On Thursday 30th of July 2015, EPRC will launch a new brand and logo aimed at enhancing its relevance, effectiveness and visibility in providing evidence driven policy advice for sustainable development in Uganda. As it implements its current Strategic Plan (2013/14-2016/17), the Centre seeks to consolidate the achievements it has gained in providing influential and relevant research outputs and services. Thus, the rebranding of the EPRC will position the Centre as a key partner in the country’s transition toward middle income status as envisioned in Vision 2040; and in engaging with the post 2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Centre also seeks to broaden its scope and reposition itself to respond to emerging development issues at the regional level to foster deeper economic integration in the East African Community.

In other words, EPRC’s re-branding 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).

Who is EPRC?

EPRC is an acronym for Economic Policy Research Centre. The Centre is located at Makerere University, and it is Uganda’s leading research think tank in the field of economic and development policy. The Centre provides policy analysis based on research evidence, to support the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government policies. EPRC’s mission is to foster sustainable growth and development of the Ugandan economy by advancing the role of research in policy processes. Our core business cover a diversity of policy and development issues, structured under six research thematic areas namely; Economy, employment and public finance management; Microeconomic analysis, social service delivery and social protection; Private sector development and competitiveness; Natural resources management; Policy inconsistency and implementation gaps; and Trade and regional integration.

What are some of our achievements in the policy domain?

Through the implementation of its medium term strategic plans, EPRC has registered significant achievements in the policy sphere over the years. Maintaining an independent but constructive position on topical issues, a growing number of MDAs now consider EPRC as a GO-TO policy think tank and an indispensable partner in policy processes. The Centre’s significant contributions to national policy formulation has been cited by the World Bank Research Observer in 2002 which identified EPRC as an independent research institution with considerable policy influence in Uganda. In addition, the 2013 annual global think thank rankings by University of Pennsylvania put the Centre 17th out of 550 think tanks in Africa and the number one in Uganda.

The Centre’s research has and continues to influence a number of policy initiatives including the reform of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program, policy on malaria control, Social services delivery, agricultural input tax policy, and many others. In response to the Uganda Service Delivery Indicator (USDI) survey for example, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) pledged to set up a taskforce of permanent secretaries to address issues of governance, accountability and service delivery in the health and education sectors.

Furthermore, EPRC has continuously provided technical support to government Ministries, Departments and Agencies through representation at various sector working groups or committees and other government organs. Such representations are at; MoFPED, MAAIF, MTIC and MEACA, NPA, UBOS, and the Inspectorate of Government (IG). EPRC has also provided technical support to the Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children and the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs

Finally a central part of EPRC’s research agenda relates to trade and regional integration which has seen far reaching policy reforms especially as part of the transition of the East African Community to Common Market status. The policy reforms at the EAC level have in turn triggered national policy reforms aimed at domesticating EAC policies into the national policy framework. EPRC’s researchers have been part of many technical working groups that provide support to the process of developing national positions in trade and regional integration negotiations. In this rebranding, the Centre proposes to scale up this and other policy support efforts to reinforce Uganda’s transition to middle income status.

Why is the Centre responding to regional challenges?

Uganda is a founding member of the East African Community which has now attained common market status. The EAC common market allows for the free flow of goods, capital, services and labor. As a result of far reaching changes in the regional integration agenda, a number of national policy reforms aimed at domesticating EAC level policies and rules are being undertaken. The EAC is also partnering with other regional economic groupings such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and others to open up and facilitate trading in the African continent. This changes have accordingly changed the context of development for Uganda, since whatever happens in the entire EAC region has a bearing on the Ugandan economy. This necessitates our move beyond Uganda, to engage different actors in policy and development issues across the region, and as well tap into new partners with interest in policy and development research. The move will make EPRC relevant in the region, in order to support government in negotiating its position within the regional context.

Where will the Launch of the new Brand Identity take place?

The launch is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 30th July 2015 at 3:30 pm at Kampala, Serena Hotel, Katonga Hall.