By Mahzouba Maya Faal,
Information Officer, MoHERST
The European Union (EU), in partnership with the African Union (AU), will conduct a virtual ministerial meeting on Thursday, 16th July 2020 with a special focus on COVID-19. The cooperation between the two unions aims to find solutions to unprecedented crises with the intervention of Research and Innovation (R&I).
According to the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Gambian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), Mucktarr Darboe, the collaboration between the EU and AU is geared towards strengthening the already existing bond and also to joining hands incurbing the rise of COVID-19.
“Both unions have made financial pledges on research activities. In that sense, parties involved would been gaged in joint research programs, joint clinical trials and other endeavors in order to develop a vaccine and have it tried,” he explained.
The EU President Von der Leyen underscored the significance and timeliness of the partnership by saying “this global challenge needs strong international cooperation. We all know that only together we can stop the worldwide spread of the coronavirus”.
Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa and the AU Chair, likewise, pointed out the health emergency as truly, “of global proportions” with developing countries being particularly vulnerable to its impact. “We require coordinated and consistent international action so that all countries are sufficiently capacitated,” he said.
As stipulated on the concept note, the overall objective of the ministerial meeting centers on engaging the ministers of both the African and European Unions in a policy discussion on short, medium, and long-term R&I activities addressing human health impacts and the far more reaching socio-economic effects of COVID-19. These were already clustered in four groups by senior officials on the 18th June 2020. They include: Public heath, green transition, innovation & technology and capacities for science.