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Thursday 30th July 2015 will in the next decades remain a remarkable day for the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) after the Centre launched its new brand identity and website at a high profile event held at Serena hotel Kampala.

The Programs Manager EPRC, Elizabeth Birabwa illustrated the distinctive new logo which has three elements. The speech bubble which suggests conversation, expression and dialogue; a human portrait which signifies people empowerment and a bulb that presages fresh ideas.
She explained that the combination of the three elements signifies, “once people with fresh ideas work together, they generate knowledge to inform and empower others to participate in the betterment of their welfare and society.”

Dr. Sarah Ssewanyana the Executive Director, underlined reasons for the Centre’s rebranding. “The Centre aims to enhance its relevance, effectiveness and visibility in providing evidence based advice for sustainable development in Uganda,” She said, as EPRC staff clad in white shirts decorated with the new logo, stood by her in expression of solidarity.

She further explained that EPRC’s rebranding symbolizes its re-positioning so as to effectively address the following three main emerging issues: (a) The implementation of Uganda’s new National Development Plan - NDP II; (b) The changing regional context namely the East African Community integration and other supra-regional arrangements as the emerging development context; and (c) The post 2015 development agenda of inclusive and sustainable development enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The Centre wishes to reposition itself as a Go-To Policy Think Tank within the wider East African region and improve its Global ranking from double to single digit through undertaking strategic collaborative research projects and constructive engagement with the private sector and CSOs,” She added. “I intend to pursue the new corporate brand identity with the best I have in me together with my senior management team and entire staff,” the EPRC ED reckoned, citing application of cutting edge technologies, nurturing young think tanks and continuous constructive engagement with the government as means.

One after the other; representatives of former board members, founders of EPRC, Chairperson board-EPRC, and top government officials praised EPRC for its tremendous efforts and determination in advancing the role of research in policy processes in Uganda.
Prof. David J. Bakibinga the former Vice Chairperson EPRC Board of Management and former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration Makerere University celebrated the Centre’s robust financial system characterized by internal audits that were introduced during his 2006-2010 term.“Over the years EPRC’s audited financial accounts have been unqualified. This has won the confidence and trust of stakeholders, who include Government of Uganda and development partners,” Bakibinga said. “The Centre has sourced qualified professionals to manage its finance function,” He added.

The Governor Bank of Uganda, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile on behalf of founders of EPRC, praised the Centre for being among the best research think tanks. “The focus on regional integration and trade among others makes EPRC a wide phased think tank, ranking 16th out of 65 in Sub-Saharan Africa,” He said. Prof. Mutibile wished EPRC more triumphs and acknowledged the Centre’s contribution towards the formulation of the national fertilizer policy, regulations and strategy, and its contribution towards the development of 2010-2015 Uganda's Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy. “I hope that after the rebranding, EPRC will heighten policy analysis and the intellectual lives of Ugandans,” He summed.

In the same vein, the Chairman EPRC Board of Management and Secretary to the Treasury Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, called for partner support to back the government funding in sustaining the Centre’s activities.“I urge the non-state actors in particular development partners and the private sector to come on board and support EPRC on a longer term basis,” Muhakanizi said. He further thanked African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and IDRC-TTI for supporting EPRC from 1994-2014 and 2009 to date respectively.

Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development stated that EPRC’s rebranding was well timed given the numerous changes in the global policy milieu. “The unveiling of EPRC’s new brand identity comes at a time when there are changes in the global economic environment and policy frameworks of development partners, EAC integration process, the actualization of the National Development Plan and Vision 2040, and the growing need of the private sector to become more competitive,” Hon. Kasaija said.
Kasaija who called upon EPRC to “ knock on his door” come next financial year praised the Centre’s role in supporting the Ministry of Finance’s efforts in ensuring accountability of public expenditure by evaluating impacts of public finance reforms and tracking corruption trends in Uganda.

He assured the gathering that EPRC will remain independent despite receiving funds from government. “I wish to reiterate that the interaction between the government and EPRC does not affect the autonomy of the Centre. My ministry respects the operational sovereignty of the Centre to guarantee innovation and independence from vested interests.
As dusk emerged, the invited guests, EPRC staff, interns and well-wishers ended the rebranding event with a cocktail as they wined and dined while dancing to soothing music played live by Michael Ouma’s band at Serena Gardens.

With full support from the state and non-state actors, the Centre is ordained to grow stronger and vibrant than it is today.

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