Group of think tanks to shape agriculture, trade debate

December 19th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) Global Development Network (GDN), an international associations of think tanks, has launched a four-year project to contribute to agricultural and trade policy debates in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, a spokesperson said here Friday.The debate is expected to facilitate economic growth, reduce poverty and help improve the lives of millions of people in these regions, particularly in the agricultural sector.

The project, supported by a grant of $4.5 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to shape north-south and south-south policy debates on agriculture and trade.

“This grant contributes to our continuing work on addressing key development issues, such as poverty, income inequalities, growth and employment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,” said Gobind Nankani, president of GDN.

“Scholars from the developing world have made important contributions to policy research in these areas, including trade and agriculture. This grant will help bring those insights and recommendations to the attention of policymakers making critical decisions about some of the major difficulties of our time.”

Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are two regions where agricultural development seriously lags behind other sectors, and where agricultural incomes have stagnated. Improving trade linkages within and between regions could bring more benefits to poor.

For this, the spokesperson said, there is a need to synthesise existing knowledge and research about trade and agriculture, and make it more accessible to policymakers making critical policy decisions in these areas.

The project, entitled “Agricultural and Trade Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia: Shaping Global and Regional Policy Debates and Promoting Evidence-informed Policies” will be implemented with support from GDN’s regional network partners, the South Asia Network of Economic Research Institutes (SANEI) and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

It will also draw on the participation of regional policy makers and other stakeholders directly and indirectly involved in the policy process to ensure that research is demand-driven and relevant to policy decisions facing the region.

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