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Guinea: ASTI–IRAG Country Factsheet

Guinea: ASTI–IRAG Country Factsheet

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Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Famoï Béavogui, Sékou Diawara, and Gert-Jan Stads


International Food Policy Research Institute and Guinean Agricultural Research Institute

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Africa south of the Sahara

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Further information

Rebound in spending

Agricultural research expenditures fell by 80 percent during 2000–2010, but a considerable boost in government funding in 2011 reversed this negative, long-term trend. The additional financial resources enabled staff training and much-needed rehabilitation of research infrastructure after years of neglect. Notwithstanding these recent increases, Guinea still underinvests in agricultural research. In 2014, the country spent just 0.30 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research, well below the 1 percent target recommended by the African Union and the United Nations.

Greater government support

During 2000–2010, more than 70 percent of IRAG’s funding was derived from development banks and donors (mostly France). Guinea’s unstable political situation led to a widespread suspension of donor aid in 2009, at which time the government had no choice but to increase its funding to IRAG in order to keep it operating. Government funding remained the principal funding source during 2011–2014, giving the country increased autonomy over its research agenda. Since 2012, WAAPP has strengthened Guinea’s rice research capacity through a five-year, US$9 million grant from Japan.

Aging researcher pool

Guinea has the oldest pool of agricultural researchers of any African country: 94 percent of its PhD-qualified researchers are in their 50s or 60s, and large-scale capacity losses due to retirement are imminent. With substantial support from the governments of Guinea and France, IRAG was able to provide MSc-level training in a variety of fields to a large number of BSc-qualified researchers and technicians between 2011 and 2015. Many of these recent MSc graduates will be enrolled in PhD programs in the near future, as is stipulated in IRAG’s new strategic plan.

Limited innovative capacity

IRAG released no new crop varieties during 2011–2014, and its scientists rarely publish in international journals. The institute’s low innovative capacity is a cause for concern, raising questions as to the effectiveness of national agricultural research. Weak domestic intellectual property rights legislation is a further impediment to innovation. Guinea and many countries across West Africa struggle with how to reconcile intellectual property rights with farmers’ rights and other local interests.