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In 2009, the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), an African-led, regional non-profit policy think tank, was established to help bridge the gaps between research, policy and practice in the areas of population change and sustainable development, and health systems strengthening in Africa. The purpose of AFIDEP’s work is to contribute to sustainable socio-economic development by enabling the formulation of policies and programme interventions that are informed by sound research evidence in these focus areas.
In spite of on-going efforts to improve the utilisation of research evidence in decision-making in Africa, there remain major challenges. Available research is largely fragmented in different scientific publications and not appropriately packaged for use by decision-makers. Furthermore, the evidence often does not fully meet the policy and programme needs of decision-makers since they rarely contribute to the initial identification of the knowledge gaps that the evidence seeks to fill. Use of evidence is particularly weak in closing the big gap between policies and implementation, which remains one of the most critical development challenges in Africa. This is partly because there is limited research evidence to inform effective design and implementation of interventions that have the best potential to improve lives.