Bioscience Innovation System in eastern Africa: Opportunities and Challenges             Julius Ecuru               BIPCEA
Synopsis• A bioscience innovation system is evolving in  eastern Africa. The people and organizations  are there; they jus...
Where do we want to be?• Countries in eastern  Africa have a common  aspiration & vision:   – i.e. to achieve middle     i...
A shift in paradigms?• For over 2 decades, priority was on Poverty  Reduction Strategies (PRS) and MDGs.      • This was n...
The key drivers• Exploiting the natural resource base  – Minerals,  – Oil and gas  – Genetic resources     • Although the ...
Rising population, a double edged                 sword!• Eastern Africa, to be world’s  most populous region by 2050  (UN...
Evolving a modern bio-economy in    the region is the more sustainable             growth pathway!• Why?  – A rich genetic...
A functional bioscience innovation system is   the key building block of bio-economy• i.e. a complex network of  people & ...
Key actors• Public universities and  research organizations  making progress:   – E.g. with tissue culture
• E.g. with converting ag-waste into bio-energy
• Private sector slowly  coming in;
• International  and regional  organizations  playing a  significant role
Lessons• The public sector (universities, research orgs, &  government) can catalyse a rapid evolution of  an eastern Afri...
Role of the public sector remains crucial!• While in developed countries, private sector is  a key player in innovation an...
What we need1. Responsive policies  – Policies should be enabling policies     •   Share visions, clear goals and sufficie...
What we need …3. Competitive products, entrepreneurship skillsenhancement and search for new markets  – Researchers & scie...
What we need…4. Enhance human & infrastructure capacities  – Increase funding to universities, to produce    graduates wit...
What are we doing?                          Bio-Innovate technological clustersBioscience Innovation Policy Consortium for...
BIPCEA• Assists in putting in place effective policy  support mechanisms at national and regional  level which enable comm...
Moving forward• Countries in eastern Africa can use bio-resources  as a strategic base for sustainable economic  growth;• ...
• Let’s go Bio!• The journey may be rough, but it is  not too far.
THANK YOU• Acknowledgement  – BIPCEA  – Sida  – Bio-Innovate PMO
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Bioscience innovation system in eastern Africa: Opportunities and challenges

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Presented by Julius Ecuru at the First Bio-Innovate Regional Scientific Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25-27 February 2013

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Bioscience innovation system in eastern Africa: Opportunities and challenges

  1. 1. Bioscience Innovation System in eastern Africa: Opportunities and Challenges Julius Ecuru BIPCEA
  2. 2. Synopsis• A bioscience innovation system is evolving in eastern Africa. The people and organizations are there; they just need to interact better.
  3. 3. Where do we want to be?• Countries in eastern Africa have a common aspiration & vision: – i.e. to achieve middle income country status as soon as possible (before 2030?)• Challenge, “how to get there?”
  4. 4. A shift in paradigms?• For over 2 decades, priority was on Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) and MDGs. • This was necessary to provide essential social services (expanding access to health, education, infrastructure, etc); but has not been sufficient to build a foundation for long-term sustainable economic growth because outputs desired had to be immediate, short term. – But fruits from research & innovation usually ripen after many years, long term.• But now, dev’t efforts are increasingly characterised by a quest for wealth creation. • from “Poverty reduction” – “Prosperity realisation”
  5. 5. The key drivers• Exploiting the natural resource base – Minerals, – Oil and gas – Genetic resources • Although the question always is in what form? Raw or value added• Capitalising on the growing services sector – ICTs, infrastructure, education, health care, eco- systems services
  6. 6. Rising population, a double edged sword!• Eastern Africa, to be world’s most populous region by 2050 (UNFPA, 2010) – >700 million p’le – >50% urban – >50% below 15 yrs of age• Both sides of the sword demand new solutions through science, technology and innovation: – Productive & competitive private sector – Sustainable eco-solutions
  7. 7. Evolving a modern bio-economy in the region is the more sustainable growth pathway!• Why? – A rich genetic resource base; – Increasing demand for renewable bio-resources brought about by rapid globalization & climatic changes• Calestous Juma’s optimism: – “This opportunity offers Africa another opportunity for technological leapfrogging.” – Juma (2011)
  8. 8. A functional bioscience innovation system is the key building block of bio-economy• i.e. a complex network of people & organizations interacting and learning from each other in developing, adding value and processing local crops & other bio-resources.
  9. 9. Key actors• Public universities and research organizations making progress: – E.g. with tissue culture
  10. 10. • E.g. with converting ag-waste into bio-energy
  11. 11. • Private sector slowly coming in;
  12. 12. • International and regional organizations playing a significant role
  13. 13. Lessons• The public sector (universities, research orgs, & government) can catalyse a rapid evolution of an eastern Africa bioscience innovation system, and specifically support the creation of new bio-based enterprises, or significantly enhance the competitiveness of the existing ones.
  14. 14. Role of the public sector remains crucial!• While in developed countries, private sector is a key player in innovation and creating new modern bio-business opportunities, in developing countries like most of eastern Africa, the public sector will for some time have a central role in supporting and engaging private sector in innovation efforts (creating modern bio-enterprises).
  15. 15. What we need1. Responsive policies – Policies should be enabling policies • Share visions, clear goals and sufficient incentives • Safety and quality of products • Intellectual property management systems • Favourable business climate, e.g. taxation regimes2. Stable financing mechanisms – Innovation funding on a competitive basis, make it annual and sizeable; – Government and donor support is absolutely necessary
  16. 16. What we need …3. Competitive products, entrepreneurship skillsenhancement and search for new markets – Researchers & scientists, get into business; • requires flexible regimes at universities/public research organizations – Have in place “business” incubation services, – Financial institutions, enhance capacities to assess bio-based business proposals.
  17. 17. What we need…4. Enhance human & infrastructure capacities – Increase funding to universities, to produce graduates with more practical skills5. Enhance linkages & communication – With all actors in the system; • Especially, universities and public research organizations should be better linked;
  18. 18. What are we doing? Bio-Innovate technological clustersBioscience Innovation Policy Consortium for eastern Africa (BIPCEA)
  19. 19. BIPCEA• Assists in putting in place effective policy support mechanisms at national and regional level which enable commercialization of Bio- innovations. • Identify and offer solutions to critical policy issues • Provide a platform for interaction & sharing ideas • Provide tools for effective management of bio-innovations
  20. 20. Moving forward• Countries in eastern Africa can use bio-resources as a strategic base for sustainable economic growth;• Ultimately developing a more sustainable and resource efficient “Bio-economy”
  21. 21. • Let’s go Bio!• The journey may be rough, but it is not too far.
  22. 22. THANK YOU• Acknowledgement – BIPCEA – Sida – Bio-Innovate PMO

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