Phase II of the BioInnovate Africa Programme launched
Phase II of the BioInnovate Africa Programme was launched at the two-day inception workshop and regional bioeconomy symposium that took place in Kigali from 2nd to 3rd November 2017.
The BioInnovate Africa (Bioresources Innovations Network for eastern Africa Development) Programme was established in 2010 with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). It is a regional initiative designed to work closely with scientists, policy makers and industry partners collaborate to develop and translate bioscience research ideas and technologies into products for the market or end users, ultimately contributing towards regional growth and development.
The BioInnovate Africa Programme is a successor to BioEARN which run from 1999 – 2009. In its Phase I (2010 – 2015), the Programme promoted innovation platforms around crop improvement technologies, waste water treatment systems, and agri-food processing.
These efforts are being continued through Phase II (2016 – 2021) but with more emphasis on linking bioscience research ideas, output and technologies from universities and research institutes directly to business and the market. Establishing such links is a complex process, which requires strategic partnerships and continuous stakeholder engagements including the governments and partners.
The inception workshop and regional bioeconomy symposium is a significant event to ensure continued alignment of the Programme goals and objectives with the expectations of partners and stakeholders in the region. It will also start a process of dialogue with potential investors in the products/technologies that will be generated through the Programme. Furthermore, the inception meeting and bioeconomy symposium is an opportunity for the selected BioInnovate grantees to interact with each other and also network with regional stakeholders to identify areas where synergies can be built along the various value chains.
In his opening remarks, the guest of honor and Minister of Education, honorable Dr. Papias Musafiri Malimba, indicated the need to leverage the region’s rich biological resources in order to tap into the vast socio-economic potential presented. To this end, the minister also shared some of Rwanda’s efforts towards improving nutrition of school children, having a clean and sustainable environment, promoting biodegradable packaging materials, promoting use of clean seeds and high yielding crop varieties, among others. He concluded by thanking the organizers for choosing to host the event in Rwanda and encouraged Rwandan researchers to take advantage of both the collaborating and funding opportunities provided by the BioInnovate Africa Programme especially in its Phase II call, which is now open.