By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
November 13, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – The ninth annual meeting of the African Science Academies (AMASA) was concluded on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The meeting, which was held under a theme "biotechnology for Africa’s development" brought together leaders and representatives of science academies from several African nations.
During the three-day conference, participants discussed ways of developing and using biotechnology in Africa and on the role biotechnology could play in transforming economies of African countries.
Policy makers and researchers delivered a number of presentations on the role of biotechnology can play in improving health, food security, medicine and the environment.
Demissie Habte, president of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) told Sudan Tribune that the main objective of the meeting was to urge African leaders play a leading role in the continent’s biotechnology revolution.
He added the conference has addressed African governments to use biotechnology as a crucial technological input to national development.
The annual meeting was hosted by the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, which joined the African Science Academy Development Initiative partnership after it was established in 2010.
At the occasion, Demissie Habte, president of EAS said: “Hosting the annual meeting of African science academies three years after our own academy was established is an honor, and provides us a unique opportunity to raise awareness of how academies can provide policy advice on a national as well as continental scale.”
“Evidence-based advice from science academies can be particularly useful to policymakers when confronting complex and controversial issues, such as biotechnology’s role in Africa’s development, the theme of our conference this year,” he added.
Several representatives from Europe and the United States also participated in the conference.
"We are pleased to partner with our colleagues at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and have them join this broader effort to bring the full expertise of the African scientific, engineering, and medical communities to bear in addressing critical development issues on the continent," said Michael T. Clegg, foreign secretary of the US National Academy of Sciences.
The annual meeting of African science academies is held annually under the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI).
ASADI was founded in 2004 by the US National Academies and is financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The initiative was launched with the goal of strengthening the capability of African science academies to provide national policy and public discourse through evidence-based advice.