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Science Speaks - Blog by ISAAA

Stakeholders Call for Stronger Scientific Collaborations as Africa Bioscience Communication Symposium Commences

By ISAAA AfriCenter
September 21, 2021

The Ugandan Government has expressed strong commitment to support biotechnology and optimize its benefits to improve livelihoods and contribute towards the achievement of the national development goal. This emerged as one of the key deliberations on the first day of this year's Africa Biennial Biosciences Communication Symposium (ABBC2021) which runs from September 20-24, 2021.


Addressing bioscience stakeholders at the Symposium, Uganda's Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Hon. Fred Bwino was emphatic that the country has realized the critical role of biotechnology in catalyzing development towards transforming the country in line with the national development plan. "Significant human capacity has been and continues to be built through formal training locally and internationally to ensure that the country has the requisite human resources to exploit the immense potential of biosciences," Hon. Bwino revealed.

The Minister said the Government will continue to work with the responsible ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture to resolve pertinent issues around regulation of biotechnology and biosafety. "This will enable the establishment of a conducive environment for biotechnology research and development so that we are able to maximize the benefits of these technologies as a country," he said.

Hon. Bwino applauded efforts by ABBC 2021 organizers saying the Symposium provides a platform to strengthening biosciences and biosafety communication and consolidating the role of modern biosciences for development in Africa. The theme of this year's Symposium is ‘Accelerating Africa's Biotech Tipping Point: Taking Stock and Celebrating the Gains'.

A resounding message on the first day of the Symposium was a clarion call for stronger scientific collaboration and more robust public-private partnerships in order to realize optimum success in the crop biotech sector on the continent.

Dr. Joyce Maling'a, Director of the National Food Crops Research Institute at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) decried lack of cooperation among scientists in implementing biotech research. "It is time that as a continent, we come together and consolidate our efforts to ensure success of the biotech sector," she said.

Bioscience stakeholders among them scientists, regulators, policy makers, farmers, and communicators from six countries are taking part in ABBC 2021. Happening in the middle of a global COVID-19 pandemic, the Symposium has adopted a hybrid mode of engagement – in-person in six focus countries Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda but internationally linked.

The Symposium also provides a forum to highlight the advancements and prospects of genome editing in Africa post ABBC2019, and draw attention to regulatory progress and communication efforts currently in place.

For more information about ABBC2021, contact Dr. Margaret Karembu at mkarembu@isaaa.org.



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