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30th November 2020
Welcome to issue 34 of the DrumBeat!

The African story of scientific development and innovations in bioscience cannot be told engrossingly better than in the DrumBeat. We continue to bring you unparalleled stories on Africa's latest bioscience development and cutting-edge scientific innovations.

This Issue offers you a special invitation to a live webinar on the launch of the latest Report on the Global Status of GM Crops. The launch is happening on Monday 30th November 2020 at 13:00 GMT. Registration to the webinar is open to all and free of charge. Sign up now at

This month's Video of the Month presents a triumphant story of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, a brainchild of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). OFAB provides African biotechnology stakeholders with an effective, trustworthy and responsive platform for dialogue on all aspects of agricultural biotechnology based on scientific evidence. Particularly, the Video of the Month highlights the success of OFAB Media Awards, an annual event held to celebrate exemplary science journalism and recognize media's contribution in promoting this technology.

In the Story of the Month, we examine the status and threats of climate change to Africa's food security situation. The story puts a strong case of how agricultural biotechnology offers a viable option in addressing this challenge, and especially ensuring the poor, whose majority live below the poverty line, become sustainably food secure.

Happy reading and stay safe!


OFAB Media Awards

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Vitumbiko Chinoko

Vitumbiko Chinoko

Agri-biotech an Effective Tool in Battling Africa's Food Security Challenge

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its recent report of the state of climate change shockingly showed surface temperature in most part of Africa has already exceeded the Paris Agreement goal of keeping temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This state of climate change on the continent is extremely precarious. The poor are the most affected as adverse impacts of climate change have rendered most of them severely food insecure. One option in the suitcase of solutions to address this challenge is agricultural biotechnology.

Country Crop Modified trait Date of approval
Argentina Wheat Drought tolerant HB4® October 8, 2020
Philippines Corn Stacked trait = Herbicide tolerant and Insect resistant January 14, 2020
Philippines Cotton Insect Resistant January 14, 2020
Philippines Potato Stacked trait = Herbicide Tolerance + Insect Resistance January 14, 2020
Philippines Potato Stacked trait = Disease Resistance + Modified Product Quality January 14, 2020
COVID-19 spurs health innovation in Africa

COVID-19 spurs health innovation in Africa

A World Health Organization (WHO) study of 1000 new or modifications of existing technologies that have been developed worldwide to target different areas of the COVID-19 response finds that Africa accounts for 12.8% of the innovations. The response areas include surveillance, contact tracing, community engagement, treatment, laboratory systems and infection, prevention and control. here.

Scientists in Senegal develops a $1 COVID-19 diagnostic kit

Scientists in Senegal develops a $1 COVID-19 diagnostic kit

Scientists at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal have developed a $1 COVID-19 testing kit for mass disease testing. The kit can detect the virus in 10 minutes, does not require electricity or laboratory analysis. 10 to 15 million kits will be produced for export to other African countries by February 2021. Read more here.

A technology hub in Uganda develops self-sanitizing face masks

A technology hub in Uganda develops self-sanitizing face masks

Innovators at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Materials, Product Development & Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO ACE) at Makerere University in Uganda have developed a self-sanitising facemask with an inbuilt sanitiser, allowing for real-time disinfection while at work. Read more here.