The progression of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Africa has so far been heterogeneous and the full impact is not yet well understood. Here, we describe the genomic epidemiology using a dataset of 8746 genomes from 33 African countries and two overseas territories. We show that the epidemics in most countries were initiated by importations predominantly from Europe, which diminished following the early introduction of international travel restrictions. As the pandemic progressed, ongoing transmission in many countries and increasing mobility led to the emergence and spread within the continent of many variants of concern and interest, such as B.1.351, B.1.525, A.23.1 and C.1.1. Although distorted by low sampling numbers and blind spots, the findings highlight that Africa must not be left behind in the global pandemic response, otherwise it could become a source for new variants.
Bioeconomy Strategy, South African Bioeconomy, Department of Science and Innovation, NACI
The National Advisory Council of Innovation together with the Department of Science and Innovation have compiled a report on the South African Bioeconomy Sector. This was presented during a workshop that held early 2022. The report shows the potential mechanisms to improve the quality of bioeconomy data and general data sharing. It also tries to identify sectors of the bioeconomy that could benefit the economy as whole by being prioritised for funding.
Biosecurity has a significant impact on food security, food safety and ultimately, the economy. It affects every citizen of the country; be it direct or indirect.
Hence the need for The National Biosecurity Hub - a multi-stakeholder partnership initiative geared to address a multitude of current and potential future threats to biosecurity in South Africa.
This document presents the results of an effort to identify and survey the biotechnology activities in South Africa. The report aims to provide a quantitative picture of biotechnology activities in the country (according to international standards), to identify needs and constraints and to fulfill the international obligations of the Department of Science and Technology to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
GMO, science engagement, science communication, science policy, technology policy, public understanding of science
A nationally representative survey of the South African public’s perceptions of biotechnology provides new insights into the position of the sector in the public sphere. Familiarity with the concept of biotechnology, and awareness of GM food, have increased over the last decade, although these changes have occurred from a low base. Compared to Europeans, South Africans are more positive about the health implications of GM food, less critical about the environmental impact of GM food, and more positive about the economic consequences of GM food.
This paper look's into the Western Cape’s agriculture and how it's distinguished in several ways from that in the rest of South Africa, largely because of the physical resource differences. The winter rainfall region of the Boland and the year-round rainfall of the Southern Cape provide agricultural conditions that make the crop mix and productive potential unique. A main feature of the region’s agriculture is production stability, based on stable and relatively adequate winter rainfall and supported by well developed infrastructure for both input supply and output processing.
The NACI hosted a workshop on the progress of the Bioeconomy Strategy since its launch in 2014. There were several stakeholders that have been involved in the work since it's conception. They also presented their findings on the bioeconomy and how it has been performing in South Africa.
The Bioeconomy Strategy, driven and guided by the Department of Science and Technology, is a road map showcasing how we can harness our country’s wealth of knowledge and natural biological resources to develop new, globally competitive products that are responsive and relevant to the needs of South Africans.