Project Duration: 2018-2021
Grantor: BioInnovate Africa Programme
Principal Investigator: Dr Gertrude Ngabirano, The East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO)
Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director, ATPS: Dr Nicholas Ozor
Grant Amount: USD 500,000
The development of future bio economies in the eastern African region is challenging and governments/policymakers are faced with many questions, such as;
The Developing an Innovation-Led Bioeconomy Strategy for eastern Africa (BiSEA) is built on the premise that it is now high time for countries in the region to apply more systematically bio-based knowledge for economic transformations that will respond to local development needs. This will require long term planning and prioritization, investment in human capacity, S&T infrastructures, entrepreneurial capacity, innovation structures and enabling policy environment. This, in turn, requires strong leadership, government commitments, Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), public-private partnerships and most importantly long term strategies.
Governments around the world are now developing bioeconomic strategies on how to take full advantage of the bioscience revolution and bioeconomic development. Developing regional and national bioeconomic strategies is, therefore, an important step in the process of moving towards modern bioeconomies in the region. In Africa, only South Africa has a well-developed national bioeconomic strategy. The proposed collaborative project responds to the lack of a common bio-economy strategy in eastern Africa with a view to developing a regional bioeconomic strategy that in a holistic way, supports strategic interventions in health, agriculture, industry, environment, energy sectors in the region. The proposed collaborative project will also generate bioeconomic strategies and policies at national levels.
The vision is for Eastern African Community’s bio-economy to be a significant contributor to the region’s economy in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for knowledge-based, innovation-led African economies. Furthermore, EASTECO’s vision of contributing to a prosperous, competitive, secure and united East Africa through collaboration in science, technology and innovation (STI) will very much be complemented by the proposed project. The vision aims to achieve growth in STI and development of novel industries generating biobased services, products and innovations that will translate into increased and more diverse value added agricultural production, new biobased value chains, new start-up bio-based companies and an innovation-driven growth of existing biobased companies. On a macro-economic and developmental level, thriving eastern African bio economies has the potential to make the countries more competitive internationally (especially in the agro-industrial sector); create more sustainable jobs; enhance food security; and create a greener economy as the countries shift towards biobased low-carbon economies. This will lay a foundation for strong knowledge-based bioeconomy in the region.
The regional strategy will build upon the strong foundation laid by an East African regional Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy aimed at creating an enabling environment for increased STI investments supporting sustainable regional development and socio- economic transformation. The proposed regional Bioeconomy strategy will guide the development of national bioeconomy strategies of the EAC partner states and Ethiopia. These strategies will provide a framework to guide biosciences R&D and innovation investments, as well as decision-making pathways as eastern African countries adapted to the realities of the global transition to a low carbon economy. These strategies should also create an enabling environment for a wide range of role players including government departments, industries, venture capitalists, the academia, private sector entrepreneurs, practitioners in the agricultural, health, energy and in the biobased sector, and the broader public. The strategies will also identify areas where public policy can lower barriers, create incentives, encourage innovation and improve cooperation between and among stakeholders. It will form the basis for pursuing bioeconomy policies at national and regional levels.
Key Objectives and Activities
The overall development objective of the proposed project is to develop, in close consultation with Science and Technology Councils and Commission and relevant ministries and stakeholders in all six BioInnovate countries, a regional innovation-driven bioeconomy strategy shared by the countries in the eastern Africa region. A strategy which can inspire and catalyse the development of national bioeconomy strategies and subsequent policy development and interventions that are able to create new jobs and a sustainable biobased and inclusive economic growth in the region.
The specific objectives are to:
They key outcomes of this project are:
Eastern Africa Bioeconomy Strategy Documents