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Republic of Congo: ASTI–IRA Country Factsheet

Republic of Congo: ASTI–IRA Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Other languages:
Version française

Authors:
Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Grégoire Bani, and Kathleen Flaherty

Year:
2017

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and National Agricultural Research Institute

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Congo, Rep.

Declining spending

Economic constraints caused by declining global oil prices have had a negative impact on agricultural research spending in Congo in recent years. Between 2008 and 2014, spending declined by 28 percent, reversing the previously positive trend. In 2014, the country invested just 0.44 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research, which is well below the minimum target of 1 percent recommended by the African Union and United Nations.

Institutional consolidation

The consolidation of DGRST’s numerous research centers to form the National Agricultural Research Institute (IRA), Forestry Research Institute (IRF), and Natural Sciences Institute (IRSEN) is expected to enhance the coordination and efficiency of research efforts in Congo, as well as improve staff retention and assist recruitment. The government approved the creation of these institutes in 2012, and the new institutes commenced operations in March 2014.

Dwindling capacity

Between 2000 and 2014, the number of agricultural researchers employed at DGRST’s centers fell by one-third due to staff retirement and attrition for other reasons, including low salary levels compared with the higher education sector. A long-term public-sector recruitment ban prevented the vacant positions from being filled. Consequently, the centers’ share of the country’s agricultural researchers declined from 82 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2014.

Aging researchers

As of 2014, almost 60 percent of Congo’s agricultural researchers were over the age of 50, which is one of the highest shares among African countries. The share was even larger for PhD-qualified researchers (78 percent). With the ongoing civil service hiring freeze and an aging pool of agricultural researchers, capacity will only be further eroded over time. Maintaining a critical mass of agricultural scientists will be imperative to meeting the country’s agricultural development goals through effective research.