The second phase of FemBioBiz Season 2 has concluded for Malawi, home to a population of 18 million of which half sustains itself on agriculture. The country faces challenges in improving healthcare, creating employment and expanding its economy amongst others. Malawian female entrepreneurs however have the potential and vigour to play a central role in addressing these problems.
Lilongwe-based agro-dealer Fannie Gondwe won the 2017 Female Biosciences Business (FemBioBiz) Acceleration Programme’s local competition in Malawi.
Mrs Gondwe will join other top performers who will have the opportunity to meet investors, business experts and potential mentors, as well as visit Cape Town to participate in the Innovation Summit 2017. She will also be flown to South Africa in July 2017 to represent Malawi at the regional FemBioBiz bootcamp.
It is said that the youth are the future of food security. Around the world, relatively few young people are involved in agriculture. With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world and unemployment for youth is a growing concern: youth account for 60 per cent of all African unemployed, according to the World Bank.
As the next instalment on our profiling series of female scientists, we interviewed Ms Nellie Titani Amosi from Mzuzu University in Malawi. She holds a BSc degree in Forestry and is currently pursuing an MSc in Forestry and Environmental Management.
"Malawi is currently facing uncountable challenges ranging from food insecurity, malnutrition, forex, intermittent power supply, and water shortages. Climate change and population growth is predicted to make the problems worse in Malawi. Biosciences can play a vital role in improving the livelihoods and well-being of the communities,” explains Kareem Longwe, SANBio’s first Student Ambassador.
Often times donor agencies come to Africa, invest money in programmes, and when they leave – everything linked to the programmes stops, or so it often seems. Some have argued that such aid does more harm than good. It is often said that it is better to teach a person to fish than to give them fish – and indeed in many cases this is true: giving handouts can result in a dependency culture.