Original article: http://www.nepad.org/resource/african-innovation-outlook-ii-0
Science, technology and innovation (STI) are engines of growth in any economy. Realising that Africa can also benefit from STI activities, in 2005 the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) adopted Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) which articulates the African Union (AU) agenda for harnessing STI to boost economic growth and improve the lives of African people.
The challenges are how to link science, technology and innovation to poverty reduction, job creation, sustainable livelihoods and the improved well-being of citizens. How should capacity and competencies be built in order to innovate? As countries engage in knowledge intensive activities, how will Africa expand its knowledge?
Understanding the concepts of STI should support prudent policy formulation and research agendas that address economic and social challenges. Assessing STI is fundamental to formulating policies but in the absence of relevant indicators this is difficult. Most African countries do not have STI indicators or adequate means to produce them, with the reasons for this inadequacy differing from country to country. The lack of STI indicators is of serious concern when evidence-based decisions and policies have to be made. The development of the CPA, which outlined among other things the need to develop STI indicators in Africa, is a result of this concern.
The implementation of the CPA to develop STI indicators bore fruit when the African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) initiative was launched in 2007.
The first phase of the ASTII initiative was implemented in 19 countries: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The outcomes of this phase include building STI capacity and related activities in Africa and the publication of the first African Innovation Outlook (AIO) in 2010 (AU-NEPAD, 2010). The AIO was launched as a first of the series aimed at publishing STI indicators in Africa. The publication presented research and development (R&D), innovation and bibliometric indicators. The baseline year for the data was 2007 although some countries submitted data collected for the 2008 financial year. The report also highlighted structural issues that constrain economic growth and human development and the role of STI in resolving some of these issues.
The number of countries participating in this phase increased from 19 to 35 between 2011 and 2013. New countries joining the project were Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. Focal points were identified and training on how to conduct surveys was provided.
The first intergovernmental meeting on ASTII held in Maputo in 2007 decided that countries should use the already established Frascati and Oslo Manuals to collect data while efforts are made to develop guidelines for collecting and interpreting data for indicators in African countries (NEPAD, 2007). Both the first and second phases of the ASTII initiative used the OECD’s Frascati Manual for conducting the R&D surveys while the innovation surveys used the OECD/Eurostat Oslo Manual.
This report presents the results of the R&D and innovation surveys and bibliometric studies as well as information on the status of STI policies and/or strategies of each country.
In the case of R&D surveys, the baseline year is 2010, though some countries provided more recent data. Angola, Cape Verde, Egypt and Lesotho provided R&D data for 2011 and data from Zimbabwe is for 2012. Six countries (Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) provided innovation data for the period 2008-2010; Gabon and Lesotho data are for 2010-2012; while data for Kenya, Senegal and South Africa is for 2008-2011, 2009–2011 and 2005-2007 respectively.
Bibliometric data was sourced from the study undertaken by AOSTI and the results presented in this report are for the countries participating in the ASTII initiative. Chapter 2 generally speaks to STI policy activities in the selected African countries.