On 21st and 22nd November 2023, Prof Evans had the distinct pleasure of attending the policy conference hosted by the Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA), a collaborative effort with the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), and the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. The conference, centred around the theme of “Accelerating Africa’s economic transformation towards shared prosperity and sustainability,” provided an enriching space for the exchange of ideas among researchers, policymakers, development practitioners, and various stakeholders in the field.

The MIASA Policy Conference proved to be an invaluable opportunity for him to contribute to the ongoing discourse on Infrastructure and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Africa, pivotal channels for the continent’s economic expansion. The discussions delved into the latest policy-relevant research findings, shedding light on Africa’s economic development, current patterns, and future trajectories.

A notable highlight was reconnecting with some of the team members at DePECOS Institutions and Development Research Centre (DIaDeRC), including Dr. Romanus Osabohien (attending from Malaysia), Dr. Ngwengeh Brendaline Beloke (from Cameroon), and Dr. Marvelous Ngundu (from South Africa). Engaging with these brilliant minds further enriched his experience, allowing for insightful discussions and an exchange of perspectives. Additionally, he had the privilege of physically meeting some of the researchers in the African Scholars Mentorship Network (ASMN), anchored by DIaDeRC after our Series 1.0 and 2.0 virtual bootcamp. This encounter provided a platform for physical connection, idea sharing, and a deeper understanding of our collective research and grant writing endeavours. It was also refreshing to note that many participants at the conference indicated interest in joining the ASMN after learning of the experience of our members.

Much like MIASA, DIaDeRC stands as an emerging Think Tank, serving as a link for exchange, networking, and collaboration among leading researchers from Africa and scholars worldwide. Our commitment to fostering these connections is evident through initiatives like the periodic mentorship bootcamp. For a more comprehensive understanding of our work, please explore our website at www.diaderc.org.

Together, through initiatives and collaborative opportunities, we strive to be at the forefront of advancing impactful research and creating meaningful connections that transcend geographical boundaries.

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