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The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), established in 1988 is a public not-for-profit organization devoted to the advancement of economic policy research and training. AERC's mission is to strengthen local capacity for conducting independent, rigorous inquiry into the problems facing the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa. That mission rests on two basic premises. First, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy. Second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed group of locally based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. Specifically, then, AERC intends to:
- Enhance the capacity of locally based researchers to conduct policy-relevant economic inquiry,
- Promote the retention of such capacity, and
- Encourage its application in the policy context.
Donor governments, private foundations, and African and international organizations support the AERC programme, which has two primary components: research and training. The AERC Research Programme uses a flexible approach towards improving the technical skills of local researchers, allowing for regional determination of research priorities and strengthening national institutions concerned with economic policy research. The programme also fosters closer ties between researchers and policy makers. The Training Programme supports both master's and doctoral level studies in economics and helps improve the capacities of departments of economics in public universities across the continent. A comprehensive communications and outreach strategy encourages the application of AERC products to economic policy making.