Africa and Europe have a long-standing political partnership and are increasingly enhancing their collaboration. The strong importance of the Africa-Europe relations was clearly highlighted in the 'Africa–Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs' launched by the European Commission exactly one year ago. This is put at the core of the Africa-Europe Innovation Partnership, which can highly contribute to sustainable investment, development and job creation by promoting and supporting the emerging of new economic actors.
The Partnership also matches with the priorities of President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, who called for a ‘European comprehensive strategy on Africa, our close neighbour and our most natural partner’, and who also highlighted that a sustainable Europe investment plan will have to stimulate innovation, competitiveness and jobs, and that innovation happens when people from different backgrounds and perspectives blend together.
This initiative aims at creating synergies between the African and European innovation ecosystems by connecting incubators and accelerators, fostering technology transfer and enhancing capacity building in key technologies. Its purpose is to strengthen partnership through new actors and to test new models to support Africa-Europe cooperation in the area of Innovation. The initiative focuses on the dynamics of people and their creativity, and aims at establishing a partnership between equals.
Partnership activities include connecting incubators and accelerators from the EU and Africa through networking and technology transfer actions to support ‘close to market’ applications of new products and services, as well as capacity building to improve access to finance (grants and financial engineering mechanisms) for African entrepreneurs and innovators.
Africa-Europe Innovation Partnership develops through three pillars:
- Building partnerships among leading African and European incubators;
- Exploring models for technology transfer and access to market;
- Capacity building among African tech-entrepreneurs.
As part of the initiative, running from January 2019 to June 2021, networking events in Africa and in the EU will be conducted to build and foster relations between incubators, accelerators and technology transfer entities.
The launching event is organised by the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission with the presence of Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation. The newly appointed Head of the EU Delegation in Kenya, Simon Mordue, will also participate together with Sandra Kramer, Director for EU-AU relations, West and East Africa at the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development. This launching event will provide a great opportunity for start-ups to get together. You can find the event programme and list of speakers here.
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