Making policies work


ECDPM is a leading independent think tank that wants to make policies in Europe and Africa work for inclusive and sustainable development.

We believe good policies are extremely powerful. They can tackle society’s biggest problems at the root, lay a foundation for change, and play a crucial part in making the global development agenda a reality for all. That is why we want to help institutions and governments across Europe and Africa create policies that work.

Our independent policy experts contribute sharp analysis, thorough research and fresh ideas. But making policies work requires stepping off the sidelines too. It means working closely with the people who create, implement or are impacted by policies. We bring different groups around the table, smooth the way for debate and make sure everyone’s voice is heard. We provide advice and training and design practical solutions together.

We have over thirty years of experience in development policy and international cooperation and know the African and European institutions inside out. Our focus is on EU foreign policy and European and African policies related to conflict, migration, governance, food security, regional integration, business, finance and trade.

Our partners include officials from ministries and institutions, international organisations, think tanks, academia and social and economic actors from Africa, Europe and beyond.

We have two offices: in Maastricht (the Netherlands) and Brussels (Belgium). We encourage you to contact us by telephone or email.

What we offer

  • Research and analysis
    We provide thorough policy research, sharp analysis and fresh ideas.
  • Advice and training
    We provide practical policy advice, training and support.
  • Events
    We organise and speak at debates, conferences and workshops.
  • Partnerships and dialogue
    We connect people, broker partnerships and create space for dialogue.
  • Expert information
    We provide background information to our partners and the media.

What sets us apart

(1) We are more than a think tank. We are researchers and analysts, but we are also facilitators, advisors, evaluators and trainers. It’s that combination of roles which sets us apart from other think tanks. To make policies work we need solid knowledge on what works and what doesn’t, but also to work with the people who are crucial in implementing those policies.

(2) We are independent. Our unique funding situation allows us to maintain operational autonomy and set our own, non-partisan agenda. We are not here to defend the interests of anyone, apart from the most vulnerable in society.

(3) We look beyond promises. Whether policy change is good, bad or absent usually depends on a number of factors and people. That is why we look beyond policy statements and analyse what drives or prevents change. That means looking at all political constraints and incentives.

(4) We know the ins and outs of the African and European policy landscape. Africa-Europe relations is our main focus. For over thirty years we have worked with institutions, governments and partners across Africa and Europe. That has resulted in a broad network, a solid institutional memory of what has and hasn’t worked before, and a knack to foresee how policy arenas will evolve.

(5) We are in it for the long run. Making policies work cannot happen overnight. We engage in policy processes from beginning to end and commit to long-term relationships with our partners, to jointly accomplish changes over time.