The 2nd General Assembly of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) was the ideal launching pad for a new series of ASTI country factsheets. These factsheets convert ASTI data and analysis into visual, easy-to-read overviews of agricultural R&D capacity and investments in African countries. The launch allowed for key stakeholders from ASARECA member countries to get a first glance at these innovative ASTI outputs. ASTI head Nienke Beintema was a featured speaker at the General Assembly where the factsheets were widely distributed. The ASARECA General Assembly was attended by 400 representatives from the 11 ASARECA countries , including Ministers of Agriculture, directors of the National Agricultural Research Institutes, university deans, researchers, farmer representatives and other stakeholders. Also in attendance were representatives of various regional and international organizations as well as the donor community.
The objective of the ASTI factsheets is to highlight trends and challenges in country-level agricultural R&D spending and human capacity, and allow for a cross-country comparison of key indicators. The first five countries featured include Burundi, DR Congo, Madagascar, Sudan, and Tanzania. Each factsheet contains a quick overview of recent trends, as well as a presentation of key institutional, financial, and human resource indicators. Each factsheet also features a more in-depth analysis of some of the key challenges that individual agricultural R&D systems are facing.
The ASTI team—in close collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Institutes and other national partners—is currently finalizing factsheets for 36 countries in Africa South of the Sahara. These will become available on the ASTI website in the coming few months. The ASTI website will also be enhanced and expanded to include data download, graphing, and benchmarking tools.