African higher education institutions, and universities in particular, tend to rely heavily on government funding and subsidies. In recent times there has been more pressure to account for expenditure on higher education to both the government and public. For instance, in South Africa, the #FeesMustFall movement in 2016 saw the demand for free higher education. Coupled with this increase in the demand for higher education, is the increase in enrolments at undergraduate level and the demand for additional resources and accountability. The chapter contributes to the case for building useful institutional reporting systems for research and innovation within the African context by looking at vision and mission statements of a selected number of African universities and linking these to the contexts in which these institutions find themselves regionally and globally. The discussion is embedded within organisational cultures and the competing values framework. Four universities selected from South Africa and one from Uganda are used for the case study in order to understand the complexity within which HEIs find themselves. Issues of access, transformation, governance and accountability are elucidated.