Agriculture / Burundi / East Africa / Ethiopia / Event / ILRI / Kenya / Rwanda / Tanzania / Uganda

‘Bio-economy’ of East Africa boosted by Bio-Innovate research program

Seyoum Leta, Bio-Innovate Program Manager introduces the Bio-Innovate project

Seyoum Leta, Bio-Innovate Program Manager, at the First Bio-Innovate Regional Scientific Conference at the United Nations Conference Centre, Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25–27 Feb 2013 (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

‘Capacities in biosciences in various sectors are scarce and scattered in Africa, Bio-Innovate Program Manager Dr. Seyoum Leta said Monday in Addis Ababa at the on going Bio-Innovate Regional Scientific Research Conference at the United Nations Conference Centre, Economic Commission for Africa (UNCC-ECA).

‘Speaking at the opening ceremony, Leta said this is the key missing link in the path to Africa’s science-led development.

‘He noted that there are only a few strong regional initiatives, but even then, he observed that the research and development networks comprised of local institutions, regional and international research organizations have little effect in linking with private sectors to use modern biosciences as a tool for development.

‘But Leta acknowledged that there is abundant potential for harnessing bio-resources within East Africa, through the use of biosciences innovation and research. . . .

‘The Bio-Innovate Program was launched in 2010 to directly address this lack of organized regional initiatives. . . .

‘The Bio-Innovate Program is currently supporting nine bioscience innovation and policy consortia projects bringing together 57 partnering institutions from the six eastern Africa countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and outside the region. Most of the findings from these projects will be presented at the upcoming conference. . . .

‘Organizers say these activities present extraordinary opportunities for a knowledge-based bio-economy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Bio-Innovate is providing a novel regional, broad-based biosciences innovation platform that links science, technology and innovation to the marketplace to address urgent regional development challenges.

‘Those challenges include increasing food insecurity, climate change problems exacerbated by disposal of harmful agro-industrial wastewater and the need to promote value addition in traditional crops. Bio-Innovate research also supports the adoption of disease and drought-resistant varieties of orphan crops like sorghum and millet. . . .’

Read the whole article by Kevin Wafula in Africa Science News: Africa still lags behind on bioscience capacities, says scientist, 26 Feb 2013.

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