INEP - About us
To understand the significance of INEP we must understand the weak infrastructure of Guinea Bissau. Successive military coups combined with unemployment, chronic state fragility, political crisis as well as a resulting lack of investment produced one of the world’s poorest countries. The military conflict of 1998 / 1999 virtually devastated the country’s institutions. INEP remained one of the very few institutions in Guinea Bissau that continued to function and enjoys international respect. This is in great part due to the hard work done by INEP researchers, the Institute’s directive board and administration and the solidarity of the many friends of INEP in the academic world and beyond on the international level. This strategy of “self assistance” was the only way to guarantee the mere survival of the institution and a minimal functioning of the National Institute of Research and Studies after the war. INEP has suffered a lot from war damage and it took nearly a decade of hard work to rebuild somehow what had been destroyed.
INEP serves the nation of Guinea Bissau beyond its focus on research and academic function. The Institute houses the National Public Library and the National Historical Archives. The National Public Library, which has approximately 70,000 volumes, serves as the only full public library in the country. Currently INEP is working with the Mario Soares Foundation / Portugal and with the Endangered Archive Programme of British Library to digitalize important endangered documents relative to the history of Guinea Bissau that were lost / damaged during war and political unrest.
According to its foundation document, INEP has the task to put into practise the research and development policies defined by the government, likewise assisting the policy makers in the elaboration of national development strategies. Thus, INEP over the time has produced various studies, reports and evaluations for bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects of the Guinean state, for International Organisations (UNDP, WB, IMF, UNICEF, WHO, UNIOGBIS etc.) as well as for national and international NGOs.
With its various activities the National Institute of Research and Studies of Guinea-Bissau provides an important forum for intellectual debate on social, historical and particularly development issues of Guinea-Bissau. Conferences and workshops of public interest and national importance take place at INEP. The institute’s installations are also used as platform for activities of the Guinean civil society.
Post Conflict Setting and Envisaged Structure of INEP
The authorities of Guinea Bissau have been striving to restore the credibility of state institutions and to consolidate peace and promote development. But this has been largely unsuccessful. The period after 2000 was again characterized by recurrent confrontations between political authorities and the military, coups d’état, and growing uncertainty amongst the population, donors and potential investors about the country’s future. This crisis culminated in the assassination of late President Joao Bernardo Vieira and Chief of Staff General Tagma Na Waie in March 2009, the alleged coup d’état on 1 April 2010 and the 12 April 2012 putsch. Over the past few years narco-traffickers have established important transit operations in Guinea-Bissau, servicing distribution networks in Europe, and obviously base their operations on strong local cooperation.
The main challenges that Bissau-Guineans face are ongoing power struggles between the politico-military elite, a weak and vulnerable national economy, increased criminalization and a weak state that is unable to provide services, enforce democracy and the rule of law or manage conflicts.
This explosive post-conflict setting can only be curbed substantially by strengthening governance structures, the rule of law and existing national institutions through regional and international control mechanism and cooperation. What is required very urgently is the implementation of a genuine national development programme and targeted and intensive training of national cadres, post graduate students and skilled and competent national professionals.
How do research institutes and institutions of higher learning function in such delicate contexts? How can they improve their structure and scientific and academic quality? These key issues must be solved to guarantee a successful long-term impact of the broad-based support that we propose.
INEP now envisages broadening its structure and renewing the institution in the light of these current challenges. In addition to its research pillars the institute intends to build up post graduate formation courses in cooperation with Brasilien and Portuguese universities (Master, PhD). Ongoing conflict research programs shall be enlarged to create a ”Centre of West African Conflict Studies” in Bissau. Finally, INEP intends to enhance Consultancy Services and create audit mechanism for Guinea-Bissau according to international standards.