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Gert-Jan Stads, Alejandro Nin-Pratt, and Nienke Beintema




International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

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This report presents evidence that economies of scale and scope are critical drivers behind the performance of agricultural R&D systems in Africa, emphasizing the importance of R&D collaboration and coordination among countries. Small African countries generally record much lower returns to agricultural R&D compared to their larger counterparts, and their R&D efforts have been less effective in reducing poverty and malnutrition, two of CAADP’s main goals. Further integration of agricultural R&D at the (sub-)regional level is therefore essential, as it allows scarce R&D resources to be used more efficiently. It also allows countries with limited domestic research capacity to benefit from gains achieved in countries with more developed R&D systems. Continued support to regional bodies, networks, and mechanisms will further aid in defining, implementing, and funding a research agenda focused on issues of regional interest. Better coordination and a clear articulation of mandates and responsibilities among national, (sub-)regional, and global R&D players are key in ensuring that scarce R&D resources are optimized, research duplication minimized, and synergies and complementarities enhanced.