Dr. Habiba Hassan-Wassef has been wondering why Europe has a renewed interest for joint research in the field of agriculture and nutrition in Africa (Framework Programme 7 Theme 2: Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Bio-technologies).
She takes as example a recent call by the European Commission for proposals from the South-Mediterranean Area about research on African traditional technology about the use of food resources, the management of natural resources, the use of African traditional food processing technologies in order to benefit the European food industry.
She questions the principle of mutual benefit and wants to secure Africa's interest and intellectual property rights. She believes though that FP7 is a genuine change compared to the past. But she fears African scientists do not know all their rights while FP7 provides for it. Collaboration between North African researchers and Sub-Saharan researchers could be improved and accelerated. FARA, NEPAD and the different Sub-regional organisations have a role to play in this.