In Summary
  • There is growing interest in evidence and decision making to which local research is making a worthwhile contribution.

  • A global market research study conducted in 2010 revealed that the research industry in Africa was on a growth trajectory.

  • Another positive though somewhat marginal change indicator is the emergence of local research investors.

There were only a handful of African research agencies 15 years ago.

Research was a mystery to the majority and investors were even fewer.

Research was the preserve of large international corporations and donor organisations.

Not only could they afford the spend; they also had in-house consultants who understood research, its importance, and how to work with it.

Local companies could not afford this.

Back then, the research career of many a Kenyan was largely happenstance and very challenging because they came into the job without the prerequisite academic and professional training.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

There were few or no tertiary-level courses that focused purely on research methodology. The few existing research agencies were the only ‘real’ training ground for most people.

Fast forward and one finds remarkable change today.

A global market research study conducted in 2010 by ESOMAR (formerly known as the European Society for Opinion and Market Research) revealed that the research industry in Africa was on a growth trajectory and “remained remarkably robust”.

Kenya was deemed particularly outstanding, recording a 27.6 per cent growth. Consumption of research output has expanded from largely poorly understood political opinion polls on TV to more in-depth conversations and engagements with a public that is more switched on.

There is growing interest in evidence and decision making to which local research is making a worthwhile contribution.

Another positive though somewhat marginal change indicator is the emergence of local research investors.

INTERNATIONAL BUYERS

The lion’s share of research investment in Africa still comes from international buyers, who are highly attuned to the fact that this is an investment in the truest sense of the word. Return on investment (ROI) is considerable down the road, but also in the short term.

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