The Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) hosted a delegation of Lesotho’s Ministry of Communication Science and Technology on 21 February 2014 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.
Lesotho is one of the 12 member states in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region that constitutes the SANBio Network - a shared research and innovation platform established under the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development (AU/NEPAD) African Biosciences Initiative (ABI). The ABI secretariat is hosted by the CSIR on behalf of all stakeholders.
The event brought together CSIR Biosciences and the Ministry of Communication Science and Technology representatives to share ideas and possible collaboration opportunities.
Jerrey Mokati, Senior Project Manager, CSIR Biosciences, opened the proceedings by welcoming the delegates to the CSIR and introducing other representatives of the CSIR Biosciences unit. He expressed gratitude at CSIR Biosciences being able to host the event, adding: “We believe the visit will be beneficial to us at CSIR Biosciences and to our visitors.”
The programme included an overview video showcasing activities within CSIR Biosciences, more specifically the Natural Product Agroprocessing (NPA) competence area, as well as keynote speakers of both NPA and SANBio. The presentations gave an overview and highlighted areas of focus of NPA and SANBio.
The event was concluded with a tour of the CSIR Biosciences’ facilities. Mokati told the visitors that the excellent facilities at their disposal, together with highly skilled staff, have contributed to the operating unit being established as the leading centre for translating biosciences discoveries into products and technologies with impact in industry and society.
In his closing remarks, Kopano Ts’enoli, leader of the visiting delegation and Chief Engineer: at the Department of Appropriate Technologies (ATS), which forms part of the Ministry of Communication Science and Technology, thanked CSIR Biosciences. “Thank you to the CSIR for hosting us at such short notice. We are grateful for the opportunity of being here and for the information that you have shared with us.”
ATS produces a number of technologies related to fuel/energy conservation, food preservation, farming and house hold and small business use. The overall objective of the department is to research, develop and apply appropriate technologies to achieve sustainable development, directed by continual needs assessment and feedback from end users, and to foster a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation.
“With partners like the CSIR we hope to gain more expertise for the benefit of society, specifically in terms of food security,” Ts’enoli said. He expressed surprise at the quality and extent of the CSIR Biosciences unit’s facilities, saying: “The facilities here at the CSIR are of a much higher standard than we initially thought.”
“Being the ears and eyes of ATS, we will pass on the information to our colleagues and look forward to future engagements with CSIR Biosciences,” he concluded.