The University of Bologna with Africa, between innovation and sustainable development – Press Release

Within the European Researchers’ Night, an appointment to tell the main challenges that the countries of the African continent are facing in the field of education, research and economic development, and the central role that Italy and the University in this context.

Telling the richness, complexity and strategic importance of relations with the African continent for our country and for the University of Bologna. This is the goal of the meeting “Alma Mater with Africa – projects and partnerships for innovation and sustainable development” which will take place in Bologna on November 27th from 6 to 8.30 pm as part of the European Researchers’ Night 2020, which this year will be dedicated to the solutions that research can provide to meet the 17 objectives of the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and shared globally.

The links of the University of Bologna with Africa and its involvement in the development of the continent have been consolidated over time and are testified by the now constant presence of a community of more than nine hundred students from different African countries enrolled in Alma courses Mater, and from strong relationships with more than fifty universities and institutions in fifteen African states.

In the various research areas, more than thirty projects funded by the European Horizon 2020 program are underway, which focus in particular on innovation and development in the agro-industrial and livestock, medical-health and renewable energy sectors. On the training front, the Italian Higher Education with Africa Foundation operates, set up together with five other Italian universities to promote the internationalization of African universities and to contribute, from a cooperation perspective, to development through teaching, training and improvement of students and staff updating of local universities. Furthermore, the UNI-CO-RE project, created in collaboration with UNHCR Italy, is giving refugee students in Africa the opportunity to continue their academic career at the University of Bologna, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. , Archdiocese of Bologna, Caritas Italiana, ER.GO, Federmanager, Gandhi Charity, Manageritalia Emilia Romagna and Next Generation Italy.
Finally, in the field of the third mission, Alma Mater has about twenty cooperation and social engagement projects, in addition to StudENT for Africa: a project for the development of student entrepreneurship aimed at the African continent.

The meeting on Friday 27 November – conceived in the form of a multi-voice talk – will be divided into three parts. A first session, moderated by Massimo Zaurrini, journalist and editor of the magazine “Africa e Affari”, will see the intervention of a series of guests of national importance, including Giuseppe Mistretta, director for Sub-Saharan Africa at the Ministry of Affairs foreign and international cooperation, Jean Leonard Touadi, president of the Center for Relations with Africa of the Italian Geographic Society, and Giovanni Ottati, President of Confindustria Assafrica & Mediterraneo. Guests will tell from different points of view the main challenges facing Africa today in the strategic areas of education, research and development of the main economic sectors and the central role that Italy and the University can play in this context.

The meeting will then proceed with the delivery of the Prize 2019 to the startup Bioverse Srl, winner of the first edition of the prize awarded as part of the StudENT for Africa project: the Alma Mater program for the development of student entrepreneurship sponsored by Banca Intesa Sanpaolo and IBM which aims to support the implementation of innovative business ideas to create economic and social development in African countries.

Finally, the third part, in the form of a round table, will see professors and researchers from the University of Bologna present who will tell, through their projects, what are the main challenges faced in doing research and interventions in Africa and what good practices are originated in a logic of sustainability and adaptability to the reality of the destination territory.
The event will be broadcast in full online. Detailed information on the program and registration methods are on the event website. In addition, it will also be possible to watch the live broadcast of the meeting on the evening of the broadcast, by accessing the virtual stand dedicated to the event on the Researchers’ Night platform.