The initiative to collect data and build R&D indicators by African countries is rooted in the resolutions of the Second
African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology held in Dakar, Senegal in September 2005. Ministers agreed to establish an inter-governmental committee comprising relevant national authorities to develop, adopt and use common indicators to survey and prepare an African science, technology and innovation (STI) report (NEPAD, 2005).
The African science, technology and innovation indicators initiative (ASTII), spearheaded by the NEPAD Agency, has produced a set of indicators on R&D spending; human resources devoted to R&D and developed a set of standards to conduct R&D and innovation surveys. The number of countries participating in this initiative has increased from 19 in the first phase 2007-2010 to 28 for the second phase 2010-2013. The outcomes of the first wave of surveys were published as ‘the African innovation outlook 2010’ and released in 2011. The information therein will help Africans to discover STI activities in their respective countries and answer policy questions such as the ‘one per cent target spending of GDP on R&D’ of the Khartoum decision on science and technology. While these measurements are necessary, they are not sufficient metrics to gauge African’s participation in knowledge-based economy, hence a more comprehensive programme on measurement and policy analysis is expected to run from AOSTI.