African research has scarcely begun to emerge at international level: Africa’s overall share in global publications stands at about 3.5%, and the social sciences represent a tiny fraction of this figure. While the international community recognizes the importance for each country of having a solid national research base anchored to public decision-making, and most African countries have pledged to devote 1% of their GDP to this sector, African research still remains underfunded. It is also dependent on international aid, which is hardly consistent with the principles of effectiveness and gives rise to a number of tensions.
In light of this situation, this paper seeks to envision a “virtuous” mechanism to support African social science research “for development” (i.e., knowledge production designed to support, or that can be used for, the definition of public policies and development trajectories). This mechanism would be in the form of a platform covering various categories of activities which tend to have conflicting effects. It would aim to provide a coordinated and coherent response, with a focus on strengthening research systems.
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