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The Dynamics of EU–Africa Research and Innovation Cooperation Programmes (lay summary)

This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-69929-5_3

Published onApr 30, 2023
The Dynamics of EU–Africa Research and Innovation Cooperation Programmes (lay summary)

Some success for Africa-EU research, but more private sector input needed

Authors of a chapter in a book about Africa-Europe research collaborations say several joint science, technology and innovation projects (STI) have been successful. But with little private sector involvement, many of these fail to reach the market. The authors also called for more equal participation of African countries.

They described projects under the seventh framework programme (FP7); Horizon 2020; the Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) programme; Eurostars; the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) programme, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP); and the African Union Research Grants (AURG). 

While many projects were successful, the researchers noted that in general, participation by diverse African countries and by the private sector could have been better.

They mentioned examples like the AfriAlliance project between Europe and Africa (South Africa, Ghana and others), which prepares Africa for future climate challenges. Another project was “VicInAqua”, which aimed to develop water sanitation and treatment in agriculture, food and health security in the Victoria Lake Basin in Africa. Countries like Uganda and Kenya were working with Europe to make a self-cleaning water filter.

The COST programme started in 1971 to connect with researchers all over the world. They don’t fund research, but they help with developing networks that can lead to funding. Ethiopia, South Africa, Sudan and a few other African countries are involved. Green chemistry, which is the process of making and using safe chemicals, is a part of this programme between the UK and Ethiopia. It made people aware about using safe chemicals and showed Ethiopian innovation.

Eurostars' joint programme began in 2008 to support international projects by small and medium sized businesses in research and development. The goal was to bring the products or services to European and international markets. South Africa is a part of the MINWARE project to come up with environmentally friendly solutions for wastewater from mining and metal industries. They are also part of the VitaSOFT project, which focuses on treatments for waste from mines. 

They also mentioned the ACP S&T programme, which was made to support science, technology and innovation in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The WABEF project was part of this programme, and looked at ways to recycle organic matter and make energy and fertiliser in West African countries like Senegal, Benin and Mali. Another project used leftover or underused species in agriculture across Africa. Yet another, called EDCTP, began in 2003 to target diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. At least 14 African countries are a part of this partnership. One of the projects in this programme is ENDORSE, which involves Europe and Uganda in training healthcare workers in the safety and protection against these diseases.

Based on lessons learnt from these examples, the authors recommend that future cooperation put more emphasis on how to market and disseminate STI products and services. They say business cooperation centres can help bridge the gap between African countries and Europe. 


This chapter focuses on the practical achievements of existing Africa–Europe science, technology and innovation (STI) projects. It reviews six programmes that fund Africa–Europe STI cooperation, highlighting some of their successful cooperative projects, particularly in the fields of new water and sanitation technologies and green chemicals. This practical focus sheds light on the intrinsically unequal cooperation patterns among African countries. Participation of a diverse range of African partners, and private sector participation in Africa–EU STI cooperation, remain limited. The authors thus point out that future cooperation should focus on how to market and disseminate STI products and services.


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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