Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, June 18, 2021

Africa-Europe Research Cooperation for the Advancement of Agri-Food Systems

14-18 June 2021. AERAP Science organised the Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit, which aimed to enhance science and innovation cooperation between Africa and Europe.

The June 2021 Summit drew on a range of processes, including AGENDA 2063, Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse; the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024); the European Commission; Communication Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa which foresees future cooperation built on five partnerships: green transition, digital transformation, growth and jobs, peace and governance and migration and mobility. All of these areas will rely on science and innovation cooperation.

The meeting addressed a range of themes, including Health, Medicine, Life Sciences, Geoscience, ICT, Digital Transformation, the Green Agenda and Biodiversity, Women and Girls in science, Astronomy, reskilling and upskilling and Agri-food systems, amongst others.

Extract of the programme

18/06 Africa-Europe Research Cooperation for the Advancement of Agri-Food Systems

The EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (HLPD FNSSA) is currently pursuing a ten-year roadmap (2016-2026) with four priorities: 
  1. Sustainable intensification; 
  2. Agriculture and food systems for nutrition; 
  3. Expansion and improvement of agricultural trade and markets; and 
  4. A group of cross-cutting topics. 
The overall goal is to achieve agri-food systems that are more sustainable, deliver better nutrition, avoid undernutrition and obesity, reduce food losses and waste, adapt to and mitigate climate change, and create jobs for young people through place-based innovations, in both rural areas and in cities. How these challenges can be tackled and long-term improvements be achieved? The key factors for successful long-term agri-food transformation, with support of Research and Innovations are investments, cooperation and digital technologies. The actions on investments should target public-private partnership in R&I, better regulations and right incentives can provide benefits to the private sector, including place-based solutions and scaling-up opportunities as well as fostering local food markets and the export of high quality food products for income generation.

Establishment of a post-COVID-19 resilient cooperation in R&I should include a better forecast on food environment, food culture and household food choices which support healthy nutrition choices, and improved linkages between agri-food innovators and development cooperation EU/African Union (AU) Member States initiatives. It should be highlighted that the R&I support to the implementation of the FNSSA partnership under Horizon Europe will continue to help address priority areas to achieve food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. Successful European models such as agri-food Living labs and Smart villages, which employ new digital technologies to local regional ecosystems, could serve as toolbox that should be replicated and adapted to the African conditions.

  • Karina Angelieva - Adviser, Ministry of Education and Science Bulgaria
  • José Manuel Ávila - Environmental Scientist, LifeWatch ERIC
  • Djimé Adoum - High Representative, Coalition for the Sahel
  • Sherry. Ayittey MOKASA, Ghanaian politician. 
  • Shadrack Moephuli - Chief Executive Officer: Agricultural Research Council, Agriculture Research Council, South Africa
  • Andy Zynga - European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food, Belgium
  • Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin - Director for Research and Strategy, French Agricultural Research and International Cooperation Organization (CIRAD), France
  • Maciej Golubiewski - Head of Cabinet of Commissioner for Agriculture, European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, Belgium
  • Hambani Masheleni - African Union Commission
  • Natalia Corbalán - Director, Fundación Ingenio, Spain
  • Isabelle Hippolyte - Director, ANR, France

16/06 Africa-Europe Partnering together for Future Biodiversity Challenges: Consortia Building

The objective of this session was to discuss on current and future Africa-EU Biodiversity and Ecosystem services challenges and work on potential partnerships to influenciate the R&I agendas to address societal needs and support SDG 14 and 15. LifeWatch ERIC, as joint European Infrastructure working on these topics, aims at providing Virtual Research Environments for STI joint activities that can supply evidence for policy-making.

To start with, the session mapped interest and potential partnership to develop a project proposal on Agroecology practices and exchange. 

As extracted from the Horizon Europe draft Work Program the call HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-12 entitled: Agro-ecological approaches in African agriculture systems- shall have the following scope:
  • The EU’s relationship with Africa is a key priority for the EU. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing urgency of the climate crisis put pressure both on domestic/local food production and on ecosystems that generate higher health risks with the emergence of new pest and diseases for plants, animals and humans.
  • The implementation of agro-ecological approaches will alleviate the pressure that agri-food production places on natural ecosystems, contributing to resilience of agri-food systems and facilitating nature-based responses to current and future agri-food risks and threats. Agro-ecological transitions of food systems requires strong food governance with interventions at different level (local, territorial, and value chain) and coherent public policies.
Proposals should build on existing and develop new knowledge, data, models (including indicators) to:
  • Identify and evaluate the most suitable agro-ecological strategies for various farming systems in different agro-ecological zones, in Africa.
  • Deliver a method to identify the best combination of agro-ecological practices for different farming systems, identifying barriers to and drivers of (socioeconomic and ecological) its wide implementation and the conditions, means and tools to support agro-ecological transitions at individual, territorial and systems levels, and including prospective related to access to local and international markets.
  • Develop indicators to monitor and measure the qualitative and quantitative impacts of these strategies for different farming systems, the climate neutrality potential and trade-offs, nutrients flows, biodiversity and improvement of in farm socio-economic resilience.
  • Support farmers, advisory services and actors in value chains in implementing agro-ecological practices by stablishing communities to support capacity building, knowledge exchange, and share best practices across different human communities in relation to agro-ecological practices that contribute to mitigating climate change and other environmental impacts.
  • Identify approaches and methods to enhance the demand for food products resulting from agro-ecological practices, from local, national, regional and international markets.
  • Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach’ and ensure adequate involvement of the farming sector and, as relevant, bio-based industries active in rural areas.
  • Eltayb Abdellatef Scientist, Commission for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, National Center For Research, Khartoum, Sudan 
  • Jan Low Principal Scientist, International Potato Center (CIP) Nairobi, Kenya. 
  • Juan Miguel González-Aranda LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer-CF.ES ICT Core Director and ERIC Forum Executive Board Member, LifeWatch ERIC CTO and ERIC FORUM 
  • Juliana Chaves Senior environmental consultant, Lifewatch ERIC 
  • José Manuel Ávila Environmental Scientist, LifeWatch ERIC 
  • John Bosco Lamoris Okulllo Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, Makerere Universitry, College of Agricultural & Envirpnmental Sciences 
  • Francisco Sanz García Executive Director, Ibercivis Foundation 
  • Christos Arvanitidis CEO, Lifewatch ERIC LifeWatch ERIC CEO. 
  • Heather Mckhann European Project Officer, Coordinator Executive Secretariat, INRAE, EU JPI FACCE 
  • Roberto Garcia Ruiz Professor, University of Jaen 
  • Roland Brouwer 
  • Irene Kadzere Department of International Cooperation at FiBL 



23 and 24 June 2021. European Research and Innovation Days
  • This year’s edition will mark the official launch of Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027).
  • 24/06 @16:15-17:00 Africa initiative in Horizon Europe
As a strategic partner, the EU seeks to enhance cooperation with Africa to promote actions targeted at finding locally adapted solutions to challenges that are global in nature, but which often hit Africa hardest. The Horizon Europe work programme 2021-2022 will include an ambitious number of topics under calls for proposals that are particularly relevant for cooperation with Africa.

The Africa Initiative under Horizon Europe is a result of the first ever EU-AU Research and Innovation Ministerial (July 2020) and will further strengthen long-term cooperation in finding solutions to the human health and socio-economic impacts of, and recovery from, the COVID-19 crisis. The Africa Initiative under Horizon Europe responds to four joint priorities: Public Health, Green Transition, Technology and Innovation, and Capacities for Science.

This session will promote and explain the Africa Initiative under Horizon Europe to interested European and African Research and Innovation stakeholders.

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