Over the past three decades Africa's public agricultural research systems have changed in substantive ways. The total number of researchers increased fourfold, the dependency on expatriate researchers significantly declined, while the education levels of national researchers improved. Initially the growth in research staff was matched by growth in expenditures. But since the late 1970s, real research spending has stagnated. In addition, loans and grants from donor agencies now account for a sizeable share of total funding for many African agricultural research systems. Many of the developments of the past decade in personnel, expenditures, and sources of support for public sector research and development (R&D) in Africa are not sustainable. Spending per scientist has declined continuously during the past 30 years, most dramatically during the 1980s. Resources are spread increasingly thin over a growing group of researchers, which has negative effects on the efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural research in Africa.
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*The work reported here was jointly funded by the Danish International Development Agency, the United States