The African Union (AU) Member States in 2013 crafted an African driven vision, Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want, to define how the African continent should look in the next 50 years based on the pillars of wealth generation, regional integration, and attainment of a peaceful society, all driven by Africans. In 2015, the United Nations Member States unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development that balances the dimensions of economic, social, and environmental development, underpinned by good governance. These two agendas include specific sets of objectives, with Agenda 2063 having 20 goals with 174 targets, and 2030 Agenda 17 goals with 169 corresponding targets. The adoption of these instruments by African governments committed them to act together towards achieving their goals. The need for more and better evidence from research and evaluation of development programs has never been more crucial as Africa directs its efforts towards accomplishing its commitment in this regard.
Demonstrating the achievement of Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda objectives requires evidence that has undergone quality assurance and scrutiny. Sound evidence is essential to inform policy-making, development actions, and citizenry perception of the impact of the agendas. There is, therefore, the need for research and program evaluation in Africa to generate credible evidence demonstrating the progress being made in the areas targeted by the agendas.
Implementation of the agendas has definitely commenced and there is progress. The key questions being asked are What has transpired since the adoption of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda? Where are we as African countries in their implementation, and is there strong evidence to demonstrate to the citizenry that progress is being made? Can we trust the evidence being generated by African researchers and program evaluators to adequately support policy deliberations so that they will lead to the generation of proper policy interventions? and What is the confidence level that evidence-based polices will engender in the efforts towards the attainment of the goals of the two agendas? The quest to achieve Agenda 2063 goals and SDGs places an urgent demand on researchers and development program evaluators to demonstrate that the evidence being generated is not only effective but also has wide application to the situations and contexts being faced by policy-makers and development professionals on the continent.
The 2020 Evidence to Action Conference will bring together actors within all stages of the value chain of evidence-based policy-making and policy practice to come up with the best possible ways to generate and utilize trustworthy and rigorous evidence relevant to Africa’s context in support of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda. The conference will give attention to the assumptions and factors to be taken into consideration when evidence-based policy-making is being promoted in Africa, especially in a continent where environmental, social, economic, political, physical and climatic zones differences exist among countries.
The conference aims to nurture the use of evidence-based policy decision-making and action in Africa, especially in the drive towards the realization of Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda goals. The generation and use of evidence-based and relevant policies to support development will lead to individual dignity and wellbeing, flourishing societies, and a planet Earth that is a thriving home for all.
The Conference will be an exciting forum for renowned research and evaluation professionals and development practitioners from national, regional and international organizations and of diverse disciplines to promote the use of evidence for policy-making and practice in Africa. It will promote and ensure dialogue and exchange of experiences and chart a way forward for making evidence-based policy relevant and impactful in Africa. The aim is primarily to provide a platform for African researchers and evaluation professionals, development partners, and users of evidence to interact, share experiences and plan for future work together.
The first two days will be set aside for pre-conference training activities and side events. This will provide an opportunity for partners to build capacity in their respective fields. The subsequent two days will be the main conference event and will comprise a funders’ forum, plenary sessions with keynote speakers, breakout sessions, an exhibition where organizations can showcase their projects and products, and networking and matchmaking events.
The Evidence to Action 2020 Conference theme is premised on the understating that evidence-based research and evaluation findings exist that have huge potential for positively impacting Africa’s policy decision-making and action to drive the realization of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda goals. The conference theme has sub-themes that highlight the key issues of focus:
The conference participants will be drawn from a diverse range of stakeholders working across Africa in research and evaluation. They include:
 SDG Center for Africa’s SDG, 2018