10 August 2005
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) has established the Southern African Network for Biosciences (SANBio) to strengthen biosciences capacity in the southern African region.
The initiative was launched in Pretoria last week.
SANBio will be a network of technology suppliers from 12 countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) spokesperson Joseph Mohajane said SANBio would focus on critical biosciences areas related to agriculture, human health, animal health, environmental issues and industrial technologies.
“Supporting technologies such as bio-informatics will be used at the forefront of the scientific discovery process,” said Mohajane.
He said that SANBio had been established following an agreement between Nepad’s African Biosciences Initiative and the CSIR.
Namibia will chair the network’s steering committee for the next 12 months.
Mohajane said that regional networks of centres of excellence would be established. The southern African hub, to be hosted by the CSIR in Pretoria, is the second of four to be established in Africa, he said.
Similar hubs exist in Kenya for east and central Africa, in Senegal for West Africa and in Egypt for North Africa.
“The initial focus will be on driving regional cooperation with a long term vision of creating synergy between the four networks,” Mohanaje said.