Policy centres


­­­­Below are selected policy research centres which focus on social policy and the themes addressed on this site.

­South African policy centres

African Gender Institute
A resource dedicated to advancing the work of intellectuals, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners committed to gender equity. Publishes the journal Feminist Africa.

Centre for Civil Society 
Based at the University of KwaZulu/Natal, the CSS aims to advance environmental and socio-economic justice. Extensive resources are available through the online library.

Centre for Development and Enterprise
A policy research and advocacy organisation which focuses on national development issues and their relationship to economic growth and democratic consolidation.

Centre for Education Policy Development
Develops alternative education and training policies aimed at promoting the principles of non-racism, equity, democracy, quality education and lifelong learning.

Centre for Health Policy
Engages with the content and impacts of policy ideas, why policies are developed and implemented in particular ways, and the processes and strategies that characterise policy development and implementation processes.

Centre for Higher Education Transformation
Aims to develop transformation management capacityin the higher education system. The site includes a list and links to tertiary-level institutions in South Africa.

Centre for Public Participation
Empowers civil society to engage actively with accessible and accountable structures and processes of governance. Publishes Critical Dialogue – Public Participation in Review, an occasional online journal.

Centre for Public Service Innovation
Established to develop innovative models for improved service delivery. Read about their annual conference, awards and the biannual journal, Ideas that work.

Centre for Social Accountability
An independent institute aiming for the realisation of social and economic rights through the effective management of public resources.

Children's Institute
Based at the University of Cape Town, the CI is currently the only academic unit in South Africa that focuses exclusively on children's policy.

Democracy Development Programme
Supports capacity building to ensure that both government and civil society participate in South Africa’s social transformation. Manuals and toolkits can be downloaded.

Development Policy Research Unit
Based at the University of Cape Town, the DPRU conducts research in the fields of labour markets, inequality and poverty.

Gauteng City-Region Observatory
An active partnership of the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), University of Johannesburg (UJ) and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits). Aims to develop and advance knowledge and understanding of city-regions, in order to source appropriate policy solutions that GPG can consider.

An independent public interest organisation committed to promoting sustainable democracy based on active citizenship, democratic institutions, and social justice.

Institute for Security Studies
Takes a broad approach to security issues as they affect human development. The term human security transcends the narrow focus on traditional  national security concerns.

JET Education Services
A non-profit organisation that works with government, the private sector, international development agencies and education institutions to improve the quality of education.

National Advisory Council on Innovation
Advises government on the role and contribution of science, mathematics, innovation and technology, including indigenous technologies, in promoting and achieving national objectives. Download NACI publications  and legislation or relevant policy documents.

Parliamentary Monitoring Group
Provides current information on all parliamentary committee proceedings. Various subscription-based monitoring services are offered and free email alerts.

Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa
­­An independent research and development unit attached to the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town. Focal areas of work include language planning and policy formulation at national and provincial government levels.

Public service Accountability Monitor
The PSAM is a programme of the Centre for Social Accountability and is engaged in social accountability monitoring, particularly in the Eastern Cape.

The South African Civil Society Information Service
A platform for policy dialogue that has been established as an agency to channel South African policy news and analysis to the media.

South African Institute of Race Relations
Home to a comprehensive database tracking trends on South Africa, with a wide variety of statistical and other data on South Africa.

Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute
Focuses on the development and implementation of effective evidence-based anti-poverty policies necessary to address the growing levels of economic, social and political exclusions and inequalities in South Africa in particular, as well as the Southern Africa region more broadly.

A statutory organization which monitors and improves the quality of general and further education and training in South Africa.


African policy centres

African Capacity Building Foundation
A capacity-building institution established by the African Development Bank, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, African governments and donors.

Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis
Focuses on two key areas, development policy analysis and capacity building. Promotes policy analysis through research and capacity building.

Center for Policy Analysis
Provides analysis and perspectives on economic policy issues in Ghana and the developing world. Focuses on fiscal and monetary policy, debt management, trade policy, industrial policy social sectors and agricultural policy.

Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)
An independent pan-African research organisation with a primary focus on social sciences and recognised as a leading centre of social knowledge production.

Economic and Social Research Foundation
Aims to improve understanding of policy options and development management issues in the Tanzanian civil service. Hosts Tanzania Online for the Tanzanian government.

Institute of Policy Analysis and Research - Rwanda
An indigenous and autonomous Rwandan institution which aims to bring a distinctive voice to the policy debate and make­ proposals based on how policy is experienced on the ground.


­Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research
Carries out activities to promote the ­socio-economic development of Ghana in Africa more widely. 

Kenyan Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis
Conducts research and analysis leading to policy advice to government and the private sector.

Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit
Undertakes applied socio-economic, policy-related research for and on behalf of the government, domestic and international institutions, as well as the private sector. ­

REPOA: Research on Poverty Alleviation
Tanzanian centre focusing on poverty and pro-poor growth by conducting research and training, promoting dialogue and policy development. Networks via the Research and Analysis Technical Working Group of the Poverty Monitoring System (RAWG).

International  policy centres

Brookings Institution
An independent research and policy institute. Web site contains briefing papers, analyses, and other resources related to current political issues.

Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy
Assists in the eradication of poverty and building of citizenship in South Africa through high quality evidence-based social policy research and training.

Chronic Poverty Research Centre
An international partnership of universities, research institutes and NGOs that conducts research and analysis to reduce poverty.

A think tank for 'everyday democracy' which works with organisations in ways that make them more effective and legitimate.

Global Public Policy Institute
Focuses on effective and accountable governance and provides a platform for debate between the public sector, civil society, and business.

International Poverty Centre
By encouraging South-South cooperation, the centre aims to expand the knowledge base and capacities of developing countries to design and implement national poverty reduction strategies.

Overseas Development Institute
Informs policy and practice for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries. Toolkits developed by ODI can be downloaded and are focused on evidence-based policy. ODI's Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme aims to improve the use of research and evidence in development policy.

A comprehensive United Kingdom site which aims to promote strategic thinking and improve policy making and delivery across government.