As a conclusion of the 6th Union – African Union Summit 2022 in February 2022, the following context was stressed:
- New prospects and challenges are emerging from economic, political, social, technological, demographic, climate and environmental changes.
- The Summit took place in a very challenging context with Africa hit very hard by the pandemic and exposed disparities between health systems, economic recovery, and crucially vaccine manufacturing capacity
- The impact starts to trickle down: rising food prices, rising fuel prices, which impact both Europe and Africa. Therefore, it is urgent to deliver on Summit commitments.
The Summit Joint Declarion highlighted the following:
- A prosperous and sustainable Africa and Europe.
- A renewed and enhanced peace and security cooperation,
- An enhanced and reciprocal partnership for migration and mobility,
- A commitment to multilateralism
A joint communication was released titled “Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa” which outlined the following:
- The Global Gateway Africa–Europe Investment Package (€150 billion in investments) is a Political package but with concrete and clear orientations that responds to Africa’s ambitions and building it’s strategic autonomy. Part of Global Gateway, the EU’s new Strategy is to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. With the aim of supporting Africa for a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation.
- The Investment Package works through a series of concrete interventions and flagship programmes, stemming from Budget support, Projects, Technical assistance and Innovative financing (blending & guarantees) mainly at national and regional level with articulation at continental level. The Partners National authorities, Local authorities, Regional bodies, Multilateral Organisations, Financial institutions, Private Sector, Civil Society. Additionally, it will include accompanying dialogue platforms at different levels (existing thematic platforms, Europe-Africa Business Forum, AEF…). Specifically, the EU Delegations will be the first points of contact for public and private African partners, as “National Team Europe Platforms”. The EU is stressing a ‘Team Europe’ approach, defined by collective efforts and coordination amongst Members States.
The African higher education sector has opportunities to support an acceleration of Africa’s transition to an innovation-led, scientific knowledge-based economy, to the benefit of sustainable development and socio-economic transformation. It provides human capital, offering both a boost to the labour market and equipping the young people with the necessary skills to thrive in a changing world. Th Summit declaration has stressed this, paying particular attention to the most innovative fields, like digital economy, as well as to quality inclusive education and training, which are required to shape a modern agenda that is smart, green, comprehensive, inclusive and driven by values.
„Green and digital transitions“ requiring „future-proof education, research and innovation, in close cooperation with the related industries and stakeholders“ are needed for addressing significant disparities across Africa. The Summit stresses partnerships for skills and an effective and relevant skills development to meet emerging needs and shape a modern agenda that is smart, green, comprehensive, inclusive and driven by values. The innovation and technological potential of universities needs to be put at work to tackle related societal challenges; Excellent education, research and innovation environments are an enabler for developing high-level skills, creating breakthrough knowledge and translating it into practical applications. Additionally, African Higher Education sector can leverage on EU Programmes and initiatives (Erasmus+, Horizon Europe, MSCA, ARISE, Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme, HAQAA) and Member State Programmes, existing networks and Centres of Excellence: at regional and continental level and National programmes.