Research in the Global South

Each country needs to draw on locally produced expertise and innovation to chart its own development trajectory. AFD has adopted an ambitious strategy to support research in its partner countries in the Global South, so that this research can fuel public discussion and the development of public policies. This research has a threefold objective: to promote the production of knowledge, to support the development of skills and capacities, and to increase the visibility of research in the countries where we operate.
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Supporting research in the Global South
The percentage of publications stemming from African research in all scientific publications worldwide (2019)
Africa’s share in global research and development spending (2018)
researchers per million inhabitants in Côte d’Ivoire, compared to 2,170 in Thailand (2018) – a figure that highlights the great disparities among developing countries
  • Financing projects to support research

    Support for national research and the structuring of researcher networks in developing countries are a recent focus of AFD’s work. 

    Most of the countries where AFD operates have research facilities and researchers who produce knowledge in the form of publications, studies, theses, or dissertations. However, research there is sometimes conducted under difficult circumstances, and national research capacities are often isolated, dispersed, and not very visible. Moreover, this research is rarely the subject of public discussion and interaction with key actors in society (e.g. political decision-makers; economic, international, national and local organizations; and NGOs).

    AFD’s partner countries need to develop the capacity to produce the expertise and innovation required to meet the often specific challenges they face locally. That’s why our support for existing research institutions and systems is crucial.  Strong national research, built over the long term and better connected to decision-makers, can serve as a basis for well thought-out national public policies that can fuel public discussions. 
    This support is reflected in numerous operational projects in different regions of the world, especially in Africa.

    AFD-supported flagship projects include:

    • Contributing to the creation of an African scientific journal of international scope, to promote the continent’s research and increase its visibility: Global Africa
    • Promoting the development of research centers of excellence in West Africa: ACE Impact
    • Supporting the creation of networks of research institutions and promoting regional collaboration: PARTNER
    • Strengthening the capacities of local researchers in the field of education and developing monitoring and evaluation systems for teachers, in order to meet the challenge of the increasing number of students: Apprendre
    • Having local researchers carry out impact evaluations of our projects: PAIRES.

    See on the website of “The Conversation”: L’aide internationale peut-elle participer à l’ancrage de la recherche africaine ?

  • Supporting capacity-building initiatives

    For the past several years, AFD has been providing support in various ways for capacity building in research in the countries where we operate. These support activities, which include seminars, methodology workshops, international scientific events, and research training, have several aims:

    • Strengthening the capacities of the participants, especially young researchers
    • Highlighting their research
    • Heightening the visibility of the researchers and institutions involved
    • Creating or consolidating research networks 
    Varied capacity-building initiatives

    AFD supports capacity-building activities implemented by its partners. For example, we are working to strengthen the Clermont International Development Hub, a project to consolidate and expand capacity building for experts in international development in the Clermond-Ferrand area in France 

    In recent years, AFD has also supported the Lasdel Summer Seminar in Niger: this intensive session for PhD students includes training on topics and methodologies in the social sciences as well as activities to discuss participants’ thesis projects. We have also supported the Tany Vao Summer School, held alternately in Madagascar and mainland Africa. This seminar provides high-level research training in the social sciences for young researchers from Africa and the Indian Ocean.
    As part of its research projects, AFD also funds field grants for young researchers, as well as their participation in methodology sessions and international symposiums.  
    Finally, AFD researchers are sometimes directly involved in the design or facilitation of capacity-building activities, one of our priority themes or “signature” approaches. This is the case of the GEMMES summer seminars, which bring together researchers from various countries and promote ownership of this macro-economic model and its adaptation to the specific features of the countries of the participating researchers. Capacity building for local research teams is also provided when the GEMMES model is implemented.
    See also: GEMMES Model: 23 researchers from around the world gathered in Paris

  • Producing knowledge about research in the Global South

    The Global South is now a fully fledged source of knowledge production. Studying the state of research there helps us better understand the research ecosystem in developing countries. We thus produce knowledge about research in the Global South to inform the actions of AFD and donors. This improves the effectiveness of those actions, builds national capacities, and improves development policies.

    It’s for these reasons that AFD produces, supports, and coordinates studies on research in the Global South. We also organize events that bring together scientists and development practitioners on the issues of financing, production, and promotion of research from the countries where we operate.

    See in replay: An Overview of African Research and its International Funding

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