The Africa Research Institute was founded in 2007 under the leadership of Director Mark Ashurst, a journalist with broad experience in Africa. A registered charity based in London, the ARI was founded on a grant from Richard Smith, and industrialist with an interest in the “land of energy and optimism,” he sees in Africa. He continues to lead the ARI as a trustee, along with Howard Flight, a previous Member of Parliament and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Noting a lack of understanding of both the continent of Africa and African public policy among Western nations, the trustees adopted a mission committed to finding solutions of “creativity and pragmatism” for African problems, while avoiding the outsider Victorian-era philanthropy that has marked so many charitable approaches. Rather, the Institute strives to find new ways of thinking and create innovative solutions to Africa’s economic issues.
In order to achieve this goal, the Institute actively analyzes and reports on current policy. It recently published a study on Malawi’s voucher based input subsidy program titled “How Fertilizer Subsidies are Working in Malawi” in March of this year. By analyzing areas of improvement and comparing Malawi’s program to international developments, the piece seeks to formulate and recommend stronger and more effective policy be put in place in Malawi.
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