By Rara Reines
Vinson Fellow to Explore Impact of Sector Partnerships on African Growth
My Vinson Fellowship with the Institute of Government’s International Center offers an incredible opportunity to learn about the Center’s global instructional and exchange programs. I am excited for the opportunity to be involved with the Center this semester and to develop skills I learned through UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities.
As a Vinson Fellow, my faculty mentor will be Rusty Brooks, the International Center director. I will be working with Dr. Brooks on a project to explore best practices in institutionalizing public-private dialogue in sub-Saharan African countries. A public-private dialogue is essentially dialogue among the public sector, the private sector, civil society and development actors to shape policies for a more conducive business environment. Public-private dialogues can be institutionalized through national business forums and sector-specific meetings but can also operate through more informal means.
Public-private dialogue enables the private sector to bring valuable expertise to public policy issues, which can contribute to greater accountability in government. Successful cases have demonstrated that an effective dialogue can enhance a nation’s economic competitiveness and business environment.
This research is focused on best practices from a variety of cases, but success is dependent on a policy’s grounding in local realities, needs and capacities. Successful economic development must be homegrown and characterized by strong African agency. It must revolve around African-lived realities and contexts and be carried out by strong African national and regional institutions that can leverage external technical knowhow and financing to provide the most inclusive and successful outcomes.
Rara, a first-year student from Athens, is majoring in international affairs with a minor in African studies. Through the CURO Honors Scholarship, she is researching the African Agency of Investment Promotion Centres in Rwanda, Botswana and Lesotho. She is also involved with a research project at the University of Manchester analyzing the impact of the Tanzania Social Action Fund via stakeholder and recipient interviews and expectations. She writes for The Market Mogul and sits on the board of the Inter Community Council Inc., a council of residents of Athens federal housing projects.