The BIO Africa Convention taking place at the Durban International Convention Centre from August 27 to August 31 will showcase Africa’s groundbreaking biotechnology innovations in the health, agriculture and industrial sectors.

Africa resilient Life sciences innovation for food and health security

Life sciences innovation for food and health security, At the media launch on August 11, President of AfricaBio Nhlanhla Msomi lsaid the huge life sciences conference will bring more than 3,000 international and South African business leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, regulatory authorities and policy-makers under one roof to gain inspiration and insight from global thought leaders addressing critical topics at the intersection of science, business and policy. At the top of critical issues that need to be addressed are health and food security as well as mitigating the effects of climate change, Msomi said. Experts would also engage with young innovators who may be more in touch with breakthrough ideas and up to date with the latest technology. Representing the City, Eric Apelgren said the province had taken some hard knocks since Covid-19, including the devastating floods earlier this year and July unrest last year. He said the convention would make the biotechnology sector more attractive to students and the “disrupters” — innovators who disrupt conventional thinking and methods in a positive and dynamic way.

Using the examples of medicinal cannabis and rooibos, Apelgren noted that while Africa has perfect conditions for growing crops, the continent does not get maximum value through the commercialisation of its top-quality products. He said the BIO Africa convention would tackle the question: “What more can we do?” Mosa Moshabela, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, University of KwaZulu-Natal, echoed the previous speakers’ call to engage young innovators and students. He said universities and faculties were moving away from the silos model to focus on the practical implementation of new ideas and technologies. Moshabela said it was important to ask what happened to students and graduates when they leave universities. He said it was important to follow through as students want to be part of the solution, are energised and poised to take on opportunities.

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