The programme Research for Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (RIDSSA) implements part of the research agenda of the Knowledge Platform for Development Policies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

The Platform is one of five knowledge platforms that were set up in 2013 in order to invest more effort in knowledge to make (Dutch) donor policy more effective and to contribute to knowledge (and effective policies) within developing countries. To achieve this goal, there is a need to tap into both academic and practice-based knowledge, as well as to ensure a more effective uptake and use of this knowledge by policymakers and other relevant practitioner organisations. RIDSSA is a response to these needs.  RIDSSA currently consists of three separate funding instruments: Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development, Productive Employment an Social Protection. The last one is currently open for applications.

Social Protection 

Inclusive development in Africa cannot be achieved solely by economic transformation and promoting productive employment, but also requires social protection interventions aimed to ensure that the most vulnerable and poorest groups benefit from increasing growth. A growing body of evidence shows that social protection interventions can in themselves contribute to growth. Yet, there is a need for evidence-based arguments to convince policy-makers that investing scarce resources in social protection programmes is a cost-effective instrument in the long run through its impact on poverty and social mobility.

Social Protection provides funding for international research consortia that enhance insights in the cost-effectiveness of social protection interventions in achieving inclusive growth in targeted Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) compared to other social policy that aims to achieve the same objective. Social protection projects should result in evidence-based policy advice on social protection interventions for policy makers and practitioners in Sub-Sahara Africa. It addresses the question: are we doing the right things?

Currently, seven projects have been funded by the Social Protection funding scheme.

Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development

Inclusive development occurs when average achievements on income and non-income dimensions of wellbeing improve and inequalities in these achievements fall. The failure to reform attempts in developing countries is often due to resistance to change among political and/or commercial elites. Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development therefore focuses on investigating underlying power structures and incentive systems that explain why sound policies fail to be effectively implemented and on how strategic actors can play a role in nudging unwilling governments into carrying out effective reforms. The key question is: what are the potential roles, goals, incentives and engagement strategies of the various (non-) traditional strategic actors with the state?

Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development provides funding for international research consortia that investigate the roles that strategic actors across state, society and economy can play in bringing about the effective implementation of policies on economic growth and on territorial development and spatial differentiation and in contributing to more transparent and accountable governance. As such, the scheme focuses on in-country processes of politics and policy making, which for a large part determine rising or falling inequalities.

Currently, five research projects are funded by the Strategic Actors funding scheme. 

Productive Employment

The current economic growth in many African countries relies heavily on the exploitation of natural resources, which provides little employment. The majority of people work in the agricultural and informal sectors, where productivity is low and where there is a high degree of job vulnerability. Many countries have experienced de-industralisation, while the contribution of manufacturing to employment creation has been rather limited. A key challenge for many African countries therefore is to link poverty reduction and social inclusion and make growth more inclusive through policies and practices that create jobs of sufficient quality.

Productive Employment provides funding for research that focuses on generating insights into ways in which African countries can promote productive employment, and how Dutch aid and private partners as well as trade and investment policies can contribute to this process. Productive employment here refers to formal jobs as well as the informal sector and includes the dimensions of remuneration, stability and working conditions. Research themes include: dynamic entrepreneurs; sectors driving growth; and the policy environment. Specific attention is paid to youth employment and its causes.

Currently, five research projects are funded by the Productive Employment funding scheme.