Bringing Bio-economies to Africa

Bio-economy are the economic activities derived from scientific and research focused on biotechnology. In other words, understanding mechanisms and processes at the genetic and molecular levels and applying this understanding to creating or improving industrial processes.

It is no surprise that like most developing economies, countries in sub-Saharan Africa are hampered by low productivity, high vulnerability to climate change and poor market infrastructure. But interestingly, and as an opportunity for innovation, knowledge based bio-economies can boost national and local economies to reduce poverty and help achieve environmental sustainability. This is driven by reducing the reliance on petrochemicals.

The aim of a bio-economy is to make the most from agriculture- complementing food, feed and fibre production with a wider range of agro-industrials such as industrial materials and energy. Like India and similar economies, Africa has a good opportunity to leverage bio-economy. In an article I came across a few months ago, I read that Sweden has knowledge and experience in bio-economy and is exploring opportunities to support Africa in their development of knowledge based bio-economy.

In this regards, key exchange or system organizations can increase awareness and create dialogue forums. Moreover, a bioeconomy particular system could be set up to encourage associations. Other opportunities for joint information advancement could be empowered either through financing research and development activities or through supporting the improvement of national and territorial bioeconomy systems for African nations. Currently, Sweden is exploring to incubate, innovate, and upscale businesses through business partnerships funded by small incubation grants from Sida, or through the private sector.

If explored more, the possibilities of bioeconomy in Africa are exceptionally encouraging. The possibility to enhance and increase the value of what’s developed in Africa is incredible. Connecting provincial and worldwide esteem chains could be the main enormous stride toward this path. A combination of local and foreign investment must be harnessed to reduce fuel imports and increase exports of bioproduct.

However to support this process, there is a need to have greater investment in research with a stronger focus on creating a comprehensive and integrated renewable energy system in Africa. If bioeconomy development is to be broad-based, sustainable and equitable – avoiding adverse impacts on ecosystems and food security – policy makers will have to articulate how their bioeconomy programmes can be implemented in ways that advance the economies of rural communities.

As a pioneering step, this model has the potential to be replicated across similar economies such as India to build a more innovation driven and sustainable agriculture ecosystem.

By Mahindra Datir, Marketing, Mahyco