SANBio for the future

SANBio BP 2019 Group pic

The NEPAD Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) will soon launch a new strategy under its 2020-2024 Business Plan to propel the network into the future this is according to its Network Manager Dr Ereck Chakauya last week (31 July -2 August 2019) at the network’s Business Plan validation workshop held in Pretoria, South Africa. 

The SANBio Business Plan (2013-2018) ended on 31 March 2019 and a project to develop the new Business Plan has been commissioned to an independent consultant. The new trajectory of Science, Technology and Innovation in the SADC Biosciences, demands that SANBio aligns with emerging trends and frameworks at regional, continental and globally to remain relevant to the efforts to usher the region into a knowledge-based economy in a sustainable way.

“Our (SANBio) objective as a network will remain the same and it is to facilitate innovation in support of the development of a knowledge economy in Southern Africa to produce marketable products, generation of knowledge and policies, enhanced skills of individuals, stronger institutions and increased collaboration. All this is in accordance with the regional and continental STI frameworks,” Dr Chakauya said.

He further added that the new Business Plan will include the network’s new process and procedures that will allow it to deliver on its mandate which is services to its clients and stakeholders.

The network has made a lot of achievements over the past; it has supported 15 collaborative projects in food and health  and produced 7 products that are on the market and 3 spin off companies have been established. It has also produced 148 MSc degrees, 71 PhDs and 22 Postdocs across institutions of higher learning and training in the SADC region as well as 2000 vocational trainees.

Organising the workshop, Dr Chakauya said they aimed to look at new trends in biosciences both regional and global that NEPAD SANBio should consider as well as developing a governance model that will propel the network into the future. 

“We have reached a point where we must redesign the organisation by formalising its structure in order to foster some coordination and communication of the network. The NEPAD SANBio brand can only be enhanced by the demonstration of the products and services that we currently have and what we are planning for the future. Therefore, the impact of this can only be achieved by demonstrating these scientific and technological interventions to the member states and stakeholders.” 

The 3-day workshop was attended by all members of the NEPAD SANBio Steering Committee, SANBio Nodes & Hub, private sector, universities and research partners, SADC country funding councils and SANBio Youth Ambassadors.

A draft 5-year NEPAD SANBio business Plan 2020-2024 that will enable the network to deliver a vibrant and product SANBio while improving the economies of the SADC region through its biosciences interventions will come into effect before the end of the year. 

By Kelebohile Sedieane