Seminar Invitation: Finland–Africa Platform for Sustainable Development Goal 9 (innovation)

Date: 26–27 August 2019
Place: University of Turku, Finland
Deadline for registration: 19 June 2019
Deadline for abstracts: 15 June 2019

In March 2019, the University of Turku (UTU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG9) (specifically innovation) in Africa. Founded in 1958, UNECA is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations with headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

The Rector Kalervo Väänänen expressed in the press release in May 2019 that “Currently, the University of Turku is one of the most active Nordic universities in Africa. We conduct research, carry out transnational education, and develop innovations on Africa. We want to co-operate even more closely than before”. 

Finland is globally among leading countries on innovation issues that is the strategic and cross-cutting theme of SDG9. Innovations are very relevant for African countries of which many are among the fastest growing economies globally. This opens doors for a Finland–Africa Platform for SDG9 (innovation). By this initiative, UTU aims to become the university hub to support SDG9 in Africa. The platform will be at the forefront of research, education and capacity building on STI and enhance mobility of related experts between Finland and Africa on SDG9.  

>> Link for the livestream

>> Finland Africa Platform for Sustainable Development Goal9

>> Finland Africa Platform for Sustainable Development Goal9 -yhteistyö

Registration has been closed.


The first seminar of the platform to support collaboration between Finland and Africa on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 9 (innovation) is organised in Turku on 26–27 August 2019. 

The seminar gathers together innovation-related experts from the University of Turku, other Finnish universities, and STI and related development agencies working or interested in SDG9 in Africa as well as from African Universities and STI agencies. It is a useful occasion to share SDG9-related ideas and expertise from Finnish universities and agencies and to interface with the perspectives of the development stakeholders, policymakers, African experts and other agencies with potential to support SDG 9 in Africa. 

Target Group

The seminar is open and free for anyone interested in Finland–Africa collaboration on SDG9 issues, especially innovation. The seminar features prominent Keynote and Guess speakers from Africa, European Union, United Nations, UNECA, other UN Agencies and Associations in Finland as well as Finnish companies and other stakeholders and promoters of innovation in Africa.  In addition, are innovation and SDG9-related experts from the University of Turku, other Finnish Universities, and Universities of Applied Sciences and innovation agencies in Finland and from Africa? 


The seminar deals with a number of SDG9 issues including innovation environment, innovation ecosystem and innovation system developments, inclusive innovation, emerging and future technologies, the African digital economy and digital technologies, strengthening Africa’s green economy, knowledge diplomacy, innovation-focused development cooperation. In addition are capacity building in sustainable development issues, the promotion of technology startups, enterprise and job creation, financial technology, higher education management capacity, STI management, education innovations, academic entrepreneurship, university-industry-private sector linkages, African geography of talents and innovation, community innovation systems and the transformation of Africa’s indigenous knowledge, climate change and the blue economy. 

At the seminar are also parallel workshop during which shall be discussed practical issues concerning the Finland-Africa platform on SDG 9 (innovation); the relevance and the state-of-the-art of SDG9 for Finland and Africa, perspectives for pulling related resources and energies together, synergies and complementarities and the operational dynamics of the platform. 


Experts from Finnish Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences and STI agencies but also Africa interested in sharing their past and ongoing projects, new ideas and initiatives related to on-going economic, technological and social transformation in Africa have an opportunity for a short power point presentation of 10 minutes (in English) at the seminar. Please write the presentation title, and an abstract (no more than 100 words) on the online registration form before 15 June 2019.  Projects of strategic continental scope addressing cross cutting themes related to SDG 9 in Africa Maybe accorded up to 25-30 minutes for plenary presentations and discussions.

Seminar will also welcome and pay particular interest to projects of African Alumni of Finnish Universities' but also all students and experts from Finland involved or interested in Science, Technology and Innovation activities in Africa.

Seminar funding

Seminar is free of charge. However, participants cover their own travel and accommodation costs (with limited assistance to junior project presenters out of Turku and Finland without institutional coverage). The organizing committee covers feeding during the seminar. All other participants are expected to register through the online registration form hereafter by midnight 19 June 2019 (Finnish Time), date on which presenters are equally informed about the status of their presentations. 

Arriving to the Seminar

Arriving to Turku from Helsinki airport

- Bus schedules and tickets: Matkahuolto (From: Helsinki airport - To: Turku)
- Train schedules and tickets: VR (From: Helsinki airport - To: Turku)

Whichever you choose, it is always cheaper to buy tickets online than from the bus/train.

At the airport: if you request assistance, be precise on what information you need. For example if you wish to know which platform does the bus leave, ask for the platform number.

How to find Hotel Centro (Yliopistonkatu 12a, Turku)

- If you are arriving by bus: Stops either at Turku Tuomiokirkko or Turku bus station: both are within reasonable walking distance (less than 500 m)
- If you are arriving by train: Hotel Centro is 1,3 km from Turku railway station

More information about the City of Turku and the Turku Campus of University of Turku.


For further information, please contact the organizing committee: or +358503413749