Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation
Between Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe

Policy Context

Africa-EU STI policy landscape


Policy Context

The importance of science and technology for socio-economic development, and the added value of a regional framework on the political and institutional level, was acknowledged in the publication of Africa's Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action in 2005.

Highlighting common visions and objectives, as well as defining five thematic clusters for flagship S&T projects and programmes, the CPA consolidated the African Union (AU) Commission and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programmes related to science and technology capacity building, knowledge production and technological innovation. 

Building on the foundations laid by the CPA, in June 2014, the African Union's Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) "On the Wings of Innovation" was adopted by Heads of State. 

"The strategy is part of the long-term people centered AU Agenda 2063 which is underpinned by science, technology and innovation as multi-function tools and enablers for achieving continental development goals," writes AUC Commissioner Dr Martial De-Paul Ikounga in the STISA-2024 Foreword.

Africa and the EU in Partnership

Taking advantage from this regional framework, a strategic partnership between the two continents of Africa and the European Union is institutionalised in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), adopted at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007.

The JAES provides an overarching long-term framework for Africa-EU relations. 

Current activities are characterised by the idea of transforming relations from a donor-recepient structure to mutual partnership. 

Evolving Priorities

The first and second action plans of the JAES, spanning the period 2008-2013, specified concrete proposals that were structured along eight Africa-EU specific areas for cooperation:

  1. Peace and Security 

  2. Democratic Governance and Human Rights 

  3. Trade, Regional Integration and Infrastructure 

  4. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 

  5. Energy 

  6. Climate Change and Environment 

  7. Migration, Mobility and Employment 

  8. Science, Information Society and Space 

Following the fourth EU-Africa Summit held in Brussels, in April 2014, Heads of State of Africa and the EU, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, and the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission agreed that, for the 2014-2017 period, implementation of the JAES will focus on five priority areas:

  1. Peace and Security

  2. Democratic Governance and Human Rights 

  3. Human Development

  4. Sustainable and Inclusive Development and Growth and Continental Integration

  5. Global and Emerging Issues

STI Policy Dialogue ("HLPD")

“HLPD” is short for EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue Platform on Science, Technology and Innovation. HLPD is a platform for discussions on research and innovation policy between senior officials from African and European countries, mandated with formulating and implementing long-term priorities to strengthen bi-regional STI cooperation. The HLPD is an element of the JAES.

HLPD is co-chaired on the European side by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation and on the African side by the Congo (as former chair of the African Union’s African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology AMCOST).

The HLPD Bureau is a component of HLPD which exists to provide technical and logistic support and to take forward HLPD decisions.

Recent meetings of the Bureau, for example, have focussed on implementing the HLPD decision to build an EU-Africa STI partnership around food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (FNSSA).

To this end an Expert Working Group, comprising 5 experts from Africa and 5 from Europe, was charged by the Bureau to come up with a roadmap on FNSSA for EU-Africa cooperation.

These experts met routinely with the HLPD Bureau to develop the content, consult with external stakeholders, and agree on steps to its completion.

Research and Innovation Newsletters of the European Union Delegation to African Union

From 2012 to 2016 Stéphane Hogan (@StephaneHogan) was the EU Science Counsellor to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Across 23 issues Europe-Africa Research & Innovation News highlighted key developments in bi-regional STI cooperation. 

More newsletters on EU-Africa STI cooperation (2008-2016) 

Role of CAAST-Net Plus 

One of the key tasks of CAAST-Net Plus is supporting the informal and formal bi-regional dialogue processes between European and sub-Saharan-African policy-makers. This assures engagement with stakeholder groups, such as the science community, the private sector and civil society. 

Policy Brief: Lessons Learned from Building Africa-EU Research and Innovation Partnerships for Global Challenges

Policy Brief: Bringing Public and Private Sector Actors Closer Together in the Africa-EU Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Our Story













CAAST-Net Plus partners implement a broad range of policy-related activities:

  • We provide analytical evidence.
  • We link up STI stakeholder communities from Africa and Europe. 
  • We facilitate the development of policy recommendations for uptake.
  • We support a range of national, sub-regional, regional, bi-regional and global STI policy events.

CAAST-Net Plus aims and results

CAAST-Net Plus updates from our policy environment

Key policy papers

Twitter: @CAAST_Net_Plus

Learn More

For more policy background, strategic projects, and events and outputs within Africa-EU research and innovation, go to Africa and Europe in Partnership.

This content was produced by *Research Africa for CAAST-Net Plus. To report an error, write to To learn more about us, go to ​

Disclaimer: CAAST-Net Plus is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n0 311806. This document reflects only the authors’ views and the European Union cannot be held liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

CAAST-Net Plus is funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement 311806
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