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ECDPM and WAI organize a joint Workshop on Research & Innovation in Cabo Verde, Praia, 11 February, 2019

IMG 4988The West Africa Institute (WAI) received on February 11, 2019, the visit of Mrs.  Mariella Di Ciommo and Dr. Emmanuel De Groof, both Policy Officers at the European Center for Development Policy Management - ECDPM -, an independent research center based in Maastricht, in the Netherlands, that works on relationships between Europe and Africa. 

The visit was planned in the framework of a mission that the ECDPM delegation undertook in Cabo Verde from 6 to 12 February, as part of a survey aiming at collecting perspectives from different African actors on collaborating with the European Union/Europe on Research and Innovation (R&I). Ghana and South Africa are also involved in the study. 

As head of the delegation, Mrs. Marielle Di Ciommo specified that the aim of the mission was to look for insights on the research and innovation/science and technology landscape in middle income West Africa States to whose Cabo Verde belongs. She underlined that they were specially interested in higher education and energy, two areas in which the West Africa Institute had worked on. Mrs. Di Ciommo added that WAI and ECDPM were both part of the Europe-Africa Research Network and also collaborated for a publication on regional integration (p. 15) IMG 2029 copy 2

Thus, the ECDPM delegation was interested in hearing the perspectives and potentially of R&I in Cabo Verde and suggested to organize a roundtable with the Institute and its partners to discuss the topic into the context of Cabo Verde's progress towards middle-income country status, the ECDPM research being part of a widerwork programme on the EU collaboration with middle-income countries.

In her response, Prof. Dr. Djénéba Traoré extended the acknowledgements of the Institute to Mrs. Di Ciommo, to Mr. Andrew Sherriff, Head of the Programme European for External Affairs, and to Mr. Guy Banim, Preventive diplomacy expert at the European Institute of Peace for their interest in WAI activities.

The joint workshop took place on February 11 on the theme : “The Research and Innovation (R&I) potential for stronger partnerships: The case of collaboration between Cabo Verde and Europe” with the following statement:

R&I is emerging as an area where more demand-driven, mutual interest partnerships can emerge between European and African middle-income countries. Indeed, R&I is an area increasingly strategic for national and regional development in Africa and the options available for international partnerships are widening, in a world where many more countries and societal actors produce knowledge and innovate in fields that range from fisheries to education, from big data to climate change.  Cabo Verde is one of the countries that has put human capital development, innovation and education at the center of its development strategy and, to some degree, its foreign policy. This seminar will convene experts on R&I in Cabo Verde, West Africa regionalisation and EU external policies for them to exchange views on the R&I landscape in Cabo Verde and West Africa and the experience of collaboration with Europe, including vis à vis the R&I opportunities offered by players in other parts of the world.

As previously indicated, the workshop was part of a research project that aims to gather the different perspectives of multiple African stakeholders on R&I collaboration with Europe and a wider workstream on the EU's engagement with middle-income countries. The delegation will also travel to Ghana and South Africa, two countries involved in the research. 

The working session gathered:IMG 2030

Participants from Cabo Verde Public Sector, Higher Education and Private Sector:

Ing. Mr. José Brito, Africa Innovation Summit - AIS Chairman, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cabo Verde.

Dr. Victor Borges, former Minister of Education, Cabo Verde, currently independent Consultant and Trainer in Capacity Building.

Mr. Octavio Gomes, National Director General for Economic Affairs and Regional Integration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Communities - MNEC, Cabo Verde.

Prof. Dr. Aristides Lopes Silva, Uni-CV/Vice Rector for Research and Post-Graduation. 

ECDPM Representatives 

Mrs. Mariella Di Ciommo, Policy Officer ECDPM, European External Affairs Programme                                                      

Dr. Emmanuel De Groof, Policy Officer, European External Affairs Programme

WAI Representative

Prof. Dr. Djénéba Traoré, Director General, West Africa Institute - WAI                                                       

During three hours, constructive exchanges took place.The meeting came to the following findings and conclusions: 

 -    Research and Innovation in Cabo Verde is facing significant constraints and challenges at the institutional, structural and financial level.

    -There is an urgent need to establish a R&I Policy in Cabo Verde.

-  There is the necessity to create a platform of dialog between the key R&I actors, notably Higher Education structures, Government, Private Sector and Civil Society.

-    It is imperative to establish a culture of R&I from an early age, developing new programs and to increase the number of technical schools.

-  The implementation of a R&I Policy must take positive values and ethical norms into consideration. 

    -  The ECOWAS Science, Technology and Innovation Policy - ECOPOST- and its Strategic Action Plan constitute important guidance documents for ECOWAS Member States in their economic and social development process.

-   The remarkable performance achieved by Cabo Verde in the social, economic and technological domain is a meaningful assets for the success of R&I.

Mrs. Di Ciommo expressed the appreciation of the ECDPM delegation vis-à-vis the participants of the fruitful meeting and declared that it has been an excellent opportunity to complement the ongoing research and to get good insights on R&I in Cabo Verde and in the region. 

ECDPM and WAI will seek new ways to work together.

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