Biosciences eastern and central Africa Hub

Biosciences eastern and central Africa Hub: Capacity Building
Empowering African scientists to solve Africa’s agricultural challenges
Segenet Kelemu
Director, BecA Hub
Nairobi, Kenya
Initial hosting arrangements and the creation of BecA
AU/NEPAD – Africa Biosciences Initiative (ABI): Creation of four regional
1. BecA (Biosciences eastern and central Africa) for
countries in eastern and central Africa
2. SANBio (Southern African Network for Biosciences)
for southern African countries
3. WABNet (West African Biosciences Network)
consisting of ECOWAS countries
4. NABNet (North African Biosciences Network) for the
countries in North Africa.
BecA Hub: Core activities
Core competencies and research programs in agriculture: crop, animal
health and microbial sciences
Capacity building and training
Research and Technology-related services
Focal point for the agricultural research community in eastern and
central Africa
Promotion of product development and delivery
BecA Hub Core competencies
Functional genomics
Genetic engineering
Molecular breeding (marker development and application)
Vaccine technology/Immunology
Vectors (e.g. ticks)
Capacity Building Objectives
• Strengthen capacity of individuals and
institutions to harness the latest
biosciences technologies to improve
agriculture in Africa
• Support African scientists efforts to lead
and sustain biosciences research in Africa
• Promote access to world-class research
and training facilities at the BecA–ILRI
Capacity building activities
• Research placements and individual/small group
trainees (275 from 21 African countries since
• Training workshops (49 workshops; 1120
trainees from 21 African countries since 2007)
• Institutional capacity building
• Creating linkages and partnerships; information
sharing; creating awareness of BecA-ILRI Hub
• Conferences
Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF)
• Established in September 2010
• New and innovative way of building African biosciences
capacity while tackling agricultural constraints
• Established as part of the BecA-CSIRO partnership with
funding from AusAID
• Expanded with funding from BMGF and the Swedish
Ministry for Foreign Affairs through Sida
• Core support from Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable
• Growing number of capacity building partners providing
ABCF Research Fellowships
Research outputs, plus
Building capacity to do research
 Technical skills
 Good lab practice and H&S
 Research ethics
 Science communication
• Presentations, posters
• Publications
 Develop partnerships
 Research sustainability
ABCF fellowship projects: examples of outputs
Photo credit: A. Bombom
Striga resistance in sorghum
Passion fruit virus diagnostics
Maize-sorghum hybrids
PPR thermostable vaccine
East Coast fever: rapid sero-diagnostics
Disease studies
Cassava virus - CBSD - first description in DRC
Potential new races of wheat stem rust Ug99 (Kenya)
Possible new Taro virus (Ethiopia/Burundi)
New virus (Ndumu) in pigs - (Uganda)
African Swine Fever diversity (Uganda)
Northern limit of East Coast fever in South Sudan
ABCF Fellows: leveraging funding
Alexander Bombom (Uganda)
• Maize-sorghum hybrids
• Invited BMGF proposal
Dr Felix Meutchieye (Cameroon)
• Cameroon goat diversity
• BecA-Sweden project
Dr Dora Kilalo (Kenya)
• Passion fruit virus rapid diagnostics
• BecA-Sweden project
…and many more
Thank you
Australia, Benin, Cameroon, England, Ethiopia, Italy, Kenya, USA

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