Several countries in Africa signed bilateral Science and Technology Cooperation Agreements with the European Union: South Africa (1996, entered into force 1997), Egypt (2005, entered into force 2008), Tunisia (2003, entered into force 2004), Morocco (2004, entered into force 2005) and Algeria (signed 2012, entered into force 2013).
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) adopted by the African and European Heads of State at the Lisbon Summit in 2007 is the political framework steering relations with the whole African continent (North Africa included, legally covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy).
At the EU-Africa Summit 2014, a new framework of cooperation within the JAES was agreed upon. Amongst the five areas of cooperation, science, technology and innovation is playing a cross-cutting, because investment in STI contributes to the attainment of all other socio-economic development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the future post-2015 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets. Investments in STI are vital to promote growth and employment, improve competitiveness and identify and address pressing global societal challenges such as climate change, affordable renewable energy and energy efficiency, infectious diseases or food and nutrition security.