AFRICA: Science, technology and innovation observatory

An African Observatory on Science, Technology and Innovation is to be established. For the first time Africa will have a facility to monitor scientific and technological development that will be the continent's central repository for S&T statistics and the main source of policy advice for bodies such as the African Ministerial Council for Science and Technology.

This was announced at the four-day workshop for the African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) initiative that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 30 November to 3 December.

The 19 countries in the ASTII initiative are Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Set up by the African Union and proposed to be hosted by Equatorial Guinea, the African Observatory on Science, Technology and Innovation will be the African equivalent to coordinating bodies such as the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry.

It will manage expert committees from African countries, producing manuals such as the "African Innovation Outlook", and provide capacity building - all in an effort to improve understanding of the dynamics of African innovation systems.

It will also be used to formulate, adjust and implement science, technology and innovation policies, monitor global technology trends, conduct foresight exercises and determine specific areas of investment.