A survey of agricultural researchers and managers from 30 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has shed new light on the state of data collection capacity and infrastructure across the continent.
The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative conducted the survey as part of an effort to streamline and integrate its own data collection activities with those of agricultural research agencies at the national and regional levels. By cultivating decentralized and institutionalized data collection systems, ASTI hopes to stimulate more frequent and less laborious updating of R&D capacity statistics. More decentralized collection of data will also bring the scientific capacity indicators that result closer to hand for African research managers, readily available for analysis and use in research policy and decision making.
Survey respondents participated in two ASTI workshops and provided insights on the data management systems currently in place in their home countries. Most said that data is gathered on an ad-hoc basis within individual agricultural research agencies, where it is used mainly for accountancy and human resource purposes. Respondents agreed that some centralization is needed to harmonize and systematize data collection nationally. Joint questionnaires and data sharing across institutes and regions are key in this regard, in addition to M&E capacity strengthening. ASTI has taken these recommendations on board in implementing its current survey round in SSA.
For a summary of the survey results, click here: http://www.asti.cgiar.org/pdf/ME-capacity-infrastructure-assessment.pdf