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Under the Africa-EU partnership, the strategic objective in this area of cooperation is to promote human capital development and knowledge; skills based societies and economies, in particular by strengthening the links between education, training, science and innovation, and better manage mobility of people.

Key areas of cooperation and specific objectives include:

  • Reinforcing cooperation between research communities, creation of joint academic research programmes and the development of a long-term, jointly funded research and innovation partnership with a focus on food and nutrition security;
  • Promoting top-quality mobility of African and European students, scholars, researchers as well as the support to the development of centres of excellence in Africa;
  • Fostering of synergies between migration and development, i.e. by reducing the costs of remittances and enhancing the engagement of the diaspora, the improved organisation of labour mobility as well as enhanced cooperation to address the trafficking in human beings and irregular migration, and collaboration on international protection and asylum.

Selected activities and achievements

Science, technology and innovation (STI)

  • Major efforts have been made to reinforce cooperation between the African and European research communities, notably by promoting African collaboration in the EU's Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation launched in 2014.
  • Through the 7th framework programme (FP7) the EU has funded almost 600 cooperative research projects involving European and African researchers working together on issues related to health, food security, climate change, and energy, etc and some 1300 participants from 45 African countries.
  • The EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on STI is a long-term, jointly funded and managed partnership on research and innovation. The "Roadmap toward a jointly funded EU-Africa Research & Innovation Partnership with a focus on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture" has been adopted at the 3rd EU Africa HLPD Senior Officials' meeting, held in Addis Ababa in April 2016.
  • The second phase of the African Union Research Grants was adopted for an amount of €17.5 million under the Pan-African programme. It provides funding for the African Union Commission to organise calls for proposals for collaborative research projects.
  • A €20 million funding was adopted in 2014 under the Panafrican programme to extend the AfricaConnect initiative. AfricaConnect follows the model used to connect the European research and education backbone network GEANT[1] to other regions of the world. The overall objective is the creation, development and use of regional education and research communication networks and high-capacity Internet connectivity with a gateway to global research collaboration.
  • Support to the AU Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards is also being provided via the AU Support Programme since 2008.

More information: RINEA

Cooperation on Higher education

  • Around 157 universities across Africa have been involved in the Intra-ACP academic mobility scheme partnerships which are organising mobility across sub-saharan Africa for around 1600 Master students and doctorates and academic staff members. A 20€ million follow-up programme, the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme is launching new calls in 2016 and 2017 targeting the entire continent. The EU also supports the Mwalimu Nyerere AU Scholarship Scheme.
  • A €5 million programme was adopted in 2014 to support the harmonisation of higher education programmes in Africa. This is to be achieved  through two interlinked initiatives: the Tuning and Harmonisation initiative, to which 107 universities from across 42 countries are participating, and the establishment of a Pan-African Quality assurance and Accreditation Framework for education.
  • Cooperation activities are also taking place in the framework of other actions such as Erasmus + and Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. For example, 2545 African students and university staff are undertaking mobility across the EU under the new Erasmus+ international credit mobility action; approx. 2000 students across Africa received scholarships for Erasmus Mundus Master Courses; 65 African fellows have taken part in Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates and 230 African scholars have participated in the teaching of the Erasmus Mundus Master Courses.

Cooperation on Mobility, migration and employment

  • The Valletta Summit (11-12 November 2015) brought together African and EU leaders who jointly agreed on a number of concrete and operational measures on migration  through the adoption of two key documents: 1) a Political Statement underlining the determination of the parties to forge stronger partnerships on migration at country and regional level in the spirit of partnership, ownership and shared responsibility; 2) an Action Plan identifying priority actions under five headings: 1. Development benefits of migration and addressing root causes; 2. Legal migration and mobility; 3. International protection and asylum; 4. Prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings; and 5. Making progress on return arrangements and readmission agreements.
  • The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was launched at the Valletta Summit on migration in 2015. It aims to help foster stability in the regions to respond to the challenges of irregular migration and displacement and to contribute to better migration management. It addresses the root causes of destabilisation, displacement and irregular migration, by promoting economic and equal opportunities, security and development. The Trust Fund has three operational windows in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and Lake Chad region and the North of Africa. As of May 2016 the European Commission has approved a total of 50 projects worth over €730 million, out of the initial allocation of EUR 1.88 billion.
  • Specific support to the Africa-EU Migration and Mobility Dialogue (MMD) is being provided through a €18.5 million programme under the Pan-African Programme. It aims to improve the governance of migration and mobility within Africa and between Africa and the EU and enhance the protection of migrants’ rights. It is being implemented on the basis of three interrelated components a) Africa-EU dialogue and cooperation on migration and mobility; b) Capacity building including both flagships and STA; c) Support to the African Diaspora, including a joint platform.
  • Launched in 2014, the Khartoum Process is a platform for political cooperation amongst the countries along the migration route between the Horn of Africa and Europe. Also known as the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative, it aims to establish a continuous dialogue for enhanced cooperation on migration and mobility and to implement concrete projects to address human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants. A core goal is to give a new impetus to the regional collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination. The Khartoum Process is supported by the EU through its Pan-African Programme. For a reflection on the achievements and challenges of the Khartoum Process so far, see the interviews with senior officials of organizations and countries involved.

[1] GÉANT is the high-bandwidth, academic Internet serving Europe’s research and education community.