The analysis of the 36 projects from the sample of seven sub-Saharan African countries makes for the following country-by-country conclusions and recommendations. The conclusions or lessons learnt from the analyses of the projects are often specific for each country. Some general characteristics appear, however, with regard to impact of foreign assistance on institutional development. To avoid repetition some salient recurrent conclusions for all countries are presented below before the presentation by each country.
Since early independence most governments have taken steps to organize inherited colonial research infrastructures into NARS. The evolution might be divided into two phases (Eicher, 1991); an expansion phase, between 1960 to 1985, and a downsizing and restructuring phase from 1985 onwards, the last phase corresponds to the economic crisis and structural adjustment programmes experienced by these countries. Unfortunately, none has started to evaluate its research needs and tailored the inherited facilities and infrastructure to these needs. On the contrary, with donor support most of them expanded these facilities beyond their real needs and budgetary capacity.
Almost all projects, with the exception of the NARPs' project, were managed autonomously and some with a heavy presence of expatriates. Subsequently, the projects were subjected to their own system of programming, monitoring and evaluation geared to flag out success. In an institutional development perspective, national counterparts should have been more involved in running and managing the projects. Good management practices as set-up and experienced by national participants could have been disseminated for the benefit of recipient institutions. Although in all or most projects national coordinators were appointed and national counterparts provided, they were often confined to some activities and did not gain necessary experience from a complete coaching of the foreign experts.
Assistance was provided, in most cases, in the short- to medium-term, generally three to five years renewable once or more. Even if the duration was long enough to have an impact, this did not occur to the extent that could have been expected. However, execution of projects in five-year periods was not reported as having a negative effect on institutional development in the concerned institutions. It permitted instead proper evaluation of performance and identification of weaknesses that were addressed in the subsequent phases.
Provision of infrastructure and equipment was generous, but without careful consideration of the recurrent costs of maintenance and operation after termination of the project.
Human resources development through degree training as well as short-term courses received great attention in almost all projects. Unfortunately, increase in scientific staff was not concomitant with an increase in operational costs. Most NARS noted that this led to underutilization of human resources, creating frustration and high attrition of high calibre staff. Some countries addressed this issue in innovative ways through a diversification of funding mechanisms (cess, private sector funding, commercialization, etc.).
Linkages with the World Knowledge System, within NARS and outside are crucial for effective and efficient research enterprises. The projects reviewed had designed effective ways of promoting such linkages. Strong examples are the Agricultural Research Fund in Ghana and Kenya and similar arrangements in other countries.
There is a clear indication that proper definition of priorities and firm commitment of government authorities, together with concerted action with donors in project preparation, can lead to coordinated funding of government priority programmes. Well defined policies and priorities constitute the best government negotiating tools with development partners.
Very few projects had clear institution building characteristics. Out of nine projects only the NARP/PRAN, the World Bank co-funded project, nationwide in scope, had specific objectives of this sort. NCRE funded by USAID also had institution building as a project objective. The others may have elements of institutional development as a by-product of their activities, as for example, human resources development, and infrastructure tailored to the needs for the achievement of their objectives. In short, the projects did not have an institutional perspective and were seldom concerned with sustainability issues.
The formulation and priority setting processes are limited in scale and scope. As examples, the Garoua project was for the cotton growing area, the ROTREP-project for roots and tubers in the south-west and the Littoral regions, the NCRE-project for cereals, mainly for the North, etc.
Human resources development particularly through degree training received great attention in all projects. It also covered most disciplines. A study in 1995 revealed that training of researchers within foreign assistance was satisfactory. IRA and IRZV had respectively the following number of staff trained at various degrees: 35 PhD; 52 MSc.; 77 BSc and 14 PhD and 47 MSc.; overall a total of 225 national research scientists. However, the increase of 9.6 percent per year in number of researchers was not matched by a similar increase in operational funding. In 1993 the expenditure per scientist was US$9 591, representing 16.5 percent of the optimum, and thus putting the scientists in the situation of working part-time.
The Government has the prime responsibility for the situation as described above. The Government did not provide an overall framework for developing a long-term agricultural research plan (10 to 15 years) with necessary resources. A plan of this sort could guide scientific cooperation with the partners that would be demand-driven. Ad hoc and push approaches as adopted could be avoided. A research plan could indicate the necessary size of institutions, agro-ecological implementations, staffing needs and corresponding training programmes. The responsibility is at present shared between donors who have not been cautious enough to put safeguards or provide enough flexibility in order to adapt to the changing economic environment.
The conclusion is that the institutional development impact has been rather modest. This conforms with the World Bank study (1996) ranking cited above.
The sample consisted of a few projects with explicit institution building objectives. This in spite of NARP (World Bank) not stating clearly that institution building was a prime objective and all its components had provided the foundation of a strengthened NARS as a whole. The Nankpala Experimental Station funded by the German GTZ for about 20 years was also an example of a successful institution building assistance project. It constituted, however, a prosperous island within NARS and was not well-integrated into NARS. The Ghana Grains and Legumes Development Project also placed emphasis on strengthening the capacity of Ghanaian research and extension institutions. The other projects had elements of institutional development as by-products or enabling factors of their activities, such as human resources development, infrastructure, etc. Most projects did not have an institutional perspective and cared seldom for issues related to sustainability.
With the exception of the NARP project, the formulation and priority setting processes were limited in scale and scope. As examples, the GGLD, was limited to grain and legumes; the plantain project for this commodity only, the SG 2000 interested only three regions, etc. With the formulation of NARSP some negative aspects have been reduced. The plan should guide the domains of priority in scientific cooperation with demand driven partners. This would avoid the ad hoc and push approaches adopted often earlier.
The projects analysed were funded by a consortium of up to 10 donors led by the World Bank. Institutional development of NARS was given pre-eminence during both phases of the project. Particular emphasis was put on research organization and management of KARI. This was carried out in a coordinated manner with support from the consortium of donors. KARI and donors have shown remarkable flexibility and most donors have been able to focus on research areas with which they felt comfortable. This was achieved despite the difficulty of coordinating donors as the number of participants, project size and complexity, increased. A national agricultural research programme (NARP) has been prepared with the assistance of ISNAR and the World Bank. The process of priority setting has been developed and fine tuned. Donors that participated in the appraisal of the project agreed to place assistance within the framework of NARP. This clearly indicates that well-defined policies and priorities constitute the best government negotiating tools with development partners.
Although the project had a national scope, donors were free to pick up a component or part on a regional or sectoral scope. USAID funded for instance mainly KARI headquarters and some national and regional centres. ODA on the other hand concentrated on Muguga and veterinary and livestock research programmes. The executing agency of the project was KARI and no component was managed autonomously. Donors agreed to channel their funds to meet local expenses entirely through KARI. It was, however, still felt necessary to harmonize the project planning and budgeting process, financial and accounting procedures, disbursement procedures and provision of equipment and technical assistance to minimize confusion and administrative burden on KARI.
Multi-donor projects need strong coordination from one source. The current system whereby donors support elements of crop, livestock or factor research, according to their own research interest or bias, tends to lead to donor-driven identification of projects. This trend which has been, however minimized as a long-term programme was already prepared somewhat with their involvement.
The assistance provided although considered of a long-term nature was phased in five year slices. This did not, however, have a negative impact on the institutional development. Institutional strengthening remained a vital objective of the project. The imbalance of operational costs with the increase in human resources development through degree-training as well as short-term courses, has been well identified and innovative solutions have been sought (cost-sharing, cess, breeders' property rights, transferring research programmes on industrial crops to producer and processor organizations, savings on personnel costs for operational expenditures, etc.).
The projects geared to FOFIFA were in the first instance for technical assistance (ATIA I and II). This resulted in recommendations for institutional reforms to be underpinned by a sound policy and strategy (the Master Plan). This was implemented subsequently during the NARP project including its second phase. The projects have definitely contributed in laying the foundation for creation of strong institutions. The projects of FIFAMANOR and FAFIALA were sectoral and research was a minor component, and no explicit objective of strengthening a research institution was mentioned. Further development in an uncoordinated manner poses a risk of duplication of research and consequently a weakening of NARS as a whole. The risk is exacerbated by the fact that these institutions are not under the same ministries, as FOFIFA that is under the aegis of the MRS.
The projects funded by the World Bank were prepared with the assistance of ISNAR. During the process of the preparation of the master plan a priority setting, programming and budgeting mechanisms were internalized in FOFIFA. Donors participating in the appraisal of the NARP project agreed to put their assistance within the framework of the NARP.
Although the NARP project had a national scope, donors were free to choose a component or part of a component of regional or sectoral scope. USAID for instance funded the rice programme with IRRI as an executing agency, France/CIRAD concentrated on export crops, the European Union, funded research programmes on tubers and ground nuts, etc. The executing agencies of these projects were national assisted institutions, in particular for NARP, FOFIFA was the executing agency. However, the components funded by USAID and France were managed separately by the donor agency, information available did not indicate what the role of the recipient institution was.
All donors who participated in the appraisal did not participate in the support of the project. Donor coordination was easier and the interministerial steering committee satisfactorily fulfilled its role at the beginning of the project. It became, however, less important as many bilateral donors withdrew from the subsector, leaving the USAID and Swiss Cooperation as the only other donors remaining and cooperating in the national research programme.
The situations described above brings out the general conclusion that institutional development impact has been substantial. Sustainability is, however, fragile and recommendations were made for continued assistance at least until the completion of the master plan. This implies at least eight more years for FOFIFA.
The NARP project was prepared after the review of the NRDP. It was considered essential to establish a 10 to 15 year programme to restructure and improve Malawi's agricultural research system. ISNAR reviewed NARS and DAR assisted by consultants. The World Bank Regional Mission of Eastern Africa supervision missions prepared the project, following the review. The World Bank with the participation of USAID later appraised it. After the appraisal the two donor partners decided to finance separate components of the NARP. This is a clear indication that concerted action of donors and government at the project preparation phase can lead to coordinated funding of a government priority programme.
Although the NARP was a research project, the USAID funded component was linked to the Malawi Research and Extension Project (MARE) and approved in July 1985. The Consortium for International Development, involving four universities, with Oregon State University serving as the lead institution, managed this component.
The executing agency was the Ministry of Agriculture that administered it through the Principal Secretary for Agriculture who was also responsible for implementing the project. The Chief Agricultural Research Officer who reports to the Principal Secretary through the Controller of Agriculture Services, was directly responsible for project management. Some guidance for this purpose was also expected from ARC. Human resources development through degree-training as well as short-term courses received great attention, in total 31 MSc and eight PhD. Unfortunately, with opposition from Government of giving a special career stream to research scientists, most of these scientists left soon after their return for better paid jobs. Overall the number of scientists of DAR did not increase consistently during the assistance.
Linkages with the World Knowledge System within NARS and outside are crucial for effective and efficient research enterprises. Within NARP it has been a pervasive concern and has been enhanced. However, linkages with extension through adaptive research teams were not as effective as expected. ARTs have not been fully staffed and in particular the turn over of economists in these teams was high as they regularly left for better employment elsewhere.
The assistance to DAR within the NARP encompassed key elements for laying the foundation of a strong institution (establishment of ARC, consolidation of DAR's network of stations, reorganization of DAR into multi-disciplinary research teams, preparation of a long-term strategic plan, training of high calibre scientists, development of sufficient infrastructure and equipment, introduction of a better scheme of service and research environment, improved linkages and partnership with the World Knowledge System, etc.). However, the project did not have as an objective, to consolidate all public research systems. The system remains dispersed in various ministerial departments, although coordinated by the Ministry of Research and Environmental Affairs and in some way by the Committee of Agricultural Sciences of the Scientific Council of Malawi.
The above-mentioned situation brings out the general conclusion that institutional development impact has been substantial, however, the sustainability was considered doubtful and recommendations were made for continued assistance at least until completion of the master plan.
Most of the projects analysed even if they preceded the completion of the strategic plan (the Cinzana CIBA-GEIGY, the DSRPR), that their activities fit in its priority programmes. The SPARC and the NARP were prepared after its validation and presentation to the round table with donors. The USAID (that funded the preparation of the strategic plan) decided to fund part of it with a limited scope and a duration of seven years despite the 12 year duration of the plan. The World Bank/IDA prepared the NARP as a donor of the last resort with a system wide perspective. The other two projects, the DSRPR and the Cinzana CIBA-GEIGY project, at the start or after some years could mobilize other donor partners (IDRC and Ford Foundation for the DRSPR; USAID and ICRISAT for the Cinzana CIBA-GEIGY). All the four projects were prepared in a long-term perspective, those stemming from the strategic plan as well as those that preceded it. However, all of them were executed in several phases and managed separately and differently. The DRSPR through the KIT as executing agency; the SPARC by a consortium of US universities led by Texas A&M, the Cinzana CIBA-GEIGY, by a board of directors encompassing donors representatives and government representatives with management responsibilities vested in the national director supported periodically by foreign technical assistance, and the NARP executed by IER/CNRA under strict agreed upon procedures of IDA.
The assistance provided although considered of long-term nature, were executed in phases: the DRSPR for 20 years in five phases; the SPARC in one phase for seven years, the Cinzana CIBA-GEIGY, over 15 years and still ongoing in five phases; the NARP for the 12 years duration of the strategic plan in two phases of six years each. Overall IER has been substantially strengthened and has changed statutes from a ministerial department model to a public semi-autonomous scientific and technical institution. All projects were provided with technical assistance either long-term bilaterally (SPARC, DSRPR), or short-term within the NARP and the CIBA-GEIGY assistance. The former took a sizeable amount of the total funding (more than 33 percent). For the latter the amount was less important with 10 percent for the NARP and a negligible sum for the CIBA-GEIGY project.
The assistance provided to NARS with the four projects encompassed key elements for laying or consolidating the foundation of a strong institution. This included:
reform of the NARC and its strengthening for fulfilling its new mandate of policy formulation;
coordination and management of donor funding;
reform of the statutes of IER from a ministerial department model to a public semi-autonomous institution, EPSTC;
Strategic planning, reorganization and down-sizing of the network of IER stations and decentralized organizational structure with regional research centres;
completion of the coverage of all agro-ecological zones with the creation from scratch of the Cinzana Agricultural Research Station for the Sudano-Sahelian zone;
creation of a farming system research programme and department within IER enabling better linkages with farmers and understanding of their production system;
rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure, purchase of equipment and training of high calibre cadre of scientists and support staff with good research environment through a motivating scheme of service, etc.
However the assistance increased/maintained the imbalance in the system in favour of IER, the other components, particularly the academic institutions did not receive the attention they deserved given their human resources potential. The role of the CNRST in the overall coordination of research has not been clarified and evaluated.
The above-mentioned situation brings out the general conclusion that institutional development impact has been substantial. However, the sustainability was considered to be consolidated given the continual high ratio of donor funding and the lack of any innovative funding alternative mechanism. Therefore, recommendations were made for continued assistance at least until completion of the strategic plan that has been revised.
Most of the projects analysed even if they preceded the strategic plan (CDH, UNDP/FAO ITA project, IDRC), were in line with the country priority programmes. The PRA I and II, the USAID SARP, SAR II and NRBAR were prepared within the ambit of the first strategic plan and its successors. This is a clear indication that donors can accommodate their priorities with those of the recipient country. There must be a provision of firm commitment of government authorities and strategies along with concerted action with donors at the project preparation phase. The result will often be coordinated funding of priority programmes.
Most of the eight projects were prepared in a long-term perspective with a clear and consensual vision of institutional development. This was similar to the process that prevailed between ISRA and the donor community with ample funding, in the early 1980s. However, all projects were implemented in several phases and managed differently and separately. USAID's approach as analysed by the USAID Impact Study Mission stated:
"Overall the projects have had a major reorientation in at least four critical points. First, a consistent 15-year institutional capacity building process with ISRA as projected in 1981 was effectively abandoned by unilateral decision when SARP II Project was rejected by USAID as the second phase of the process. Second, the SAR II reorientation to work on irrigated crops in the Senegal River Basin changed the fundamental focus of the continuing assistance from a broad-based institutional strategy with ISRA to a much narrower regional development project. Third the decision of USAID/Senegal in 1990 to refocus its agricultural research/extension assistance targeting exclusively to the area south of 400 millimetre rainfall isohyet and de facto toward rain-fed crops again juxtaposed a unilateral donor decision against ISRA's broader strategy for agricultural research in Senegal. Finally, the NRBAR Project approach as it evolved moved USAID/Senegal progressively further and further from institutional development approach adopted in 1981. The approach adopted not only resulted in NRBAR Project operations being conducted essentially as an independent activity not integrated within ISRA but refocused the acceptable realm of research exclusively on natural resource management interventions in the southern half of the country."
For the IDA projects as well as for the Belgian and IDRC projects, the stepwise execution was not reported to have a negative effect on the institutional development of ISRA. It permitted proper evaluation of performance and identification of weaknesses to be addressed in the follow-up phases. The legal status for research institutions (ISRA and ITA) was changed, with IDA constant advice, into a more appropriate one, the public science and technological institution, that allows for a better scheme of service for scientists.
All projects provided technical assistance, both in the long-term and short-term. The USAID ones executed by American universities, the UNDP/FAO and Belgian projects and to a lesser extent the IDRC funded project. Consequently a good percentage of the project costs was spent on technical assistance with expenditures ranging from 14 to 50 percent.
The assistance provided to NARS with the eight projects encompassed key elements for laying the foundation of a strong institution encompassing:
institutionalizing strategic planning;
strengthening of the board of directors and its STC of ISRA;
creation from scratch of CDH to cover the horticulture subsector research;
regionalization, decentralization and streamlining of the research network of ISRA;
creation of ITA for the food processing subsector;
strengthening of the farming system research approach within ISRA enabling better linkages with farmers and understanding of their production system;
rehabilitation and construction of huge new infrastructure;
purchase of equipment and training of high calibre cadre of scientists and support staff and striving to provide a good research environment and a motivating scheme of service, etc.
However, assistance increased/maintained the imbalance in the system in favour of ISRA in particular and to a lesser degree ITA, this left academic institutions aside. Academic institutions with their human resources potential should have received more attention in the effort to strengthen NARS. Moreover, at the policy formulation and coordination level, the role of the CIRST was not evaluated.
Overall, assistance provided during the early 1980s by several donors brought a fast growth of ISRA that increased its network of centres and stations, infrastructure, equipment and personnel of all categories. The institutional growth quickly outstripped ISRA's internal administrative capacity to manage its expansion and was soon judged not sustainable. By the end of the SAR II Project, USAID recognized that ISRA could not properly manage its resources whether financial, physical, technical or human. It was recognized that ISRA's greatest challenge was to bring its research programme in line with existing financial and human resources. Henceforth, ISRA underwent a series of restructuring and downsizing exercises. The project completion report of the first agricultural research project stated: "Perhaps the single most important constraint to the operational effectiveness of ISRA was its limited capacity to manage its financial resources". The completion report of the second agricultural research project added that "the fact that this statement remains valid at the conclusion of the second project is a regretful indictment of donors' and ISRA's ability to correct this situation despite heavy consultant involvement. Despite the continued donor heavy involvement, ISRA remains institutionally fragile and far from being sustainable, the funding ratio of donor funding is still high and no innovative alternative funding mechanism is available."
As for the country specific conclusions, some of the recommendations are recurrent for all countries. This is only to be expected given the common theme of institutional development. Therefore, they are presented as the hub of the section and are valid for all countries.
Supporting agricultural research for the contribution to a national knowledge system and in particular for providing improved production technologies for the small farmers and the preservation of natural resources and the environment, is the sovereign task governments cannot escape. It is their inalienable responsibility to organize and provide required resources to fulfil this mandate. However, the task can be shared within a well-defined partnership at national as well as the bilateral and international levels under the condition that priorities are set beforehand.
Public resources, particularly financial resources, are generally the limiting factor. Due to financial demands from many sectors, governments should prefer sustainable solutions as opposed to wholesale approach for institutional development. It is essential to design the system on a modest scale such that current costs can be met in the future through local resources. For this purpose governments should resist donors showing erratic generosity for projects of peripheral importance. "Many NARS are suffering sudden withdrawal of aid and the aftershock of their expansion" (Eicher, 2001). Interruption of research programme activities is costly and wasteful and should be avoided as much as possible.
Sustainable support for research is entailed for research managers besides accountability and transparency, salesmanship for research results through a well-designed marketing programme towards the various end-users who very often take for granted the effort and resources that cost the technologies they use for their various needs including comfort. A strong lobby system including policy-makers and leaders of farmer organizations is also necessary.
National financial resources (public and private) for funding agricultural research in Cameroon were not more than 58 percent of total research expenditure of IRA and IRZV from 1992 to 1994; 42 percent was provided by foreign assistance; this is a situation that is not acceptable in the long run in terms of institutional development and sustainability. Therefore, mechanisms for increasing national financial resources should be worked out. A study, sponsored by FAO in 1996, entitled "the Cameroonian NARS, modalities for long-term funding of agricultural research", after a review of several scenarios of funding, involving relevant national stakeholders, came to the conclusion that national resources (Government, proceeds from IRAD activities and private partners) could cover 95 percent of the annual budget of IRAD; this avenue should be explored seriously by Government and national research leaders.
National financial resources (public and private) for funding agricultural research in Ghana in 1989/1991 were US$8.7 million out of total resources from all sources of US$11.9 million or about 80 percent which is the highest percentage in West Africa. The reliance on foreign assistance is therefore relatively limited. There is no doubt that with serious analyses of various funding mechanisms involving the private sector and other research users, particularly in the cash crop sector, additional resources could be found to fill the gap of full national funding of NARS priority programmes that would improve or achieve its sustainability. Government and national research leaders should explore this avenue seriously.
National financial resources (public and private) for funding agricultural research in Kenya in the 1992/1993 fiscal year amounted to about US$22 million or 34 percent of the total funding requirement of US$65 million. Donors made up the gap of US$43 million or 66 percent. This situation of reliance on donor funding of agricultural research is very common in sub-Saharan Africa and questions the sustainability of NARS. It is expected that government funding will reach 42 percent at the end of NARP II, leaving still some 52 percent to donors. The expectation is that their support will continue for the years ahead. However, it is reported that innovative initiatives in tapping new sources of funding at national level are underway such as transferring to industry organizations in the case of industrial crops, retrenchment of non-essential support staff, rationalization of KARI's research centres network and expanding KARI's revenue base through the sale of seeds and planting materials of improved crop varieties, animal breeds and vaccines, etc. Government authorities and national research leaders should further seriously explore this avenue of diversifying the national potential sources of funding agricultural research.
National financial resources (public and private) for funding research in Madagascar in 1997 was estimated at US$2 939 122 or 0.25 percent of AgGDP. The budget of FOFIFA in 1997 was US$2 921 821 in which the donor accounted for 67 percent, meaning that without donor support the country could afford only the support of one institution albeit the dominant one. The research intensity of Madagascar without donor support is only 0.25 percent, which is among the lowest in sub-Saharan African countries. The figure with donor support is 0.57 percent. Therefore, donor support will still continue to be needed at a high level. However, it is reported that innovative initiatives in tapping new sources of funding at national level are underway such as research contracts with big private growers, more research on export crops and levies of cess on them, retrenchment of non-essential staff, rationalization of research centres network and expanding FOFIFA's revenue base through sale of seeds and planting materials of improved crop varieties, animal breeds and vaccines, etc. Government and national research leaders should further seriously explore this avenue of diversifying the national potential sources of funding agricultural research.
Recent data on funding showed that the situation has been deteriorating. It is reported that most government subventions to research go to salaries and overheads whereas almost all donor grants and loans support operational activities. Out of the total research budget (in 1998/1999) of US$1 647 845, the Government of Malawi's contribution represented 28 percent. Donor and local seed companies contributed the rest. Without donor agency support most of the ongoing research activities would have been stopped. In 1994/1995 research expenditures corresponded to a research intensity of 0.78 percent of AgGDP, less than the planned target of one percent in the research master plan. In terms of sustainability the completion report of the NARP, as indicated previously, considered that it was doubtful. However, there is some consciousness in Malawi of the major constraint of funding agricultural research from the sole public resources and donor support. Innovative approaches are being sought to supplement them, such as the creation of an agricultural research and development fund (ARDF), endowment foundations, commercialization of research, etc. Government and national research leaders should further seriously explore this avenue of diversifying the national potential sources of funding agricultural research. Among the national resources the Government avails to NARS the most important are the human resources and among them the high calibre research scientists trained in international universities at high costs. The situation in Malawi shows that the Government is the training ground for other institutions, as most of DAR scientists left (32 percent at MSc and PhD levels) from 1985 to 1991 for better-paid employment. Therefore, Government should strive to provide a proper organizational framework that can allow better salary packages and research environment. The department model of DAR has definitely been a constraint despite the strong donor pressure to improve the career stream of research staff.
The Government has signed a contract with IER for increased contributions over a five-year period. However, the proportion of the total research budget to be funded from domestic resources is not projected to increase. Furthermore, since the signing of the contract, the government contribution has been paid on time each quarter, a substantial improvement on past performance. A recent World Bank supervision mission report of February 2000, indicates that the Government has decided to increase its contribution by US$120 000 to take into account the salary increment induced by the new scheme of service of scientific staff. Despite this notable effort, the donor community is still financing 72 percent of the research expenditures of IER. Furthermore, the research intensity is only 0.56 percent which is below the target of one percent of AgGDP that developing countries strive to reach. As no innovative action has so far been taken to mobilize more domestic financial resources, funding will remain the Achilles' heel for NARS. Government and national research leaders should seriously explore the avenue of diversification of national potential sources of funding. Recent reports show that the Government is a training ground for other sectors (30 among the highly qualified scientists have IER within 2.5 years). Therefore, Government should strive to provide a proper organizational framework that can allow for better salary packages and research environment. The Government of Mali has made an important stride in this direction with the adoption of the new EPSTC statutes.
Continuity in strong national leadership with a clear vision of the institutional capacity building process is essential for its success. The high turnover of senior management (more than eight director-generals in 26 years) has hampered the institutional capacity-building in ISRA. The Government should strive to stablize the high management turn-over through fixed term-appointment of the director-general for at least five years. This can be renewable based on performance and not political cronyism. Downsizing of ISRA on several occasions in the past two decades has not resulted in increased availability of funds for either significantly increased salaries or coverage of other recurrent costs. Funding will, therefore, remain the Achilles' heel for NARS. Government and national research leaders should seriously explore the avenue of diversification of national potential sources of funding agricultural research. The application of the recommendations of the FAO sponsored study, dated February 1997, entitled: "Modalities of long-term funding of agricultural and agro-industry research", has been flawed in many ways: (i) creation of a fund as a unique mechanism of funding without putting into place a process of its replenishment; (ii) instituting the sole access to the fund through competition, in a country where NARS is dominated by two specialized research institutions each having a strategic plan encompassing the priority research programmes adopted by the Government and the stakeholders. This approach has been the result of the application of covenants worked out by incompetent staff of an international funding agency. They have been eager to experiment an idea that has flourished no where. A competitive grant fund cannot be a major source of funding a publicly funded NARS/institution, it can only be a complementary mechanism of funding. The system put into place is wasteful of resources and is an additional bureaucratic layer for NARS leaders. It ignores completely the criteria of alternative funding mechanisms that includes: additionality, accountability, administrative cost, flexibility of research, sustainability and acceptability (Jannsen, 1998). Furthermore, a number of studies reported that competitive funding should be introduced on a pilot basis and viewed as a complement to core funding of a NARS (Byerlee, 1991).
The most important national resources Government avails to NARS, are human resources and high calibre research scientists trained in international universities at high costs. Recent turnover reported in ISRA shows that the Government is a training ground for other sectors. Of the 42 scientists trained at MSc and PhD levels, within the SARP and SAR II USAID projects, 50 percent of them and the most experienced left ISRA as of 1998. Therefore, the Government should strive to provide a proper organizational framework that can allow better salary packages and research environment. In this regard the Government of Senegal has made an important stride in this direction with the adoption of the new EPST statutes.