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Science and Technology (S&T) and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are now widely recognised as key vectors for bridging the scientific and digital divides, for reducing poverty and ensuring socio-economic development, reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and, eventually, supporting the sustainable evolution towards a peaceful, integrated and prosperous continent, making it a full player of the global community. The Africa Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action formulated by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU), the creation of the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST), and the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE), are some of recent examples of Africa's determination to rely on S&T and ICT to achieve its growth and development objectives.

Meanwhile, in their determination to ensure Europe's global leadership in ICT and in line with their i2010 initiative, the EU Member States have earmarked a total of EUR 9.1 billion for funding ICT research over the duration of FP7, a research programme including an important international dimension, being open to the participation of sub-Saharan African and Caribbean organisations.

In this context, a strengthened S&T cooperation between Europe, Africa and the Caribbean on ICT is of mutual strategic interest to the European and African research organisations and industries, and can efficiently contribute to implementing the new EU-AU Joint Strategy.

One of the outputs of the Lisbon EU-AU Summit held in December 2007 has thus been the approval of a specific Partnership on Science, Information Society, and Space.

However, for the time-being, the level of participation of organisations from Sub-Saharan African and Caribbean countries into the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7) has remained very low. This can be largely attributed to the lack of contacts between European and African researchers, and the lack of awareness that opportunities do exist to explore collaborative research on ICT.

The EuroAfrica-ICT initiative, firstly through the project START (developed under FP6), has offered, from September 2006, several opportunities for dialogue through workshops, meetings and other activities in Europe and Africa.

The outcomes of these activities have contributed to the development of a set of twelve recommendations, which provided the basis for the development of a EuroAfrica-ICT Manifesto. The content of the Manifesto has been ratified by over 200 European and African organisations with the aim to increase sub-Saharan African participation in the 7th Framework Programme.

 

 

Background documents

  • EU-Sub-Saharan African S&T cooperation on ICT: status and perspectives (author: START consortium) (doc)
  • EuroAfrica-ICT Manifesto: "For a strengthened EU-Africa strategic partnership on ICT under FP7" (doc)
  • Lisbon Declaration (doc)
  • Africa EU-Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space (doc)
  • The Africa-EU strategic partnership: a Joint Africa-EU Strategy (doc)
  • First action plan (2008-2010) for the implementation of the African-EU Strategic Partnership (doc)
  • EC-Council secretariat joint paper: ‘Beyond Lisbon - Making the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership work' (doc)
  • Key fact and figures on EU-Africa relations (doc)