Strengthening the Network: NEPAD SANBio visit Seychelles

From left to right: Mr Xavier Estico, CEO, National Institute for Science Technology and Innovation, Ms Tshidi Moraka, CSIR, Competency Area Manager, Dr Ereck Chakauya, Acting Network Manager, SANBio, Mr Michael Benstrong, Minister, Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation and Ms Marise Berlouis, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation

Seychelles is an island with a population of about 80 000 on  The landmass is only 459 square kilometers, but the islands are spread over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,374,000 square kilometers in the western Indian Ocean, lying within the Madagascar region biodiversity hotspot. The islands have 7,200 species of animal, plant and fungi. Seychelles is known for its endemic species such as famous Aldabra giant tortoise (Dipsochelys dussumieri); jellyfish tree (Medusagyneceae) and an ancient family of frogs (sooglosside). The country’s economy depends much on its biodiversity mainly on tourism and fisheries.

 

Strengthening the Network is of paramount importance especially after recess in 2012. The NEPAD/Southern Africa Network for Biosciences is strengthening its Network through visiting and engaging member states. The SANBio Secretariat embarked on a two day visit, 8 to 9 of April, 2015 to Seychelles, and was hosted by the National Institute for Science Technology and Innovation. The visit was aimed at sharing the Business Plan 2013-18, to mobilise resources and identifying collaboration opportunities within the areas of human health, nutrition, environment and agriculture.

During the visit the Secretariat engaged with representatives from several institutions and government including; National Institute for Science Technology and Innovation (NISTI), National Botanical Gardens Fund (NBGF), Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, Seychelles Agricultural Agency, Seychelles Bureau of Standards and Seychelles Fishing Authority, also paid a courtesy call to the Minister of the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation.

“Seychelles is endowed with natural resources like land, plants and sea. Indigenous knowledge is in our blood and there is a need to translate tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge,” said Mr Michael Benstrong, Minister of Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation. “Our country is rich with biodiversity, so there is a lot of potential for value addition especially on fisheries,” Minister said.

Engaged stakeholders expressed their interest to contribute and participate on SANBio projects, since they did not participate much during the first Business Plan.

 

By Mehlolo Maphanga