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The Europe-Africa science bridge

A consolidated series of new science platforms, databases, workshops, conferences and exchange of best practices is helping African scientists network with European ones, contributing positively to both regions.
The Europe-Africa science bridge
Empowering Africa to improve its research capabilities and to innovate is no easy task. Nonetheless, the EU has been working fervently on bringing the continent's scientists together and promoting networking with European counterparts to achieve this goal.

One recent initiative funded by the EU in this respect was the 'Science and technology - Europe Africa project' (ST-EAP), which fostered cooperation among African scientists and with European scientists as well.

Focusing particularly on sub-Saharan Africa, ST-EAP created networking mechanisms in science and technology (S&T) to promote stronger policy dialogue between the two continents. The emphasis was on sustainable development and on enlarging the European Research Area (ERA), in coordination with S&T drives under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). This was supported by technology platforms and centres of excellence where critical mass could advance research capabilities in synergy, as well as through policy discussion and seed funding mechanisms.

The project's goals were ultimately achieved through workshops, conferences, mobility initiatives, training and exchange of best practices that would consider Africa's interests and integrate them in the EU arena. These activities set the stage for collaboration in areas such as biodiversity, biotechnology, disease, water supply, desertification, material sciences, food security, manufacturing, laser technologies, ICT, space science, innovation and policymaking.

Through bilateral and multilateral cooperation in S&T, in addition to a support website and several databases, the project facilitated development on the African continent. ST-EAP established valuable links between European Framework Programmes and African stakeholders in an effort to raise Africa's standard of living and vigorously encourage sustainable development.

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