In a milestone visit on November 7, 2023, Ms. Dino Esposito, the Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Resilience, Environment, and Food Security at USAID, embarked on a journey to Kenyatta University, the site of the Kenyan chapter of AfriBIOHubs, an initiative in the Feed the Future Striga Smart Sorghum for Africa (SSSfA) project. The visit was a testament to the transformative impact that the SSSfA project is having on the African biotechnology landscape, and specifically, on the young minds engaged in reshaping the future of agriculture.
Ms. Esposito was received at the university by Prof. Caroline Thoruwa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Innovation and Outreach, and the dynamic duo of Dr. Margaret Karembu, Director of ISAAA AfriCenter, and Prof. Steven Runo of Kenyatta University, who lead the SSSfA project. The visit was not just a routine inspection; it was an acknowledgment of the project’s commitment to building student capacity and fostering a new generation of African scientists capable of confronting challenges head-on.
The highlight of the visit was undoubtedly the AfriBIOHub, a nucleus of scientific exploration and entrepreneurial spirit. Through a series of courses and hands-on experiences, the hub is nurturing young scientists in the art and science of enzymes, providing them with the tools to turn their knowledge into transformative innovations. The Enzyme Manufacturing Masterclass (EMM2023) stands as a beacon of this approach, where participants not only gained expertise in enzyme production but also imbibed the values of resilience, patience, and collaborative problem-solving.
The Biotechnology Entrepreneurial Pitching Session at the African Biennial Biosciences Communication Symposium (ABBC2023) added another layer to the AfriBIOHub’s success story. Seven visionary entries, including the winning ‘Shamba Assistant’ pitch by Peter Nduta and his team, showcased the incredible potential of biotechnology to address local challenges. Ms. Dino’s presence highlighted the importance of such initiatives, recognizing the power of innovation and collaboration to create positive change on a global scale.
Ms. Dino Esposito expression of interest in the progress of the AfriBIOHub activities underscored her dedication to education, research, and biotechnology investment for a sustainable and prosperous future in Africa. The USAID’s commitment to understanding and supporting these endeavors sends a powerful message of encouragement to the project team and the young scientists involved. With this visit, it is testament that there is significant trust and support in knowledge, innovation, and entrepreneurship convergence to pave the way for a brighter, self-reliant future through home-grown biotech solutions.