Providing sustainable and affordable energy to sub-Saharan Africa is critical to the development of a region that accounts for 13% of the world’s population, but only 4% of its energy demand. Sub-Saharan Africa’s energy resources are more than sufficient to meet its demands, but they are unevenly distributed and under-developed (IEA, 2014).
Building local capacities and promoting research, including applied research, are recognized to be essential pillars in the development of sustainable energy in Africa. Africa-EU research cooperation in this area can contribute substantially to further technology take-up in the region. It can also strengthen the market position of involved European institutions through increased knowledge and competitive capacity.
Several initiatives in the past decade have launched support projects aiming to promote research addressing African energy challenges. The participation of African researchers in related calls has however remained limited. African scientists and researchers in general are underrepresented in the international arena: there are only few scientific publications or patent applications related to renewable energy, and limited participation in international conferences. In addition to the limited exposure the international scientific community, limited research capacities both in the sense of human capital and financial resources hinder better representation of African researchers in abovementioned funding schemes.
Following the EU commitments under the Paris Agreement, Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development and Cotonou Agreement, research and innovation cooperation in the field of renewable energy generation technologies between EU and Africa needs to be strengthened and further developed. Coordination of the existing bilateral activities between European and African countries is advisable. The challenge is bringing together the national funding agencies of EU member states and African states interested in developing joint research activities between the two continents to create synergies and to push forward common research and innovation cooperation in the field of renewable energy production and use.
The proposal will implement the common strategic joint research and innovation programme on renewable energy technology developed in the preparatory phase, topic LC-SC3-JA-2-2018, to adapt renewable energy technologies to the African environmental, social and economic conditions through joint research efforts.
The range of activities can include research projects, demonstration projects, technology transfer projects, and exchange of researchers between European and African actors. The activities will also create synergies with existing development programmes.
The expected impacts are firstly the creation of long lasting research and development cooperation between European and African stakeholders through common understanding and trust, secondly the development of vibrant research and industrial frameworks and thirdly the development of renewable energy.
Delegation Exception Footnote
This activity directly aimed at supporting public-public partnerships with Member States and Associated Countries, technology platforms with industrial partners is excluded from the delegation to Executive Agencies and will be implemented by the Commission services.