Lack of quality research affecting work of think tanks

BY: Adwoa Amofa Osei
Jean Mensah, Excutive Director (IEA)

The Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Mrs Jean Mensa, has stated that the major setback for most policy think tanks in the country is their inability to recruit high quality staff.

According to her, the unavailability of people who could carry out quality research work was a major challenge that some policy-making institutions were currently faced with.

She was speaking at the launch of a book: “Improving Think Tank Management”, in Accra.

Quality of researchers

“We do not have enough quality researchers but the survival of a think tank depends on the quality of its work,” Mrs Mensa indicated.

She said an institute that was involved in policy making had to conduct research that was evidence based to ascertain its credibility.

“If you are informing policy, then you have to do rigorous research which can stand the test of time,” she stated.


According to her, even when an organisation was able to engage good researchers, providing incentives to sustain them was another challenge, all as a result of inadequate funding.

She opined that it was not prudent for policy think tanks to accept funding from the government, since it could compromise the outcome of their work.

“Some policy think tanks could accept funds from government, but for us at the IEA, we have made it our policy not to accept any government funds because there is a possibility that those funds could compromise the independence of our work,” she stated.

Mrs Mensa observed that even though the IEA had been tagged as being biased, it would continue to execute its mandate without fear or favour. 

“This is not the first time we have been referred to as biased and tagged to different political parties, and so we are used to that, knowing that it does not affect our work in any way”.


The book was written by Mr Raymond Struyk, a senior fellow at the Results for Development Institute.

It addresses the key issues of strengthening operational management, staff and funding.

It also gives practical knowledge on how to deal with such challenges.

According to Mr Struyk, the book was the third of its kind that he had written and its aim was to help think tank institutions  to improve on their management systems.