Food security, nutrition, healthcare and environmental sustainability are among Africa’s biggest challenges. According to the 2007 work Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa’s Development, authored by the High-Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology and commissioned by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the development of biotechnology has a role to play in overcoming each of these challenges.
This conference attempts to address the role of biotechnologies in the transformation of African economies. For the past two decades, biotechnology has been at the centre of global conversations in public policy, yet as with the Green Revolution, biotechnology has so far failed to take root in Africa. Many obstacles stand in the way but if the will exists to invest in human resources and in infrastructure, then AU member states, too, will reap the benefits from biotechnologies.