The state of scientific production in the African Union

This report commenced and initiated a series of studies which will develop and produce relevant indicators of S&T production activities in AU member states, and to develop a framework for linking these indicators to policy-development objectives.


The report evaluates the scientific outputs of all 54-member countries of the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs, thus making intra-African comparisons possible). The results are generally positive, showing high levels of growth in both total scientific production and in production quality.

In general, this study shows that there are scientific areas in which great production momentum exists and needs to be supported and sustained. It also highlights areas of inertia that require greater investment in order to make Africa’s scientific output more competitive.

Findings from this study include:

  • The scientific production of the AU, although small, grew 22% faster than that observed at the world level over the 2005–2010 period;
  • Collaboration between AU members is infrequent, occurring in only 4.1% of AU scientific papers in 2005–2007 and in 4.3% of the papers in 2008–2010.
  • Despite this very low level of intra-African collaboration, it is noteworthy that 36 of the 54 AU member states increased their level of collaboration within Africa between 2005 and 2010;

Recommendations from this study include:

  • Monitor and evaluate Africa’s scientific production matter;
  • Boost intra-African cooperation in S&T while maintaining strong collaboration outside Africa;
  • Address gaps in fields of science that are essential to today’s competitive knowledge economy;
  • Sustain the current growth trend of Africa’s scientific production by adequate policy measures.


African Observatory of Science Technology and Innovation (AOSTI)

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