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Democratic Republic of Congo: ASTI–INERA Country Factsheet

Democratic Republic of Congo: ASTI–INERA Country Factsheet

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Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Lunze Lubanga, and Gert-Jan Stads


International Food Policy Research Institute and National Agricultural Study and Research Institute

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Congo, Dem. Rep.

Rapid rise in spending

Between 2009 and 2014, DR Congo’s agricultural research spending doubled (in inflationadjusted terms) following government efforts to revitalize the agricultural sector and the launch of a number of donorfunded projects, including PDPC, PARRSA, and PAPAKIN. Spending as a share of AgGDP rose from 0.20 to 0.34 percent during this period. Despite this rapid growth, agricultural research investment still falls short of the minimum 1 percent target recommended by the African Union and the United Nations, and remains too low to sustain DR Congo’s needs.

Capacity constraints

Agricultural researcher numbers grew by nearly 40 percent during 2009–2014, although most of these newly recruited researchers held only BSc or MSc degrees. INERA and the other government agencies continue to lack a critical mass of scientists qualified to the PhD level (and many of those with PhD degrees are approaching retirement age). Low public-sector salaries act as a disincentive for younger PhD-qualified scientists to pursue careers in research; many choose careers in the private sector instead.

Outdated infrastructure

Numerous factors present acute challenges to the effective conduct of agricultural research in DR Congo, including derelict buildings, equipment that has fallen in disrepair, insufficient access to vehicles to conduct field research, frequent power outages that disrupt trials, unreliable Internet access, lack of up-to-date computer technology and software, and poor communication channels between headquarters and remote stations across this vast country. Large-scale capital investments are urgently needed to address these myriad issues.

Pooling scarce resources

Given the many constraints that agricultural research agencies in DR Congo are facing, the scarce resources of universities and government agencies need to be pooled more effectively. By collectively identifying research priorities and sharing staff and infrastructure, these agencies could create synergies in conducting research and ultimately in generating outputs that would enhance the quantity and quality of agricultural production. The government has an important role to play in this regard in terms of providing the necessary policy environment to stimulate cooperation.