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Enhancing science-based development in Africa: Where does Ethiopia stand?


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Presented by Professor Gebisa Ejeta (Purdue University and World Food Laureate) at the 'Dialogue on Ethiopia’s Agricultural Development', 12 November, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Enhancing science-based development in Africa: Where does Ethiopia stand?

  1. 1. Enhancing Science-based Development in Africa: Where Does Ethiopia Stand? Gebisa Ejeta Purdue University A Dialogue on Ethiopian Agricultural Development Addis Ababa, Ethiopia November 12, 2009
  2. 2. Outline of Talk <ul><li>The State of Agricultural Research in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>The State of Technology Transfer in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>The State of Tertiary Education in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Major R&D Paradigm Shifts and their Impact </li></ul><ul><li>The Growing International Ag. R&D “Industry” </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence of New Players, What’s their Game? </li></ul><ul><li>Will Africa Attain a Green Revolution, and Soon? </li></ul><ul><li>What Are the Essentials for Success Going Forward? </li></ul>
  3. 3. The State of Agricultural Research in sub-Saharan Africa
  4. 4. The State of Agricultural Research in sub-Saharan Africa <ul><li>Advances Made, Last 40-50 Years: </li></ul><ul><li>Human Capacity Building </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional Development </li></ul><ul><li>Improved Research Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Development of a “Research Culture” </li></ul><ul><li>Greater Networking Among African NARS </li></ul><ul><li>Increased Linkages with International Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Growing Recognition of Ag. Res. as “Vehicle of Change” </li></ul>
  5. 5. The State of Agricultural Research in sub-Saharan Africa <ul><li>Challenges to Continued Growth : Internal </li></ul><ul><li>Declining Human Capacity Base </li></ul><ul><li>Inadequate Research Funding (A Catch 22 ?) </li></ul><ul><li>Not Targeting Research to Technology Development </li></ul><ul><li>A Research Leadership Crisis; Powerlessness </li></ul><ul><li>A Missing “Big Picture” Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Misplaced Institutional Boundaries </li></ul>
  6. 6. The State of Agricultural Research in sub-Saharan Africa <ul><li>Challenges to Continued Growth : External </li></ul><ul><li>Over-reliance on External Funding </li></ul><ul><li>NGO Pressure to Boost Rural Social Service Spending </li></ul><ul><li>No Firm National Strategic Framework & Agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Unhealthy Partnerships with Other Agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Susceptibility to Paradigm Shifts </li></ul><ul><li>External Assistance a Perennial “Necessary Evil”? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Have African Livelihoods Changed Significantly as a Result of Past Research Investments? “ We need to own up to the fact that, after 40 years of organized International Agricultural Research and billions of $ invested, we have not brought about a truly transformative change in African agriculture” (Gebisa Ejeta, AGM 2008) Africa’s Record in Technology Transfer Has Been Dismal!
  8. 10. Africa’s Dismal Record in Technology Transfer
  9. 11. Africa’s Dismal Record in Technology Transfer <ul><li>Problems in Technology Transfer: </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional Immaturity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-Public Extension, T&V, Farmer Field Schools, Private Sector </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ill-equipped Agents of Change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-Nationals, Expatriates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure Limitations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Physical, Facilities, Programs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unique Biophysical Problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Need to Reach out to a Variety of Communities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of Incentives for Change </li></ul>
  10. 12. Africa’s Dismal Record in Technology Transfer <ul><li>NGOs as Agents of Change: </li></ul><ul><li>Proliferation of “Voluntary Organizations” </li></ul><ul><li>Driven by a Premise of “Do Good” </li></ul><ul><li>Grass-root Involvement ; Identity with the Poor </li></ul><ul><li>Indignant of Local Authority : Perceived Competition with NARS and Local Efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Compromises Sustainability & Integrity of National Programs & Cadre </li></ul><ul><li>“ Careerism” Gets to be a Central Driver </li></ul>
  11. 14. Africa’s Dismal Record in Technology Transfer The remarkable IT revolution should not create an illusion for the Agricultural and Biological Sciences! “ Rate of adoption of a New Technology in a country is a function of experience and social realities”
  12. 15. Percentage of maize and sorghum planted with hybrid seed in the United States from 1930-1960.
  13. 16. Examples : Work Recognized by the World Food Prize <ul><li>The Development of the First Sorghum Hybrid in Africa </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A focused effort in developing a drought tolerant sorghum hybrid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The development of a private seed sector in Sudan </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Control of the Parasitic Weed Striga </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A New & Novel Approach to Striga Control Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development & Deployment of Striga Resistant Sorghums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development & Deployment of An Integrated Striga Management Program </li></ul></ul>
  14. 17. Striga a menace to African staple crops Sorghum field fully taken over by S. hermonthica
  15. 18. Susceptible local landrace planted next to Striga resistant variety, P9401, at Fedis, Oct., 2006 Susceptible variety Striga resistant variety
  16. 19. Two Great Past Experiences in Technology Transfer in Ethiopia <ul><li>The Chilalo Agricultural Development Unit (CADU) -1970s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Among the First Value-Chain Approach in Science-based Development in Africa </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Sasakawa Global 2000 Program-1990s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A Remarkable “Agricultural Revolution” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Great Example in Executive Leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why Weren’t These Great Experiences Sustained? </li></ul>
  17. 20. The State of Tertiary Education in Africa
  18. 21. The State of “Tertiary Education” in Africa <ul><li>Expansion in an “Awakened Africa” </li></ul><ul><li>The New Multi-Sector Expansions Include Education </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid Proliferation of Private, Public Colleges; Quality? </li></ul><ul><li>More Buildings and More Students Don’t Make a College! </li></ul><ul><li>Are the New Graduates Armed with Tools? What Tools? </li></ul><ul><li>Current State of Tertiary Education in Africa Among My Greatest Concerns! </li></ul><ul><li>Rationales of Relevance, Cost, Retention – All Valid! </li></ul><ul><li>Is the Solution “ Home-Schooling” with Education That is Not Up to Snuff? </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the Chinese: How Did They Re-Adjust? </li></ul>
  19. 22. In Education, Quality Does Matter!
  20. 23. Problems Caused by Shifting Paradigms of Donor Programs
  21. 24. The Key Paradigm Shifts of African Agricultural Research (Last 40 Years) <ul><li>Institution Building (1950-1960) </li></ul><ul><li>Technology development and transfer (1970s) </li></ul><ul><li>Farming Systems (1980s) </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable agriculture (Late 1980-1990) </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory research (1990-Present) </li></ul><ul><li>Biotechnology (1990-Present) </li></ul><ul><li>Integrative value-chain approach (2000-Present) </li></ul>
  22. 25. Paradigm Shifts In R&D, Why They Occur, and their Impact <ul><li>“ Technical Assistance Programs Initiated and Directed by Donor Agencies Often Have Strong M&E Components That Force Them to Change Their Paradigms, and Unfortunately Too Frequently” </li></ul>
  23. 26. Why Do We Have Paradigm Shifts? <ul><li>As Adjustments of Approaches to Goals? </li></ul><ul><li>As Rationale for Sustaining Support? </li></ul><ul><li>Tend to Lead to Series of Failed Starts; Little Traction </li></ul><ul><li>Growing Industry of Science Providers </li></ul><ul><li>The Never-Ending Blame Game ; One-upmanship </li></ul><ul><li>Diminishing Capacity at the National Level </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Voice by Key Stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Apparent Lack of Local Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of Lack of Local Commitment </li></ul>
  24. 27. The Growing R&D Industry: African Agricultural Development Programs Need to be Country-led
  25. 28. Country-led Initiatives and Agenda Need be Central to Sustained Development <ul><li>” Africa will not be able to make the essential science-based development of its agriculture and economy without significant external assistance.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I am even more certain, however, that no amount of external funding will bring about such a transformative change unless it is locally-led by an inspired citizenry and driven by an unequivocal support and commitment from African leaders and policy makers .” </li></ul>
  26. 29. Basis for Seeking Synergy b/t Foreign Assistance & Internal Commitment <ul><li>Foreign Assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Will Take Massive Infusion of Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Investments in agents, agencies, technology </li></ul><ul><li>( Goal: an agro-industry complex) </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic Effort </li></ul><ul><li>Will Require Greater Resolve and Belief in Hope </li></ul><ul><li>A Focused National R&D Agenda with a Culture of Change </li></ul><ul><li>Develop Agricultural technologies Locally </li></ul><ul><li>(appropriate, affordable, incentives, sustainable) </li></ul><ul><li>Need a More Efficient Technology Delivery Mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage and Nurture Entrepreneurial Capacity </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Goal: an agro-industry complex) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 30. The Growing Field of Science Providers <ul><li>The Booming R&D “Industry” ! </li></ul><ul><li>The Providers: [IARCs, Regional Fora, Regional Networks, NARS, NGOs, CSO, Bilateral Programs from many nations (USAID, DFID, GTZ, CIRAD, IDRC, CIDA, SIDA, DANIDA, Norwegian etc), CRSPs, ARIs, (PU, MSU, Cornell, U Bonn, Wageningen, Bologna, etc)] </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a Proper Division of Labor? </li></ul><ul><li>The Growing Cost of Doing Business </li></ul><ul><li>The Growth of “Careerism” </li></ul><ul><li>Resulting in an Avoidable & Growing Competition for Resources Between the “Industry” and the “Poor”!! </li></ul>
  28. 32. Emergence of New Programs: What is Their Game?
  29. 33. New Players, New Game? <ul><li>Example: BMGF and AGRA </li></ul><ul><li>New Programs Generate Hope and Expectations </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A “Game Changer”, “Difference Maker” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expectations based on certain presumed “power” & leadership! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will they Deliver? New Medicine, or Old Medicine in New Bottle? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Promises and Limitations of Their Models? </li></ul><ul><li>The Wisdom of BMGF Investments in Last 2 Years? </li></ul><ul><li>Balance in Investments in IARCs, ARIs, and NARS? </li></ul>
  30. 34. An appeal for “Integration, Coordination, and Linkages” in Directing Technical Assistance <ul><li>Unregulated, Uncoordinated R&D Effort Serves No Good </li></ul><ul><li>In 2007, I Recommended Support for “Extension, Integration, & Policy” as missing in AGRA </li></ul><ul><li>Linking Programs, Stakeholders with Domestic R&D Agenda and Objectives, not easy to do, but No excuse for not trying! </li></ul><ul><li>But Whose Responsibility? </li></ul><ul><li>Setting the Agenda and the Ground Rules is the Responsibility of the National Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Every Program in a Country Should Have Direct Linkage to an Ongoing or New Local Effort </li></ul>
  31. 35. African Green Revolution Need Not be a Mirage!
  32. 36. Will Africa Achieve a Green Revolution? <ul><ul><li>What Constitutes a Green Revolution? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes, a superior cultivar is key, but so are other essentials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best Mgmt Practices (Cultural practice) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Inputs (Seed ; Fertilizer; Credit) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support of Education—Demonstration/persuasion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To Generate Adoption and Impact, we need </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Productivity gains </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Markets, Profitability :Grain; Value-added products </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But not w/o Enabling policy environment </li></ul></ul>
  33. 37. How African Green Revolution can be achieved! <ul><li>Not with Technology that is a “Magic Wand” but by Giving Science that Solves Problems a Chance </li></ul><ul><li>( powerful, new, & transformative solution ) </li></ul><ul><li>And Potential Impact not a Function of $ spent , but </li></ul><ul><li>By Empowering Local People, Institutions, and Govts </li></ul><ul><li>By Creating a Culture of Technology Acceptance, </li></ul><ul><li>By Connecting Technology to Profitability for a fix, </li></ul><ul><li>By Creating a Demand Pull for Technology, </li></ul><ul><li>This has been the HARDEST process to put in place; </li></ul><ul><li>But it can be done; And, it has to BE done! </li></ul>
  34. 38. Seed Continues to be a Bottleneck! <ul><li>African Green Revolution? </li></ul><ul><li>It All Starts with Seed, Though More is Needed </li></ul><ul><li>Seed is a Great Vehicle of Change </li></ul><ul><li>No Nation Advanced its Agricultural Industry without Strengthening Its Input Delivery System </li></ul><ul><li>Functional Input Delivery System Mostly Missing in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Its Absence has Stifled Impact from Crop Improvement efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Ethiopian Experience: </li></ul><ul><li>Good Local Effort with Public, Parastatal Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Brute Force Has its Limitations </li></ul><ul><li>Now Need to Open Up to the Private Sector </li></ul>
  35. 39. Key Essentials for African Science-based Development
  36. 40. Essentials for Science-based Development in Africa <ul><li>1. Technology needs to be acknowledged as the driver of change: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Science-based development; not a “Magic Wand” or a “Silver Bullet” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Debate over “Biotechnology vs Conventional Technology” is badly misplaced </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need Technology that creates products, one that “Feeds People and is Profitable” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chances for Adoption Are Greater with Technology that is “New, Different, and Dramatic” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  37. 41. Essentials for Science-based Development in Africa <ul><li>2a. The Commitment to Building Local Capacity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building the Human Capacity: Agents of Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Education is the key </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mentoring Beyond Training </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need to Develop a Can-do Attitude </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage not Deflate! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Locals Need the Chance to Make and Learn from Mistakes </li></ul></ul></ul>
  38. 42. Essentials for Science-based Development in Africa <ul><li>2b. The Commitment to Building Local Capacity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building Public Institutions with Capacity: Agencies of Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural Educational Centers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Centers of Technology Generation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Centers of Technology Deployment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  39. 43. Essentials for Science-based Development in Africa <ul><li>2c. The Commitment to Building Local Capacity </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Building Functional Private Institutions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Centers of Commercialization: Input/Output Markets </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Key Needs: Incentives, Institutions, Infrastructures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Incentives for Commercialization: Regulation, Investments, Price </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions that Support Markets: Finances, Risk Management, Enforce </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Infrastructures that Ease Commerce: Transport, Info., Storage </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  40. 44. Essentials for Science-based Development in Africa <ul><li>3a. Engage Policy Makers to Make Technology Induced Changes Sustainable </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment of Local Institutions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Poor Nations Need to Own-Up to the “Mission” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Invest Local Resources to Leverage External Aid; Not vice versa </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The National R&D Agenda should be set by Local Organizations; Minimize Overrides </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They Need to Lead Instead of Follow because of Resource Flux </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  41. 45. Essentials for Science-based Development in Africa <ul><li>3b. Engage Policy Makers to Make Technology Induced Changes Sustainable </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment of Local Institutions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Executive Leadership is Key </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Streamline and Facilitate Local Institutions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Integrate/Coordinate Aid Agencies to work with Local Programs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ease Local Restrictions to Trade; Encourage Private Sector </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fight Global External Factors that discourage Local Private Sectors </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  42. 46. I Have Grown More Positive About Africa
  43. 47. I Have Grown More Positive About Africa <ul><li>A Continent Bracing to Unleash its Potential </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy on the Rise, Governance Too </li></ul><ul><li>Over 50 Democratic Elections, Last 7 years </li></ul><ul><li>Admirable Record of Conflict Resolutions < 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>Improving Macro/Micro Economic Reform </li></ul><ul><li>Half the Nations of Africa at > 5% Growth </li></ul><ul><li>Slow, But Growing Foreign Investments </li></ul><ul><li>Africa on the Cover of BusinessWeek? </li></ul><ul><li>A Continent Wide Awakening in Road Building </li></ul><ul><li>Africa is Discovering Information Technology </li></ul><ul><li>A Palpable Resolve to Succeed------ This Time! </li></ul>
  44. 48. Where Does Ethiopia Stand?
  45. 49. Where Does Ethiopia Stand? <ul><li>My Most Positive Belief: </li></ul><ul><li>Ethiopia is At the Cusp of a Major Agricultural Revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Segments of the Farm Community Have been Primed to Science </li></ul><ul><li>No Other African Country has Committed More Internal Resources to Science-based Agricultural Development than Ethiopia </li></ul><ul><li>Ethiopian Government’s Commitment to Agricultural & Economic Science-based Development is Among the Best in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Ethiopians, Among the Most Resourceful and Well-intentioned People I know </li></ul><ul><li>Have At Times Shown They Can Focus and Get it Done, albeit Piece-meal, Fragmented, and not Sustained </li></ul><ul><li>Although Significantly Weakened, the Agricultural Institutional base in Ethiopia is Among the Better Ones in Africa </li></ul>
  46. 50. Where Does Ethiopia Stand? <ul><li>My Concerns: </li></ul><ul><li>Too Much Pride in “Ethiopianism”; The Ethiopian Prism! </li></ul><ul><li>Our Proud & Free Legacy Kept the Enemy Away; Did We also Develop a More Inward Looking, Suspicious, and Isolative Mindset? </li></ul><ul><li>Can Others be All Bad or All Wrong and All the Time? </li></ul><ul><li>Need to Develop a Broadened Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>A Stubborn, Can-do Attitude. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to Recognize that Government Can’t Do it All </li></ul><ul><li>Earnest Commitment to Privatization Badly Needed </li></ul><ul><li>Need to Commit to Developing An Agro-Industry Complex! </li></ul><ul><li>Need to Loosen Up and be More Open and Take Risk! </li></ul>
  47. 51. Where Does Ethiopia Stand? <ul><li>My Worries: </li></ul><ul><li>Declining Educational Quality and Competence </li></ul><ul><li>Uncoordinated National Agricultural Research Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Attrition Among the Professional Cadre </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Traction on New Innovations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Competence of Change Agents, Price of Inputs, Credit, Risk Insurance, Markets and Profitability, Value Addition, Land holdings, etc. [what to do to make “Change” stick?] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How to Avoid Seasonality and Fragmentation of Development </li></ul><ul><li>Initiatives (and Results from New Innovations)? </li></ul>
  48. 52. In Sum, <ul><li>Science-based Development Can Change Lives, so “Technology” is Vital! </li></ul><ul><li>But, </li></ul><ul><li>Need Committed & Inspired Cadre: Agents of Change </li></ul><ul><li>Need Committed Institutions: Agencies of Change, </li></ul><ul><li>Need Committed Executive Leadership and Policy Guidance in the country to give these Cadre and Institutions the chance to succeed! </li></ul>
  49. 53. To Enhance African Agricultural Development <ul><li>1. Accelerate Technology Development </li></ul><ul><li>a) Increase Productivity </li></ul><ul><li>b) Support Natural Resource Conservation </li></ul><ul><li>2. Invest in Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>a) Public: education, health, agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>b) Private: market institutions, infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>3. Push for Policy and Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>a) Executive Leadership, Policy advocacy, R& D Investments </li></ul><ul><li>b) Support for Private Entrepreneurship </li></ul>
  50. 54. About the only way I know how to incite and unleash the joy of service, the power of innovation, discovery, and inventiveness in our young is to make a small start. I will continue to do all I can to set that example.
  51. 55. <ul><li>Thank You! </li></ul>