Originally called the Institute for Economic Research, this organization was registered in Malaŵi and established on 15th February, 1996, as an independent, non-profit, non-government research institute for capacity building in economic policy analysis (registration number CO4 4308) and is limited by guarantee. Since Malaŵi is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) whose goal is to promote economic development and integration through harmonization of national policies and programs, among other things, that organization has a strong bearing on the policies of Malaŵi and other members of SADC. Hence economic policy research must take the regional dimension into account and use a comparative country framework. To reflect this regional flavor, the Memorandum and Articles of Association were amended on 27th February, 1998.
To advance a policy making process in which SAIER and other institutions of civil society can creatively contribute towards the emergence of a progressive society that is on an equitable and sustainable socio-economic development path particularly in Malaŵi.
The chief objective of SAIER is to build and strengthen the human and institutional capacities in economic policy research/analysis (in terms of research quality and numbers of serious researchers) and decision making and to enhance understanding of policy options in the public sector, private sector, donor community and in the growing NGO sector, particularly in Malaŵi.
In order to attain its chief objective of capacity building in policy analysis, the SAIER initiates studies on key issues and supervises their implementation. It fosters networking between policy makers and practitioners on the one hand, and researchers and academics on the other. High priority is placed on collaboration and co-ordination with existing institutions and individuals who are conducting research and other policy-oriented studies in economic analysis. The SAIER promotes a broader and more informed dialogue on key issues in economic policy. It is a focal point for discussion of fundamental policy issues and provides a basis for policy dialogue between various actors in policy work.
Collaborative research is encouraged, especially between current policy practitioners and academics as one way of sharpening the policy focus of research projects. Another way of sharpening the policy focus is to co-opt into research teams former policy makers/practitioners who have retired, but are still intellectually energetic, a rich resource which should not be wasted especially given the human (and other) resource-poor position of the countries in question.
A research project is normally expected to be completed in a period of 12 months from presentation of the proposal to the final output. As much as possible the SAIER Secretariat assists researchers with relevant literature and data using its data bank/library and other sources.
Specific Objectives and Functions
To conduct research on Malawi on:
Sectoral development problems,
Cultural, household and gender aspects of economic development,
Social problems and policies,
Macroeconomic problems and policies, and
Regional co-operation and integration.
To organise seminars, workshops and symposia.
To disseminate research results through publications.
To provide advisory services.
To serve as a base for visiting scholars for externally-funded research and for inter-disciplinary research.
To collect, store, retrieve and disseminate economic information, mainly on Southern African countries.
To collaborate with similar institutions both within and outside the Southern African region.