The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) have signed a new five-year cooperation agreement to implement phase III of the Bioresources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development Programme (BioInnovate Africa).
“SIDA has made the decision to increase funding to BioInnovate Africa phase three, to a total of US$ 17 Million, to accommodate a growing number of worthwhile innovations,” said Dr Claes Kjellstrom, Senior Policy Specialist, Sida's Department for Africa. This becomes the biggest single investment in a regional bioscience research and innovation-driven initiative to date in Eastern Africa, thereby fostering the development of a sustainable bioeconomy.
Currently operational in Burundi, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, BioInnovate Africa provides grants to enable scientists, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in Eastern Africa work together to turn innovative ideas and technologies based on biological sciences into viable businesses. BioInnovate Africa’s first phase one ran from 2010 – 2015 while the second phase ran from 2016 –2021.
BioInnovate Africa phase III, which officially begins in April 2022, builds on the success of phase II. It will continue supporting value addition to biological materials, including converting biological waste into useful substances, and conserving biodiversity. However, unlike the previous phases that focused primarily on agriculture and environment, phase III includes health in the thematic area. Of particular interest is health innovation that responds to disease epidemics and strengthens the region’s capability in surveillance and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and diagnostics for economically important human diseases.
BioInnovate Africa phase III aligns well with the sustainability aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063, and the targets of the East African Community vision 2050 of boosting value addition and agro-processing as the biggest direct employer of all manufacturing industries in the region.
Photo courtesy / ICIPE
Article by Jedidah Mwangi