|May 13, 2011|
|9:00 AM||Official Opening|
|11:30 AM||Keynote and Launch of The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa by Calestous Juma (Oxford University Press, 2011)
The lecture will present a systems view of agriculture and will seek to put the role of biotechnology in a broader context that includes other fields such as basic infrastructure covering energy, communication, transportation and irrigation. It will also draw attention to the critical role of institutions of higher learning, business development and regional integration in the evolution of African agriculture.
|2:00 PM||Session 1: Advances in Biotechnology: A Review of the State of Knowledge
Biotechnology comprises a wide range of rapidly-advancing scientific and technological fields. This session outlines the state of the knowledge in biotechnology and their implications for Africa. The session adopts a broad definition of biotechnology to include a wide range of life science applications and is not be limited to genetic modification.
|4:00 PM||Session 2: Global Trends in Biotechnology Adoption
There is considerable experience in the adoption of agricultural biotechnology since its first commercial use in 1996. This session presents trends in the adoption of biotechnology worldwide. It will stress the critical factors that accounted for the success and failure in adoption, with specific emphasis on competence building.
|May 14, 2011|
|9:00 AM||Session 3: Biotechnology Research and Education
Agricultural research is starting to receive policy attention through a wide range of high-level forums. There is growing interest to identify strategies that facilitate closer connections between research and education. This is important because of the tradition disconnect between research institutes and universities. This session presents models that can be used by African countries to foster integration between research and education. It is stresses the need to build capacity to manage new models of research and higher technical education.
|11:00 AM||Session 4: Biotechnology and Entrepreneurship
Commercialization of biotechnology research represents one of the most important mechanisms for integrating biotechnology into the economy. This session examines the role of business incubation and commercialization of biotechnology products, taking into account the prevailing structure of Africa’s farming systems. The session explores diverse mechanisms for funding biotechnology such as venture capital, many of which may fall outside the domain of agriculture.
|2:00 PM||Session 5: Biotechnology and Systems of Innovation
While biotechnology is viewed as discrete set of tools, it can only be effectively used if put in the context of local or national systems of agricultural innovation. This session outlines the critical features of agricultural innovation systems and examines how they can be adjusted to accommodate and benefit from advances in biotechnology. The session uses lessons from around the world to present approaches that can be adapted to the African situation.
|4:00 PM||Session 6: Regional Biotechnology Cooperation
The intensification of regional integration efforts in Africa is offering new opportunities to apply biotechnology more widely across African countries. This session examines the role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as mechanisms for advancing collaborative research, commercialization and harmonized regulation of biotechnology. It puts the discussion in broader economic integration goals pursued by the African Union. It stresses the importance of strengthening the role of such bodies to help them foster innovation in biotechnology and allied fields.
|May 15, 2011|
|9:00 AM||Session 7: Biotechnology in the Age of Science and Technology Diplomacy
Science and technology diplomacy is emerging as a new way to foster cooperation among countries. This session examines how African countries can position themselves to benefit from new models of international cooperation in science and technology. This session will seek to identify new forms of international cooperation in biotechnology that go beyond traditional practices. For example, it will examine how diplomatic missions and trade consulates can strengthen their role in fostering international biotechnology cooperation.
|11:00 AM||Session 8: Biotechnology Policy and Law
Much of the discussion on biotechnology policy and law in the last two decades has tended to focus on biosafety. This focus grew out of the early concerns regarding the potential risks of biotechnology. This session explores the kinds of biotechnology policies and laws that reflect the two decades of experience with biotechnology application. It stresses the need to adopt comprehensive policies and laws that seek to maximize the benefits of biotechnology while minimizing its risks.
|2:00 PM||Closing Session: The Way Forward|
|3:30 PM||This session summarizes some of the key issues emerging from the conference and outlines a way forward for African biotechnology. It includes an open discussion with suggestions on practical measures that can be adopted by African countries to integrate biotechnology into their agricultural systems in a sustainable manner.