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The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has launched its maiden Non-Residential Fellowship Programme (NRFP) to firm up ties between evidence-based research and policy advocacy, with the objective of deepening Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

At the virtual launch of the programme recently, 18 proven scholars drawn from varying academic backgrounds were inducted alongside five renowned faculty and senior fellows whose expertise in academia, research and the policy environment they will draw from in the course of the two-year programme.

“It is important for quality research to find an outlet which guarantees its implementation,” said NESG Chairman Asue Ighodalo during his opening remarks at the event. “The need for much stronger ties between evidence and policy making informed the creation of the Non-Residential Fellowship Programme, which will promote the dissemination of quality research output which fosters the nation’s socio-economic development.”

He re-emphasised the NESG’s commitment to playing a significant role in supporting the translation of high-quality research into effective policies. “This is why we are all here today. In order to make the right policy choices, the quality of evidence underlying the recommendations made must be ensured.

This aligns with our role as Watch Dog, recognizing that generating reliable evidence, using rigorous methods, is the first step to implementing the right policies,” he explained.

Also speaking, Project Director of the NFRP and Chairman, Presidential Economic Council, Dr. Doyin Salami, explained that the NESG had spent the past 30 years as an advocacy group, but deemed it fit to transform into a think tank, understanding the dynamic nature of the policy environment.

“It is in the context of becoming a think tank that this non-residential fellowship programme is to be situated.

A think tank, as the name suggests, is about reflection, research, dissemination and influencing. We have to reflect on the problems that our country and indeed the world is facing,” he added.

Dr Salami however highlighted the fact that “the NESG has always been, and through this programme, remains committed to serving Nigeria’s best interests. And I think it is important that we really should put that on the table… that for the NESG it is always about Nigeria’s best interests.

Our definition of Nigeria’s best interests sometimes does not find immediate resonance. But one of the things we have found over the years is that eventually…with all the delays, some of the ideas that the NESG has canvassed have become the fulcrum of policy.”

At the inception of the NFRP, the NESG invited proven Nigerian scholars to apply for the programme. After hundreds of applications, the inductees emerged following a highly competitive selection process. In the next 2 years, the senior fellows are expected to collectively produce research outputs, and engage in policy advocacy that will help chart a pathway for Nigeria’s sustainable economic development.

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