Investing in good nutrition for the wellbeing of southern African individuals will have a knock-on effect on the economy of the region, say food security researchers.
The 2nd phase of the South African edition of FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme concluded on Friday last week in Cape Town, with four female bio-entrepreneurs selected to represent SA and Lesotho at the annual SA Innovation Summit to be held in September.
Mauritius, together with Rodrigues possess a rich biodiversity comprising both endemic and exotic flora and fauna and represent a goldmine for the global food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry, yet it has been largely under-utilized up until now.
With the increasing demand for natural products or plant-based products, the endemic flora and fauna hold immense potentials for the food, pharmaceutical industry and economic development.
Clemence is a 45-year old successful livestock farmer in rural countryside of Chipinge, in Zimbabwe. He is a family man with six children, 3 boys and 3 girls, all of them going through primary school. In the past two decades, Clemence has seen enough change in technology for a whole life-time, starting from a time where one had to batter trade a cow for a mobile phone SIM card to now, where the same card costs less than USD 1. Now he does not have to write letters but send text messages.
SADC innovators are applying big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and other smart technologies in medicine, forensics, farming and diagnostics.
Gift Gana developed the Dr CADx app that scans medical photographs to help radiologists diagnose cancer more efficiently, and with high accuracy. Because radiologists are in short supply in many African regions, the app bridges a key diagnostic gap for the continent.
Shamisa lives in a dry part of Zimbabwe. With few prospects for income, she relies on small scale farming to feed her family.
Food insecurity impacts 239 million Africans, and up to 40% of children under the age of five are chronically undernourished, which affects their survival, and cognitive and physical development.
TB meningitis is a major cause of death in Southern Africa, but the current diagnostic tests are not as quick or as sensitive as they need to be. Finding a sensitive, rapid test for TB meningitis has been elusive until now, but that is changing thanks to BioFISA II funding and researchers at Antrum Biotech.
According to Rainbow Tanks, South Africa uses an average of 235 litres of water daily per capita when compared to the 173 litres of water per capita in the world. While this number paints a grim picture, a function of high levels of non-revenue water and a high reliance on water-intensive coal-fired power plants for electricity are also some of the huge contributors to this crisis.
A BioFISA II grant has helped Inqaba Biotec and the University of the Western Cape achieve their goal of creating a better, cheaper forensic kit custom-built for African genetic diversity. Project manager, Mischa Francesca Fraser talks about the need for such a product for Africa and how it will help police solve sexual assault cases in southern Africa and the rest of the continent.