EAC calls for development of bioeconomy strategy in region

By Bai LinUnreguser

NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The East African Community (EAC) bloc on Wednesday called for the development of bioeconomy strategy in the region to open opportunities for research cooperation.

Christophe Bazivamo, deputy secretary-general of EAC, said that a regional bioeconomy strategy and the use of renewable biological resources sustainably to produce food, energy and industrial goods will lead to the promotion of trade in value-added bio-based goods and services.

"The strategy will also augment the region's efforts to engage more effectively in the African Continental Free Trade Area," Bazivamo said during the first regional bioeconomy conference in Nairobi.

He urged scientists, policymakers and business leaders to develop sustainable bio-based solutions that could spur growth in the region.

The EAC official noted that the COVID-19 pandemic challenges have underscored the need for innovation collaboration in the region to contribute homegrown solutions for managing emerging public health problems and long term prosperity of the region.

The official said that the region has come together to develop a regional strategy for a sustainable bioeconomy which is consistent with efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and aspirations for the African Union's agenda 2063.

Segenet Kelemu, director-general of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) said that with bioeconomy strategy, east Africa has a chance to innovatively exploit its abundant biological resources.

"The countries are placed to benefit from commercial ventures that will lead to inclusive growth and social development," Kelemu said.

She observed that the strategy will also lead to the creation of new business prospects, economic diversification and job creation, especially for the youth, women and farmers.

"It is time to implement a bioeconomy strategy that is innovative and knowledge-driven, improves agricultural practices and champions value addition to raw materials," Mans Nilson, executive director of Stockholm Environment Institute said.

Nilson said that the strategy will enable the region to have a shared vision for harnessing bioscience knowledge and developing sustainable solutions including capacity building of institutions and policies that will create opportunities for all sections of society.

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