Strengthening S&T Collaboration between Africa and Europe: ERAfrica - Pretoria, 31 January 2011
A new European Project on Science and Technology was launched on 12 January 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa : the European Research Area Network for Africa (short named ERAfrica) aims at strengthening the collaborations between Africa and Europe in the field of Science and Technology for Development.
The launching session took place at the Innovation Hub Conference Hall, in Pretoria (Hotel Street, cnr Meiring Naude Road, Pretoria,)
The South African Minister of S&T, Ms. Naledi Pandor, and the Egyptian vice Minister of S&T, Professor Maged Al-Sherbiny, president of the AMCOST IV , and the president of IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), Professor Michel Laurent, attended the launching ceremony.
The network will bring together ministries of research or representative organizations of twelve countries, nine from Europe (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey) and three from Africa (Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa). They have agreed to put resources together to launch new joint S&T activities that would foster development on the African continent.
Whereas most collaborative S&T projects between Europe and Africa so far were discussed and implemented at bilateral level, ERAfrica may be a first step towards a permanent region to region dialog in the fields of science for development. A first experience was made in the field of agricultural research, when the European Initiative on Agricultural Research for development (EIARD, http://www.eiard.org) was created in 1995.
For the first time also such a multilateral European project will be managed, coordinated, and administered from Africa and not from Europe. The French Institute of Research for Development (IRD) which has been designated by the European Commission (EC) to lead the project on behalf of the EU has decided instead of having the management team posted at its headquarters in Marseille, in the south of France, the team will be posted in Pretoria, South Africa. While the coordinator is from IRD, the administrator was recruited in South Africa.
Most importantly, the EC agreed that the project should have a regional coordinator, and the African members of the network decided it should come from the South African Department of Science and technology (DST). The role of the Regional Coordinator will be similar to the role of S&T Ambassador, aiming at communicating and mobilizing to bring greater support for S&T as a key element for development in Africa.
Similar European projects have already been launched in Latin America (EULANEST) and in the Balkans (SEE-ERANET). The objective is to convince governments in Africa that investing in S&T has a positive impact on development.
Moreover, existing science and technology policy instruments do not adequately cover measures for the promotion of innovation, including technology prospecting, procurement, diffusion and application. Most African countries rely on implicit innovation policies.
Therefore, innovation will be a key issue to be discussed during ERAfrica’s kick-off in Pretoria.
For more information, please contact Yves Savidan, IRD’s representative :
Email : Yves.Savidan@ird.fr; Tel : 082 600 5682
Vincent Baron, Vice-Counsellor, Attaché for Science and Technology, Embassy of France:
Email : email@example.com; Tel : 012 425 1710
The African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) was established in November 2003 under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU).