Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit: 14-18 June 2021

African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) and People-Centered Internet (PCI)

A unique, august group of leaders from government, industry, and academia are gathering to discuss research and policy priorities in the service of beneficial outcomes for European and African citizens. Distinguished speakers from a broad array of fields will share practical examples of how science can be a tool to deliver benefits to citizens, sharing actual learnings from undertaking research collaborations between Europe and Africa.

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.

The People Centered Internet is convening four sessions: June 15 Plenary Session on Women in Science; June 16 Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy featuring Rita Laranjingha the Managing Director of the External Action Service of the EU, Clean IT featuring Prof. Christoph Meinel, CEO of the Hasso Plattner Institute; June 18 EU Innovation Planning Grants.

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 the Horizon Europe Missions and the European Partnerships. 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. If you wish to attend this or any other sessions, please register at the following link. Registration is free, you can select the sessions you wish to attend.

About AERAP:

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 global challenges.

About People-Centered Internet:

People-Centered Internet advocates an Internet of the People, by the People, for the People and with the People. Co-founded by Vint Cerf and Mei Lin Fung, projects underway include Project Eagle Feather for meaningful connectivity for Indigenous Tribes, Digital Finance, the Global Help Desk and with Steve Crocker, a project on DNS WhoIs.

Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit (14-18 June 2021)

The timing truly is opportune. A new generation of African political leaders is technically trained. Commercial private sector investments are fueling substantive R&D projects in Africa. 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 uniquely valuable 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.

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 Summit will examine how this 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  be discussed with representatives from the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, and others. With the global nature of science and the importance of digital cooperation, multilateralism will be an essential backdrop to the discussions in June.

African nations are starting from a modest baseline in realizing 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). Enrolment 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.

Compelling grounds exist for optimism as public and private sectors are ramping up investment. Scientific innovation is on the rise, and momentum is building for new measures to strengthen and sustain the capacity of African universities and research institutions as effective forces for economic growth, in developing local solutions to development challenges.

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. The Summit will consider the following:

  • Successful models that could be brought to sufficient scale through joint EU-African investments;
  • 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;
  • How to incentive African governments to invest in R&D and realize their collective commitment to meet the aspirational target of investing 1 per cent of GDP in R&D – especially given stressors on national spending;
  • How to build research ‘demand’ among African governments;
  • Structural needs, such as the limited grouping of research councils and philanthropic organizations in Africa that award competitive grants and fellowships, or the lack of an ERC equivalent to cultivate careers and mobility.

Registration is available at:

Selected Confirmed speakers include:

Abhay Pandit CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, Ireland
Abraham Belay Minister for Innovation and Technology, Ethiopia
Alison Abbott Nature, Germany
Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Science, Research and all Innovation, UK
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 AssemblyBelgium
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
Magdalena Skipper, Editor in Chief, Nature
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-Centered 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 BissyandéUniversity 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

Please contact Mia Rodriguez ( for more information.

Posted in Newsletter.

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