The session aimed to present the Innovation Agenda and the challenges it raises; as well as review the feasibility of the measures to be deployed both in Africa and in Europe in the short-, medium- and long-term.
Implementation of the joint Agenda will be built on the experience and networks of previous and ongoing R&I activities, and proposes additional actions and related financing needs. Some of these could be covered by the biennial work programmes of Horizon Europe, the regional and national multi-annual indicative programmes of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument - Global Europe, the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), and other relevant AU-EU programmes.
Furthermore, several EU and AU Member States have shown an interest to increase their support to AU-EU STI cooperation in African countries and contribute to the implementation of this AU-EU Innovation Agenda.
In order to ensure that the Agenda will be designed and implemented in response to current and future needs, the session sought input and feedback from the session’s participants on the objectives, ideas, additional work streams and proposed actions of the Innovation Agenda.
The AU-EU Innovation Agenda is included in the final declaration of the joint summit as the Africa regional part of the Global Gateway Strategy. This underlines the role of R&I being part of a joint vision for a renewed Partnership for sustainable development. Against this background, the High-Level Panel on the Innovation Agenda fits perfectly well under the Science, Technology, Innovation and Research topic of the 15th edition of the EDD and its focus on “Global Gateway: building sustainable partnerships for a connected world.”
Participants underlined the need for the Innovation Agenda to be based on equitable, inclusive partnerships and mutual respect. Emphasis was given to the importance of building bridges through increased partnerships, especially across the private sector, in part to stimulate market access for innovation. There was a plea for more capacity building, knowledge transfers and exchanges, in addition to a call for better leveraging of scientific knowledge. A call was also heard to increase the role of digital technology in the Innovation Agenda, as an enabler of innovation. The importance of fully including youth from the outset of this process was highlighted, as was the need to avoid a ‘brain drain’ to harness economic growth.