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 Ababa/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. In addition to the cooperation with Ethiopia, the existing relations with Tunisia and Senegal as well as the South African regions of the Western Cape and Gauteng are to be continued and intensified in a targeted manner. In accordance with 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
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 create an overview of the networks and activities of Bavarian institutions in science and research on the African continent. Central to the WKS is the initiation of joint cooperation projects in science, research and innovation projects. In addition to Ethiopia, Tunisia, Senegal and the South African regions of the Western Cape and Gauteng, opportunities for cooperation with other African countries are also regularly checked for potential new partnerships. The WKS Bavaria-Africa advises on suitable European and German 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 course of the EU and the African Union: Stronger cooperation between the European Union and Africa in science, research and innovation, e.g. linked to the European Green Deal and the African Union 2063 Agenda.
As researchers, companies and institutions from African countries are eligible stakeholders from so-called “third countries” in the European Framework Programme for Research & Innovation Horizon Europe, the WKS offers targeted capacity-building courses for African and Bavarian institutions in which the rules for participation in EU programmes and the administrative project management of research projects trained Horizon Europe has a strong focus on international cooperation with non-European and thus also African partners. This means that partner institutions of African countries can usually be funded in the frame of European projects, unless otherwise stated in the call for proposal. With its research and innovation projects, 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, but also for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and communal partners – 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 BayIntAn programme, 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
- BayFOR participates as a management partner in the EU-funded project UPSCALE, which aims at promoting the ecological push-pull cultivation method in East Africa and scaling it up from cereals to other crops and systems. UPSCALE builds on a network with partners in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
- In addition, the Regional Leaders Summit (RLS) has already successfully launched multilateral projects with the South African region of Western Cape region (e.g. the Global Aerospace Campus or the Lightweight, Strong Impact: Small Satellites for Telecommunication and Earth Observation project), which can be linked also to future activities of the WKS Bavaria-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 the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich) in project management and dissemination activities. Therefore, it has long-standing contacts with scientific institutions and research institutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
- At the same time, BayFOR was also involved in the circum-Mediterranean research cluster CLIWASEC via the CLIMB research project, in which 44 institutions cooperated on the effects of climate change on water and security in Southern Europe and neighboring countries. In addition, networks were developed with institutions and case study sites in the Maghreb as well as in Niger, Sudan and Ethiopia.
- BayFOR 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.