The Global Bioecononomy Summit 2018 (GBS2018), a high-level event for policy discussion and networking organized by the German Bioeconomy Council, to discuss the latest developments and challenges in the global bioeconomy was held in April 2018, in Berlin, Germany.
BioInnovate Africa Programme Manager, Dr. Julius Ecuru, co-chaired one of the 14 expert workshops on the Bioeconomy of World regions (Africa), alongside Professors Jan Börner and Fabio Fava from the University Bonn, Germany, and the University Bologna, Italy, respectively.
The workshop provided a new dialogue platform on collaboration opportunities and potential joint efforts for actors and programmes supporting bioeconomy analysis and capacity building in Africa such as the BioInnovate Africa Programme, the STRIVE programme (Center for Development Research, University of Bonn), the PRIMA Programme and the SEI Bioeconomy programme.
Dr. Ecuru of the BioInnovate Africa Programme, emphasised that, developing sustainable African bioeconomies has strategic advantage for the continent, which is considered the global centre of biological diversity. He further added, “BioInnovate Africa is leading efforts in eastern Africa to develop a knowledge-based bioeconomy to enable value addition to raw biological materials, improve resource efficiency – especially in manufacturing – and convert biological waste into more useful products, hence lowering CO2 emissions.”
The aim of this interactive workshop on the Bioeconomy of World regions (Africa), was to create an engaging platform to: Discuss strategies for bioeconomy development in Africa including the Mediterranean region, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Explore opportunities for international collaboration in the development of African bioeconomies and highlight the challenges and opportunities for integrating an African emerging bioeconomy into a global bioeconomy. In addition to this discussion, is the focus on the development of bioeconomies from a regional perspective, how to foster cooperation with other world regions in the global bioeconomy and using the SDGs as global sustainability safeguards.
From the different interactive discussions, the key take home messages for the participants were:
- African nations need to prioritise the development of strategic national and regional bioeconomy blue prints that will guide investments, government interventions, capacity building and policy agendas for a bioeconomy.
- A conducive policy environment will be vital for bio-entrepreneurship and, for public-sector research and development institutions to play a leading role in translating scientific research outputs in the agri-food, health and industry sectors into new practices, jobs and a biobased inclusive economic growth.
- An African bioeconomy agenda should emphasize the linking of African farmers to regional, national and global markets, and seek to catalyze African agro-value chain expansion through multiple south-south-north bioeconomy partnerships
- Efforts such as biosciences capacity building programs and research collaborations should continue so as strengthen the foundation for African Bioeconomy.
- African nations need to leverage on regional and global partnerships created by UN agencies such as UNESCO, WHO, FAO, UNIDO, for knowledge sharing and advocacy of the bioeconomy agenda.
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Click here for the Bioeconomy of World regions (Africa) workshop report
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