Eastern African scientists create new opportunities for growth

Eastern African scientists create new opportunities for growth

Press Statement

Zanzibar, Tanzania,  27 November 2019: BioInnovate Africa in collaboration with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), are holding a regional workshop in Zanzibar to discuss innovation and development in Eastern Africa.

The workshop brings together scientists, business executives and policy makers from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda to map out strategies for strengthening innovation ecosystems for biological based ideas and inventions in eastern Africa.

The scientists, with support from BioInnovate Africa, are already working on innovative sustainable products for the region and beyond. These include ecofriendly fuels from fruits wastes, biopesticides, nitrogen enhanced biofertilizers, clean enzyme-based leather processing, insect-based proteins, postharvest management, clean sweet potato planting materials, healthy food from sorghum, millet and sweet potatoes, plant-based insect (mosquito and Tse Tse fly) repellents, and integrated methods for treating high strength waste water from industries, among others. The workshop will explore ways to scale up these pilot activities into fully operational business enterprises in the next two years.  It is expected that governments in the region will play a key role of providing an enabling business and regulatory environment to commercialize the innovative ideas and inventions.

Scientists in the region believe that they can combine their expertise in a multi-disciplinary manner to create added value from the region’s rich biological resources. This is arguably the greatest opportunity and the more sustainable growth pathway for the region to establish competitive products and businesses based on agricultural produce and related biological resources.

According to the African Economic Outlook 2019, Eastern Africa remains the fastest and highest growth regions in Africa with an average annual GDP growth rate above 5%. However, the region still needs to diversify its economy to create sustainable jobs and improve livelihoods for its citizens, especially the youth.

The workshop aims to strengthen collaboration between scientists, business leaders and government officials both within the country and regionally in eastern Africa as the surest way of translating scientific ideas and technologies into practical uses in the society.  Discussions include ways of building innovation ecosystems for a sustainable economy, developing mutually collaborative partnerships for innovation, and agreeing on indicators to measure innovation performance in the region. 

Notes for the Editors:

COSTECH is a government parastatal organization with the responsibility of coordinating and promoting research and technology development activities in Tanzania. It is the chief advisor to the Government on all matters pertaining to science and technology and their application to the socio‐economic development of the country.

BioInnovate Africa is an eastern Africa regional innovation-driven bioeconomy initiative supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and implemented as a Programme of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) based in Nairobi, Kenya. BioInnovate Africa aims to strengthen the capacity of universities, research institutes and firms in Eastern Africa to commercialise bio-based inventions and innovative research ideas and technologies. 

The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (www.icipe.org), headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, is the only research institution in Africa working primarily on insects and other arthropods. icipe’s mission is to ensure better food security, health and livelihoods, by producing world-class knowledge and then developing solutions that are environmentally friendly, accessible, affordable and easy-to-use by communities. These objectives are delivered through four thematic areas — Human Health, Animal Health, Plant Health and Environmental Health, providing a platform to build the capacity and leadership of African scientists; enable collaboration with hundreds of researchers and partners across Africa and the world; as well as the effective transfer of technologies and strategies to end-users.

Contacts

Programme Manager, BioInnovate Africa

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) P.O. Box 30772-00100, Nairobi, Kenya; Tel +254 (20) 8632000. Email: bioinnovate@icipe.org  www.bioinnovate-africa.org