Consultancy: Boosting investment in Agriculture research in Africa

Terms of reference Consultancy: Boosting investment in Agriculture research in Africa (Building a case for increased investment in agricultural research in Africa.)  

  1. Background 

Agricultural productivity and growth hold a key to poverty reduction in Africa. Agricultural growth has a significant impact on the rest of the economy. Africa’s leaders see agriculture as an engine for poverty reduction and overall economic development. In 2003, the African Union’s Commission (AUC) launched the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) that describes African leaders’ collective vision on how to reach a goal of 6% growth per annum for the sector. Subsequently, CAADP Pillar IV was launched in 2006 as a strategy to support Africa’s agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption efforts. Later the Malabo Declaration in 2014 stressed again on the need to strengthen technology generation, dissemination and adoption. The CAADP biannual review adopted Total Agricultural Research Spending as share of AgGDP as one of the measurable to meet the commitment on Ending Hunger on the continent. According the last BR Review in 2019 only 12 countries on the continent have reached the 1% AgGDP to research. Agricultural research investments declined during 2014–2016 for about one half of the SSA countries as a result of declining government and donor commitments. Growth in spending on agricultural research has been slower than growth in agricultural output in SSA. As a result, the regions intensity ratio dropped from 0.59 percent in 2000 to 0.39 in 2016.

Agricultural Research and development (R&D) in Africa is primarily funded by national governments and donors with variations across countries. Some countries continue to be highly donor dependent while others are funded through government budget allocations. Donor funding, together with loans, generally supports operating costs and capital investment, but has been highly erratic. In recent years, both traditional and new donors have shown renewed interest in funding agricultural research in Africa. The key role of R&D in increasing food production while protecting natural resources was also stressed in the UN post-2015 development agenda. On the Wings of Innovation, the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024) places science, technology and innovation at the epicentre of Africa’s socio-economic development and growth.   More recently, the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) was adopted at the 2014 African Heads of State Summit, necessitating the development of a continent wide implementation plan.

Although a number of countries have increased their support to agricultural R&D, overall investment levels in most African countries remain below the levels required to sustain viable agricultural R&D programs that address current and future priorities. . Mobilizing domestic political and financial support for agricultural R&D has been difficult. One reason for this is the inherently long time lag between investing in research and attaining tangible benefits. Another reason is that evidence of high payoffs to agricultural R&D in Africa is limited. Alene (2010) finds a 10-year lag between agricultural R&D expenditure growth and agricultural productivity growth.

It is within this context that the African Union’s SAFGRAD as Specialized Technical Office of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission (AUC) in charge of Promoting the Agricultural Research and Development is seeking the services of two (02) specialized   Agency and/or  qualified professional to team up (lead consultant and consultant) and elaborate a Policy document on Boosting agricultural research investment in Africa.

2. Qualifications/Experience

  • A strong institution or agency with outstanding experience in policy research and capacity strengthening support
  • Independent consultancy must have at least a Master level university degree in a field related to Agriculture Economy, statistics or other relevant disciplines
  • At least 10 years relevant work experience in Agriculture and Rural development for both institution and/or independent expert
  • Excellent and proven analytical skills
  • Excellent and proven English/French writing skills
  • Relevant experience in related or similar assignments
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills, ability to prioritize and work with minimum supervision
  • Good Understanding of the continental and international development agendas which include the Malabo Declaration, the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024), the Agenda 2063 of the AUC and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be used as reference documents.

3. Scope of the work

The consultant will be required to prepare a Policy document on boosting agricultural research investment in Africa (Building a case for increased investment in agricultural research in Africa.) with specific focus on Country contribution to attain at least 1% AgGDP allocate to research.

The document must address the situation of research pattern in Africa within the context of the Agenda 2063, Malabo declaration, the implementation of the AU Science Agenda or and international development agenda. The consultancy is expected to draw from any best experience/practice within/outside this area.

Based on the above, the consultancy will prepare a paper which will include the following:

Lead Consultant (A)

  • Analysis of trends, challenges, and opportunities for agricultural research funding in Africa. The status of agricultural research in Africa, the status of investment both public and private, the prospects including the level of investment needed to advance agricultural research in Africa, the role and importance of public finance in agricultural research in Africa.
  • Analysis of agricultural research and innovation uptake in relation with agricultural productivity and poverty reduction as a whole in Africa as a return on investments. What is the benefits of investing X amount of public funds in Agricultural research.
  • Analysis of the quality (ratio of spending) of the research spending (Human capita, research infrastructure, programme cost etc.) in Africa and propose an optimal spending model to advise members States.
  • Hypothetical scenarios could be made using 1% AgGDP and 2% AgGDP into research spending to be used as reference
  • Compile of the overall report and submission to AU-SAFGRAD

Consultant (B) 

  • Discussion of the policy and institutional environment for agricultural research in Africa
  • Analysis of national domestic funding versus the donor contribution (criteria for classification of what SHOULD be financed by the public sector and what COULD be finance by the private sector and or by a public private partnership)
  • Questioning the current BR process on the research particularly the performance of the indicator and the link with the commitment of Ending Hunger in Africa.

4. Deliverables

A well written document addressing all the various tasks listed in the scope of the work in a logical sequence determined by the consultants. The final document should highlight key recommendations to be addressed to Policy makers at continental level.   The document shall be submitted in appropriate software and addressed to the Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD.

5. Expected outputs

1. The assignment will take eight weeks from the signing of the consultancy contract.

2. It is expected that the consultant/institution will submit the following reports and updates to AUSAFGRAD at the specified periods as agreed on between the two parties during the full duration of the assignment:

(i) Inception Report:

This report is to be submitted to AU-SAFGRAD one week after commencement of the assignment (signing of the contract). The report shall contain the approach and methodology that the consultants will apply in the execution of the assignment and a detailed work plan specifying key activities to be performed covering the duration of the assignment.

(ii) Draft Report:

This report will be submitted 6 weeks after the submission of the Inception Report. It will provide an update of the key findings based largely on literature review and possibly interviews.

(iii) Final Report:

This will be submitted at the end of the assignment period and it would have integrated all comments received on the draft report

6. Remuneration

The Lead Consultant will be paid Professional fee as lump sum of Ten thousand (USD 10,000) and the consultant will be paid amount of four thousand (USD4, 000) follows: 30% after submission of the inception report and approved by the Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD, 40% after submission the draft report and Approved by the Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD and 30% after submission of the final Report and approved by the Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD.

7. Application

Potential candidates are invited to apply by sending letter of Interest and CV at AU-SAFGRAD office through the following address: 261, rue de la Culture BP: 1783 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Email: with copy to

For any urgent clarification, please contact these numbers Tel: +22625306071 or 22678855122.

The deadline for application is: December 8, 2020 at 16 GMT.