The Africa Policy Centre (APC) was officially launched by the Uganda Christian University (UCU) in 2016 as a think tank that facilitates the implementation of the university’s vision as “A centre of Excellence in the Heart of Africa”. The primary objective of the centre is, therefore, derived from the vision of UCU – ‘to be a centre of excellence in the heart of Africa in the provision of quality education, research, training and community outreach in the pursuit of good governance, integrity in leadership, peace building and sustainable development’. As noted in the APC strategy, the primary mission of the UCU-APC think tank is to create a platform for developing indigenous capacity for ideas generation and policy formulation, analysis and research agenda setting from an African Christian perspective. The implementation was set out as follows: The initial five-year plan (2016-2020) sought to put in place and consolidate the centre’s institutional capacity to become a ‘policy-initiator’ and alternative policy framework producer in the contemporary global order. The APC carried out substantial work in the five-year period to develop institutional capacity and engage with the Ugandan public on matters of policy. However, there is need for further institutional capacity development, specifically in strengthening and consolidating policy dialogues through collaboration and partnerships within Uganda and beyond. This will firmly position UCU-APC as a respected national and regional research and policy focal point. This is where the proposed three-year Strategic Plan (2021-2024) will play a crucial role in crafting the way forward and identifying key areas from the general mandate of APC for a phased implementation. The centre is currently re-organising and putting together a team to implement the specific areas identified as the central focus, which the next three years will revolve around. These include doing research, engaging policy makers, dissemination of policy through publication and other forms of dissemination.
The last three years of APC saw some commendable work done by providing leadership for UCU to engage in policy related matters through training, policy discussion and other activities. However, there is limited public information about the centre, beyond what is on the website. The next three years will be critical for the APC to strategically position itself to fulfil its mandate. To achieve this, the centre needs to formulate deliberate interventions for targeted, consistent communication to make APC and its work visible to stakeholders and other audiences, specifically the general public. As APC prepares to launch its three-year Strategic Plan in September, there will be numerous activities including trainings, research, conferences, policy discussion, webinars, partner engagements, and annual lectures, among others. These events are crucial for their role in institutional capacity building and positively influencing policy decisions through engagements with policy makers, stakeholders, and academics at UCU in order to develop APC as the alternative policy framework producer that it is designed to be. 3 These activities present immense opportunities for the centre to become a lot more visible and prominent than it currently is. This will inevitably strengthen existing collaborations and lay a strong foundation to expand partnerships, which will enhance resource mobilisation efforts. To achieve this, the APC has developed this C&V strategy, which is designed to play a crucial role in driving the implementation of its three-year strategy. This will be realised through extensive publicising of the work that has been done in the last five years and ongoing activities for the next three years; sustained engagement with stakeholders to consolidate APC goals; and ensure the general public is informed about APC, its work and impact. The C&V plan will serve as a monitoring and tracking document for the APC three-year Strategic Plan to ensure activity timelines are closely monitored for effective execution. This strategy will guide the implementation of the organisation’s Strategic Plan 2021-24.