It is my greatest pleasure to open the 'Internet Conference on
Biotechnology and Bioengineering in Africa'. It is IOBB's first regional
activity for Africa and will focus at many African concerns as well as
to enable discussions over Internet with authors of several African
papers and participants from more than 45 countries. The preparatory
efforts involved a number of people who wanted to see such a happening
in Africa and I am happy to welcome all of you, on their behalf.
Three e-symposia will be available to you in June and July, and they
concern the use and impacts of biotechnology and bioengineering in
Africa on biological nitrogen fixation, urban agriculture and
phytoremediation and water purification.
Today IOBB welcomes you to join two of these e-symposia. The 3rd
e-symposium on Phytoremediation will open on June 13th.
The E-symposium on Biological Nitrogen Fixation is sponsored by IFS (the
International Foundation for Science, Sweden) and organised by the
African Association for Biological Nitrogen Fixation (AABNF)
(coordinator: Dr. Mamadou Gueye with the assistance of Ms Marie-Claire
DaSilva, Senegal). It offers 4 activities.
(1) Discussion of abstracts with their authors who presented their
papers at the 11th Congress of AABNF (Dakar, 2004).
(2) Discussion on the establishment of the AABNF e-Network
(3) Discussion of the AABNF's 'PLANS D'ACTION 2004-2008'
(4) and a panel discussion on 3 selected bnf topics on (i)
identification of networks, (ii) identification of target training
courses, and (iii) information services
The 'E-symposium on Economic aspects on the use of Biotechnologies and
Bioengineering in Urban Agriculture by African Households' is sponsored
by RUAF (Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture and Forestry, Netherlands)
and organized by IOBB (coordinator: Mr. Jacky Foo). The panel discussion
opens today to discuss 3 important concerns and invites your comments on
(i) What are the proven biotechnological and bioengineering methods used
in urban agriculture and how can they be more widely used by African
(ii) What are the technical and socio-economic constraints and what can
be done about them
(iii) How can information be delivered to end-users so that they can
increase potential for more income generation.
To support the panel discussion, 8 special paper discussions - each
discussion lasting for at least 2 weeks.
The 'E-symposium on Phytoremediation and Water Purification'
(coordinator: Mr. Kenneth A Yongabi, Nigeria) (starting 13 June) offers
3 paper discussions and a panel discussion on the following topics:
(a) Research and co-operation on phyto-remediation and use of
biomaterials for water purification in Africa
(b) Constraints and contemporary issues on phytoremediation and water
purification technologies in Africa
(c) Biophilosophy and culture of using local plant materials to clean
water for daily needs in Africa.
ICBB-Africa is also an exercise to see how Africans use of email and
participation in webforums. Internet access has increased tremendously
in recent years in African countries and the challenge for IOBB is to
see how African scientists and practitioners can use it to share their
experiences and knowledge with others as well as how Africans
communicate with the rest of the world to find productive and communal
solutions to some of the common problems many African countries may
have. ICBB-Africa is a starting point of IOBB to address such urgently
needed joint efforts where biotechnology and bioengineering can
contribute to development.
As ICBB-Africa is text based, your presence is only noticed when you
write. I welcome you to join any of the on-going discussions to provide
more information about yourself in Speakers corners, share your
experience in Africa (in the panel discussions) and interact with
authors of abstracts and papers who are experts in their respective
Welcome to ICBB-Africa and I look forward to a highly interactive
conference over Internet.
Mr. Jacky Foo
International Organization for Biotechnology and Bioengineering