The Saana Institute brings together ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ to improve development outcomes, especially in trade and regional integration. The Institute seeks to generate practical development solutions by applying empirical evidence and targeted research to cutting-edge real-world challenges.

Our model

To bring together the practical and the academic by blending research, information sharing and dialogue so that practitioners get the best available research and researchers get real lessons from the field, we will:

  • Produce publications based both on primary research and on syntheses of other literature.
  • Create a Knowledge Hub and a Community of Practice that provides a forum for information-sharing, encourages robust debate and most importantly stimulates innovative thinking.
  • Host and contribute to information sharing meetings and dialogues about improving development outcomes, focused on the trade and regional integration agenda.
  • Provide a platform for collaboration and partnerships with other like-minded organisations from the public sector, business and civil society.

Our values

The Institute will work to a clear set of guiding principles. Among other things it will:

  • Focus on the needs of the poor and the impact of trade reforms and regional integration on poverty outcomes and development results.
  • Be free-thinking and challenge ingrained assumptions, including our own, to identify what seems to work and what doesn’t.
  • Not be beholden to vested interests and look at how competitive markets can best be used to reduce poverty across all sectors and throughout the value chain.
  • Recognise that there will be winners and losers in the economic transformation process and focus on how the former can maximise their gains and how the latter can mitigate their losses.
  • Disseminate information as widely as possible.

Get in touch

We’d like to hear from you, including your suggestions for new topics for us to cover or interest in partnering with us on publications, information sharing and events. You can reach us by email at

Research Areas

We are currently developing our initial focus areas around five main themes:

  • Aid-for-Trade and the Post-2015 aid effectiveness agenda.
  • Regional value chains and market development.
  • New Public-Private partnership models to transform capacities for trade.
  • New export frontiers for Africa and Asia.
  • Telling the story: measuring impacts and development results

The UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade Out of Poverty (APPG TOP)

As of September 2015, the Saana Institute has formally become the Secretariat for the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade Out of Poverty (APPG TOP). The Secretariat supports the APPG in holding events, organising field trips and conducting research, such as inquiries and flagship publications, to raise awareness of the importance of trade as a route out of poverty, and to find ways of enabling poor countries to develop through trade.

Read more here.