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Europe and Africa redraw partnership


Focus areas include green energy, digital transformation, and sustainable growth

Africa and Europe are discussing a new joint strategy, their first since 2007, with science, research and climate change featuring prominently.

The European Union and African Union released a roadmap for a partnership strategy on 9 March. The AU and EU will formalise the partnership in October this year during a summit in Brussels.

Collaboration will hinge on five areas: green transition and energy access; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance; and migration and mobility.

Research and science is one of 10 proposed actions between Africa and Europe, according to the roadmap. The EU will “partner with Africa to rapidly enhance learning, knowledge and skills, research, and innovation capacities”. This will target women and youth. Academic cooperation will extend to technical and vocational education and training as well as European businesses.

The EU is tasked to “facilitate” academic mobility schemes. The roadmap calls for an incentive scheme to increase collaboration between research institutions and African businesses.

The green energy and climate change partnership could also see a significant boost for African science. “Innovation is key to drive green transition. Investments should therefore be geared towards strengthening scientific capacities in Africa by providing access and local adaptation to technologies,” the roadmap states. This focuses on a shift away from investment in coal power.

The first Africa-EU joint strategy was drawn up in 2007. The one under discussion will be the first new strategy since then.