Science and space prioritised at Africa-EU summit

Enhancing science and technology (S&T) capacity and cooperation on space technology were named priority actions at the Africa-EU summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on 8 and 9 December, the
objective in S&T is to bridge the scientific divide, this will be achieved by strengthening African capacities; ultimately, S&T will then be used as a tool for poverty reduction, growth
and socio-economic development.

Leaders from the EU and Africa agreed on a five indicators that will show when these objectives have been achieved. Africa will have a stronger S&T base; more scientists, technicians and
engineers; and improved infrastructure and R&D. The mainstreaming of S&T into programmes and projects, and stronger African Union (AU)-EU cooperation on S&T programmes are also
expected as outcomes.

The starting place for this closer collaboration is the implementation of the ‘Addis Ababa Declaration on Science and Technology for Development in Africa’, signed during 2007.

Both sides also agreed to promote integrated health research strategies and improve national capacities in areas such as: health management information systems, epidemiological surveys, and
clinical and operational research. Both the EU and the AU will also seek to identify innovative ways and means of financing science and technology in Africa.

Pledges were also made to develop harmonised S&T policies in Africa, to reinforce the S&T dimension in education and training, and to promote the exchange of good practices of
cooperation in S&T at regional and international levels.

Within Africa, institutional and policy arrangements will be assessed with the aim of enabling African countries to mobilise and share their scare resources.

European-African cooperation will be enhanced through promoting the participation of the African research community in the EU’s research programmes, and through twinning of African and European
actors.

On space, EU and African leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in the use of sustainable and affordable space applications and technology in order to support Africa’s sustainable development
objectives.

The expected outcomes are: ‘space-related issues fully integrated in specific dialogues and cooperation initiatives in areas such as environment and resource management, climate change, peace
and security;

‘Specific projects based on space technologies to achieve regional and global development goals.’

Actions will focus on managing natural resources, improving living conditions and promoting sustainable development in telecommunications, monitoring the environment, navigation, humanitarian
aid operations and building a knowledge-based society.

The onus is now on the EU, the AU, the member countries of both and international organisations to ensure that these goals are pursued in a speedy and effective manner.

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