Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit 2021

14-18 June 2021

Full programme

(subject to updates)

First list of speakers at the end of the page

REGISTRATION please mind that you do not need to attend the entire event, but in order to select specific session/s, you need to be registered first.

AERAP will organise the “Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit” from the 14th to 18th June 2021. The virtual June Summit will enhance science and innovation cooperation between Africa and Europe and build on key policy and programme initiatives to establish a more enabling environment for science and innovation policy codesign, programme cooperation and capacity building.

AERAP is a response to the European Parliament Written Declaration 45 on Science Capacity Building in Africa. This call was repeated by the Heads of State of the African Union through their Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.407 CXVIII. AERAP encourages policymakers to understand the need for an enabling policy and regulatory environment for science cooperation with Africa and championing leadership in Africa and Europe to demonstrate science’s contribution to society and address common glocal challenges.

The June 2021 Summit will draw on a range of processes, including AGENDA 2063, Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse; the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024); the European Commission; Communication Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa which foresees future cooperation built on five partnerships: green transition, digital transformation, growth and jobs, peace and governance and migration and mobility. All of these areas will rely on science and innovation cooperation.

Over the past decade, Africa’s economic achievement created a new vibrancy on the continent, among the world’s most rapidly growing economic regions – before the pandemic affecting economies globally. While momentum is widely recognised, longer-term growth depends on sustained investment in an innovative workforce to advance a knowledge economy. Investments in science and technology are attributed to more than half of the gains in gross national product among high-income countries and up to 85% of the gains in per capita income over the past several decades.

African nations are starting from a modest baseline in realising these potentials, representing 15% of the globe’s population and 5% of its gross domestic product (GDP), yet just 1.3% of global investment in research and development (R&D). The scientific workforce deficits are acute: the continent possesses 198 researchers per million inhabitants (by comparison: Chile: 428; UK: 4000). Enrollment rates in tertiary education are low, 7.1%, compared to global average of 25.1%. African countries spend well less than the agreed African Union (AU) target to reach R&D investment of 1% of GDP.

However, there are compelling grounds for optimism as public and private sectors ramp up scientific investment in the coming years. Scientific innovation in Africa is on the rise, and momentum is building for new measures to strengthen and sustain the capacity of African universities and research institutions to become an effective force for economic growth and develop local solutions to development challenges. The STISA-2024, Agenda 2063, and the SDGs compacts all point to a commitment for action. Catalysing sustainable and effective change, however, calls for a unified vision of collaboration and development. The prime driver will be African governments investing in their future.

The timing truly is opportune. A new generation of African political leaders is technically trained. New private sector investments are fueling substantive R&D projects in Africa. Moreover, by 2034 the continent will possess the world’s largest working-age population (1.1b), larger than that of either India or China – a potent “demographic dividend” and valued asset in an ageing world. An expanding working-age population is associated with strong rates of GDP growth. However, the challenge will be to ensure that its economies create enough skilled jobs for the many millions entering the workforce.

More recently, the Strategic Plan 2020-24 – Research and Innovation of the European Commission stresses the importance of International STI Cooperation. The plan highlights the importance of collaborative research and innovation initiatives, including targeted initiatives and projects with partners from key third countries and regions in strategic areas of mutual benefit under all clusters, including the Horizon Europe Missions and the European Partnerships. The June Summit will examine how this and other aspects of the strategic plan applies to Africa.

The June summit will promote discussion on advancing synergies between Horizon Europe and Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and other EU and Member State support measures the need for Africa-Europe science cooperation presented by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, a particular focus will be placed on the private sector support for innovation in Africa. Development financing will also be discussed with representatives from the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, and others. Given the global nature of science, multilateralism will be an essential backdrop to the discussions in June.

The meeting will address a range of themes, including Health, Medicine, Life Sciences, Geoscience, ICT, Digital Transformation, the Green Agenda and Biodiversity, Women and Girls in science, Astronomy, reskilling and upskilling and Agri-food systems, amongst others. Regarding regulation, the meeting will consider how emerging regulations in data protection, medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics, and other areas do not become barriers to science and innovation cooperation between Africa and the European Union.

  1. Successful models that could be brought to sufficient scale through joint EU-African investments;
  1. Lessons learned from the Covid pandemic on vulnerabilities created by ‘vaccine nationalism’ and steps to create an African indigenous capacity to develop and manufacture vaccine and other pandemic tools;
  1. How to incentive African governments to invest in R&D and realise their collective commitment to meet the aspirational target of investing 1 per cent of GDP in R&D – especially given stressors on national spending;
  1. How to build research ‘demand’ among African governments;
  1. Structural needs, such as the limited grouping of research councils and philanthropic organisations in Africa that award competitive grants and fellowships, or the lack of an ERC equivalent to cultivate careers and mobility.
Confirmed speakers, listed alphabetically by first name, at 20th May 2021 include:

Abhay Pandit CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, Ireland

Abraham Belay Minister for Innovation and Technology, Ethiopia

Alison Abbott Nature, Germany

Andy Zinga European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food, Belgium

Anna Fumarola Mujeres Por Africa, Spain

Annika Saarikko Minister of Science and Culture, Finland

Arti Ahluwalia UBORA, Italy

Atef Marzouk African Union commission, Ethiopia

Barry O’Sullivan University College Cork, Ireland

Bernd Halling, Bayer, Germany

Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo Intel, South Africa

Blade Nzimande Minister for Science and Technology, South Africa

Carlos Zorrinho MEP, Chair, Africa, Caribbean, Pacific Parliamentary Assembly, Belgium

Christoph Meinel Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Germany

Daan Du Toit Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa

Damian Okaibedi Eke Human Brain Project, United Kingdom

Daniel Daniel Nivagara Minister for Science and Education, Mozambique

David McNair ONE Foundation, Belgium

Doreen Bogden United Nations International Telecommunications Union, Switzerland

Elaine Santiago European Committee for Standardization (CEN), Belgium

Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin French Agricultural Research and International Cooperation Organization (CIRAD), France

Eric Mwangi Ministry of Science and Education, Kenya

Eva Kaili MEP, STOA, European Parliament, Belgium

Francisco Colomer Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry European Research Infrastructure Consortium (JIVE) and ERIC Forum Chair, Netherlands

Francois Engelbrech Global Change Institute, Wits University, South Africa

Frauke Alves University Medical Center Goettingen, Germany

Gilles Bloch INSERM, France

Hassan Ibrahim Ali Mofadel Kenana, Sudan

Heinz Fassmann Minister of Science, Austria

Hennie van der Merwe Agriculture Development Corporation, South Africa

Immaculate Kassit Data Protection Commissioner, Kenya

Intisar El-Zein Soughayroun Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sudan

Jacques Demotes European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN), France

Jean Pierre Bourguignon, President, European Research Council (ERC), Belgium

Jeremy Ouedraogo African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), Senegal

Juan Miguel González-Aranda LifeWatch ERIC, Spain

Karina Angelieva Deputy Minister for Education and Science, Bulgaria

Kenneth Fleming The Lancet, United Kingdom

Kurt Zatloukal Medical University of Graz, Austria

Kwaku Afriyie Ministry of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana

Leonard Mizzi European Commission, Belgium

Lora Borissova Cabinet Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Belgium

Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro Andalusia Astrophysics Institute (IAA), Spain

M. Cristina Messa Minister for Universities and Research, Italy

Maciej Golubiewsd of Cabinet, European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, Belgium

Magda Moutaftsi Global Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) R&D Hub, Germany

Mahama Ouedraogo African Union Commission, Ethiopia

Manuel Heitor Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Portugal

Marialuisa Lavitrano European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), Italy

Marie Ventura-Tavares Institute for Research for Development (IRD), France

Marika Flygar European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland

Mario Cervantes Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), France

Matt McGrath BBC, UK

Matthew Harold Novartis, Switzerland

Mei Lin Fung, People Centred Internet, Singapore and Germany

Melvin Hoare, Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA), UK

Michael Makanga European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), South Africa

Mirjana Pović Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), Ethiopia

Murray Hitzman Irish Centre for Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), Ireland

Nick Vitalari Quantum Materials, USA

Octavi Quintana Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), Spain

Ole Petter Ottersen Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Olfa Benouda Sioud Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Tunisia

Paul Ruebig European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), Belgium

Paweł Świeboda Human Brain Project, Belgium

Petr Očko Minister for Science and Innovation, Czech Republic

Phil Diamond Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, United Kingdom

Philippe Brunet European Commission, Belgium

Radovan Fuchs Minister of Science and Education, Croatia

Rahma Sophia Rachdi Press Agency, Paris

Rita Laranjinha European Union External Action Service (EEAS), Belgium

Robert Eiss National Institutes of Health, USA

Robert-Jan Smits President, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

Rodrigo Da Costa European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), Czech Republic

Sarah Anyang Agbor Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, African Union Commission, Ethiopia

Shadrack Moephuli Agriculture Research Council, South Africa

Simisola Akintoye Human Brain Project, United Kingdom

Simonetta Di Pippo United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Austria

Sjoukje Heimovaara Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands

Takalani Nemaungani AERAP, South Africa

Tegawendé Bissyandé, University of Luxembourg

Thomas Dermine Secretary of State for Science Policy, Belgium

Thomas Ryan, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Thorsten Rudolph AZO Space, Germany

Trish Scanlon Their Lives Matter (TLM) Paediatric Oncology, Tanzania

Trod Lehong European Patent Office, South Africa and Austria

Valentine Uwamariya Minister of Science, Rwanda

Vinny Pillay South African Mission to the EU, Belgium

Vivienne Stern Universities UK International, UK

Vladislav Popov Agriculture University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Yuko Harayama Riken, Japan