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African scientists urged to integrate local
knowledge into biosciences research

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The African Union Commission on Thursday urged scientists to integrate traditional knowledge into biosciences research.

Ysaye Gassama, the chairperson of High Leve Panel on Emerging Technologies of AUC, said the continent’s genetic resources should be made strong factors for competitiveness and socioeconomic development.

“Let us consider our tradition as a base from which to build something new to help drive sustainable changes in bringing wealth and prosperity,” Gassman said on Thursday during the launch of African Women for Biosciences (AWfB) Kenyan chapter in Nairobi.

Gassama noted that Africa’s success relies on linkage of knowledge to innovation in key sectors of the economy.

She called for a transition to a bio-economy since it has a potential for job creation through innovation.

Gassama observed that modern biotechnology is giving rise to a new bio-economy system hence taking substantial share of the global production.

She said that through biotechnology, biomass production of plant and animal species will be a substitute to fossil minerals and chemical processes within a few decades.

The AUC official called for gender mainstreaming in science especially in the training of women and girls and the development of endogenous scientific capacity.

“We have to incorporate innovation to help countries reduce unemployment of the youths,” she added.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Margaret Kobia told women scientists to conduct research that uplifts the living conditions of women in rural areas.

“This initiative should provide unique platform to help empower women scientists to be able to mentor young scientists and women in rural areas who form 80 percent of farmers,” she added.

Margaret Karembu, the chair of AWfB Kenyan chapter, revealed that the new outfit will help the government in fighting food insecurity by promoting science based farming in farming communities.

“This is a platform for professional women to engage the public on bioscience issues and advocate for investment in innovations that promote bio-based enterprises for sustainable livelihoods,” Karembu added.

She added that the body will also facilitate mentorship for upcoming professionals in support of an inclusive scientific workforce.

AWfB Kenyan chapter plans to align the government’s policies that ensure women in biosciences are at leadership and decision making levels and that women access biosciences research in the region for fostering potential collaboration and partnerships.

It will also create a linkage between women researchers and the industry to ensure transfer of cutting-edge technology products from biosciences.

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