German-African Cooperation in Education and Research Africa Days of the BMBF

German-African Cooperation in Education and Research Africa Days of the BMBF

16-18 March 2014. Berlin, Germany. German-African Cooperation in Education and Research Africa Days of the BMBF.

Approximately 700 experts from Germany and Africa discussed the further development of cooperation in education and research at this event organized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The discussion focused on topics such as environment, bioeconomy, health, resources management, social and political transformation processes as well as the cross-cutting topic of innovation. At the closing event, the German and African experts presented their recommendations to Federal Minister Johanna Wanka, who said:

“We are following up on successful cooperation and drafting the first Africa Strategy for

Education and Research. We want to address research issues jointly and at the same time promote sustainable development and innovation in African countries. This includes the development of research capacities and support for young researchers as well as the introduction of practically oriented elements in African education and training systems. The recommendations provide additional inspiration which we will gladly take into account when organizing our future cooperation.”

Professor Horst Köhler emphasized in his keynote speech the inability to talk about Africa, and the geopolitical importance of the African continent:

“The inability to talk about Africa must not leave us speechless. On the contrary, we

must determinedly set out on new pathways of dialogue and cooperation. What we need in our relations with Africa is a new modesty in what we say and a new passion in what we do. We need a change of culture in our Africa policy which acknowledges the historic changes currently taking place on this continent and which finally takes Africa’s global importance seriously. Such a change of culture makes great demands on us: It requires a self-critical attitude, an ability to differentiate, patience, a little bit of courage – and the political will to ensure that action reflects this change of attitude.”

The African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, stressed in his speech that support for Africa is based on Africa’s own self-articulated priorities and home-grown framework solutions to engender Africa’s social and economic development. 

“The Commission of the African Union appreciates the German support strategy that

has taken into account Africa’s own homegrown frameworks in the areas of education and research as well as in science, technology and innovation. Thus the support will help to advance the key initiatives expressed in the AU strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (STISA-2024), the Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education for Africa including the Pan African University, as well as Post 2015 Agenda. This is a welcome departure from erstwhile practice by international agencies and donor countries to develop and support parallel programmes that do not optimally contribute to Africa’s collective vision of peace, prosperity and integration.”

Source: 18 March 2014. Press Release.

In the context of a specialist workshop on the first day German and African experts discussed the projects which receive funding under the BMBF funding scheme related to the bio-economy:

  1. Trans-SEC – Innovating pro-poor Strategies to safeguard Food Security using Technology and Knowledge Transfer 
  2. UrbanFoodPlus – African-German partnership to enhance resource use efficiency in urban and peri-urban agriculture for improved food security in West African cities 
  3. BiomassWeb – Improving Food Security in Africa through Increased System Productivity of Biomass-based Webs 
  4. RELOAD – Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value


  5. HORTINLEA – Horticultural Innovations and Learning for Improved Nutrition and Livelihood in East Africa 
  6. Wetlands in East Africa: reconciling future food production with environmental protection
January 20, 2014. Berlin, Germany. 3rd AGCO Africa Summit. Leading international experts discussed solutions for the development of African Agriculture.


The Bioeconomy Strategy.
© Department of Science and Technology 2013.
48 pages

The Department of Science and Technology of South Africa, in consultation with other relevant stakeholders, has identified three key economic sectors – agriculture, health and industry – as being the most in need of, and likely to benefit from key levers to drive the implementation of the South African Bioeconomy Strategy.

Extract: The skills and solutions that emerge from biotechnology research need to be effectively transferred to emerging, small-scale and commercial farmers.

Related: involvement of German mid-sized companies in African projects:

18 March 2014. German agriculture boss endorses foreign investment in African farming.

The perception of Carl Heinrich Bruhn (founder of Amatheon Agri) used to be mostly negative about of Africa. “I came from this typical view Europeans have of Africa, that it is this continent of hunger, war and corruption.”

Other German agri-business initiatives:

  • CECAMA: CENTRE DE CONSEIL AGRICOLE MAROC-ALLEMAND (involving companies such as Rauch, Lemken)
  • Ethio-German Agricultural Training Center (ATC): (Ethiopia) located in Kulumsa, about 170 km south-east of Addis Ababa
  • VDMA: the German Engineering Federation (Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya): this partnership between UNIDO and VDMA focuses on developing and extending the skill-base necessary for the provision, acquisition and effective deployment of technology and methodology in agribusiness value chains, with particular emphasis on the establishment of operational and capacity-building maintenance centres of excellence in Africa.
  • PSDA: Private Sector Development of Agriculture (Kenya)
  1. 31st March 2014. Brussels Engaging SME’s in EU-Africa Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Research Partnerships (co-organised by PAEPARD)
  2. 31 March – 1 April 2014. Brussels. The 5th EU-Africa Business Forum
  3. 1 April 2014: Brussels. Round table on the role of and conditions for private sector engagement in the food and nutrition security research and innovation partnership. The EABF innovation platform is however restricted to 50 invited persons.
  4. 1 April 2014. Brussels. Forum for the Future of Agriculture FFA2014
  5. 28 to 29 April 2014. Vienna. Africa agribusiness investment forum
  6. 14-18 JULY 2014. Nairobi. FIN4AG CONFERENCE

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