AfriConEU Project’s Participation at the EU-Africa Digital Innovation Hubs Collaboration Workshop: Key Insights and Recommendations

AfriConEU Project’s Participation at the EU-Africa Digital Innovation Hubs Collaboration Workshop: Key Insights and Recommendations

This workshop, organized by the H2020 project, Digilogic, centered on strengthening the African Digital Innovation Ecosystems by evaluating all AU-EU Initiatives/projects under the Horizon Europe 2020 projects alongside the AU-EU Innovation Agenda. All current projects were analyzed, gaps identified and recommendations on next steps for sustainability and future AU-EU Projects were deliberated on.

The crux of the conversations dwelled on the following questions;

  1. What were the main pain points in collaborating with EU-African DIHs?
  2. Did our projects successfully strengthen the African DIH’s capacities? In which areas? If not, why?
  3. Are DIHs in Africa ready for smart specialization? Is the market ready? Is this the right pathway?
  4. Are the EU-Africa DIHs collaborations meant to last? How will these collaborations evolve after

the projects end? What incentives could EU-DIHs have to establish a long-term collaboration

with African peers?

  1. Can EU-Africa DIHs collaboration support the EU-AU innovation strategy across the identified key collaboration area (health, agriculture, green energy, innovation-research)? If so: how can the EU-AU support their collaboration? What would be the most effective and sustainable framework?


The projects that were a part of this workshop included; AfriConEU, DigiLogic, Enrich-in-Africa, and mAkE.


The following formed the recommendations, conclusions and agreements from the workshop;

  1. There needs to be a common understanding of what DIHs ought to be with a framework for Africa to include specifics based on value and services provided in the hopes that it will be easier to define like the DIHs in Europe
  2. There needs to be a sustainable strategy to activate interested participation in the EU and an understanding of the types of incentives to be provided to ensure the continued participation of Africans.
  3. Incentives should be highlighted when curating initiatives and calls to ensure it is part of the project from the very beginning to provide direct benefits.
  4. Identifying and understanding what priorities and value propositions mean for both continents are expedient to ensure proper alignment for sustainability throughout the project.
  5. Joint research programmes are highly recommended to allow for local contextualization, e.g., local projects and local solutions, which can be prompted and promoted by exchange programmes.
  6. Local partners must be involved in the ideation stages of projects/calls to ensure balanced representation and promotion of collaboration over competitiveness.
  7. Increased collaborative meetings amongst projects with similar target audiences be encouraged to share learnings, challenges, and opportunities for sustainability.
  8. It is important to partner with the government on the lowest level to ensure top-to-bottom approach collaborative measures and bottom-to-top for inclusivity, consistency, well-grounded execution and grassroots participation.
  9. Implementation of the Innovation Agenda in Africa is possible as long as it is localized, as each cardinal area of the agenda has elements in every sector at all levels.
  10. Africa is encouraged to reduce dependency on the EU but rather be willing to maximize opportunities provided to thrive after the seed funding and mentoring phases.


It was agreed that all parties and projects would work on deliberations to improve their ecosystem and develop a guide for future AU-EU collaborations and projects.