Within the context of developing the socio-economic & research potential of the African ICT (Information Communication Technologies) & STI (Science, Technology and Innovation ) landscape, the Africa-EU Summit in Lisbon (December 2007) agreed the 8th Africa - EU Strategic Partnership (Science, Information Society, Space) and the process to shortlist flagship projects and agree funding mechanisms commenced.
This provides a political mandate based on mutually agreed priorities, for the European Commission (EC), African Union Commission (AUC), European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Research Community, Private Sector, Civil Society and NGOs, Local Authorities, International Financing Institutions, International Donor Organisations & Foundations to collaborate in the areas of Science, Information Society and Space.
It provides a platform for promoting national and regional ICT policies and strengthening the regulatory framework in Africa based on international good practices. It also contributes to harmonising ICT initiatives, including infrastructure connectivity and interoperability. It supports regional research and education networks including interconnections to the GEANT-2 network.
It promotes the use of ICTs of high societal impact in Africa, for example in the areas of e-health, e-government and e-learning, as well as enhancing ICT human resources, e-skills and digital literacy.
It supports the application of Science, Technology and Innovation [STI] to achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for example, through promoting integrated health research strategies and improving national capacities in areas such as health management information systems, epidemiological surveys and clinical and operational research.
It provides an important opportunity to enhance cooperation between African Regional Economic Communities [RECs] on mainstreaming Science, Technology and Innovation for socio-economic development and competitiveness - and strengthens the capacities of RECs.
It helps develop harmonised Science,Technology and Innovation [STI] policies in Africa, reinforces the importance of STI in education and training and promotes the participation of the African research community in EU programmes for research and technological development.
Projects under the 8th Partnership will help bridge both scientific and digital divides, strengthening Africa's base in the areas of Science and technology and enhancing the use of ICTs and space applications as enablers for growth and socio-economic development.