Tuesday February 11 2014

Encourage reasearch to achieve Vision 2040

By Paul Corti Lakuma

Uganda is at a crossroadwith an intent to become a middle income country by the year 2040; popularly referred to as Vision 2040.

One good place to start such a journey is to bridge the dichotomy between the Vision 2040 and scientific/economic research results, outcomes and policy influences; thus, one comes to a conclusion that unilateral decisions should be minimal and any policy implementation will be informed by research congruent to practices by other successful economic transformation projects around.

Hence an important purpose of the Vision 2040 administrative system (read National Planning Authority and others) is not only to create a policy environment which is accommodative to research results, but also to ensure a long term presence of scientific/economic researchers and research institutions in Uganda.

On the other hand, as Dr Sarah Ssewanyana avers, research institutions have an obligation to churn out relevant, timely, independent and high quality research output. It is also perfunctory for research institutions to court opinion leaders to‘’ champion policies’’, so as to propel policy debate to the centre stage by engaging the public in policy discussions to enable a “walk away’’ from primordial response to problems.

For illustration, over the year, the Economic Policy Research Centre has led the way in developing competitive ideas on agriculture, education, natural resources, public policy, health, financial markets, infrastructure, the media, technology, trade and regional integration sectors. Lest we forget, the National Agricultural Research Organisation and the Bank of Uganda with expertise in crop and animal research, for the former, and monetary policy research, for the later, have produced recognisably impressive works too; but unlike the practice in China, there is a passive appreciation and an indifference to such works in Uganda.

I, therefore, argue that it is a patriotic duty, albeit voluntary for this case, for policy makers, the private sector and the general public to consume such products if we are to make significant steps.

Separately, as we pursue this journey, adversities will be many; at some point, we may fall and fail, the best response is not to give up, but to pick ourselves up and try again.