Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

The first ever All Africa Congress on Biotechnology - The Nairobi Declaration and way forward
22 September 2008 - 26 September 2008


The 1st All Africa Congress on Biotechnology commenced on 22nd September, 2008 with welcome addresses by Prof. Norah Olembo (Chairperson of the Congress Organizing Committee and Executive Director of the African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum (ABSF) who hosted the event and rallied partners), Dr Mpoko Bokanga, the Executive Director of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF); Professor Shaukat Abdulrazak, Secretary, National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), Kenya; the representative of Ms Rhoda Tumusime, the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture and Dr Wilson Songa, the Agriculture Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Kenya. The Honourable Assistant Minister for Agriculture in Kenya, officially opened the Congress with the vote of thanks by the Rapporteur-General, Prof. Diran Makinde.

Plenary sessions were addressed by eminent speakers on the status of biotechnology in Africa and the world. The tone for the presentation in the area was set by Dr. Clive James, ISAAA Global Director, who spoke on the Global Status of Biotech Crops. Subsequent plenary sessions in the 5-day congress dealt with the Advancement in Biotechnology specifically in the areas of molecular biology, bioinformatics, genomics and biotechnology tools; Policy and Biosafety, Communication, Awareness and Networking; the Potential Impact of Agricultural Biotechnology for Food Security and Socio-economic Development in Africa, Farmer Participation and Public-Private Sector Partnership.

Breakout sessions were held in which details of the topics covered by the plenary sessions were presented.

A total of 39 countries, of which 17 were from outside Africa including USA, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, France, China, Australia, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium and 416 delegates attended the Biotech Congress with representation from Dozens of international organizations and institutions, leading amongst them were: United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Center for Science in the Public Interest-USA, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Washington, Iowa State University-USA, Michigan State University-USA, Croplife International, International Livestock Research Institute, World AgroForestry Centre (ICRAF), International Centre for Research in Arid and Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Open University - UK, Swaminathan Research Foundation-India, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), ISAAA Global and ISAAA AfriCentre, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International (A-Harvest), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), International Potato Centre (CIP),United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Africa Union (AU) and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, UK.

Because of its sheer magnitude, the 1st All Africa Congress on Biotechnology was roundly sponsored by a host of leading donor organisations through resource support and sponsorship deals for international delegates. Amongst many of the sponsors included: Applied Biosystems Ltd, USDA, AATF, ILRI, African Union, A-Harvest, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), CIMMYT, ICRISAT, UNESCO, IFPRI, ISAAA Global, Kenya Plant health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Ministry of Science and Technology in Kenya, FARA, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), Biosafety Train and Croplife International.

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