Draft of JAES Action Plan: Science, Information Society and Space Partnership

AU and EU The draft of the JAES Action Plan 2011-2013 for the Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space as communicated in the report of the 11th meeting of the Joint AUC-EC Task Force (JTF) reads

I. Overall Objectives

This Partnership interlinks three Priorities for development policy, which singly and in conjunction with one another can leverage faster socio-economic development in Africa: science, information society and space applications. By strengthening their cooperation to produce knowledge-based societies and economies, Africa and the EU recognise that:
•    the development of science, technology and innovation, as well as the spreading of the digital era to all sections of society are key motors of socio-economic growth and sustainable development;
• competitiveness in the world economy rests increasingly on knowledge and application of modern technologies and:
•    attainment of the MDGs requires a general effort to raise S&T capacities in Africa and enable widespread use of ICTs and related services.

In that respect, this Partnership is cross-cutting in nature, contributing to the attainment of all other development objectives. For optimal effectiveness, there should therefore be close coordination with other JAES Partnerships (particularly infrastructure, climate change Migration Mobility and Employment(MME) and MDGs); In addition, clear articulation with the formal institutional apparatus governing EU-Africa relations should be developed.

II. Specific initiatives and activities of Action Plan 2011-2013 by priority area

PRIORITY ACTION 1: S&T capacity building for the implementation of Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA)

Objectives: To strengthen African Capacities in the area of science and technology, in order to enhance the use of science and technology and to improve S&T cooperation.

Expected outcomes
•    Strengthened African S&T capacities and EU capacities for working with Africa to enhance coherence of cooperation
•    Improved training, and hence increase the quality and number of African and EU scientists, technicians and engineers
•    Improved training and exchange programmes for African and EU scientists, technicians and engineers
•    The mainstreaming of S&T into REC’s sectoral programmes and projects, including those in EDF RIPs
•    Improved pan-African infrastructure and facilities for R&D
•    The active pursuing of AU-EU high-level policy dialogue
•    Enhanced S&T cooperation at all levels (bilateral, bi-regional, bi-continental, REC- level) in key areas of the CPA
•    Enhanced innovation capability of African and European SMEs
•    Development of STI evidence–based AU EU policy making, including support to the Africa STI observatory Activities
• Awareness-raising at all levels (policy makers/government; parliament; local stakeholders/communities; private sector; civil society) on the opportunities for S&T to contribute to national/regional/pan-African development and to respond to major challenges that both Africa and Europe are faced with
• Consolidate and implementnational/regional/pan-African S&T policies consistent with regional or continental social and economic development agendas. This will include supporting the AU objective of designing a multi-annual African Research Framework, inter alia by implementing the African Research Grants Initiative, as well as providing the AUC with the requisite experience and management capacity
•    Enhance EU (Commission and Member States) cooperation, in partnership with RECs (through a well-defined framework with the AU) on mainstreaming science and technology for socio-economic sustainable development and support the strengthening of their capacities in this area
•    Complete formulation of the Science and Technology for the development of African Small and Medium Enterprises and Business Incubators network Lighthouse project and seek its financing by mobilizing further European (EC; Member States; Private sector and Local authorities) and African national, regional and continental financial instruments, the Private Sector, NGOs and any other interested stakeholder organisations
•    Explore all possibilities for Africa to support the deployment of regional, global and high quality research infrastructures
•    Set up an adequate mechanism to promote an African brain-gain programme •    Cooperate in capacity building in R&D and R&D policy in Africa and the EU
•    Stimulate and support collaborative research in the areas of the CPA. This will be done by exploiting opportunities of new programmes focused on developing bi-regional funding frameworks
•    The S&T related activities will be implemented in line with the CPA with a focus on the grand challenges Africa and Europe are faced with. Priority will be given to joint
•    Pursue the EUC–AUC Exchange programme, extend it to Member States and include RECs, following the development of an exchange strategy by the AUC-EC
•    Seek active coordination and cooperation with university related activities in order to improve the value of S&T within national policies including budget allocation to science and research
•    Ensure coordination with the proposed new high-level AU-EU science and technology policy dialogue

Actors

  • AU Commission/NEPAD; RECs; African States; AfDB and associated Economic Blocs
  • European Commission; EIB; EU Member States and associated economic regions
  • Private Sector; universities; science and technology institutions and associated research centers
  • International Finance Institutions
  • UNESCO, UNECA and other UN agencies

Finance

  • Dedicated financing tools
  • 10th EDF; DCI; FP 7; ENPI; EIB; AfDB
  • Bilateral contributions from EU and AU Member States, from the RECs and the European regions and from local authorities
  • Multilateral cooperation between MS, eg. a grouping of African and European
  • MS, who initiate and finance joint projects of mutual interest
  • Private Sector and Foundations that support R&D

PRIORITY ACTION 2: Support the development of an inclusive information society in Africa

Objectives: Complement and develop new strategies to support investments made on ICT infrastructures deployment, as planned in the EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructures. This will be done by exploiting synergies between the EU 2020 Digital Agenda and the AU ICT development frameworks as well as with support to capacity- building initiatives for mass diffusion of ICTs and related services considered as key enablers for poverty reduction, economic growth, social development and regional integration

Expected Outcomes
• A successful implementation of the AU ICT development frameworks including ARAPKE (the African Regional Action Plan for the Knowledge Economy), the Reference Framework for ICT Policy Harmonization and the 2010 Addis Ababa AU Summit Declaration on ICT for Africa’s development
• A more inclusive and affordable access to ICT applications and services and widespread use of ICTs (e.g. the internet and mobile applications), across all socio- economic sectors in order to fast-track the MDGs objectives, notably in health (e.g. use of telemedicine and the creation of bio-data banks) and the education sector
• Stronger cooperation regarding the digital economy and the reduction of the digital divide, including private sector, international financial institutions and UN agencies
•    A more competitive African economy through ICT uptake and innovation
•    Consultation on African-EU positions and approaches in international and regional ICT fora to enhance mutual understanding
•    Mutual beneficial economic collaboration for AU-EU industries and SMEs involved in ICTs

Activities
•    Set up an AUC-EC Information Society Dialogue, in partnership with Member States, addressing all ICT-related cooperation issues in a comprehensive and integrated way, with the view to better bridge policies, programmes and practices related to the implementation of the EU 2020 Digital Agenda and AU ICT development frameworks, and to coordinate EU and African positions in global ICT fora. These can include e.g. enhancement of digital literacy, skills and inclusion, skills for research and technological development, regulatory issues, infrastructure deployment with promotion of the use of e-applications in various sectors of governance.

•    Establish a multi-stakeholders implementation group, co-chaired by the AUC and EC and gathering ICT representatives from European and African Member States, RECs, research community, private sector, civil society and NGOs, international financial institutions and international organizations in order to facilitate cooperation and better coordination of national and regional programmes, as well as to identify concrete initiatives of mutual interests in support of EU and AU priorities and mobilize funds accordingly.

The implementation group will notably focus on the following activities :
o Build on the current Harmonisation of ICT Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa (HIPSSA) initiative to ensure the full participation of African non ACP member states and to further support implementation of ICT regulatory and policy reforms and regional harmonization in view of creating the right enabling environment to foster private investment and market development while ensuring affordable service costs and the widest diffusion of ICTs and e- services
o Promote the diffusion and sharing of ICT best practices and successful public- private partnerships, notably by establishing close interaction with the EU-
o Design appropriate e-skills and digital literacy initiatives, supporting the development of local digital content and applications of high socio-economic impact, notably in the fields of health and education in order to fast-track attainment of the MDGs
o Upgrade ICT research cooperation, local ICT innovation and entrepreneurship, exploiting in particular the potential of mobile and fixed wireless technologies as well as promoting ICT business incubators and living labs, including notably the Africa Incubators Network and the European Network of Living Labs
Promote cooperation in Research and Education Networking by exploiting interconnection between the European GEANT network and established African regional networks and supporting the development of an integrated pan-African Research and Education Network.

Actors

  • AU Commission/NEP AD;
  • RECs;
  • African States, European Commission;
  • EIB;
  • EU Member States;
  • Regions Research Community Private Sector Civil Society and NGOs Local Authorities International Financing Institutions UN specialized agencies and international organizations

Finance
• Dedicated financing tools and appropriate financing sources in accordance with their respective scope and their relevance to objectives and activities concerned, their specificity and eligibility criteria, such as the 10th EDF; ENPI; DCI; EU-Africa Infrastructures Trust Fund and FP7
•    Bilateral contributions from EU Member States and African States
•    Private sector; NGOs; local authorities; financial institutions

PRIORITY ACTION 3: Enhance Cooperation on Space Applications and technology.

1.   Objective: Enhanced  Cooperation  in  the  use  of    Space  Application and Technology to support Africa’s development

Expected outcomes
•    Strengthening and developing of Pan African Institutions
• Integration of Space-related issues fully in specific dialogues and cooperation initiatives in areas such as navigation, telecommunications and Earth observation for the environment and resource management, climate change, peace and security
• Development of specific projects (such as telemedicine), based on existing space infrastructure to achieve regional and global development goals.
Activities
• GMES and Africa : Pursue the process initiated in 2007 at the Lisbon Summit, taking into consideration the on-going deliberations and guidance on the process

Finalise, expedite and implement the Action Plan on GMES and Africa, in particular:
•    establish a secretariat to drive the GMES and Africa Initiative
•    Complete the identification of user communities and validation of
requirements
• Complete the mapping of contributing organisations, projects and
activities
•    Promote harmonisation and prioritise future actions
•    Fully integrate Earth-observation data, products and methodologies in support to policies in areas such as climate change, food security, water management, monitoring of natural resources, peace and security, etc.
•    Allocate adequate (approx €20 million) for the preparatory phase of
the GMES and Africa
•    Fully exploit synergies with relevant GMES-Europe Services and other established European missions such as Meteosat and Envisat among others
•    Take full benefit of the current programme and cooperation in earth observation, including research projects
• Identify adequate funding mechanism (FP; EDF; ENPI; African institutions etc) and kick-off priority projects

Identify, develop, finance and pursue the necessary capacity building efforts at continental, regional and national level so that the African technical and policy institutions have the necessary resources to fully exploit available Earth observation-based information and products in support of the establishment and monitoring of their policies by identifying, developing and financing the capacity building programmes.

Design and implement the appropriate coordination and governance mechanisms aiming at a long-term cooperation in the area by developing frameworks to:

  • Ensure adequate mechanism for coordination between continental, regional and national level
  • Ensure adequate representation of user communities in the governance mechanism to ensure that GMES and Africa is being developed in response to user and development needs
  • Implement adequate and inclusive monitoring mechanisms to assess impact on development policies and compliance with user requirements
  • Estimate resources needed up to 2020 based on current level of investments and priority actions reflecting the conclusions of the “GMES and Africa” Action Plan
  • Promote dissemination of information and transparency through Workshops and other suitable information mechanisms.

•    Reformulate and support the implementation of the African Geodetic Reference Frame (AFREF) to establish a foundation for space applications in Africa by providing an essential element for regional and multinational projects requiring precise positioning and geo-referencing.

•    On the basis of appropriate African initiatives, jointly develop the concept and establish a strong African institutional and policy framework for:
o Promoting the exploitation of space-based applications and technologies in support of development goals
o Assess the feasibility of an autonomous African Space Agency to assist the continent to coordinate continental space activities in an integrated and sustainable way, drawing on the expertise of the European and African Commissions, ESA, EUMETSAT and committed African States (such as Algeria,Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and others).

Actors

•    AU Commission/NEPAD; UNECA and UN agencies; African States; RECs and other existing African regional space technology organisations, agencies and facilities
•    European Commission, EU Member States
•    European agencies such as the European Space Agency (ESA) and EUMETSAT •    Research institutes and organisations
•    Private Sector, NGOs and other related organisations and Development partners.

Finance

  • Identification of dedicated financing instruments
  • The 10th EDF, ENPI, DCI.
  • EU Framework Programme for RTD
  • Complementary programmes managed by other European actors (e.g. ESA;
  • EUMETSAT)
  • Bilateral contributions from EU Member States and African States
  • Private sector”

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