The Center for Policy Studies (CERPS), Liberia, is an independent policy research institution created to rigorously investigate policy issues critical to the development of Liberia and important to the West African sub-region. The primary purpose of CERPS is to identify and analyse the development situation of the country through research. By undertaking rigorous analysis using the best social science methodology, the Center aims to identify a range of alternative possible choices and initiate public debate involving policy makers, donors and the public at large, with a view to having a consensus on alternative choices which best achieve the desired results and meet the aspirations of all concerned.
Unlike other ECOWAS countries, Liberia currently has not had, until the arrival of CERPS, any independent institutions with a capacity or mandate outside the public sector, which can rigorously undertake policy development research and disseminate alternative frameworks to government’s social or political policies at their nexus with economic policy. The inter-relationship of these issues is obvious. CERPS intends to fill that void and add value by reducing the policy making capacity deficit and by bringing decision/policy makers, the Liberian public and researchers together in a way that will adequately address local, national and sub-regional issues.
CERPS is a new organization: however its founding members and staff have decades of research experience in several policy fields, with expertise in economics, law, political science, security, land issues and development. Members of the team have worked in government, with research organizations, academic institutions and civil society, both nationally and internationally.
Ultimately, findings from policy research studies by CERPS will provide the public with a second view of public policy. The problem of policy weakness in the national bureaucracy makes the government a potential beneficiary of this initiative in Liberia. Though CERPS’s work programme and management are independent of government, it will proactively disseminate to the government and other stakeholders the findings of its research and analyses through informed and principled public debate devoid of partisanship. CERPS is unequivocally committed to charting a harmonious relationship between government and itself.
CERPS’s work will also help inform the intervention of development partners, and contribute, through public studies and publications, to research programs of academic institutions. Through networks and partnerships, regional institutions will have the opportunity to share information on common challenges in the sub-region.
We expect the work of the Center to contribute to the formulation of effective public policy by promoting alternative strategies to address critical issues through the publication of research studies on governance, and socio-economic issues facing the country. Through policy debates, the encouragement of convergent ideas aimed at promoting inclusive socio- political and economic development in Liberia will be fuelled. As a result of CERPS’s policy engagement, the national policy landscape should change for the better. The major outcome expected in the long-term will be improved national policies and an alignment of international support with thoroughly researched critical needs to enhance the country’s broader development agenda.