About the partnership
The Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs was launched in 2018 as a new area of cooperation between the two continents. It aims to strengthen the role of the private sector and create jobs while improving the business environment. The role of start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs is emphasised as well as their ability to professionalise, innovate and internationalise. Connecting innovation ecosystems will benefit both Africa and Europe as it allows access to new networks, resources and innovative impulses.
Africa and Europe in particular have seen an enormous growth of the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem, with now over 600 local tech hubs in Africa and over $1 billion in venture capital raised. These new actors have taken on a significant role where they are based, in particular where the public innovation systems are weak because of limited funding, capacity or interactions. Similarly, on the technology transfer front (the interface between research and innovation), new development around open innovation platforms, new intellectual property models, renewed interest in university-private sector collaboration, and co-creation models have emerged. However, these new actors and trends have often developed ‘bottom-up’ and are so far poorly connected within each continent and between each other. There is a policy challenge and opportunity in developing strong Africa-Europe partnerships for increasing the impact of innovation.
The 5th HLPD SOM declared in its conclusions in 2019 the importance of innovation within a broader partnership, its cross-cutting nature, and its potential for the creation of sustainable growth, development, jobs and thus stimulating entrepreneurship. The new partnership was welcomed as a critical framework to foster collaborative alliances and relationships between the continents.
Working Group on Innovation
The purpose of the Working Group on Innovation (WGI) is to support the SOM of the HLPD in its mandate, by providing a more regular information, activities and data regarding the topic of innovation. Working group activities include
- ensuring regular exchange between key actors in Africa and Europe in AU-EU cooperation and innovation
- identifying key issues in AU-EU cooperation in innovation
- elaborating potential for AU-EU cooperation in innovation
- developing key recommendations for the HLPD
- coordinating international innovation cooperation policies and activities in Africa and Europe
With a view to promoting the AU-EU cooperation in science, technology and innovation and thereby support the sustainable development of both regions, the WGI will consider the current work and output of the existing research and innovation partnerships on FNSSA and CCSE. The Working Group on Innovation is made up of experts nominated by the HLPD member states, and including representatives from the AU, EU and the two R&I Partnerships (FNSSA and CCSE). The WGI had its kick-off meeting on 31 March 2021.