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Only 3 African States Spend More Than 1% of GDP on Research & Development

June 19, 2011

©African Innovation Outlook 2010 Executive Summary (cover)

The targeted spending for research and experimental development  for African countries is 1% of GDP, as  endorsed and decided by the African Union’s Executive Council in 2006. In the Executive Summary of the African Innovation Outlook 2010,  the reality of R&D spending comes up vastly shorter than recommended.  Only Malawi, Uganda and South Africa spend above 1% of their GDP on R&D, whereas the remaining 16 countries in the 19 country survey spend only between .2%-.48%.

This survey marks the first of its kind, monitoring scientific advances directly from African Union member states.  As compiled by the African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators Initiative (ASTII), the study shows positive results that innovation is pervasive throughout the countries’ reporting.  However, they do note that this transformation is unlikely rooted in R&D, therefore, making it difficult to see the overall value of the innovations made.

The summary recommends that science, technology and innovation become a greater focus of national developments across the continent in order to reach the goals to enhance Africa’s growth and participation in the global economy.  As new priorities are pursued and approaches to the political and socioeconomic transformation of Africa occur, the ASTII report indicates that progress must be linked to greater R&D investment.

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