The Fourth EU-Africa Summit took place in Brussels from 02 - 03 April 2014, focused on the theme of "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace".
The Heads of State from the EU and Africa confirmed that the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2007 remains the strategic political reference for EU-Africa relations.
Priority areas for the 2014 - 2017 period include:
1. Peace and Security
2. Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights
3. Human development
4. Sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration
5. Global and emerging issues
Priority area 3: Human development addresses Science, Technology and Innovation outlining that EU-Africa cooperation on STI is cross-cutting in nature, contributing to the attainment of all other socio economic development objectives. It is envisaged that the EU and Africa will work towards reinforcing cooperation between research communities and the creation of joint academic research programmes, with a special focus on innovation and the productive sector including research infrastructures.
In addition it is envisaged that the EU and Africa will develop a long-term, jointly funded and managed research and innovation partnership, in particular in the areas of food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. It will take an integrated approach recognising the important cross-cutting nature of innovation, entrepreneurship, research infrastructures and technical skills development in Africa and Europe.
The 2014 - 2017 Roadmap outlines that the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation will be the key platform in the JAES for priority-setting and implementation design. A HLPD expert working group will be set up that will be tasked with developing a detailed roadmap defining the scope and outlining the different steps to be taken towards this new partnership. It is envisaged that financing will come from the European Research and Innovation Programme, Horizon 2020, and other contributions from EU and African stakeholders.
The Erasmus Plus programme and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions will allow for top quality mobility of African and European students, scholars, researchers and staff through a balanced mix of actions centred on individuals, institutions and higher education systems. The Nyerere mobility programme will provide scholarships to around 500 students to undertake postgraduate studies and will allow for the mobility of 70 academic and administrative staff within Africa by 2017.
While ICT is seen as a horizontal enabler, it is specifically addressed under Priority area 4: Sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration
Strategic priorities for cooperation in the fields of energy, transport, water and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been developed by the Reference Group in Infrastructure through Sector Strategy Papers in coherence with the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), the EU Development Policy and other guiding policy frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. Strategic investments in these sectors applying innovative financing approaches will be coupled with support to regulatory reforms. Cross-sectoral coordination will be ensured through the Reference Group on Infrastructures.
In the field of ICT, actions will aim at establishing favourable conditions and enabling environments for ICT in the service of citizens, public authorities and businesses, especially SMEs.
This objective will be met through the implementation of a three-pronged ICT for Development Strategy Connecting Africa aimed at
- the harmonisation and alignment of the appropriate aspects of electronic communications policies and regulatory frameworks between Africa and the EU, including cyber security. An important target in this process will be the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in Africa and the regulation of the resulting Digital Dividend
- the interconnection of Research and Education Networks through e-infrastructures and
- the enhancement of ICT capacities for all, particularly in order to improve access to internet and an open and inclusive governance, in line with the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
Within Priority area 5: Global and emerging issues, it is envisaged that Africa and the EU will promote the transformation of their economies to become increasingly inclusive and green. Initiatives will support a low carbon and resource-efficient growth through sustainable consumption and production patterns, green innovation and business development and sound management of energy, chemicals and waste as well as development and extended use of environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies.