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Wednesday, September 21 • 9:00am - 11:30am
(REF 21088 - Hybrid) The AU-EU Innovation agenda: making it happen - Convened by the European Commission

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This event will take place at Flanders House New York and participation is possible in person and online. In person participation requires a separate registration, which is accessible by completing the form above.

Introduction: background, policy dimension & rationale of the Session

The African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Innovation Agenda is a joint ongoing effort aiming to translate research & innovation (R&I) endeavours into tangible businesses, services and jobs in Africa and in Europe. It is a flagship initiative of the EU “Global Gateway Africa – Europe Investment Package” that was announced at the 6th EU-AU Summit in February 2022, providing an outline of actions to be taken in partnership with Africa to “boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport and strengthen health, education and research systems”.
For it to deliver the envisaged positive impact on the ground, the work of the AU-EU Innovation Agenda will involve all stakeholders of the innovation landscape, including not only R&I and higher education institutions but also private businesses such as start-ups, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations. This Agenda proposes specific objectives with short-, medium- and long-term actions for all four priority areas of the AU-EU cooperation in STI, namely (i) Public Health, (ii) Green Transition, and (iii) Innovation and Technology and (iv) Capacities for Science.

Following a positive reception of the working document of the AU-EU Innovation Agenda at a Senior Official Meeting of the AU-EU High-Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in January 2022, the work of the Innovation Agenda was also acknowledged in the final declaration of the 6th EU-AU Summit: A Joint Vision for 2030.

To ensure that this Agenda will be as pertinent as possible to societal issues, the year 2022 is dedicated to a stakeholder consultation process, which aims to gather feedback and input from citizens and organisations on the working document of this Innovation Agenda.

As part of this continued stakeholder dialogue, the European Commission wishes to propose a dedicated session within the Science Summit that will take place along the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 77, to be co-organised with the African Union Commission, fostering the participation of several international organisations from the International Development/Cooperation and Financing sector, as per the objectives outlined below.

Objectives of the Session:
  • To raise awareness on the AU-EU Innovation Agenda (i.e. policy background, rationale, objectives and foreseen actions) especially among International Development/Cooperation and Financing organisations, which will be expected to provide their viewpoint on the work of the Agenda;
  • Accordingly, to benefit from the feedback of International Development/Cooperation and Financing institutions on the objectives and actions foreseen by the working document of the AU-EU Innovation Agenda;
  • To trigger a durable, forward-looking, result-oriented dialogue with Development/Cooperation and Financing actors, aiming to engage them, on a case-by-case basis, in the work of the AU-EU Innovation Agenda by identifying possible synergies between their existing and prospective programmes and foreseen actions of the Innovation Agenda.

Draft Programme (More speakers will be added as they are confirmed):

1. Welcoming words by Mr John Baekelmans (Technology Counsellor, Flanders House New York & Flanders Investment & Trade) and by the Session Moderator, Dr Florent Bernard (EU Science Counsellor to the USA)

2. Opening address by Ms Maria Cristina Russo (European Commission, DG Research & Innovation)

3. Section 1: The AU-EU Innovation Agenda
by Mr Lukovi Seke (AUDA-NEPAD) & Dr Vincenzo Lorusso (European Commission, DG Research & Innovation)

4. Section 2: Mapping of Projects from the AU-EU R&I Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and
Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA)
, by Dr Vincenzo Lorusso (European Commission, DG Research & Innovation)

5. Section 3: Roundtable with Development Banks, International Cooperation and Financial Institutions. Confirmed contributions by:
- Dr Taffere Tesfachew (UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries);
- Ms Brennan Van Dyke (UNEP);
- Dr Ismahane Elouafi (UN FAO);
- Mr Owen Shumba (UNDP)
- Dr Martha Phiri (African Development Bank);
- Mr Bunmi Adekore (Breakthrough Energy);
...And other organisations to be confirmed shortly.

6. Questions & Answers

7. Closing remarks by Ms Maria Cristina Russo (European Commission, DG Research & Innovation)

avatar for Florent Bernard

Florent Bernard

Science Counsellor, European Union Delegation to the USA
Dr. Florent Bernard is the Science Counsellor for Research and Innovation at the European Union Delegation to the United States in Washington, DC. He assists in the strengthening of research ties between the United States and the European Union at all levels, from individual researchers... Read More →

avatar for Christopher Burns

Christopher Burns

Chief Digital Development Officer (CDDO) and Director for the Technology Division within the Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub, USAID
Christopher Burns is the Chief Digital Development Officer (CDDO) for USAID and the Director for the Technology Division within the Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub.In the CDDO role, he coordinates and tracks programmatic Digital Development investments across the Agency... Read More →
avatar for Bunmi Adekore

Bunmi Adekore

General Partner, Emerging markets, Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Bunmi has been a serial entrepreneur for more than a decade, focused on hardware manufacturing enterprises in clean-tech, semiconductor engineering and biotechnology. Recently, he has worked on developing power solutions in sub-Saharan Africa.Bunmi has made pioneering contributions... Read More →
avatar for Maria Cristina Russo

Maria Cristina Russo

Director for Global Approach & International Cooperation in Research & Innovation, European Commission
Maria Cristina Russo is Director for Global Approach & International Cooperation in R&I in DG Research and Innovation with responsibility for developing and implementing the EU international strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation and the international dimension... Read More →
avatar for Vincenzo Lorusso

Vincenzo Lorusso

Policy Officer, European Commission
Vincenzo Lorusso works as a Policy Officer at the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation (DG RTD), where he is in charge of Research and Innovation cooperation with Africa and, bilaterally, with ASEAN countries. Before joining the Commission, Vincenzo worked for eight years... Read More →
avatar for Lukovi Seke

Lukovi Seke

Programme Officer: Science and Technology & ASTII Phase 4 (2021-2025), AUDA-NEPAD
Member of the Task Force of the Ad-hoc AU-EU Innovation Agenda Working Group of the  AU-EU High-Level Policy Dialogue Bureau on Science, Technology and Innovation, Lukovi’s 24-year professional experience is mixed with a 15-year expertise in strengthening capacities of almost... Read More →
avatar for Ismahane Elouafi

Ismahane Elouafi

Chief Scientist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Ms Ismahane Elouafi is Chief Scientist of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and part of FAO’s core leadership structure. With nearly two decades of experience in agricultural research and development in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Ms Elouafi... Read More →
avatar for Martha Phiri

Martha Phiri

Director, Human Capital, Youth and skills development, African Development Bank
Dr Martha Phiri is an economist and development practitioner with over 25 years’ experience in development planning and financing. She is currently working as Director, Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank. She also oversees public health and... Read More →
avatar for John Baekelmans

John Baekelmans

Science and Technology Counselor Americas, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT)
John Baekelmans is Science & Technology Attaché with a primary focus on health & life sciences. He leads trade projects supporting Flemish companies expanding into the Americas and drives foreign direct investments of American companies into Flanders, Belgium.Before Flanders Investment... Read More →
avatar for Marco Kamiya

Marco Kamiya

Chief, Division of Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence Strategies, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Marco Kamiya is Chief of the Division of Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence Strategies at UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The Division works on frontier technologies, innovation ecosystems, and digital transformation, with a portfolio... Read More →
avatar for Taffere Tesfachew

Taffere Tesfachew

Acting Managing Director, UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries
Taffere Tesfachew, PhD is currently the Acting Managing Director of the United Nations Technology Bank for the Least developed Countries. Until December 2021, he was a Senior Advisor at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI). Prior to joining the TBI, he was a staff member... Read More →
avatar for Renee Lafitte

Renee Lafitte

Deputy Director, Crops Research and Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Renee Lafitte is Deputy Director for R&D in Agricultural Development. She has a background in crop physiology, agronomy, and agro-ecology, with experience in technology discovery and product development for both intensive agriculture and resource-limited cropping systems. Prior to... Read More →
avatar for Owen Shumba

Owen Shumba

Team Leader & Regional Advisor for East and Southern Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Owen is a livelihoods/local economic recovery expert with 26 years’ experience working with rural/urban communities (including refugees, Internally Displaced People & Migrants) local and national governments on poverty issues, jobs and livelihoods, economic recovery, natural resources... Read More →

Wednesday September 21, 2022 9:00am - 11:30am EDT
  Innovation, Development