Uganda Development Bank (UDB) and Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) have signed a strategic partnership pact to work together on different research projects to inform policy and drive evidence-based interventions for deeper impact.
Ms. Patricia Ojangole, the UDB managing director, said “formalizing the relationship [between two institutions] will [boost] our outputs using research”.
She added that “We want research to be part and parcel of the solutions that we provide…this MOU is envisaged to promote collaboration between two institutions in conducting research, data sharing, and dissemination among others.”
UDB is a development bank and it provides affordable finance to Ugandan businesses, a role that is especially handy as local entrepreneurs face harshest cost of money from commercial banks. Meanwhile, the EPRC provides research to help government and other institutions to make interventions based on evidence.
Ojangole said this particular collaboration will see value-chain studies conducted, especially sector-specific studies that rhyme with UDB work.
“Even within specific sectors, we should be able to say this is what we are doing [and this is the progress]. We want that to be backed by research, macroeconomic and trade analysis to inform further interventions in key sector and initiatives we undertake.”
UDB funds agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing or larger version of industry, tourism, human capital development (health and education), infrastructure, as well as emerging sectors such as ICT.
The collaboration is also expected to boost co-authorship, peer review, and knowledge sharing between EPRC and UDB teams to inform policy processes.
EPRC Executive Director Dr. Sarah Ssewanyana said the pact gives both institutions the opportunity to think for the country.
“It is coming at a time when we are finalizing our strategic plan and in it, we emphasize strategic partnerships. This comes in handy for us to able to partner with UDB,” she said “[It is] an opportunity to make two institutions more visible in terms of untilising evidence to inform whatever we do.”
She added that agro-industrialisation is one of the thematic areas that EPRC research will focus on going forward and follow through government to ensure it is supporting agriculture the way it is supposed to be done.
UDB currently has programmes supporting Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSMEs) to recover from the devastating impact occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, EPRC is doing several studies on the impact of the pandemic on MSMEs and how best their recovery can be supported.