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The report takes the starting point in the African Union’s goals and priority areas of Agenda 2063, national development plans and the UN’s SDG targets. From existing work on the efficiency of development policies, 30 areas were selected for their promise of high efficiency and/or high salience. For each area, prominent economists were interviewed to ensure the analyzed policies are the most relevant ones for Africa.

The project is a fast-track product, done over 3 months. It delivers back-of-the-envelope calculations that are relatively rough, but enough to provide a reasonable ranking in terms of relative value for money.

Project Background

A new initiative implemented by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to answer these questions:
  • Looking at the scientific priorities set by the SDGs, African Union Agenda 2063, and national development plans, which will give African countries the greatest return on investment? 
  • How do we get these priorities in front of African and global decision-makers, and use them to guide and inform investment decisions by African governments and global funders?
The AAS is convening African science leaders to determine which 10-15 pressing health and development priorities can be answered by science and innovation. They will then determine which of those priorities can be addressed with existing interventions that are ready to scale, and which require further scientific research. For those priorities where promising interventions exist, work will focus on aligning African governments and global funders to support their introduction and drive impact. For those areas where further research is needed, efforts will focus on funding researchers and innovators to develop and test new solutions.