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Launch of the first African Innovation Outlook

The new publication African Innovation Outlook is a result of Sida research cooperation with NEPAD. It is published as the first in a series, intended to inform the people of Africa and other interested parties about STI activities in African countries.

The African Union Commission and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency jointly launched the first-ever African Innovation Outlook (AIO) 24 May 2011 in Addis Ababa. The AIO publication is one of the outcomes of the NEPAD Africa Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) programme involving 19 African countries. Download the Executive Sumary (pdf).

The ASTII Initiative is one of the components of the AU/NEPAD Africa’s Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) for science and technology. The participating countries in the first phase of the ASTII initiative were Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Sida has supported the initiative since its start in 2007 and Technical expertise has been provided by the Research Policy Institute (RPI) at Lund University under a Sida grant.

Few highlights of the AIO publication

  • R&D intensity as measured by domestic expenditure on research and development as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product is very low in many countries ranging from 0,2% to 0,48%. Only Malawi, South Africa and Uganda scored over 1% of R&D intensity which is the African Union’s target to have been achieved by 2010.
  • With the exception of Ghana, Malawi and South Africa the business sector accounts for less than 10% of domestic R&D expenditure. In some countries like Mozambique, Mali, Tanzania and Senegal the dependence on foreign sources of funding is very high (about 40% or more)
  • South Africa and Tanzania lead in terms of the participation of women in R&D with 40% of researchers being women.
  • The data shows evidence of innovation both in small and large firms though the propensity to innovate is higher in large firms
  • Many firms that innovate do not perform R&D raising the issue of the source of such innovations

The African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) initiative

The overall goal of the ASTII Initiative is to contribute towards improving the quality of science, technology and innovation policies at national, regional and continental levels by building national systems for collecting and analysing data that would inform such policies. The initiative was mandated by the African Ministers’ Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST), implemented by participating countries themselves and coordinated by the NEPAD Office of Science and Technology in Pretoria.

The participating countries have shown great commitment by contributing human and financial resources for conducting the national surveys. The support by RPI and collaboration with UNESCO and the OECD National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI) programme have been instrumental in assuring quality and adhering to international standards on indicators. 

Results so far of the first phase of ASTII include

A common set of indicators for science, technology and innovation indicators based on international standards was adopted by all participating countries

  • Surveys on science and technology and/or innovation were carried out in all 19 countries
  • Some countries have already decided to make the collection of data on science, technology and innovation part of national statistics collection
  • The first African Innovation Outlook containing quality assured data and analysis from 13 of the 19 participating countries has been published

The second phase of ASTII

The second phase was inaugurated at the same time as the AIO was launched. The second phase will consolidate the achievements of the first phase and expands the initiative to some ten new countries and build capacity at a couple of Regional Economic Communities. Sida has granted a 3 year support for the second phase and the NEPAD-Lund University cooperation will also continue.

For further information contact tekaligne.godana@sida.se, Regional Unit for Empowerment, Peace and Security in Africa (REPS)

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