The Science for Africa Foundation (SFA Foundation) and the African BioGenome Project (AfricaBP) are partnering to advance scientific approaches to safeguard Africa’s biodiversity through genomics.
Africa is home to the world’s mega biodiversity hotspots, and it is currently experiencing an unprecedented loss of its biodiversity due to human overexploitation and environmental degradation which is resulting in the decline of its plants and animals with an estimated loss of 50% of Africa’s bird and mammal species, and 20-30% of loss of productivity by the end of the century.
This partnership is detailed in an agreement to be signed in due course and creates the Alliance for Biodiversity Genomics in Africa.
The SFA Foundation will operate this Alliance on behalf of the AfricaBP and SFA Foundation, and AfricaBP will be branded as a special programme within the SFA Foundation, to accelerate the use of genomic-based technologies to safeguard Africa’s biodiversity and ensure its equitable and sustainable use.
“In addition to preserving the intrinsic value of the continent’s species, protecting Africa’s biodiversity is paramount for the survival of current and future generations as, from it, we derive our livelihoods, sustain our agricultural productivity to ensure our food security and protect the air we breathe and our cultural identities,” said Prof Thomas Kariuki, Executive Director, Science for Africa (SFA) Foundation.
Dr. ThankGod Echezona Ebenezer, Founder of the African BioGenome Project and a Bioinformatician at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), United Kingdom,“The formation of the Alliance for Biodiversity Genomics in Africa is timely. This Alliance will strengthen Africa’s ability to deliver on the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the recently adopted Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, especially on genetic diversity and Digital Sequence Information.”
He said: “ It will enable African countries to achieve three of the developmental goals in the African Union Agenda 2063: Increased agricultural productivity, and ocean and ecologically sustainable economies. Through this Alliance, we aim to bring biodiversity genomics and bioinformatics practices closer to the African people whilst linking it to local biodiversity knowledge.”
“The partnership between SFA Foundation and AfricaBP will build on the strengths of both institutions which will advance the science of biodiversity genomics in Africa, ensuring that many African scientists are involved in the conservation and preservation of the biological species that are most important to them”, adds Professor Anne Muigai, current Chair of AfricaBP and Professor of Genetics at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.