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Research priorities

The IGC supports research focused on four themes:

State: This theme investigates how to improve the capacity of the public sector in developing countries to effectively deliver public goods and services that support economic growth. This includes issues such as governance and public sector management, public finance and taxation, political economy, and conflict.

Firms: This theme aims to generate knowledge related to firm capabilities and job creation. This work covers all types of firms: large, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and farms, in both formal and informal sectors. Research topics include the determinants of firm productivity and policies to stimulate trade.

Cities: This theme explores what makes cities effective centres of economic prosperity, addressing both the drivers of and constraints to growth. Issues include the economics of agglomeration, improving infrastructure and service provision, building affordable housing markets, and migration.

Energy: This theme focuses on the significant role that access to reliable energy plays in shaping the growth paths of developing countries. Topics include improving access to and quality of energy services for households and firms, rural electrification, energy efficiency, and the effects of energy consumption on health and the environment.

For more detailed information on research priorities by theme and country, please use the filters below. All applicants are strongly encouraged to view the global priorities, as well as those related to the country/s they are interested in.

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Research Theme

  • Financial sustainability in the electricity sector

    Zambia faces serious electricity supply shortages, made more serious by aging energy infrastructure and prolonged drought. At the same time, tariffs are among the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not surprisingly, Zambia’s electricity sector is in a financial crisis. Low tariffs also discourage private investment in the sector, limiting growth in generation capacity.

    Relevant research will contribute to understanding the factors (institutional, policy, and management) impacting the current state of the sector and approaches to improving financial sustainability. Possible topics include approaches to lowering costs and improving revenue recovery including politically acceptable approaches to raising tariffs.

  • Economic Diversification and Local Content Enhancement on the Copperbelt Mining Zone

    The economy of the Copperbelt province is heavily dependent on mining. Consequently, it has remained vulnerable to swings in copper prices and copper production. Government is concerned with reducing the growth vulnerabilities of the region through economic diversification as well we participation in the mineral value chain through local content enhancement.

    Research in this area should look at opportunities for industrial and economic diversification on the Copperbelt and unbundle feasible opportunities for local content in the Mining sector.

  • Enhancing local and Foreign Direct Investment in Zambia’s Industrial Sector

    The Zambian government is developing a National Investment Promotion Strategy aimed at growing local and FDI in the country. Research questions might address the key drivers of FDI and the efficacy of investment promotion agencies.

    Research in this area could also look at the policy and institutional bottlenecks that currently exist as well as ways of overcoming these in enhancing investment growth.

  • Employment and wage trends and urban-rural linkages

    Our recent report on Promoting Job-rich urbanisation indicates that Zambia in recent years has experienced a large drop in agricultural employment; an increase in the share of employment in urban areas, social and personal services, hospitality and construction; increase in the share of informal employment; and declining real monthly wages. What is the dynamic driving these trends? What is the impact across regions and across cities? How does it affect productivity?  What is the potential for rural-urban links to be strengthened to benefit employment in both areas?

  • Examining the potential for employment growth in Zambia’s Secondary and Tertiary cities

    Projections indicate that the largest growth rates in the urban population will be observed in Zambia’s tertiary and secondary cities.  What is driving this trend? What are prospects for employment generation in these cities under different assumptions? Can these cities offer economic opportunities and basic services to the growing populations? Are the local authorities in these areas equipped to managed this transition?

  • Public service delivery with specific focus on civil service capabilities

    There is a growing need to better understand the role of public service delivery in a transforming economy that grows more complex with a broadening public-private transaction base. Particular areas of focus include, but are not limited to, coordination of public service delivery, motivation and incentives of public servants, and impact evaluation of process changes. Other topics related to effective public service delivery will also be considered.

  • To strengthen Pakistani firms to participate in CPEC

    Key areas of focus should be:

    1) Implement policies that strengthen private sector firms including promoting joint ventures
    2) Land acquisition
    3) Infrastructure development
    4) Skills development
    5) Sectoral strategies
    6) Cluster development

  • Will devolution have effects on local industrial policy to create such Tier 2 cities and what can county budgets support in terms of the infrastructure investments needed?

  • How do we develop Tier 2 cities in Kenya?

  • More research around the demand for energy, both on the household and the firm side

  • Impacts of the improvements in the reliability of the grid, especially for firms

  • How can improvements been made in agricultural value chains to encourage more trader competition and better domestic trade?

  • Could digital finance improve SME and microenterprise growth?

  • What are the policies the government should have around encouraging non debt financing for firms?

  • Taxation and improving revenue collection

  • Political economy and governance

    The governance, political economy and institutions of the energy sector in Tanzania. Including the political economy of hydrocarbons, infrastructure decisions, use of resource rents, and pricing; the role of development assistance, foreign investment, and state aid from non-traditional donors in the energy sector.

  • Energy demand

    Assessments of rural and urban energy demands; willingness to pay; the causes and consequences of household energy consumption using petrol generators, LNG gas, charcoal etc.; the impact of off grid solar and other renewables on outcomes such as household production, education etc.

  • Energy supply

    Tanzania faces the common dilemma of attracting investment to an uncertain energy market. Key issues of interest: cost and investment return modelling for energy infrastructure; productivity models of rural energy infrastructure, agricultural production and processing, and smallholder manufacturing; investment decision for independent power producers; impact of public energy investment projects; off grid production and micro-grids.

  • Business environment and its association with firm and productivity growth

    The current government has identified the business environment as a key area for reform. However, identifying the specific features of the business environment that hold back firm productivity growth is a challenge and recommending achievable policy recommendations is arguably even more difficult. Key questions include: regulatory reform; contract enforcement and the role of judicial and audit structures; standards enforcement; tax and non-tax barriers (see also state effectiveness, above).

  • Welfare effects of electrification around planned grid expansion and off-grid efforts

  • Mobile money and mobile technologies

    Impact and applications; regulation; information provision; financial products; remittances; technology adoption

  • What role can Rwanda’s six secondary cities play in Rwanda’s economic transformation, and how can this best be supported?

  • Economic modelling of the impact of agricultural policies on poverty reduction and growth

  • Enhancing urban mobility in a rapidly growing city

    Kampala does not currently have a mass public transit system. Over the next few years, however, it has the chance to make the necessary investments to improve urban mobility. This will be key in raising the productivity within the city.

  • The challenge of urbanization in Mozambique: construction industry, housing, and transportation

    While urbanization in Mozambique has not been as fast when compared to some other African countries, it is expected to accelerate in the next few years. In particular, the capital Maputo has seen rapid growth rates and is increasingly facing urbanization-related challenges such as a shortage of affordable housing and road congestion. At this relatively early stage of the urbanization process, today´s policies have great potential to affect future trends. Research on municipal tax collection, the construction industry, housing, and transportation, would be very relevant

  • Natural resource management in Mozambique

    Over the past decade significant reserves of natural resources have been discovered in Mozambique, including large quantities of coal and natural gas. This constitutes a fundamental game-changer for the Mozambican economy. Identifying the right policies to manage natural resources is a major challenge for Mozambique today.

  • Establishing the basis for effective industrial policy in Mozambique

    The government is particularly interested in improving policies for specific sectors where Mozambique has the potential to be competitive internationally while building sustainable value chains.

  • Financial inclusion using mobile technologies

    The IGC Mozambique is interested in research that identifies strategies to improve financial inclusion through mobile technologies.

  • Macroeconomic stability

    Mozambique has recently experienced a debt and currency crisis. Policy advice in the area of macroeconomic stability is particularly important for Mozambique at this point in time.

  • Understanding the constraints to effective land use and planning in Ghana

    Land ownership and titling are often cited as constraints to effective land use and planning. With improvements to the land titling process there is an interest in studies that address questions around the impact of having a effective land titling administration on land use, city planning, property markets etc.

  • Understanding the effects of decentralisation on urbanisation

    The number of Districts (local government areas) in Ghana has increased from 110 in 1994 to 216 currently with the aim of “bringing development closer to the people” through development.  The studies required in this area should look at measuring the contribution of decentralisation and the creation of new districts to development and urbanisation.

  • Improving connectivity within Ghanaian cities for increased productivity

    For a city to support high and continues growth in productivity of its inhabitants, it must continue to make it easy for people to move around and connect with job and other opportunities.  The studies required in this area include those that examine the determinants of traffic in the cities – such as road networks, public transport, road usage etc.

  • Improving grid services and cost recovery

    One of the challenges of building a secure and reliable power grid in the emerging economies is tariff under-recovery: tariffs are generally not cost reflective and many consumers default. As a result utilities lack adequate financial resources to maintain and upgrade the power grid, which in turn, provides a pretence for some consumer groups to default or resist necessary tariff reviews.


    We will therefore support innovative and policy relevant research proposals which look into the area of tariff recovery and improved grid services.

  • Technical and behavioural energy efficiency

    It is widely acknowledged that energy efficiency technologies and measures have high social and private benefits. The government of Ghana has rolled out a number of measures to promote energy efficiency technologies such as the introduction of LED bulbs and the refrigerator rebate. Currently the government is operating a policy regime where only appliances that meet minimum efficiency and performance standards are allowed into the market. However, the environmental and economic impacts of these interventions have not been consistently evaluated.


    IGC Ghana will support proposals which seek to vigorously evaluate the social and private net benefits of such interventions, the findings of which could be used to underpin further interventions either in Ghana or elsewhere.


    In addition, we are interested in studies which explore insights from behavioural economics to “nudge” energy efficiency and conservation further in Ghana.

  • The economics of under-grid and off-grid rural electrification in Ghana

    At 80%, Ghana has one of the highest accesses to electricity in Africa. In addition to the grid expansion, the Ministry of Power is piloting mini-grid electrification projects on a number of remote Islands with plans to roll out further mini-grid projects in the future.


    We are interested in two strands of research on rural electrification. First, we would like research to shed light on the economics and policy implications of extending electricity to the “under grid” households, (i.e. households which, per definition, have access but are not connected to the grid).


    The second strand relates to mini-grid electrification projects. We are interested in research projects which will work closely with officials of the Ministry of Power to study the impacts of mini-grid electrification on wealth and employment outcomes of the Island communities.

  • The economic cost of unserved electricity

    In a span of three decades, Ghana experienced five episodes of power crises with increasing duration and severity. The government together with various stakeholders is working to arrest the situation. However, the first step in determining the optimal level grid expansion and tolerable level and durations of power outages is an understanding of the socio-economic costs of unserved energy.


    IGC Ghana will appreciate studies which estimate the costs of unserved energy to the various sectors and to the economy as a whole.

  • Infrastructure, output market access and agricultural sector performance

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that lack of easy access to output markets due poor infrastructure is one of the challenges hindering the agricultural sector performance.


    To what extent is infrastructure a systematic constraint on agricultural transformation in Ghana? More specifically, has the construction of major roads such as the Eastern Corridor road improved the agricultural production, marketing and economic diversification? IGC Ghana is interested in proposals which seek to answer these or similar questions.

  • Technological adoption and agriculture sector growth

    Agriculture plays a central role in employment creation as 44.3 percent of the currently employed population work in the sector. However, the sector remains dominated by smallholder enterprises with little adoption of modern farming practices and technologies such as improved seeds, fertilizer and mechanization.


    IGC research in Ghana and India shows that availability of insurance markets led farmers to invest more and also served to establish the existence of a demand for agricultural insurance in some regions. We suspect the absence of efficient markets for other inputs are hindering the adoption of modern technologies and agricultural sector growth in Ghana. We will welcome studies aimed at uncovering the challenges of the sector and proposing actionable policy measures to address same.

  • Firm dynamics and job creation

    Youth unemployment is a major concern in Ghana. There exists suggestive evidence that job growth and hence employment opportunities for the youth are driven by the emergence and entry of new firms as well as reallocation of resources from less productive to more productive firms.


    Understanding the pace of business dynamism or lack of it thereof, uncovering the constraints to effective resource reallocation and the policy options to overcome the identified constraints are critical for addressing the high level of youth unemployment in Ghana. Proposals focusing on the firm dynamic-job creation nexus are of interest to us.

  • Formalizing the informal sector: Barriers and the ways forward

    According to the latest Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 6) 41.9 percent of the Ghanaian labour force is employed within the non-farm informal sector. The firms in the informal sector are generally small and unproductive. Moreover, World Bank’s Enterprise Survey suggests there is little movement from informality to formality.


    IGC Ghana will support studies that delve into firm level data to shed light on determinants of low productivity in the informal sector and to identify possible ways to improve productivity and employment across the sector. We are also interested in supporting proposals which seek to identify the obstacles to formalisation and policy measures to facilitate formalisation.

  • Improving service delivery in the public sector

    The studies required in this area include, studies that look at measuring and understanding the constraints to improving the performance and productivity of public servants.


    It also includes studies that look at how to improve the delivery of services like education, health, security, etc by the public sector.

  • Understanding the constraints to local government revenue mobilisation

    While internally generated funds (IGF) collected by local governments in Ghana are generally low, there is also a large variation in the IGF collected across the various local governments. Why are IGFs collected by local governments so low? What accounts for the large variation in the IGF?


    Studies that look at answering some of these questions will contribute to our understanding of what can be done to improve revenue mobilisation at the local government level.

  • Renewable sources of energy in the power generation

    In order to meet the energy requirements to maintain the economic growth momentum – approximately GDP 7%, there is need to understand the optimal combination of renewable and non-renewable sources of energy generation. Development of a framework for long term energy security to support sustainable growth is needed.

  • Gains from urban growth (e.g. strategies for clustering of settlements/firms to maximize agglomeration effects, entrepreneurship)

    Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for a large share of GDP and the vast majority of employment in Zambia. Many MSMEs are located in dense urban areas that provide an opportunity to take advantage of agglomeration. These synergies also operate on a more localised-industry-specific scale, encouraging firms to locate in clusters in a similar line of business. The Zambia Development Agency has expressed interest in research in this area, as it would help uncover the dynamics of clusters and MSMEs and thus inform their policies related to business development.

    Specific research questions include: a) What is the nature/impact of agglomeration effects across cities and sectors? b) what are potential links to rural areas that may be mutually beneficial for both urban and rural development? c) How effective are current policies on business development and urban planning in facilitating the growth of MSMEs?

  • Capacity of Zambian cities to provide basic services for rapidly growing urban populations. (e.g. urban land use, slums, water and sanitation, waste management, public private partnerships, housing, electricity, crime and health) to support robust urban development.

    Zambia is experiencing a rapid growth in urban population through natural population growth, rural-urban migration and transformation of rural into urban areas. There are serious policy and institutional challenges to address this agenda. Important research questions include: a) What are the demographic characteristics of this transformation? b) How can local authorities establish adequate capacity to ensure basic service delivery for growing populations? c) How can feedback mechanisms and transparency and accountability systems be integrated into implementation? Is there an adequate national/local policy framework to plan and adapt to urban policy at the national and local levels?

  • Policies, programmes and innovations to improve transport and mobility infrastructure and systems to reduce traffic congestion and improve connectivity in Lusaka and other rapidly growing cities in Zambia

    A growing number of cars combined with lack of public transport has resulted in increased congestion and road fatalities in Zambia. Transport constraints also limit employment growth and poverty reduction. How effective is the current framework for managing and coordinating national and sub-national transport planning? How can the national transport and mobility infrastructure and systems be enhanced to improve connectivity within cities and country-wide? What scope is there to improve public transportation and make effective use of traffic management tools such as road tolling?  What relevant good practices from other countries could help guide Zambian reforms?

  • Municipal revenue financing in developing cities

    As Kampala city grows rapidly, it will need to make the necessary investments in infrastructure as well as to ensure the delivery of quality public services. However, to do so, it will need to raise its revenue base in a context where compliance is already low.

  • How can urban authorities create an environment that attracts private investment and creates jobs?

    Kampala is on the path to become a consumption city, with poor employment prospects for rural migrants. As the city grows on a daily basis, the authorities have to grapple with the question about how to increase productivity thereby improving employment prospects for its citizens.

  • Service delivery and urban governance

    Issues of service delivery and urban governance are also key areas of research. Issues include: urban infrastructure provision and financing; land titling and management; local authority taxation and financing; the institutional structures planning and managing urban services; and urban development.

  • Spatial and network impact of Cities

    Spatial dimension of economic growth in Tanzanian cities such as firm location, specialisation and emergence of national value chains. Also, national and regional network effects associated with urbanization and the improved interconnectivity of urban centres and the emergence of growth corridors. In particular, the impact of the role Tanzania plays as a transit route for landlocked countries and the integration of Tanzanian urban areas into regional value chains. Also, the planned movement of the government to Dodoma over the next few years.

  • Urbanisation and employment generation

    Tanzania is urbanizing rapidly and the implications for public policy are coming to the fore. Key issues include: urbanization and employment growth; implications for structural transformation and the agricultural sector; agglomeration and productivity associated with urbanization; the dynamics of primary and secondary cities; national and regional network effects associated with urbanization; growth corridors and the role of transit trade.

  • Municipal financing and revenue mobilization strategies

  • Informal settlements, resettlement, slum development

  • How can low urban housing for low income people best be supported?

  • How can Kigali ensure the efficient movement of goods and people around the city as it expands and densifies?

  • How to increase urban finance, while fostering a strong business environment?

  • How can job creation be boosted in Rwanda’s cities?

  • Urbanisation and smart city solutions

    This pertains to the role of technology in enhancing urban development. Specific topics include: the role of technology in facilitating knowledge transfer, entrepreneurship and innovation; the opportunities and challenges associated with smart city solutions such better payment systems (e.g. mobile money); the role of technology in coordinating public service provision by multiple providers; the role of technology in transport management; the role of technology in energy management (e.g. smart meters). Some of these solutions have already been introduced and are becoming common which presents a good opportunity for rigorous research.

  • Employment and labour markets with particular focus on youth employment

    The issue of youth unemployment in cities has been the focus of policy. Recently, there has been a significant expansion in tertiary education that led to a substantial increase in skilled labour supply. This coupled with an increasingly service-oriented economy poses a policy challenge for a developing country like Ethiopia. In particular, there is a research gap in the understanding the demand side and the workings of the labour market. These include, frictions in the labour market like information gaps in placement and matching of skilled labour with jobs, sustainability of skilled labour demand (this can be related to emerging industrial zones in the country), spatial and vertical labour mobility, wage trajectory of skilled vs semi-skilled labour and other related issues.

  • Improving connectivity within Ghanaian cities for increased productivity

    For a city to support high and continues growth in productivity of its inhabitants, it must continue to make it easy for people to move around and connect with job and other opportunities.  The studies required in this area include those that examine the determinants of traffic in the cities – such as road networks, public transport, road usage etc.

  • Management of law and order, and crime in urban centres

  • What are the future challenges on municipal services?

  • What is the impact of rapid urbanization on both rural and urban poverty, on socio-economic hierarchies and on provision of social service delivery and access to public goods across urban cities

    IGC would like to see the impact of rapid urbanization on both rural and urban poverty (such as slum dwellers), on socio-economic hierarchies and on provision of social service delivery and access to public goods across urban cities. It will deepen its focus on municipal governance, property rights protection and regulatory issues that are constraining the growth potential of cities and the rapidly growing urbanizing areas.

    We have conducted urban mapping exercises in select cities to improve administration of urban centres and are currently investigation economic ties between small cities and large urban centres

  • What are the implications of large infrastructural projects in cities on the economy

    With the uptake of large infrastructural developments (rapid bus transit system and the ring road) in cities such as Lahore and others plan across Pakistan, IGC would be particularly interested in understanding the implications of these mega projects on the economy. The IGC is particularly keen to fund research in the Sindh and Punjab provinces.

  • Urban migration

    Characteristics of migrants (background, skills, motivations); effects of migration on urban economies

  • Spatial development

    Developing urban periphery; role of secondary cities; improving industrial zones; land issues

  • Managing urbanisation

    Employment opportunities for urban poor; urban housing and slums; handling congestion; better service provision.

  • Issues of urban governance

    In Bangladesh, till date economic growth is closely correlated with urbanization – urban dwellers constitute about 28 percent of the total population of the country, but their contribution to GDP is more than 45 percent (Bangladesh 7th Five year Plan). Thus economic growth is closely correlated with urbanization. The sustained high rate of urban population growth implies that by 2015 about 30% of the country’s population will live in urban areas. This poses considerable demand on Bangladesh’s cities and towns to provide sufficient housing, infrastructure and urban services to its residents and to firms to successfully maximize the agglomeration.

  • Managing migration to cities, promoting decentralised urbanisation and supporting employment and livelihoods

    Lack of adequate housing for Bangladesh’s large urban population is a key problem in all of the cities and secondary towns in Bangladesh. Housing deficit in urban areas grew from 1.13 million units in 2001 to 4.6 million units in 2010 (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics). The deficit is projected to reach 8.5 million units in 2021 if investment in the housing sector does not keep pace with the population growth projection.

  • Strategies for clustering of settlements/firms to maximize agglomeration effects

    Bangladesh has high population density in urban areas. Models on cluster and agglomeration behaviour of firms will provide boost to economic growth.

  • Innovative ideas to reduce traffic congestion and pollution (air, water, solid waste) in urban areas

    Rapid unplanned urbanization resulted in significant increase in transport demand which in turn has led to rapid growth in the number of motorized and non-motorized vehicles. Lack of adequate urban roads has given rise to extreme traffic congestion and pollution in the main cities adversely affecting growth and welfare.

  • The establishment of affordable and effective housing markets

    This includes the factors that may support or prevent housing development, such as the lack of access to finance, legal structures, and public goods. Commissioning more research in this area would therefore be of high interest.

  • Infrastructure and service provision

    Providing effective urban services is absolutely necessary to ensure that firms locating within urban areas can experience the productivity increases resulting from economic clustering and thick product and labour markets. The IGC therefore seeks to understand the barriers to infrastructure investments needed to provide these services.

  • Agglomeration economies

    How can urban areas be developed into productive economic clusters that offset the downsides of increased population density? Cities are urbanising rapidly, and there is a very prominent danger that urbanisation without industrialisation can lead to real declines in aggregate productivity and standards of living. As a result, assessing how these economic clusters can be encouraged and strengthened is a major focus of the IGC.

  • The impact and sustainability of off-grid solutions (e.g. solar, wind and mini-hydro power plants) and understanding the rural energy mix in Zambia

    The electrification programmes currently being implemented include off-grid solutions such as solar and mini-hydro power plants. Research in this area might consider the impact of these systems thus far in terms of benefits for the community and their sustainability and potential to link to grid connections.

    Electrification rates in Zambia remain extremely low, particularly in rural areas. Research into the fuel sources that sustain households and firms in rural areas, and how local energy markets can be improved to meet the needs of firms and households is therefore needed. Topics of interest include both alternative and traditional fuels, as well as the costs associated with different energy sources.

    Studies in this area should also consider the current institutional capacity to deliver on the ambitious electrification plans and the effectiveness of coordination amongst relevant institutions.

  • The impact of access and availability of electricity on firm productivity, and education and health outputs and outcomes

    Limited evidence exists on the impact of access to electricity in Zambia on relevant outcomes such as productivity of firms, employment, education outcomes and household health. Further research on this topic would help inform future policy design and facilitate better-targeted programmes.

  • Approaches for the promotion of electricity access for households, small businesses and social institutions (schools, clinics, etc.)

    The Rural Electrification Authority and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) are currently implementing a number of electrification programmes. Research questions investigating pricing structures and strategies, poverty impact as well as the influence more broadly of recent power shortages on consumer willingness to connect, are considered priorities.

    Studies in this area should also consider the current institutional capacity to deliver on the ambitious electrification plans and the degree of coordination amongst relevant institutions.

  • What impacts will the regional power pool have, and are the planned investments in transmission adequate?

    With large hydropower dams in construction and generation capacity almost doubling by 2019, the most pressing (but not the only) questions in Uganda’s energy sector evolve around distribution and transmission. What impact(s) will the regional power pool have on lessening the percentage of the population, with no access to electricity?

  • Does Uganda underinvest in energy efficiency measures?

    Increasing energy efficiency would allow serving more customers with the same generation capacity. Does the current pricing structure incentivise consumers according to this trade-off? What can the government do to achieve the right level of energy efficiency investments nationwide?

  • Rural electrification: Willingness to pay and the social rate of return

    Rural consumers’ willingness and ability to pay for electricity is low and yet research has shown that electricity access increases productivity, improves education and health outcomes. Subsidizing access and/or consumption of electricity for the rural population can therefore form part of the formula to enable poverty reduction and economic growth. Unfortunately, evidence required to fine-tune government schemes for rural electrification is scarce. On the demand side, several important variables require more research: (i) The rural population’s willingness to pay for connections and consumption and (ii) The benefits expected from subsidizing these consumers (the social rate of return).

  • Modelling Uganda’s energy demand and the least cost electrification strategy

    Costs of transmission and generation depend on various factors in the local environment. Calibrating a sophisticated model of local demand and supply yields an essential tool to calculate least-cost electrification strategies. Such a model would allow systematic comparison of different assumptions, technologies, and the build-up of scenarios.

  • Macroeconomic management

    Macroeconomic policymakers are increasingly focused on how monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies should be set to manage expected future natural resource revenues. At the same time, government is under pressure to borrow against future resource revenues to finance infrastructure investment. What lessons do the experiences of other recently resource-rich economies offer to help understand the debt management and macroeconomic policymaking challenges presented by large but uncertain natural resource wealth? Is there scope for greater regional macroeconomic policy coordination?

  • Global and national prospects and risks; comparative studies

    The large economies of East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique) have all embarked on major programmes of natural resource exploration and production. The decline in global commodity prices, combined with increased supply from other natural resource plays around the world, has changed the outlook for East African oil and gas, including by pushing ‘final investment decision’ dates further into the future. What are the implications of this changing outlook for national and regional initiatives in the sector?

  • Improving energy access and efficiency

  • How to prioritise the grid roll-out, and investments in off-grid energy?

  • What is the role and impact of off-grid versus on-grid energy in Rwanda?

  • How can Rwanda most efficiently deliver affordable, reliable, energy to boost firm productivity?

  • Effective planning for energy infrastructure in Mozambique

    Mozambique has access to enormous hydropower resources, including the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi River. Yet, one of the most often cited constraints to growth by the private sector is the quality and reliability of energy access. Research on effective planning for energy infrastructure can pave the way for fundamental policy change in this area.

  • The Economic cost of unserved electricity

    In a span of three decades, Ghana experienced five episodes of power crises with increasing duration and severity. The government together with various stakeholders is working to arrest the situation. However, the first step in determining the optimal level grid expansion and tolerable level and durations of power outages is an understanding of the socio-economic costs of unserved energy.

    IGC Ghana will appreciate studies which estimate the costs of unserved energy to the various sectors and to the economy as a whole.

  • Adressing challenges related to governance, efficiency, access, and renewables in the energy sector

    The large energy subsidy is the principal component of the ballooning fiscal deficit, and energy shortages have retarded economic growth. The solution lies in addressing governance challenges to curtail theft in order to improve billing collection. Another important area is the fuel mix that requires changing relative prices to reallocate fuel to its optimal use. This will help make the provision of energy financially viable which, in turn will attract investment, improve access and promote economic growth.

    IGC Pakistan reflecting this change in focus, will support analytical work to promote evidence based policy making in energy.

  • Welfare effects of electrification around planned grid expansion and off-grid efforts

  • Power sector market structure

    Effects of state enterprises, limited competition; role of electricity markets

  • Pricing electricity

    Balancing willingness to pay with social costs of generation; improving reliability and quality of supply

  • Rural electrification

    Accessing electricity (covering costs, organisational challenges); measuring demand for electricity; welfare and economic effects of electrification

  • Mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce adverse climate change impacts

    Bangladesh situated in the lower Gangetic delta is highly vulnerable to climatic changes. Migration due to climatic changes along the coastal belt, delayed monsoon, rise in temperature in urban areas etc. have started to be manifest all over the country.

  • Developing power trading markets within Bangladesh and among South Asian countries

    In recent years, the expansion of generation capacity along with expansion of transmission and distribution networks helped achieve considerable progress for power sector –to 13280 MW in Oct 2016 (BPDB).


    Notwithstanding this progress, there are major areas of concern in the power and primary energy sector. Framework to initiate intra-agency and cross border power trade will be helpful. Similarly improving efficiency in power generation through unbundling of the different components of power production – generation, transmission and distribution will help attract public–private partnership investments in the sector.

  • Rural electrification

    Although electrification has enormous potential to support transformative growth in rural areas, connecting rural areas to electricity often entails some acute challenges. These areas typically face low willingness (or ability) to pay, low population density, and high costs of infrastructure investments and operation. The IGC is interested in exploring solutions to support the electricity needs of households and businesses in rural areas, including distributed energy systems and mini-grids.

  • Minimizing the external costs of energy consumption

    Large increases in energy consumption in developing countries have led to negative side effects, including increased pollution and environmental degradation. These pollutants can be very harmful to peoples’ health and welfare, but there is often low willingness to invest in reducing these negative externalities. The IGC would like to explore the effects of energy consumption on health, welfare, pollution and climate change, as well as the regulatory structures and evidence-based policy strategies that can be effective in promoting investments to reduce these effects.

  • Energy efficiency measures and technologies

    There is often underinvestment in energy efficiency measures and technologies, despite their potential social and private gains. Of particular interest are the best methods to encourage investments in efficient energy, and the barriers and challenges to large scale renewable energy growth.

  • Increasing access and quality of energy services in developing countries

    This research area addresses the linked questions of how to build demand for reliable electricity services and how to incentivize better service from the supply side. The IGC is especially interested in research that focuses on improving grid services. We are also interested in examining cost-effective off-grid solutions including mini-grids for rural households and firms, including how these measures can support longer-term solutions and how uptake of electricity can be encouraged once connections are established. In particular, we support research that explores ways to incentivize industrial and domestic consumers to pay for the energy they use, in order to help generate revenues for improving quality and expanding access. Understanding pricing and the willingness to pay for reliable access is critical here. We want to examine how energy policy can be designed to reduce non-payment and to prevent electricity losses and theft. This may include strategies to shift social norms and expectations around payment, either with carrots (service quality, easier payment modes) or sticks (disconnections).

  • Reducing skills mismatch in the labour market: skills development to increase domestic employment

    Changing the structure of the Zambian economy from over-dependence on Copper Mining to a more diversified base including manufacturing and agro-processing and industrial value addition to raw materials poses challenges with regards to the right skills mix. Consequently, despite GDP growth unemployment persists, with the bulk of employment being informal sector employment.

    Research should investigate whether skills are a binding constraint to growth and economic diversification in specific industries. Analysis should also identify any institutional challenges that limit the supply of skills appropriate to developing Zambia’s comparative advantage.

  • Economic diversification and enhanced value chain in agriculture and agro-processing.

    Enhancing value addition and employment in agricultural production and processing is critical to Zambia’s economic diversification goal. IGC welcomes research, including case studies, that identify the opportunities and constraints to enhancing agricultural production and agro-processing.

  • Firm competitiveness and productivity enhancement (e.g. how to enhance regional competitiveness of Zambian-based agro-processing firms)

    The growth of the Zambian industrial sector depends on competitiveness of locally produced goods and profitability and productivity of Zambian firms. Macroeconomic stability is a necessary condition for investor confidence.  In addition, IGC research has shown that firms that adopt quality management practices can improve productivity and profitability.

    Research to identify firm and industrial level opportunities/constraints to improving productivity as well as broader policy/regulatory institutional constraints would help inform government policy on economic diversification.

  • Industrial clusters and cluster-based growth and industrial diversification (e.g. gains from industrial clusters concentration/agglomeration)

    The Zambian government is currently investing in Multi-Facility Economic Zones, seen to be ‘engines of industrial growth’. The sustained growth of Zambia’s industrial sector is of high importance as the government tries to diversify the economy away from copper mining. As the country’s industrial policy and strategy is refined, research which evaluates gains from industrial concentrations (e.g. firms belonging to a Multi-Facility Economic Zones) and options for increasing economic diversification gains importance.

    Research in this area should evaluate the impact of the Zones and also evaluate the effectiveness of national institutions in enhancing investments and update of incentives such as the Multi-Facility Economic Zones.

  • What role does mobile money have to play in improving productivity of firms and workers?

    Mobile money presents critical opportunities for increased digital financing, savings and investments for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and individuals. Mobile technology can also be harnessed to understand the constraints to improved productivity for small formal and informal enterprises in Uganda.

  • How can Uganda achieve structural transformation and diversify its exports and services?

    Uganda envisions the attainment of middle-income status by 2040 underpinned by industrialization, innovation and urbanization. The achievement of improved economic growth and structural transformation in Uganda will require policies/strategies focussed on growth in tradable sectors and export diversification. Services are crucial to this challenge.

  • How can Uganda become more competitive regionally and globally?

    One of the biggest challenges facing the Ugandan economy is a slow-down in growth in exports amid the prospects of increasingly constrained development assistance, calling for policies that can help Uganda become more competitive and increase its exports. The EAC presents a huge opportunity to participate in regional value chains, but non-tariff barriers and tariff peaks hinder the implementation of the common market, amongst other factors.

  • How to raise technology adoption, productivity, market access and value addition in Uganda’s agricultural sector?

    Uganda has huge potential to increase its agricultural productivity, but so far the green revolution has left the country behind. Research can help to identify the factors that constrain Uganda’s primarily subsistence-based agriculture sector to transforming it into a sustainable, competitive, and commercialized sector.

  • Trade and regional integration

    Similar business and trade environment issues are relevant in the context of regional trade and integration. There is an active body of policy work on the reduction of non-tariff barriers to trade across the EAC. Key research issues include: evaluation of initiatives to eliminate non-tariff barriers; impact on trade volumes, composition and spatial patterns; implications for revenue; incentive issues in trade facilitation; trade policy within the EAC; trade corridors.

  • Local content

    The discovery of natural gas has stimulated considerable interest among policy makers in “localizing the boom” through the participation of domestic firms in the value chains of multinational gas companies. Much of the attention has been focused downstream on the potential for gas to serve an input into power generation or directly as feedstock. Building on the Enterprise Map, IGC has worked to encourage a broader view of the potential for domestic firms to participate in the supply chain. Further research including value-chain analysis of various industrial sectors and their potential contributions to the supply chains of multinational gas companies would be welcomed.

  • SME sector: Issues in financing, productivity, employment, skills and training

    Recent IGC research highlights the dynamism of the “in between” sector of small manufacturing firms in Tanzania with productivity levels that exceed those found in some formal manufacturing activities. There is scope to build on this work in the following key areas: firm-level analysis; evaluation of policy interventions in SME finance and training, further investigation into the contribution of SMEs to key outcomes like industrialisation and growth.

  • Industrial development in Tanzania: Firm-level analysis of the industrial sector

    Tanzania is one of a handful of countries in Africa in which industry is growing as a share of GDP and employment. Key research issues include: firm-level analysis of employment, investment, and productivity in formal manufacturing; agglomeration economies and linkages between FDI and domestic firms; the economics of special economic zones; linkages and emerging exporters.

  • Agriculture: determinants of farm productivity, barriers to moving to commercial agriculture

    Key issues: effectiveness of public and private interventions in boosting small-scale agricultural productivity, market access and agricultural financing; constraints to effective technology take-up and input investment; costs and benefits from continuing subsidy programmes; effectiveness of initiatives to improve price discovery, and bargaining power for smallholders; impact of commodity exchange initiatives, mobile phone trading, and other online trading platforms.

  • Rehabilitating the agricultural industry and establishing how it can contribute to the country’s overall economic growth

    It is widely agreed that one area of great potential for South Sudan is within agriculture. The green belt region of South Sudan, with its abundance of fertile land, has a lot of potential. Therefore, the government is looking for research around rehabilitating the agricultural industry and establishing how it can contribute to the country’s overall economic growth.

  • Strategies and background on inter-state commerce

    The Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry is interested in promoting more integration between states. Therefore, they are looking for strategies and background on inter-state commerce.

  • East African Community integration and overall trade strategies

    In November 2014, South Sudan began negotiating its accession to the East African Community (EAC). The talks have been relatively accelerated, with the technical negotiations now completed, indicating the positive commitment from all sides for South Sudan joining the EAC. If South Sudan is admitted to the EAC, it will have a transition period to implement the Customs Union and the Common Market Protocol provisions and thus any research around East African Community integration and overall trade strategies

  • Assessing and improving interaction between infrastructure, finance and technology in agriculture

  • Improving firm productivity and efficiency of internal trade and cross-border linkages

  • Access to finance, including mobile money

  • Possible approaches to easing transition costs associated with commodity price decline

  • Private sector recovery and post-Ebola policies to support the urban informal sector

  • How best to use regional integration to create competition, particularly in services markets to improve the efficiency of service delivery?

    Understanding Agricultural value chains

  • How can transport efficiency be improved in the EAC?

  • How can value added be increased in Rwanda’s key export sectors (such as tourism, minerals, tea, coffee, re-exports)?

  • How can Rwanda expand and diversify its export portfolio (currently reliant on agricultural and natural resource exports, vulnerable to drought and commodity price swings)?

  • What is needed for the agro-processing sector to flourish?

  • How can Rwanda improve the returns to irrigation?

  • How can Rwanda utilise its limited land more productively for agriculture?

  • Training of the labour force and labour market conditions in Mozambique

    Management capabilities in Mozambique are low, even in comparison to neighbouring countries. Raising the productivity and competitiveness of the labour force is also of crucial importance for inclusive development in Mozambique. Research on both dimensions can help set up appropriate policies for both firms and government institutions linked to labour market regulation.

  • Industrial parks and the nexus between industrial and urban development

    The past few years saw the rise of industrial parks spurred by both private and public initiatives/investments. There are future plans to establish industrial parks at an even bigger scale. Policy makers and other stakeholders are keen to better understand the challenges, prospects, and impacts of industrial parks. Some of the issues include the local input supply response to industrial parks; skilled labour demand and supply; housing and infrastructure, and trade logistics. The establishment of industrial parks and planning of new ones presents a good opportunity to conduct rigorous research.

  • Formalizing the informal sector: Barriers and the ways forward

    According to the latest Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 6) 41.9 percent of the Ghanaian labour force is employed within the non-farm informal sector. The firms in the informal sector are generally small and unproductive. Moreover, World Bank’s Enterprise Survey suggests there is little movement from informality to formality.


    IGC Ghana will support studies that delve into firm level data to shed light on determinants of low productivity in the informal sector and to identify possible ways to improve productivity and employment across the sector. We are also interested in supporting proposals which seek to identify the obstacles to formalisation and policy measures to facilitate formalisation.

  • Improving the competiveness of firms and industry

    The projects funded under this theme have so far investigated the potential of garments sector to take off, the barriers to growth of firms and the efficient paths for dispersion of technology and worked with the private sector to identify efficient contracting mechanisms for dependable labour supply. IGC Pakistan plans to continue work that is both sector specific and industry wide, particularly in light of the extensive buy-in of the work done on the garments industry. An important focus will be on the relationship between productivity and organisational development and innovation.

  • Firm productivity

    Relieving constraints (credit; management; information; labour); agriculture & agribusiness

  • Trade and investment

    Attracting investment; addressing constraints (information; political economy; infrastructure; regulation); trade in goods and services

  • Human resources

  • Skills development

    In order for Bangladesh to exploit the demographic dividends fully, it requires models for skills development to address the skills mismatch in the labour market, ways to build skilled mid manager level workforce for manufacturing and services sector and ways to increase in the export of higher skilled labour.

  • Scaling up of micro and small enterprises through technology, marketing and credit support

    The larger-sized “microenterprise loans” currently account for about 8 percent of borrowers and about 30 percent of annual loan disbursements by the microfinance institutions in Bangladesh. Lending modalities that are suited to the needs of microenterprise and SMEs are necessary for further expansion of the sector.

  • Trade policy reforms

    Impact of trade and industrial policies in to support competitiveness, labour productivity and skills, access to finance, export diversification etc. and overall growth of the manufacturing sector.

  • Trade and economic policy

    Research in the area of trade and economic policy will preferably focus on the identification of policy interventions that help to stimulate exports and speed up the process of domestic knowledge accumulation, and further our understanding of the relationship between international integration, learning and innovation.

    A key ingredient in this research is the development of data on firms and markets, and research on measurement methodologies. Specifically, the IGC is interested in measuring forces that may be important in determining a firm’s capabilities, such as knowledge, access to global production chains and input markets, use of specific technologies, quality of products, contracting relationships between different firms, and other factors of heterogeneity that may be unobserved through standard measurement approaches. In order to do so, further data on firms and markets is needed, and the IGC would therefore be open for proposals with a strong focus on data collection.

  • Firm productivity and job creation

    The IGC aims to generate knowledge related to firm capabilities and job creation. The three main questions arising from this work are:

    1. What are the key proximate determinants of firm productivity?
    2. What are the underlying sources of these determinants?
    3. What are the barriers that prevent resources from moving from unproductive firms and sectors to areas of higher productivity?

    The IGC aims to focus on building the capabilities of firms, particularly through measures that can enhance their management and productivity, along with job creation and skills matching. This work refers to all type of firms: from large firms to farms to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in both the formal and informal sectors. Moreover, the role of industrial policy in enhancing firm capabilities, how to encourage the transition of workers into more productive sectors, and how to encourage the adoption of new production technologies are other important questions that we are keen to address.

  • Strengthening Zambia’s governance institutions for effective management of commodity (copper) cycles.

    Between the years 2004 and 2011, Zambia experienced a copper super cycle. Prices of Zambia’s main export commodity more than tripled from approximately $3,000 per metric tonne to a peak of over $9,000/metric tonne. Despite this extraordinary boom, revenue performance did not improve dramatically during this period. At the end of the boom Zambia has emerged with high deficits and sharply increased debt levels and virtually no savings to help cushion the downturn.  This outcome points to a serious weakness in Zambia’s management institutions.

    Zambia’s fortunes can be contrasted with Chile, a fellow copper exporter. Chile set up several institutions such as a stabilization fund to manage the surplus during the boom period. Chile emerged from the boom period with savings estimated at $14.8 billion in 2016.

    Research in this area could focus on: (a) empirical study of whether policies or weak monitoring/enforcement or other factors contributed to the weak revenue performance over 2000-16, (b) investigating scenarios which demonstrate how different fiscal institutions (fiscal savings rules, stabilization or future generations fund) would have impacted Zambia’s development trajectory, and (c) assessing the political economy of reforming Zambia’s governance of the mining sector.

  • Achieving medium term public expenditure consolidation in Zambia

    Government deficits have grown rapidly in the recent past in Zambia, standing at 6.7% of GDP in 2013, 5.5% of GDP in 2014, and an estimated 9.4% of GDP in 2015. In the 2016 budget, the Zambian government indicated that they plan to reduce the budget deficit to 3.8% of GDP.  A fiscal consolidation of this magnitude will require strong political commitment and institutional arrangements that support effective budget formulation as well as objective evaluation of spending programs to inform budget policy decisions.

    Research in this area could focus on; (a) identification of current institutional processes that need to be strengthened to achieve medium term public expenditure consolidation (b) analysis that informs the government of benchmarking systems to assess public spending efficiency, including public investment on infrastructure. (c) Assessment of procurement costs and scope for cost savings in major spending programs.

  • Enhancing the institutions responsible for allocative and technical efficiency of public expenditure in Zambia.

    In the last 5 years in Zambia, public expenditure has increased by as much as 13.8% per annum on average. This expansion has encompassed increased public sector salaries, increased investment in infrastructure such as roads as well as increased expenditure on subsidies on such things as farming inputs and grain purchases, fuel and electricity. However, serious concerns have been raised as regards the quality of the public investment as well as the targeting of subsidies.

    Therefore, research in this area can focus on such things as; (a) How effective are the institutions of budget and investment management? (b) Has the infrastructure investment had its envisaged socio-economic impacts?  (c) What improvements can be made to the formulation and targeting of subsidies?

  • Increasing tax revenue: tax administration reform and broadening the tax base

    The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) is focused on improving tax administration and broadening the tax base. Problems of tax compliance also undermine revenue mobilization.

    In this context, research in this area can be focused on such things as, (a) How can the tax base be broadened?  (b) how effective are Zambia’s institutional capacities to strategically manage the taxation of the mining sector relative to comparator countries? (c) Should ZRA seek to increase the share of revenue from the informal sector? (d )How can recent technological innovations, such as mobile money be leveraged to enhance tax payer compliance and enhance tax revenue?

  • Research to inform design and sequencing of Zambia’s decentralization reforms to establish Local Authority capacity for revenue mobilisation, planning, budgeting and human resource management and systems of transparency and accountability for service delivery.

    The ongoing decentralisation process has resulted in more responsibilities being transferred from the central government to Local Authorities (LA’s). However, the capability of LA’s to be able to mobilise revenue from local sources is weak,  with available data showing that Local Government Revenue accounted for between 0.2% and 0.3% GDP in Zambia between 2012 and 2014. In addition, their ability to effectively undertake complex planning, budgeting and human resource management functions has also been questioned.

    Therefore, research in this area can focus on investigating; (a) What strategies can be used to enhance the capability of LA’s to be able to mobilise revenue from local sources? (b) How can LA’s be capacitated to effectively undertake complex planning, budgeting and management functions? (c) what institutional arrangements would strengthen transparency in reporting and accountability for service delivery to citizens? (d) what are likely political obstacles to progress on decentralization reforms?

  • How to increase education and learning outcomes in Uganda?

    Despite on-going efforts, Ugandan children are not acquiring literacy skills at a satisfactory level, limiting their lifetime academic success and the progress of the nation. The Ministry of Education is therefore interested in evaluating the effectiveness and delivery of innovative, tested and scalable educational methods, which aim to solve the problem and raise the adoption of literacy skills in Uganda.

  • How can government improve the effectiveness of fiscal transfers for service delivery?

    In a decentralized system like Uganda, districts have a significant responsibility for delivery of public services to citizens. Yet they are still relatively reliant on the central government for funding.

  • Poverty, inequality and growth: what are the dynamics at play in the Ugandan context?

    One of the Government’s priorities over the last decades has been poverty eradication. Whilst it previously had programmes specifically targeted at this, it now looks to economic growth and structural transformation to play a role in raising incomes. At the same time, whilst it focuses on growth, the Government needs to ensure it does not increase inequality.

  • The role of mobile payment services in taxation and financial inclusion in Uganda

  • Exploring Bank Profitability in Uganda

    Despite recent financial sector reforms and increased competition, interest rate spreads in Uganda’s banking sector remain relatively high compared to other countries in the region. In this context, and against the backdrop of interest capping regulations taking force in Kenya, the Bank of Uganda is interested in assessing the structure and performance of the banking sector in Uganda.

  • How can the Uganda Revenue Authority improve tax compliance and tax policy?

    Improving the low tax-to-GDP ratio is one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development as well as the Uganda Revenue Authority. While Uganda’s oil could eventually provide fiscal relief to the government, it is not expected that oil revenues will commence before 2020. Therefore the focus will have to be on domestic resource mobilization.

  • Macroeconomic policy issues

    The end of the commodity super-cycle, weakening global demand, and the slow-down of private capital inflows have substantially worsened Tanzania’s external economic environment, returning stabilization challenges to the forefront of macroeconomic policymaking. Key research issues include: macroeconomic dimensions of fiscal policy, including public debt; capital account liberalization and macroeconomic volatility; macroeconomic dimensions of regional integration

  • Public investment and public service delivery

    The counterpart to effective revenue mobilization is improved delivery of public services, in core areas of health and education and in the provision of effective public infrastructure. Key research areas include: public financial management; the efficiency of public investment and its financing; the role of PPPs in public infrastructure provision; quality and cost in public service delivery; incentives and motivation in public service delivery; distributional dimensions of public expenditure; the political economy of infrastructure provision.

  • Improving revenue mobilisation

    The tax system in Tanzania continues to operate substantially below potential, raising only around 12 percent of GDP in revenue, some three percentage points of GDP less than the average for low-income countries. Key research issues include tax administration and efficiency; tax distortions; revenue implications of structural change and urbanization; the political economy of taxation.

  • Identifying demobilization, disarmament and reintegration strategies

    As South Sudan emerges from conflict, there will also need to be concerted efforts in the area of demobilization, disarmament and reintegration strategies. There may be experiences from other countries that could be useful to South Sudan in this area.

  • How to tackle the issue of an inflated civil service?

    By far the largest employer in South Sudan is the government. Therefore, there will be a need to tackle the issue of an inflated civil service. This will also require efforts to diversify the economy and through this create jobs.

  • Monetary and exchange rate policy and reforms

    At independence, South Sudan adopted a fixed exchange rate to the US Dollars. However, as a result of a number of external shocks as well as a rapidly growing fiscal deficit that is being financed by the Bank of South Sudan, a black market for the exchange rate has emerged and the South Sudanese Pound is depreciating on a near daily basis. This requires further research around monetary and exchange rate policy and reforms.

  • Revenue management in post-conflict states

    To date, most of the South Sudan’s revenue has come from oil. However, as oil production has been disrupted during the war as well as the fact that oil prices have fallen, it is important for the government to diversify and grow its revenue base. Therefore, projects around revenue management in post-conflict states will help support the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning’s forthcoming strategy development.

  • Efficient and effective decentralization strategies that focus on appropriate financing mechanisms and efficient service delivery

    South Sudan currently has 10 states with the potential of a further split into 28 states. Each state and local government is responsible for certain levels of service delivery. There is also an evolving system of transfers from the national government to states and local government. Therefore, research questions around efficient and effective decentralization strategies that focus on appropriate financing mechanisms and efficient service delivery are key.

  • Governance and accountability

    Improving justice, safety and security sector delivery systems; political governance, including decentralisation and local government transformation; delivery of quality, timely services in accountable and transparent manner; raising capacity of state and non-state actors.

  • Human development and education

    Improving the effectiveness of delivery of basic services designed to improve the quality of and access to education and access to basic health care and sanitation socio-economic evaluation of projects, reforms and policies.

  • Regional integration and trade

    Linkages in international trade, as well as limitations to growth and diversification that may derive from the current structure of the economy and of production, taking into account opportunities offered in the sub-region.

  • Resource mobilisation and macroeconomic management

    Management of exchange rate in context of increasing and lumpy capital flows; assessment of extent of financial inclusion; monetary policy transmission mechanism; fiscal and monetary policies to prevent negative aspects of natural resource development; economic diversification.

  • Revenue generation/improving property tax collection

  • Mobile Money Policy

  • Managing natural resources in the context of regional integration

    Artisanal mining and its impact on traditional livelihoods and the environment; optimal management arrangements for large scale mining operations

  • Decentralisation and local governance

  • How can tax administration and tax policy be designed to increase revenues while upholding equity and a good business environment?

  • How could the link between education, work skills, and job access/creation be improved?

  • How can the quality of education be improved?

  • Improving the supply and demand for public services

    Raising the level of access to high-quality public services such as health and education continues to be another major challenge In Mozambique. IGC Mozambique is interested in research on improving the efficiency of public service delivery.

  • Improving the efficiency of taxation schemes in Mozambique

    In a country with high public debt, improving tax efficiency while minimizing tax evasion is key. The Mozambican Tax Authority is interested in exploring strategies to improve the efficiency of the taxation system.

  • Improving tax policy and tax administration in Ghana

    It is the aim of government to find innovative ways of increasing tax revenues in a progressive way without overburdening the current tax payers. This requires studies that look at improving both tax policies and tax administration.


    In particular looking for better ways to tax and collect appropriate taxes from the large informal sector.

  • What are the mechanisms that can improve accountability of bureaucrats and politicians to citizens, in order to enhance public service delivery

    Growth is also hindered by misgovernance. It impedes the state’s ability to deliver the right type, and quality, of public services that are necessary for growth. Misgovernance in Pakistan is both a result of distortions in the institutional design of the system of government and weak accountability mechanisms that enable citizens to hold politicians and bureaucrats accountable. Effective policy requires an identification of mechanisms that will enhance accountability of bureaucrats and politicians to citizens, and so ensure that public services support growth.

    Previous research includes work on monitoring the monitors through ICT in social service delivery, an experiment on bureaucrat time use, type and program performance, testing bureaucrat autonomy and performance pay for public procurement, reducing collusion in customs inspections using anonymization and remote clearance, and a survey on public goods provision in Lahore slums

  • Effects of the spatial pattern of violence at the local level on investment and growth

    The past few years have seen increasing violence and insecurity in Pakistan. While the increase in violence at the national level is consistently reported in the national and international press, there is little analysis or evidence of the spatial pattern of violence at the local level and its effect on investment and growth. Understanding the nature of violence and its spatial patterns is essential for the design of an effective security policy without which growth will be impossible to sustain even in the short-term.

  • Enhancing tax collection at the provincial and federal level, particulary initiatives that strengthen relations with tax authorities

    Pakistan’s weak revenue base has resulted in periodic macroeconomic imbalances that have created a pattern of stop-start growth and adversely impacted its long-run trend rate of growth. It has also constrained federal and provincial governments from making adequate investments in social and physical infrastructure needed to stimulate growth. IGC would like to support research towards enhancing tax collection at the provincial and federal level, and in particular would like to support initiatives that strengthen relations with tax authorities.

    Previously funded research projects have included an incentives experiment for property tax collectors, and income tax evasion and optimal enforcement policies

  • Planning framework of KP and Punjab provinces

    At the provincial level IGC Pakistan plans to support KP and Punjab in strengthening its planning framework in the coming years. Research based on policy aspects linked to the KP Economic Report and Punjab Growth Strategy (both available online) are strongly encouraged. This will feed into the policy and planning framework already in place.

  • Improving forecasting at the State Bank of Pakistan and improving overall economic planning

    Research that focuses on fiscal and monetary policy problems faced by the State Bank of Pakistan, the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission in promoting economic growth. IGC-Pakistan has already undertaken several initiatives under this theme such as providing support to the government in putting together a new economic framework, formulating tariff reforms, and conducting Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) modelling at the State Bank. IGC would like to continue its engagement with the State Bank on improving forecasting at the State Bank and improving overall economic planning.

  • Enhancing Pakistan-India and regional trade

    IGC has already provided support to the private sector and businesses in enhancing trade with India and understanding the impact of a more liberalized Pakistan-India / regional trade on the national economy and local industry. IGC would like to continue its work on enhancing Pakistan-India and regional trade as it considers regional trade an important growth vent that will enable specific areas of Pakistan such as KP to prosper by opening up trade with Central Asia and Afghanistan.

  • Processes to foster true changes in ownership, management practices and the regulation of service delivery in state owned firms that are privatised

  • Recruiting better civil servants (including teachers)

    (civil sector reform)

  • Macro policies for growth

    Social development (improving human capital); reforming state enterprises (merits of privatisation/corporatisation; management structures); role of banking/financial sector; monetary policy

  • Political economy of conflict

    Fiscal federalism; political frameworks for peace and development; natural resource revenue sharing; post-conflict recovery; impact and dynamics of conflict

  • Fiscal decentralization

    Devolving fiscal authority; local accountability; local revenue generation (tax structure; incentivising collection; improving tax administration); subnational expenditure assignments

  • Mobile banking

    Mobile money platform has assisted in increasing financial inclusion in Bangladesh. Promoting interoperability and competition among mobile money operators and understanding the macro-economic impact of mobile cash transfers is needed.

  • Improving public service delivery

    Increasing the efficiency of business processes in the public sector, adoption of technology and innovation to reduce delays in service delivery. Reduce rent seeking behaviour through adoption of technology.


    Access to Information (a2i) – an innovation lab, has been established in the Prime Minister’s Office of the government. a2i aims to apply behaviour change methodologies and leverage rapid expansion of technologies to transform public service delivery mechanisms.

  • Tax reform and broadening the tax base in Bangladesh

    Increasing the tax to GDP ratio in Bangladesh from approximately 10 percent in fiscal year 2016 to the government’s target of 14 percent by FY2020 is key objective of fiscal policy to ensure adequate levels of public sector investments and expenditure for economic growth and development.

  • Accountability and Political Economy

    Turning to broader issues around political institutions, they might not provide the incentives necessary for optimal delivery of public services. For instance, improved understanding of the processes of local decision making is needed if the promise of decentralization as an avenue to increase the accountability and efficiency of the state is to be fulfilled. The IGC’s goal is to support work that examines existing institutional structures, as well as evidence-based policy guidance for new institutional designs for the public sector. In particular, the IGC would like to sponsor research that sheds light on the source of political failure, including issues related to political accountability (elections, political competition, information provision) and aggregation of societal preferences (socio-economic or ethnic conflict).

  • Public Finance and taxation

    With regard to public finance, the IGC would like to sponsor research on tax policy and optimal tax design, as well as work on the determinants of fiscal capacity and on ways to improve it. Issues such as tax evasion, avoidance, and informality are central here. Of equal importance is the efficient taxation of natural resources.

  • State Capabilities

    There are major questions in public organisation which concern not only how to incentivize existing bureaucrats, but also how to select individuals who are best suited to the tasks they need to perform. There are significant research gaps on topics such as recruitment strategies and civil servants’ traits, job attributes and performance, incentive design, and monitoring.