The Bavarian state government is intensifying its cooperation with Africa. For this reason, Prime Minister Dr Markus Söder opened the Bavarian Africa Office in Addis Abeba/Ethiopia on 12 April 2019 as the point of contact and hub for cooperation with Ethiopia and the other African countries. The state government of Bavaria intends to develop long-term partnerships throughout Africa to support African countries with their efforts towards sustainable development and stronger autonomy. Ethiopia is to become a model country for Bavaria's new cooperation with Africa. In addition, the existing relations with the Bavarian partner countries Tunisia and Senegal, as well as with the South African regions of Western Cape and Gauteng are to be continued and expanded. In accordance with the Bavarian core competencies, the future scientific cooperation will focus on:
- Economic development
- Science diplomacy, research, education and training
- Agriculture and nutrition
- Environment and natural resources
- Management and administration
- Frugal innovation
Objectives of WKS Bavaria-Africa support both Bavarian and European policies
As part of its Africa strategy, the Bavarian state government launched the Bavaria-Africa Scientific Coordination Office (WKS), which is based in BayFOR, in July 2020. The main objective of the WKS Bavaria-Africa is to initiate joint research and innovation projects with African and Bavarian participants. The WKS Bavaria-Africa advises on suitable (EU) funding instruments and facilitates scientific staff exchanges by granting mobility allowances to Bavarian stakeholders in the field of research and innovation. It thereby also supports the EU's policy: Stronger cooperation between the European Union and Africa, with focus on research activities, a.o. linked to the European Green Deal and the African Union 2063 Agenda. Hence, WKS Bayern-Africa is supporting researchers, companies and institutions from African countries to participate in EU funded research and innovation projects of Horizon Europe, the European framework programme for research and innovation from 2021-2027, wherein international cooperation will be a major focus. In this way, the European Union makes an important contribution to the United Nations' sustainability goals, to which all European Member States are committed.
BayFOR offers ideal conditions for WKS Bavaria-Africa
BayFOR as a central point of contact in Bavaria – especially for universities and universities of applied sciences – offers ideal conditions to intensify the cooperation with African countries due to its long-term experience in supporting research and innovation projects. The WKS Bavaria-Africa can build on already established extensive networks with various African stakeholders, to be able to provide assistance and advice for the preparation of project proposals and to foster networks in Africa, Europe and Bavaria. Some examples of current and past activities:
- As part of the Bavarian funding programme for initiating international research cooperation (BayIntAn), for which BayFOR acts as the project administrator on behalf of the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts, staff exchanges between Bavarian universities and universities of applied sciences and stakeholders from the following African countries have already been carried out:
- Burkina Faso
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- South Africa
- In addition, the first multilateral research projects already exist with the South African Western Cape region via the RLS summit with WKS Bavaria-Québec/Bavaria-Alberta/RLS Sciences, which can be linked to.
- BayFOR participates as a management partner in the UPSCALE project, that aims at promoting the ecological Push-Pull cultivation method in East Africa and scaling it up from cereals to other crops and systems.
The project builds on a network with partners in the following African countries:
- South Africa
- In the FP7 research project CLIMB (Climate Induced Changes on the Hydrology of Mediterranean Basins), a project network with 19 European and international institutions, BayFOR supported the coordinator at Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in project management and dissemination activities. Therefore, it has long-standing contacts with scientific institutions and research institutions in Egypt (Zagazig University) and Tunisia (Centre de Recherche et des Technologies des Eaux).
- BayFOR has also participated in various scientific conferences in Africa, for example as part of the Steering Committee at the International Water Technology Conference (IWTC) in Alexandria/Egypt or at the NATO PLC conference (Science for Peace and Security) in Marrakech/Morocco.