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Conference Agenda

International Conference and Exhibition on



May 12-15, 2011

Organized by the Addis Ababa University

and the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project, Harvard Kennedy School


Food security, nutrition, healthcare and environmental sustainability are among Africa’s biggest challenges. According to the 2007 work Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa’s Development, authored by the High-Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology and commissioned by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the development of biotechnology has a role to play in overcoming each of these challenges. This conference attempts to address the role of biotechnologies in the transformation of African economies. For the past two decades, biotechnology has been at the centre of global conversations in public policy, yet as with the Green Revolution, biotechnology has so been slow to take root in Africa. Many obstacles stand in the way but if the will exists to invest in human resources and in infrastructure, then AU member states, too, will reap the benefits from biotechnologies


The overall aim of this conference is to outline strategies for building the competence needed to enable Africa to integrate biotechnology into its agriculture in sustainable way. Its specific objectives are to: provide sound scientific knowledge base on issues related to technology transfer and capacity building; identify more efficient ways and means of building capacity and developing sustainable and useful institutions; present lessons learned and identify success factors regarding biotechnology knowledge transfer and capacity building; and to serve as a forum for cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary dialogue between scientists and policy makers on issues related to developing, use and application of biotechnology.


The focus of the conference is to generate ideas that can be used to facilitate competence building in the field biotechnology. In this regard, emphasis will be placed on presentations that provide concrete examples and relevant case studies. Posters outlining the activities of various organizations are welcome as part of the exhibition but there will be no speeches on the activities of various organizations. Every session will have a maximum of three speakers each of whom will be allocated a maximum of 20 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of discussion addressing issues raised in the three presentations.


The main output of the conference will be a short document outlining key policy lessons that can guide the process of competence-building in agricultural biotechnology.