As PASGR’s work grows from strength to strength, we see a broadening of the scope of activities, as well as growing depth in its programmes. In 2019, we had the privilege of engaging more than 2,000 people — staff, researchers, educators, students’ partners and key stakeholders — in helping to shape our Strategic Plan for 2019-2023: Towards Communities of Excellence for Research and Public Policy. Launched in the spring, this bold plan is grounded in partnerships with different stakeholders and an uncompromising focus on quality and creating vibrant social science communities across the continent. It thrives on the need for collaborations and advocacy to advance pedagogy, professional development training and research. The Research programme began on a high note as PASGR collaborated with Utafiti Sera host organisations and other EvidenceInformed Decision Making (EIDM) partners to organise a successful Africa-wide convening on innovative approaches to EIDM. The discussions included the role of big data and data scientists in providing evidence on the development challenges of the continent. The Professional Development and Training (PDT) arm of PASGR continued to thrive in 2019, providing both tailor-made training to groups of participants from selected institutions as well as delivering traditional programmes to mixed participants that responded to two of our calls for training. The team also held its first-ever instructors’ retreat. In 2019 the PDT programme was evaluated for the first time, which informed the creation of new modules to further enhance the capacity of researchers that have shown diverse training needs. The Higher Education Programme (HEP) team also hosted a number of events in 2019. It began the year with an e-case authorship programme. This was followed by the second doctoral design workshop, which was similar to the first one that sought to prepare a new doctoral initiative with a multidisciplinary focus on public policy and social science research methods. The workshops birthed the doctoral programme in Public Policy to be offered at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, the University of Pretoria, South Africa and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. The HEP team also held pedagogical workshops in Uganda dubbed “The Eastern Hub training”,
On behalf of the Board of PASGR, I would like to express our appreciation to the entire PASGR team for their hard work and dedication to the organisation. The Board remains immensely proud of the PASGR Secretariat and its willingness to embrace change. This has been done under the able leadership of Professor Tade Aina, the Executive Secretary.
The year also witnessed some remarkable transitions on the Board of PASGR. Rohinton Medhora, Codou Diaw and Goran Hyden joined me in completing our terms on the Board. I thank them for the wonderful service they rendered to PASGR, giving of their time so generously.
As we prepared to leave, we put together a new Board to be chaired by Dr Narciso Matos, Rektor of Universidade Politecnica, Mozambique. I would like to welcome the new Board members: Lise Rakner, Professor of Comparative Politics at University of Bergen, Norway; Prof Karuti Kanyinga, Director of the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi; Ama de-Graft Aikins, British Academy Global Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London and the University of Ghana, Legon; and Dr Gerald Ouma; Founding Director of Institutional Planning at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. I wish this new Board of PASGR the best in the years ahead.
After serving for a decade as the first Board Chair of PASGR, I stepped down knowing that a lot had been achieved in that period. With rather limited funding, PASGR had managed to establish good collaborative arrangements and credible programmes at a number of universities in the region. I believe Dr Narciso Matos and his team will continue to execute the vision and mission we developed together in building communities of excellence for research and public policy.
Professor Ernest Aryeetey
Chair (outgoing), PASGR Board of Directors