AfriConEU, the groundbreaking project aimed at fostering innovation and collaboration between Africa and Europe, made a significant impact at the recent AU-EU Innovation Festival held in Cape Town on June 15th, 2023. The project’s participation included a booth at the exhibition, where attendees could engage with AfriConEU members, learn more about the initiative, and explore its potential for driving sustainable development across both continents.
The AfriConEU booth at the exhibition served as a central hub of information, buzzing with conversations, demonstrations, and networking opportunities. Attendees were warmly welcomed by the project’s representatives, Marilena Maragkou, Dissemination Manager of AfriConEU, from the organization Youthmakers Hub; Peace Odili from Emerging Communities Africa, Nigeria; and Patience Karua from Buni Innovation Hub, Tanzania. Their presence further amplified the diverse perspectives and expertise that AfriConEU brings.
The AU-EU Innovation Festival, known for its prestigious lineup of speakers and thought leaders, offered a platform for key discussions and insights on the future of collaboration, technology, and entrepreneurship.
The AU-EU Innovation Festival witnessed the presence of esteemed high-profile policy makers who shared their vision and commitment to fostering innovation. Among the notable attendees was Maria Cristina Russo, representing the European Commission. Emphasizing the importance of inclusivity, Russo stated, “We want to make sure that youth and women have a strong involvement in the joint agenda of AU & EU. Women-led and youth-led innovations are the priority categories for the framework of the Innovation Agenda.”
Another influential figure present at the event was H.E. Sandra Kramer, who expressed the significance of mutual learning and connection. Kramer highlighted the role of the EiA platform, saying, “We need to learn from each other. We need to listen. It is all about connecting, and the EiA platform will help you.”
Daan Dutoit, Deputy Director-General: of International Cooperation and Resources at the South African Department of Science and Innovation, in his address, emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities for growth and ensuring that science and innovation are recognized as potent instruments. He assured the audience of continued collaboration and celebration of innovation, stating, “We will continue to grab growth opportunities; we will make sure Science & Innovation truly comes as a potential instrument. We will continue to work with you & ensure that we always celebrate Innovation.”
Dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of the Department of Higher Education & Training, Science & Innovation, contributed to the event by highlighting the Innovation Agenda’s aim to promote increased synergies and collaboration across the private sector, public sector, and civil societies. He affirmed in his statement that “The Innovation Agenda promotes increased synergies and collaboration between the private sector, public sector, and civil societies.”
These high-profile policymakers’ presence and active participation at the AU-EU Innovation Festival underscored their dedication to advancing innovation, empowering women and youth, and fostering collaborative efforts across sectors.
These esteemed speakers, alongside various other experts and visionaries, created an inspiring and dynamic atmosphere throughout the festival. AfriConEU’s participation at the event provided a valuable opportunity for project representatives and attendees to engage in meaningful discussions, share insights, and foster collaborations that can shape the future of innovation in Africa and Europe.
As the AU-EU Innovation Festival ended, the AfriConEU project left an indelible mark on attendees, inspiring them to explore the possibilities of collaboration, innovation, and sustainable development between Africa and Europe. With its dedication to fostering partnerships and driving impactful change, AfriConEU continues to pave the way for a brighter future, where the untapped potential of both continents can be harnessed for the benefit of all.
To learn more about AfriConEU and its ongoing initiatives, please visit their website at www.africoneu.com.