A program that seeks to turn innovative ideas and technologies based on biological sciences into viable businesses in East Africa was launched on Thursday by a global research center.

Director General of Nairobi-based International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Segenet Kelemu said the project dubbed Bio Innovate Africa will enable scientists and entrepreneurs in the region to connect bio-based research ideas with improving lives of local farmers.

“We intend to make agricultural processing competitive and environmentally sustainable enterprise to contribute to the increase of agricultural productivity, household incomes and better living standards,” Kelemu said during the launch of the phase two of the program in Rwandan capital Kigali.

The five-year program is funded by the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (Sida) at a cost of 15 million U.S dollars.

The program will be implemented in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Tanzania with a focus on value addition to agro-produced and related bio-resources, agro-biowaste conversion in support of environmental sustainability and development of policy in support of bio-economy.

Julius Ecuru, the Program Manager, noted that knowledge-based approach on harnessing biological resources will result in business partnerships between scientists, inventors, small and medium-sized enterprises, farmers, and eco and social entrepreneurs.

“The advantage of a bio-economy, economic activity derived from scientific and research activity focused on biotechnology for eastern Africa is its high innovation potential due to the fact scientists and entrepreneurs use scientific knowledge and technologies on living organisms or biological systems to create new economic enterprises,” he added.

He said that a bio-economy can bring about economic growth and the international competitiveness of a country or region, while creating new employment opportunities.

Like many parts of the continent, East Africa boasts of abundant renewable biological resources.

“The program will highly impact in the transformation of the agricultural sector, which is the backbone of most economies in the region,” Ecuru noted. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/


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