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The new AU-EU Innovation Agenda

Niclette Kampata

Niclette B. Kampata

Senior Consultant specialised in developing countries

Africa and Europe share a common history that has been marked by geopolitical crises and societal challenges. During the past years, these two continents have adopted several policy frameworks outlining the cooperation notably between the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU).

Nowadays, Africa and Europe are facing common challenges such as green transition and clean energy access, sustainable growth and job creation, digital transformation and they have the ambition to address them together. Nevertheless, to ensure the success of this AU-EU collaboration, both continents must consider themselves equal partners with mutual benefits, especially because some challenges (such as climate change) affect Africa the most.

The adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) marked a change of paradigm in terms of AU-EU cooperation highlighting a desire to set up a win-win collaboration. Indeed, JAES showed a tentative of shifting from the development-oriented approach to an equal AU-EU partnership including a share of responsibilities. Moreover, the JAES reinforced the importance of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to reach sustainable development in both regions.

AU-EU Innovation Agenda

African and European leaders jointly agreed to draft a new AU-EU Innovation Agenda to support sustainable development, notably through the implementation of R&I partnerships and empowering innovation ecosystems. To strengthen the agenda’s impacts and transparency, a large public consultation was launched from February 2022 until June 2022 and allowed the collection of input from key stakeholders and civil society.

The ambition of the new AU-EU Innovation Agenda is to reach concrete impacts on the ground. The major findings of this public consultation were presented during a stakeholder event that took place in Nairobi on the 23rd-24th of November 2022. The feedback gathered during this event will be taken into consideration to deliver the final version of the AU-EU innovation Agenda in early 2023.

Funding opportunities

With Horizon Europe, the European Comission reinforced the international dimension approach by continuing to strengthen Third Countries’ participation. Therefore, the future EU R&I framework programs represent key instruments for the implementation of the AU-EU policies. Indeed, the increase of non-EU countries in the eligibility criterion offers additional funding opportunities for organisations to build EU-funded projects at the international level. A list of present and past AU-EU collaborative projects can be found in Cordis.

Today, through Global Gateway which is the new EU strategy to tackle societal challenges such as sustainable development, the EU continues to show a strong interest in collaborating at the international level. The Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package is worth 150 billion euros. This package will be put into practice by the implementation of projects notably via call for tenders.

Our Third Countries expertise

Zabala Innovation does not work exclusively in Europe, via the Third Countries Knowledge Area and its International Department. Our company collects and analyses international funding opportunities (such as tender), follows specific programmes that allow the Third Countries participation (i.e Widening), and leads and implements projects with Third countries. Zabala Innovation has expertise in key areas (energy, mobility, food, etc.) where collaboration at the international level is relevant.

In conclusion, Africa and Europe are strongly connected and put in place several policies that demonstrate their cooperation history. International cooperation and the role of research and innovation are becoming increasingly central and urgent in facing the world’s global challenges. The EU is willing to take a significant role in supporting R&I partnerships with Third Countries to move toward a more sustainable and healthy society. Zabala Innovation can support your organisation in building R&I projects at the international level. So, do not hesitate to share your project ideas with us!

Expert person

Niclette Kampata
Niclette B. Kampata

Brussels Office

Senior Consultant specialised in developing countries

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