ERAfrica adds momentum to the Europe and Africa Science and Technology Cooperation Framework (Eric Mwangi, Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Kenya)

One of the main objectives of the 8th EU-AU partnership is to strengthen capacities in the area of Science & Technology and to enhance use of Science and Technology as key enablers for socio-economic development and poverty reduction in both regions.
The EU-Africa S&T Cooperation has been in existence for the last few decades but more recently an EU-AU Joint Strategy was developed in Lisbon in 2007 and revised in Tripoli in 2010.  

One of the main objectives of the 8th EU-AU partnership is to strengthen capacities in the area of Science & Technology and to enhance use of Science and Technology as key enablers for socio-economic development and poverty reduction in both regions.

This will particularly involve building human capacities as well as access to scientific infrastructures facilities and resources and centres of excellence both in Africa and Europe by scientists from both regions.

From the African perspective, the emphasis will certainly be on activities that support S&T capacity building in Africa and on implementing Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA).

ERAfrica, a new, joint African-European project aims at promoting a unified approach to intercontinental collaboration in the field of science and technology research for innovation and sustainable development. The project aligns its activities to support the implementation of the existing and/or on-going EU-AU S&T cooperation initiatives.

Therefore, ERAfrica will mobilise S&T programme owners and managers from African and European countries to achieve greater synergy and cooperation between their existing national S&T programmes and priority areas. This will lead to the development of new joint programmmes of mutual interest which will achieve greater impact.

These joint activities will be defined and agreed upon at the beginning of the second year of the project, thanks to the input from the networking activities implemented during the first year of ERAfrica.

It is important to emphasise that both African and European scientists will benefit from the projects joint activities. However, from an African perspective the major benefits will include:

  • True shared ownership of the Research and Innovation Cooperation programmes, since the scientists will be involved in identification of topics and formulation of project proposals of mutual interest to address scientific challenges in their countries. This will be a major departure from the “donor-aid” syndrome.
  • Commitment by the African programme owners and managers to invest resources in S&T for development.

The impact of the above two benefits will be enhanced human capacity building as well as increased investment and resource mobilisation to support S&T among African member states which for some time has been a major challenge.

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