Délégation de l'Union européenne auprès de la République de Maurice et de la République des Seychelles

Speech of Marjaana Sall, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, Opening ceremony of the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + Workshop

Mauritius , 06/02/2017 - 09:53, UNIQUE ID: 170206_4

Speech of Marjaana Sall, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, Opening ceremony of the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + Workshop

Her Excellency, Dr Ameenah GURIB-FAKIM, President of the Republic of Mauritius,

The Honourable Yogida SAWMYNADEN, Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation,

The Honourable Leela Devi DOOKUN-LUCHOOMUN, Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research.

The Honourable Premdut KOONJOO, Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping,

His Excellency Mr. Hamada MADI, Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission,

Representatives from the Government, universities, and the private sector

Colleagues from the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission,

Members of the CAAST- NET Plus Project,

Ladies and gentlemen,                                                     


I am delighted to be with you this morning for the opening ceremony of the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + Seminar.

The objective of the seminar is to present opportunities available to Mauritian stakeholders in the area of research, innovation and higher education for collaboration with their counterparts in Europe, specifically in the key areas of interest for Mauritius.

We are honoured by the presence of H.E. Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim who is a leading figure and a strong supporter of science. Thank you Excellency.


Why is the European Union organizing a seminar on Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + here in Mauritius?

There are quite a few good reasons but allow me to highlight the most important ones:

  • Firstly, research and innovation are recognised as key building blocks of competitive and dynamic economies.
  • Research and innovation create investment opportunities for new and better products and services. It is a crucial sector to increase competitiveness, growth and employment. Countries which have invested in this sector tend to witness higher productivity rates, leading to increased economic growth and more robust job creation, the main pathways through which the poor can escape poverty.
  • This is why the EU has invested significantly in this area. The EU growth strategy for the coming decade sets the objectives for a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy.
  • In addition, there is an increasing number of complex global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity, or infectious diseases. To address these challenges, we need to invest in research and innovation. The EU and Mauritius are determined to work together to address these global challenges
  • The European Union is committed to continue to support the Republic of Mauritius in achieving its vision to graduate into a high income country. In line with this vision, our bilateral programme focuses on Higher Education, Research and Innovation. Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + offer opportunities to promote these sectors and add value to our bilateral programme.
  • Finally, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + are open to the world and meant to promote cooperation with partner countries based on common interest and mutual benefit. This seminar is therefore an important occasion for us to explore opportunities to further enhance our partnership.

Now, let me now say a few words on Horizon 2020 and Erasmus +.


Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

The programme was launched in 2014 and will run until 2020 with a budget of nearly 80 billion euros (3,200 billion Mauritian rupees). Hence, it is the largest multinational research programme in the world.

The programme has three pillars:

  • Pillar 1 is about boosting excellent science
  • Pillar 2 focuses on creation  of industrial leadership and
  • Pillar 3 deals with societal challenges.

In its first two years, Horizon 2020 attracted over 76,000 eligible proposals and to date, over 9,000 grant agreements have already been signed.


Erasmus+ is the European Union's programme for 2014 to 2020 to support projects, partnerships, events and mobility in the areas of education, training youth and sport.

2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the programme. This anniversary represents a unique opportunity to talk about this programme which has produced many success stories and, which I believe, presents avenues for future cooperation with the Republic of Mauritius.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Research and innovation as well as capacity building and mobility in the context of tertiary education are not a new area of the longstanding partnership between the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius.

Mauritius is currently benefiting from two projects under Horizon 2020.  

Concerning Erasmus +, 17 Mauritians will travel to Europe and 13 Europeans will come to study or teach in Mauritius as a result of the first projects selected in 2016. Previously, 14 Mauritians have benefitted from Erasmus Mundus.

Looking at the broader cooperation between the European Union and Africa, which I think is interesting for Mauritius which has the Africa Strategy.


The EU and Africa have established a High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation since 2010. It allows the European Commission, the African Union Commission, African countries and EU Member States to share information and experience establish and implement joint priorities in these sectors. This dialogue is entirely in line with the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa up to 2024.

Following the EU-Africa Summit 2014, our focus has been to jointly develop and implement a research agenda on food and nutrition security in line with the Science Agenda for African Agriculture and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Now, in view of the next Africa-EU Summit which will take place in November 2017 in Côte d'Ivoire and building on COP 22 Conference, we are focusing on developing a Research and Innovation Partnership in climate change and renewable energy.

I am pleased to inform you that Mauritius is an important partner in this regional policy dialogue.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today's event is part of the European Union strong commitment to continue to accompany Mauritius in its vision to graduate to a high income country.

I wish all of you fruitful working sessions during these two days.

I am confident that this seminar will further stimulate your interest for research and innovation, encourage further debate and ultimately lead to new ideas for proposals that can be submitted for EU funding.

Thank you for your attention.


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