies to implement the government's flagship programmes and it had also developed a colour coding evaluation system to monitor progress in those programmes.
He added that the ministry had also developed quarterly implementation reports which tracked budget releases for the implementation of the programmes.
"This contributes to deepening evaluation practices and evidence-based decision-making in the government," he said.
Dr. Bawumia further said monitoring and evaluation could play a pivotal role in the implementation of the government's ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ policy to realize its objectives.
Minister The Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr AnthonyAkoto Osei, said the government had put in place measures to ensure that all its key priority programmes were implemented in a timely and cost-effective manner.
That, he said, formed part of efforts to ensure the wellbeing of Ghanaians.
ICED President The President of the ICED, Dr. David Sarfo Ameyaw, said the time had come for African research institutions, decision-makers, and development practitioners to lead in the use of research-based evidence.
"It's our time. Africa's renaissance and transformation cannot be attained without knowing what works and what does not," he added.