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Horizon 2020: Africa and the EU strengthen their cooperation in research and innovation

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From disease treatment to helping communities deal with crisis situations, the research and innovation cooperation between the EU and Africa has been proving its value throughout the years. Horizon 2020, the EU’s most ambitious research and innovation programme, offers opportunities to strengthen this partnership.

President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon met with African and European representatives from the research and innovation field to take the close cooperation between the two continents a step further. The event that took place on 20 March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, set the stage for new EU-African partnerships in the science and technology areas, priorities that align with the African Academy of Sciences’ (AAS) strategic vision of “transforming lives through science”.

The European Union has invested a total amount of EUR 123 million in African Union partners and it has already funded 310 projects under the programme. With 126 projects funded, South Africa is so far the African country that has benefited the most from Horizon 2020. It is followed by Morocco, with a total amount of 50 projects supported by the EU and Kenya, with 47 projects.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. The main thematic areas of EU-African cooperation under Horizon 2020 are environment, food, ICT and health. The successful projects that have been financed in Africa under the initiative include the creation of a resilience platform to help communities in crisis situations, the research on rare diseases that affect children, the design of the world’s largest radio telescope and the investigation of biodiversity in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.