New BMBF Africa Strategy strengthens future perspectives and sustainable development opportunities

Promoting new perspectives for the future and sustainable development opportunities on the African continent through cooperation in education, science and research – this is the main goal of the new Africa Strategy of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Previously, the ministry had commissioned the DLR Project Management Agency with organising an expert workshop in which participants from Africa contributed their knowledge and know-how to the Federal Government's Africa Strategy.

Participants of an expert workshop who provided their input in developing the new BMBF Africa Strategy © BMBF

Participants of the expert workshop © BMBF / Sabine Münch

Particular emphasis is placed on the strategy of targeted support for local innovation systems to strengthen economic perspectives in the partner countries, with improved quality of teaching and qualification of graduates for the labor market and further internationalisation of education, science and research. The BMBF will promote German-African cooperation in education, science and research with at least 300 million euros in five fields of action.

In her speech, Anja Karliczek, German Federal Minister of Education and Research, identified education and research as key elements in the development of societies, which help to shape the future, grow markets and create jobs, and in particular to give perspective to the fast-growing young population of the African continent.

'These people need opportunities to discover, develop and realise their talents. This creates perspectives, helps to advance the African continent and strengthens relations between African and European partners', said the minister at the presentation of the strategy in Berlin.

The previous 'Africa Strategy 2014-2018' of the BMBF formed the framework of German-African educational and research cooperation; Its realignment has been developed with the involvement of African partners from science, industry and politics and is aimed specifically at the interests and needs on the continent. To identify these, the ministry had invited German research and intermediary organisations as well as African scientists and relevant stakeholders, e.g. science academies and the African Union to participate in joint workshops in Bonn and Berlin, which were prepared, organised and evaluated by the DLR Project Management Agency.

Numerous projects have already been launched in recent years, such as health innovation networks in sub-Saharan Africa to improve local health care and climate competence centres in western and southern Africa, with the aim of addressing climate change with appropriate predictions and appropriate use to meet the country's resources – two funding initiatives that are supported by the DLR Project Management Agency with specialist expertise, both in Germany and on site during implementation. One of the various BMBF measures in northern Africa, namely to strengthen the employability of university graduates, is also being supported by the DLR Project Management Agency and will be further developed and expanded.

The BMBF has also entrusted the DLR Project Management Agency with the project management of its 'International Bureau'. Within the scope of this assignment, experts from the project management agency use the funds provided by the ministry to explore, initiate and expand international cooperation endeavours of German universities, non-university institutions and companies. To support research and education cooperation in Germany with partners worldwide, the International Bureau advises German universities, non-university institutions and companies on international research collaboration and offers financial support to establish new contacts and cooperations.