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Niger: ASTI–INRAN Country Factsheet

Niger: ASTI–INRAN Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Other languages:
Version française

Authors:
Gert-Jan Stads, Biba Yacouba, and Léa Vicky Magne Domgho

Year:
2016

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Niger National Institute of Agricultural Research

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Niger

Slow funding recovery

The completion of the World Bank–funded PNRA in 1998 plunged Niger’s agricultural research into severe financial crisis lasting more than a decade. Since 2009, agricultural research capacity and investment levels have gradually begun to recover, in large part due to another World Bank loan–funded project, WAAPP, which is intended to support the country’s livestock research; various capacity building initiatives; and the generation, dissemination, and adoption of new technologies.

Ongoing underinvestment

Despite positive growth trends, as of 2014 Niger only invested 0.23 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research—a fraction of the 1 percent minimum level recommended by the African Union and the United Nations. If agricultural research in Niger is to become more effective, higher levels of funding must be secured. Overreliance on volatile donor and development bank funding needs to be counterbalanced with alternative financing mechanisms, such as innovative alliances with the private sector.

Key staffing challenges

The majority of the country’s PhD-qualified agricultural researchers are employed at one of the country’s universities. This is primarily due to differences in the official status of government- versus university-based scientists, which prevents INRAN from offering competitive salary packages. Moreover, the official retirement age is much higher at the universities than at INRAN. These key incentive differences make it challenging for INRAN to attract and retain well-qualified research staff.

Capacity strengthening needed

The provision of postgraduate training programs at Niger’s universities is limited. Most graduates from national universities only hold BSc degrees. Continuing education to the MSc or PhD level generally depends on donor funding, which has become increasingly scarce over time. WAAPP’s regional capacity strengthening component addresses this challenge to some degree, but it will be important for the government to maintain a commitment to higher agricultural education to facilitate growth in the number and size of the country’s MSc and PhD programs.