The SANBio Business Plan 2021-2024 was recently endorsed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Education and Training, Science, Technology, and Innovation virtual meeting from 12-16 June 2021.
Chaired by the Republic of Mozambique Minister of Education and Human Development, Honorable Carmilita Rita Namashulua, the annual meeting addresses key policy decisions in the areas of education and training, science, technology, and innovation. The meeting was attended by SADC Ministers and their representatives from Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The SADC Deputy Executive Secretary Regional Integration, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, among many speakers, commended the Ministers for coming together to consider and approve key sectoral policy measures towards the realisation of the SADC Vision of “a peaceful, inclusive, competitive, middle to high income industrialised Region, where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice and freedom”.
Other speakers included Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology; Mr Symerre Grey-Johnson, African Union development agency New Partnership for Africa’s Development NEPAD Director of Technical Cooperation and Programme Funding (DTCPF); Ms Stefania Giannini; Assistant Director-General for Education, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); and Mr Joshua Phoho Setipa, Managing Director, UN Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.
The Ministers also commended SANBio for the good work in supporting SADC member countries on the development of policies on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and would like to see a progress report on the case studies in the next reporting period.
In addition, Ministers commended SANBio for the continuous support provided to the region in the area of biosciences and urged Member States to provide the necessary resources towards the implementation of the Business Plan and other regional programmes in support of the RISDP 2020-2030, Industrialisation Strategy 2015-2063 and Regional Agriculture Policy.
The meeting also saw the Ministers endorsing the SANBio Business Plan 2021-2024. The focus areas for the BP in the next 4 years include:
- Food and Nutrition (value addition, packaging, processing, and branding),
- Entrepreneurship and Industrialisation (mobilising financial resources to empower entrepreneurial researchers especially youth and women).
- One Health Approach (use of emerging cloud systems by the network to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the members to share knowledge and collaborate.
- Emerging Technologies (use of modern tools to add value to indigenous knowledge for unique health products).
The previous SANBio Business Plan built a strong foundation for the network to assume a new trajectory of impact and financial sustainability. This has enabled SANBio to record significant progress in most of its targets and learn from its achievements. In consultation with the AUDA-NEPAD SANBio Steering Committee, the 2021-2024 business plan was aligned with the AUDA NEPAD Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, and Innovation 2021-2023 Business Pan.
The Ministers also commended SANBio for the good work in supporting SADC member countries on the development of policies on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and would like to see a progress report on the case studies in the next reporting period. In addition, Ministers commended SANBio for the continuous support provided to the region around biosciences and urged Member States to provide the necessary resources towards the implementation of the Business Plan and other regional programmes in support of the RISDP 2020-2030, Industrialisation Strategy 2015-2063 and Regional Agriculture Policy.
SANBio is the only network that remains active and operational with activities covering 13 participating member countries, six nodes in different member countries and a host of partners within and outside the region.
In the last five years, SANBio has supported 13 projects, with 15 universities and 10 private companies. We managed to create 6 start-up companies, 7 8 products on the market, 26 industry-academia collaborations and created at least 50 jobs.