First International Biosafety Short Course implemented in Nigeria

NEPAD Agency ABNE in partnership with the National Biosafety Management Agency of Nigeria (NBMA), the Godfrey Okoye University (GOUni), Michigan State University (MSU) and the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), successfully implemented an international biosafety short course at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria, from 16 – 18 July, 2018. Participants were drawn from various relevant stakeholder institutions such as biotechnology and biosafety agencies, academia and research institutions, as well as the media and women groups. The main objective of this short course was to empower important stakeholders with current information on the safe management of biotechnology for socio-economic development. It also sought to provide a platform for networking among key actors to foster inter-agency collaborations and to increase awareness among key actors on their role, and the significance of having functional regulatory systems for biotechnology. Official welcome and opening remarks were given by Prof. Edwin Onyeneje, Deputy Vice Chancellor of GOUni; Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director General of NBMA; Prof. Karim Maredia, Director of the World Technology Access Program at MSU; Dr Mathew Dore, Nigeria Country Leader for PBS; Dr. Ojuolape Solanke, West African Health Organization (WAHO); Dr. Jeremy T. Ouedraogo, Director of NEPAD Agency ABNE; Prof. Uche Ebe, Enugu State Commissioner for Education; and Prof. Engr. Patrick E. Ikpenwa, Enugu State Commissioner for Science and Technology. All interveners welcomed participants to the biosafety short course and congratulated GOUni for this important feat. Prof. Edwin Onyeneje said that GOUni was particularly honored to host such an important event and thanked all partners who contributed to make this happen. Dr Jeremy Ouedraogo highlighted that “through this activity, the NEPAD Agency would...

WEST AFRICA REGIONAL PLATFORM FOR STRENGTHENING CAPACITY FOR REGULATING VECTOR CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES

The NEPAD Agency has initiated regional consultations on the establishment of a regional integrated vector management platform beginning with the ECOWAS region. The Agency is collaborating with the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) to establish the regional platform which is being designed by experts from member states within the ECOWAS region. The consultative meeting brought together environmental regulators, health regulators, members of ethics committees and malaria control programme managers from six West African countries, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal. The main objective of the consultation was to examine a draft scope and approach document of the West Africa Integrated Vector Management Platform (WAIVMP), and to plan its roll-out in the region. In his opening remarks, Prof. Aggrey Ambali, Head of NEPAD Agency’s Industrialization, Science, Technology and Innovation programme welcomed participants and thanked them for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend the consultative meeting. He thanked experts, various stakeholders and AU and NEPAD colleagues for contributing to the work of the AU High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET), which has recommended ten emerging technologies for the socio-economic development of the continent. In her welcome remarks Mrs. Mimi Darko, CEO of the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority thanked the NEPAD Agency for choosing Accra as the venue for the consultative meetings and reiterated the importance of a collective decision in establishing a platform for integrated vector control and management, which will be owned be member states in the region. Prof Ambali explained IVM as a strategy by the WHO member states which was adopted last year. The IVM he said, calls for strengthened...

ABNE’s side event during the African Innovation Summit 2018

NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE) held a side event on biosafety capacity building in Africa during the African Innovation Summit, on 7 June in Kigali, Rwanda. The objective of the event was to highlight NEPAD Agency’s contribution to ongoing efforts at creating conducive environments for the development and management of emerging technologies for socio-economic development in Africa. Co-chaired by Hon. Dr Gérardine Mukeshimana, Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda and Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, the event also served as a commemorative milestone of a decade of ABNE service delivery to AU member states and Regional Economic Communities. In his welcome remarks, Dr Mayaki stated that “The advent of modern biotechnology, while presenting new tools and techniques for crop improvement, continues to raise safety concerns to human health and the environment, and thus the relevance of regulation. There is the need to adopt a co-evolutionary approach by which the function of regulation is to promote innovation while at the same time safeguard human health and the environment.” “It was within this context that the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology resolved over a decade ago to develop a 20-year Biotechnology strategy with specific technology goals that would be implemented through regional economic communities. Today the landscape regarding the regulatory systems looks much more different than was the case 5 years ago. This could be attributed to improved knowledge and understanding emanating from improved capacity in the management of the technology. And this is why ABNE is a critical space, instrument and mechanism in forging a conducive environment and providing...

Reports on emerging technologies officially launched at the African Innovation Summit

Advances in modern technologies are occurring at an accelerating pace, ranging from the fields of robotics, nanotechnology and biotechnology to materials science and artificial intelligence. Globally, these technologies are bringing about transformation in all dimensions of life, and this provides an opportunity for Africa to harness these technologies to advance its socio-economic development agenda and position itself as a frontrunner in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). Hence, on 08 June 2018, three reports were launched by Ms Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board and the African Union (AU) High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) at the Africa Innovation Summit II held in Kigali, Rwanda. The reports focus on malaria control and elimination, increasing Africa’s agricultural productivity and enhancing Africa’s energy security. Recognising the role of science, technology and innovation, the APET was established by the AU to provide advice on emerging technologies and has since identified three emerging technologies that have the potential to benefit Africa; (i) Gene Drives for Malaria Control and Elimination in Africa; (ii) Drones on the Horizon: Transforming Africa’s Agriculture; and (iii) Micro-grids: Empowering Communities and Enabling Transformation in Africa. In addition, APET has called for functional regulatory systems at national and regional levels. Speaking during the official launch of the three reports, Ms Clare Akamanzi commended the High Level Panel for the achievement of this milestone. She further reiterated Rwanda government’s commitment and urged other Member States to harness emerging technologies for accelerated socio-economic transformation of the continent. Ms Akamanzi was speaking on behalf of His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Chair of the African Union. Chair of the High...

Needs Assessment Meeting towards Technical Support Services to the Biosafety Regulatory System in Rwanda

In recognition of NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network of Expertise’s mandate to provide biosafety regulatory capacity building support to AU member states, the Government of Rwanda requested for technical support in developing a functional biosafety regulatory framework. To this end, a two-day meeting was held on May 31 – June 1, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. Participants were drawn from the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, the Ministry of Health, the College of Science & Technology of the University of Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board and the Ministry of Education. The meeting discussed the current state of biotechnology and biosafety in Rwanda, how agricultural biotechnology is regulated worldwide and in Africa, and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in ensuring a functional biosafety regulatory system. With leadership from the REMA, a biosafety needs assessment was conducted subsequent to which a roadmap was developed detailing areas of technical cooperation with NEPAD Agency ABNE and outlining a system to ensure effective technical backstopping. Key among the identified priority areas of intervention was the need to review legal instruments including the draft biosafety policy, the biosafety law and regulations as well as the need to augment human resource capacity in...

Visit of G5 Sahel’s Permanent Secretary to the NEPAD Agency Regional Office in Dakar

The Permanent Secretary of G5 Sahel, Mr. Maman Sambo Sidikou, paid a courtesy call on the Head of the NEPAD Agency Regional Office in Dakar, Dr Jeremy Tinga Ouedraogo on 15 May, 2018. “G5 Sahel emanates from the African Union and is part of the security and development architecture leading to the effective fulfillment of Agenda 2063. Our goal is the well-being of the people of the Sahel, in its most fragile areas. NEPAD Agency is the partner of choice for G5 Sahel”, said Mr. Sidikou at the end of the visit. Mr Sidikou particularly commended the Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD, Dr Mayaki, and thanked him for offering to technically support the process of developing the G5 Sahel Action Plan in its economic and social development component. He stressed the importance of this support so that through the NEPAD Agency, the African Union is effectively involved in the ongoing process. He also extended his thanks to Dr Jeremy Ouedraogo and his team in Dakar. Technical teams are working together on the socio-economic development action G5 Sahel was created on February 16, 2014 in Nouakchott, in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and has its headquarters in Mauritania. It brings together five Sahelian countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. It contributes to the implementation of security and development actions in the Member States through strengthening peace and security in the G 5 Sahel area; development of transport, hydraulic, energy and telecommunications infrastructures; creating conditions for better governance in member countries; building resilience of people by ensuring sustainable food security, human development and...

NEPAD Agency’s Head of Regional Office Paid a Courtesy Call on the Minister of Integration, NEPAD, and Francophonie in Senegal

NEPAD Agency’s Head of West Africa Regional Office, Dr Jeremy Ouedraogo, paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Integration, NEPAD, and Francophonie, on 27th April, 2018, in Dakar, Senegal. H.E. Mbagnick Ndiaye, Minister of Integration, NEPAD, and Francophonie of Senegal, welcomed Dr Ouedraogo, and expressed his satisfaction with such a visit that will strengthen the collaboration between his Department and the NEPAD Agency’s regional office in Dakar. The Head of the Regional Office presented to the Minister the two major programmes of the office in Dakar; the Biosafety Programme led by the African Biosafety Network of Experts (ABNE) and the Great Green Wall Programme. He highlighted that on request of 20 African countries ABNE provided them with technical support to implement functional regulatory systems that would enable a safe use of new emerging technologies for local development. Other countries such as The Gambia, Madagascar, and Rwanda have showed interest in such support. Similarly the Great Green Wall is being implemented in Sahelian countries to combat desertification and improve African countries’ resilience vis-à-vis the effects of climate change. The regional office also relay information on all NEPAD Agency’s programmes for more visibility of the activities on the ground. In that regard, the regional office is planning to organize a sensitization workshop for the diplomatic bodies and international organizations present in Dakar. The Minister recalled that the Great Green Wall was the idea of a native of Senegal, the former President Abdoulaye Wade but to date people need to understand how the idea had evolved and what the achievements of this initiative n are so far. He also praised the...

Visit of the NEPAD Agency ABNE team to Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria

NEPAD Agency ABNE, in collaboration with the Godfrey Okoye University (GOU), the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Michigan State University (MSU) and the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), plans to organize a biosafety short course scheduled to hold from 16th to 18th July, 2018 on the campuses of the Godfrey Okoye University in Enugu, Nigeria. The course seeks to empower lawyers, the media, policy- and decision-makers and other important stakeholders with current information on biotechnology and biosafety to enable them effectively support regulatory processes. As part of the planning process for the short course, a delegation from NEPAD Agency ABNE visited the host institution, Godfrey Okoye University Enugu, and held a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University, Rev. Fr. Prof. C. Anieke and other management staff on the 13th April, 2018. The NEPAD Agency ABNE was led by the Head of AU-NEPAD Regional Office in Dakar, Dr. Jeremy T. Ouedraogo with other members being Samuel Timpo and Modupe Adeyemo. In his welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University highlighted the journey of the institution till date. He mentioned that the institution was established in 2009 with two (2) Faculties but now has five (5) Faculties with plans for two (2) additional Faculties in the immediate future. He was pleased with the choice of the institution for hosting the Biosafety short course. He reiterated that the scholars of the institution are always available and willing to work hence there is assurance that the program will be a success. He added that the institution is a leading University in the field of biotechnology. He then expressed his sincere...

Signing of MoU and workshop on food safety assessment and environmental risk assessment in Namibia

NEPAD Agency ABNE and The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST), responsible by law to administer the Biosafety Act 2006 (Act No. 7 of 2006), in Namibia, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for capacity building of the regulatory body with the international best practices and other regulatory technical partnership on 9 April, 2018, in Windhoek, Namibia. Dr. Jeremy T. Ouedraogo, led the NEPAD ABNE delegation while NCRST was represented by the Acting Chief Executive Officer Ms. Enid Keramen. In his opening speech, Dr. Ouedraogo affirmed that signing the MoU aligns with NEPAD Agency ABNE mandate and is meant to forge strategic partnership on biosafety that enables capacity strengthening of the Namibian regulators and other relevant stakeholders. In her response, Ms. Keramen said that NCRST equally recognize the importance of science, technology and innovation for national growth, sustainable development and competiveness that would translate into the improvement of socioeconomic standards of life. The Biosafety Act 2006 of Namibia provides measures to regulate the activities that involve the research, development, production, marketing, transportation, applications and other uses of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and specific products derived from these GMOs as they are harnessed safely. ABNE has the continental mandate to assist member states in developing capacity for a functional biosafety system that can receive, review applications and make decision on GMOs products. The signing of the MoU was followed by a workshop organised by ABNE and the National Biosafety Secretariat and took place in Swakopmund. Participants in the workshop include staff of the Biosafety secretariat (NCRST) and Biosafety council members as well as technical experts in line ministries...

A New Strategic Plan for Improved Technology Regulatory Support Services on the Ground

From 17 – 21 March 2018, ABNE staff held their annual meeting in Accra. The objective of this meeting was to assess the progress made and the needs for improvement in project implementation on the ground. The meeting also aimed to develop and adopt a robust and effective strategy plan to address all the needs and fill the gaps as to the provision of technical expertise for implementing functional biosafety systems in Africa. ABNE Director with POs during the meeting The meeting was opened by Prof Aggrey Ambali, Head of NEPAD’s Industrialisation, Science, Technology and Innovation Hub alongside with Dr. Jeremy Ouedraogo, Head of the NEPAD Regional Office in West Africa and Head of ABNE. Prof. Ambali welcomed all staff and especially the new ones, i.e. Ms Modupe Adeyemo, Food Safety Programme Officer, based in Dakar and Ms Agnes Amakie Gidimadzor, Administrative Assistant-Finance, based in Ouagadougou. He encouraged staff to make this meeting a success and come up with a sound strategy plan that will inform ABNE ‘s action for the coming years. During the meeting, clear vision, mission and values of ABNE were identified along with strategic objectives and priority areas of intervention. As an African-led program with a sound African Union mandate, NEPAD Agency ABNE, with this new strategic plan, ambitions to better serve the interests of African countries and the people in providing effective technology regulatory support services towards Africa’s socioeconomic...