Biotech Updates

AU Launches Report on Emerging Technologies Expected to Spur Africa Development

June 13, 2018

The African Union (AU) High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) on June 8, 2018 launched three reports on emerging technologies setting the pace for Africa to advance its socio-economic development agenda and position itself as a frontrunner in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The reports, launched at the Africa Innovation Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, focus on malaria control and elimination, increasing Africa's agricultural productivity and enhancing Africa's energy security.

The reports – Gene Drives for Malaria Control and Elimination in Africa; Drones on the Horizon: Transforming Africa's Agriculture; and Micro-grids: Empowering Communities and Enabling Transformation in Africa will serve as valuable resources in unpacking emerging technologies and building a culture of science, technology and innovation in Africa. Speaking on behalf of Rwandan President and Chair of the African Union Paul Kagame, CEO of Rwanda Development Board Clare Akamanzi commended the High Level Panel for the achievement of this milestone and reiterated President Kagame's government's commitment. She urged other Member States to harness emerging technologies for accelerated socio-economic transformation of the continent. 

Speaking during the launch, APET Chair Prof. Yaye Gassama emphasized the need to streamline regulatory systems in order to ensure timely access and effectiveness of these technologies. She also said there are perceived risks associated with the technologies and called for further research with full participation of African scientists, policy makers and with active engagement of the target communities.

One report, Gene Drives for Malaria Control and Elimination in Africa, examines the use of gene drive technology for the control and elimination of malaria in Africa. Gene drive technology has been identified as a potential new option to augment existing interventions in pursuance of achieving the African Union Agenda 2063. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the African continent is the most affected by malaria, with 90% of the world's 216 million cases in 2016 recorded in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read the press release from Africa Innovation Summit.