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3.1 Introduction

The analysis is based on data from the sample of projects from the seven countries. Each project was provided with foreign financial assistance to develop agricultural research and research institutions in their respective country. The projects were analysed with respect to key issues or elements in institutional development as described in the methodology. The project life cycle was taken as a point of reference. The chapter provides an overview and analysis of key characteristics of the projects with respect to: formulation, length, implementation modalities/mechanisms, priorities, human resources development, infrastructure development and equipment, recurrent, operational and overall costs.

3.2 Characteristics of the selected projects

It has not been possible to attain an equal number of projects for all countries. The size of the sample therefore varies from one country to another. The table in Annex 3 summarizes the profiles of projects selected.

Overall, 36 projects were selected and analysed. Among these, bilateral donors funded 17 freestanding projects. USAID funded seven (three in Cameroon, one in Mali and three in Senegal). Seven projects were funded by international organizations also as free standing projects, with the World Bank/IDA accounting for five and UNDP for two.

A consortium of donors led by the World Bank funded eleven projects. Consortium type projects are based on an agreement between several donors on a concerted programme with a particular country. Each donor will then come to implement one or several components. The component is often closely tied to donor policies and strategies. Projects of this type could also be funded and implemented parallel with freestanding World Bank projects as in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi and Senegal.

USAID is also sometimes associated with another donor as in Cameroon, with an American NGO, or in Mali, with a private company Novartis/CIBA-Geigy. Overall the World Bank participated in the funding of 14 projects or 39 percent of all projects and USAID in 12 projects or 33 percent of the total.

Twenty-four projects focussed on institutional building. Seventeen had institution building as a major objective and seven as a secondary objective.

Figure 7. Division of projects per country and major donors (no of projects)

3.2.1 Programme/project formulation, priority setting mechanism, decision-making process and target group

Most programmes/projects were identified and developed in a dialogue between the donor and the recipient country or within a country programming exercise. Project ideas were either initiated by the donor country representative or finalized at donor headquarters or directly through a mission from the donor agency.

All countries in the sample have developed national strategic/master plans that set distinctive priorities for at least five to ten years. The strategic/master plans form the main framework for development cooperation. During negotiations a consensus is reached on objectives, the scale and the scope of the project and how decisions are to be made with regard to the project. How projects are managed becomes important in order to establish donor involvement. If they live their own lives or are well integrated into the national plans and recipient institutions. This includes also the level of involvement of expatriates and donor influence on monitoring and evaluation of projects.

The situation differs in respect of donor to donor. For USAID and most other bilateral donors the projects are systematically subcontracted to a university or a consortium of universities within the Title XII Framework or to an IARC. Examples of this are Cameroon with IITA, University of Maryland and University of Florida in Mali, University of Texas A&M in Senegal with MSU, CID with Oregon State University and likewise. France with CIRAD in Cameroon, and Madagascar, the German cooperation with GTZ in Cameroon and Ghana, The Netherlands with KIT in Ghana, Kenya and Mali and others. The list is long.

The World Bank on the other hand does not intervene in the management of the project as such, but sets strict guidelines for implementation. The projects are regularly monitored during the project life through supervision missions. UNDP projects were executed by FAO and autonomously managed. Generally a national coordinator is appointed to manage specific government counterpart contributions. The person is also the go-between with national authorities. For some donors a technical/scientific steering/planning committee is put into place to oversee project activities. It is fair to state that IDRC and CIBA-Geigy have a fairly liberal approach towards funding projects. There is for instance a reluctance in involving expatriates in project management, accounting and reporting procedures.

Despite the effort of training national scientists in most of the projects, scores of expatriate scientists were fielded. Given the mobility of these scientists it is difficult to gather concise data on their number and extent of involvement. Apart from some senior staff as team leaders most of the other staff are junior involved in post-graduate research and thus competing in some way with junior nationals for tutorship.

3.2.2 Length of projects

Most projects were long-term. Donors seem to respect the need for longevity in institution building projects. There is also a preponderance for implementing projects in several phases spanning four to five years each. Commitment could under such circumstances extend to 10 or 15 years. Donors might also be committed for longer periods. World Bank supported NARP projects usually have a time perspective of 15 years. Overall, 44 percent of the projects had a duration of more than 10 years and 42 percent being between five and ten years and only 14 percent less than five years duration.

Figure 8. Length of projects

3.2.3 Priority focus for agricultural research assistance

Most projects focussed on institution building. This was particularly the case with the World Bank and USAID funded projects (for example, the NARP projects in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali and Senegal for the World Bank, and SPARC in Mali, NCRE in Cameroon, MARE in Malawi, SARP and SAR in Senegal for USAID).

Some projects had limited scale and scope and multipurpose objectives. The goal might be building research capacity to tackle a particular problem in an agro-ecological zone or research field (as in Cameroon, the French Garoua Research Station, ICRAF, the USAID/ROTREP, the German/GTZ Nyanakpala Station, the Ghana Grain Legume project of CIDA, the IDRC, Plantain development IDRC project, in Ghana, the Netherlands DRSPR and the CIBA-Geigy Cinzana Station in Mali, the USAID NRBAR, the IDRC Cereals and Post-Harvest Technology project, the UNDP/FAO ITA and UNDP/Belgium/FAO projects in Senegal).

Few projects had a sole adaptive orientation without institution building objectives (HPI/USAID in Cameroon, SG2000 in Ghana, and the FIFAMANOR of Norway and FAFIALA of Switzerland in Madagascar). One project in Cameroon focussed on educational institution building. This was supported by USAID.

3.2.4 Human resources development

Kenya had the biggest share (32 percent) of output of trained staff from the projects, commensurate with the dimension of its NARS. The figure relates, however, only to KARI. The second largest was Ghana (23 percent) and the third Cameroon (19 percent). Mali and Senegal had the same percentage (8 percent), although for a different number of projects, Madagascar (6 percent) and Malawi (4 percent) had less.

Figure 9. Distribution of trained staff at post-graduate level

Training high calibre staff is important for carrying out high-quality research, but equally important is to retain people through incentives (motivating scheme of service, a good reward and recognition systems, proper work environment and career development prospect, etc). In general, donors are not willing to take a strong stand on the need for incentives despite being aware of the importance of incentive structures. This is mostly because donors are not keen on interfering with civil service regulations.

Most donors provide incentives to involved staff in one form or another. This might often cause frustrations with other staff outside the project. The World Bank and USAID to a lesser extent include covenants for revision of staff service regulations and an organizational model more favourable to staff (Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Kenya and Madagascar). These efforts have not always been successful, such as in Malawi where the Government was adamant to keep the departmental model for DAR. The apparent effect was a high turn over of staff.

3.2.5 Infrastructure development and equipment

Most NARS need updating and renewal of infrastructure. Inherited facilities from the colonial period were in a poor condition. Donors were most willing to support NARS in this respect. The budgetary expenditure for this is not always available. Of the 36 projects, information was provided for half. Expenditures for equipment and infrastructure amounted on average to 28.3 percent of total donor contribution. Details are given in Table 10.

Table 10. Percentage of donor contributions to infrastructure and equipment










All projects percent total donor assistance









NARP (WB alone/others









The figures are quite conservative as many facilities have been built from scratch and developed to full fledge research institutions. This has been the case with the Garoua Research Station supported by French cooperation, the Regional Centre for Bananas and Plantains, the University of Dschang by USAID in Cameroon as well as the Nyankpala Research Station upgraded to the Savannah Research Institute (SARI) in Ghana built with German assistance. KARI headquarters and other regional research centres in Kenya also come under this category. The Cinzana Research Station built by CIBA-Geigy, in Mali, the Kaolack Regional Research Centre and the headquarters of ISRA, built with the assistance of the World Bank and the Centre for Horticulture Development (CDH), built with the assistance of UNDP/Belgium/FAO, in Senegal must also be mentioned. Donors seem to have been most generous in providing funding for research infrastructure. Some might say too generous. One of the main donors in this respect has been the World Bank/IDA.

3.2.6 Recurrent and operational costs

A major constraint for NARS is the funding of operational and recurrent costs. Very often the national budget is barely sufficient to cater for payroll of staff. In order to achieve any project objectives, funding agencies are obliged to contribute or support recurrent and operational costs for research activities.

The data are seldom epitomized for recurrent and operational costs. Out of 36 projects information is only available for 10 although most projects state that non-salary related operational costs are paid for. Forty-eight percent of recurrent/operational costs came from donors for these 10 projects. NARP (National Agricultural Research Projects) stand out as the exception in this respect. NARP often have a national scope based on priorities set in a national strategic plan. The number of NARPs in the sample is, however, few. The projects are mostly funded solely by the World Bank or together with other donors. NARPs often provide adequate funding to cover operational and recurrent costs for priority programmes of NARS. Bilateral donors are much more restrictive in providing funding for these types of costs. Limited support for some activities as well as overhead charges for the recipient institution is also given. It is, therefore, not surprising that at the end of bilateral supported projects activities stop.

3.2.7 Total donor contribution to project costs

Information on total donor contribution is often difficult to get even if project and donor information is available. The amount of donor support is often given as rough estimates. Generally, governments contributed in a range of 15 to 60 percent of total project costs.

The size of the individual project is largely determined by the number of donors involved (multi-donor or single donor). Kenya had the largest projects. Other large projects are NARP projects in Senegal and Malawi (World Bank/USAID). Data on total donor contribution were available for 30 projects. The distribution of size is given in Figure 10 below. Most of the projects are between US$10-50 million. A good proportion was around US$20 million, particularly those funded only by the World Bank. A consortium of donors generally funded projects with a size of more than US$20 million.

Figure 10. Distribution of size of projects (US$ million)

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