Status of Bioinformatics in Southern Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

Yasmina Jaufeerally-Fakim, Daneshwar Puchooa, Luke Mumba



The Southern African Network for Biosciences (SANBio) includes twelve countries in Southern Africa namely Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  In 2005 SANBio started its function to promote Science and Technology for the benefit of the people of the region. SANBio draws its programme of work from the Africa’s Science & Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA). The CPA was adopted in 2005 by the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST) at its second conference in Dakar, Senegal. The same document was endorsed a year later by the AU Summit in Khartoum, Sudan. The CPA articulates Africa’s common objective of socio-economic transformation and full integration into the world economy. It reaffirms the continent’s collective action for using S&T for meeting the developmental goals of Africa with key pillars being capacity building, knowledge production and technological innovation. The CPA recognizes that S&T in Africa is plagued by such factors as weak or no links between industry and S&T institutions, a mismatch between R&D activities and national industrial development strategies and goals. The consequence of these weaknesses is that research findings in public institutions, including universities, do not get accessed and used by local industries especially small and medium enterprises. The CPA comprises of three key areas: research and development programmes; improvement in policy conditions and building innovation mechanisms; and implementation, funding and governance strategies.



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