Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
NEPAD’s biosafety receives boost from the Gates Foundation
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Michigan State University (MSU) will use a $10.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen Africa’s biosafety expertise. This five-year grant follows on a year of collaboration between NEPAD and MSU that established the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), a continent-wide, science-based biosafety resource for African regulators. The Foundation announced the grant in conjunction with Bill Gates’ keynote address today at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. It is part of a package of nine agricultural development projects totaling $120 million to address long-term food security.
ABNE will provide regulators access to the most up-to-date training and science-based information to regulate biotechnology, ensuring countries can make informed decisions on how to use these advances while protecting farmers, consumers and the environment. The first ABNE center will be based in Burkina Faso and managed by an African staff that specializes in the environmental, health, legal, and socioeconomic impacts of biotechnology.
ABNE was established by the NEPAD Office of Science and Technology, and has been officially endorsed by the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) to promote advancement of science and technology for agricultural development in Africa.
"NEPAD recognizes the immense potential of life sciences and biotechnology in contributing to Africa’s development. This initiative reflects NEPAD’s commitment to the recommendation of the High-Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology that Africa should adopt a ‘co-evolutionary’ approach by promoting innovation while safeguarding human health and the environment," says Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD. "The partnership with MSU will build the necessary capacity in biosafety and biotechnology in Africa."
An Africa-based and Africa-led initiative, ABNE will draw upon existing expertise and resources, while forming connections with both African and global institutions to create a network of expertise.
"Michigan State University has a long standing tradition of working with countries in Africa. This initiative fits very well with MSU’s mission in terms of building two-way partnerships for creating an enabling environment for science and technology to flourish" says Lou Anna Simon, President of Michigan State University. "MSU is privileged to partner with NEPAD to bring global biosafety and biotechnology resources to Africa."
This grant to NEPAD and Michigan State University is part of the foundation’s Agricultural Development initiative, which is working with a wide range of partners to provide millions of small farmers in the developing world with tools and opportunities to boost their yields, increase their incomes, and build better lives for themselves and their families. The foundation is working to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain—from seeds and soil to farm management and market access—so that progress against hunger and poverty is sustainable over the long term.
"Melinda and I believe that helping the poorest small-holder farmers grow more and get it to market is the world’s single most powerful lever for reducing hunger and poverty," Gates said. MIDRAND, 15 October 2009