The need for a Regional Cartographic Centre was first mooted at the 1st United Nations (UN) Cartographic Conference held in 1963 in Nairobi, Kenya. Consequently, the 8th Session of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of Ministers held in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1964 passed the Resolution 164 (VIII) calling for the creation of Regional Centres for Training in Photogrammetry, Photo-Interpretation and Airborne Geophysical Surveys.
The African Regional Institute for Geospatial Science and Technology (AFRIGIST), formerly known as Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Surveys (RECTAS) was therefore established in 1972 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) as an educational “one-stop” solution institution that trains highly skilled manpower in geospatial information science and technology, and its applications. AFRIGIST is located within the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. The Institute is a bilingual (English and French) inter-governmental joint institution for Africa, with full diplomatic accreditation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its membership is open to all African countries. The member countries at the moment are eight (8) namely: Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria (the host country) and Senegal. New countries have recently joined the Institute: Cote-d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia.