The NEPAD Science Technology and Innovation Hub (NSTIH), NEPAD SANBio (Southern Africa Network for Biosciences), National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (NISTI) in the Republic of Seychelles in collaboration with the other key national stakeholders, African Union Commission, Ministry of Education, National Bureau of Statistics and the University of Seychelles held a training workshop on strategies of creating an enabling environment for a knowledge-based economy led by innovation in Beau Vallon, Seychelles, from 7 to 11 August 2017.
“SANBio is on a mission of supporting Seychelles SMMEs on strategies translating research results into usable products for industry, bio entrepreneurs or for communities,” said Dr Ereck Chakauya, SANBio Network Manager. “The aim of the in-country training workshop is to share insights on the performance of Seychelles’ innovation system,” he further illustrated.
In his welcoming address, Mr. Xavier Estico, CEO of NISTI, reiterated the importance of regional collaboration in promoting R&D and Innovation in support of our transition from economy-efficiency-driven to innovation-driven knowledge-based economies. The Chairman of NISTI, Dr Conrad Shamlaye officially opened the training workshop. The Vice President of Seychelles, Honourable Vincent Meriton also graced the meeting with his presence. During the opening, Mr Hambani Masheleni, Senior Policy Officer of African Union Commission stressed that the Heads of State and Government of the African Union adopted Agenda 2063, the long term strategic framework that commits the African continent to deliver on the rising aspirations of its citizens, and to respond to global expectations, especially SDGs.
The workshop provided a platform for knowledge sharing as well as experiences among the different stakeholders who were drawn from Seychelles and other parts of the African continent (i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Swaziland) from the biosciences sector, represented by government officials, research institutions and entrepreneurs, on several issues related to business management and development, creating an knowledge-based economy, and intellectual property and access benefit sharing related to traditional knowledge and genetic resources. The identification of areas of collaboration between Seychelles and other potential partners from the SADC region on indigenous knowledge systems was also amongst the priorities of the workshop.
Mr Xavier Estico, CEO of NISTI emphasised that, despite the challenges associated with their R&D and Innovation Survey, NISTI took the initiative to conduct the survey against all odds. “This event will take us to a new phase of a long journey of collaboration between NISTI, NEPAD, ASTII and SANBio,” he further stressed, concluding that “this collaboration aims at the development of STI on our continent and more so in our Southern African region”.
NEPAD SANBio led the Business Canvas Model training at the joint workshop between NISTI and NEPAD & NEPAD SANBio, held in a parallel session with the NISTI-NEPAD workshop on Training of Trainers on R&D/Innovation Data Collection for the Production of Related Core Indicators. The NEPAD SANBio training workshop targeted SMMEs from Seychelles, introducing the basic principles of the Business Model Canvas which focuses on dimensions on how to commercialise a technology on the market to generate profit and grow a business. The SMMEs who attended the Business Model Canvas came from a wide range of businesses, from natural products (i.e. fish and plants) and beverage production to bio fertilisers and even consultancy businesses. Intellectual property (IP) and access and benefit sharing related to plant genetic resources and traditional knowledge training also formed part of the training programme in Seychelles.
NEPAD SANBio, through Dr Sechaba Bareetseng, also paid several visits to Seychelles institutions that are related to science, technology and innovation. The visits were aimed at familiarisation with the Seychelles science, technology and innovation capabilities, in particular biotechnology including indigenous knowledge systems. The intention was to identify potential initiatives on productisation of indigenous knowledge systems through NISTI supported by the SANBio Network to impact on health and nutrition and food securities in Seychelles.