AfNWA was presented during the opening Plenary of the Africa-EU Science and Innovation Summit in June 2021. The event was attended by nearly 200 people. This event and others are a great opportunity grow the membership of AfNWA.
The event included 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. Regarding regulation, the meeting will consider how emerging regulations in data protection, medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics, and other areas do not become barriers to science and innovation cooperation between Africa and the European Union. The Summit considered the following:
- Successful models that could be brought to sufficient scale through joint EU-African investments;
- Lessons learned from the Covid pandemic on vulnerabilities created by ‘vaccine nationalism’ and steps to create an African indigenous capacity to develop and manufacture vaccine and other pandemic tools;
- How to incentive African governments to invest in R&D and realise their collective commitment to meet the aspirational target of investing 1 per cent of GDP in R&D – especially given stressors on national spending;
- How to build research ‘demand’ among African governments;
- Structural needs, such as the limited grouping of research councils and philanthropic organisations in Africa that award competitive grants and fellowships, or the lack of an ERC equivalent to cultivate careers and mobility.