Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

South Africa in Horizon 2020 Information Day

14 January 2014. Brussels. An information day focused on cooperation with South Africa under Horizon
2020. This followed the annual South Africa-European Union Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) meeting, which brought together senior officials of the South African Department of Science and Technology, and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, to review current and launch new flagship initiatives to strengthen South Africa-EU cooperation.

The seminar highlighted South Africa’s scientific and technological expertise in some of the priority research the ESASTAP Plus Platform, to support South African-European cooperation under Horizon 2020.
and innovation focus areas of Horizon 2020. The event was an opportunity for European organisations interested to cooperate with South Africa under Horizon 2020 to learn more about the countries’ capacities. Details were presented of the various advisory and support services.


National Launch: Presenting the European Union’s new Framework Programme Horizon 2020 (H2020)
  • 27 January 2014, Gauteng [Agenda]
  • 28 January 2014, Limpopo (Polokwane) [Agenda]
  • 29 January 2014, Free State (Bloemfontein) [Agenda]
  • 29 January 2014, North West (Potchefstroom) [Agenda]
  • 30 January 2014, KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) [Agenda]
  • 30 January 2014, Eastern Cape (East London) [Agenda]
  • 31 January 2014, Western Cape [Agenda]
15 January 2014. The South African government has launched an updated bio-economy strategy that seeks to harness partnerships with industry and academia in order to accelerate the development of bio-based services, products and innovations in South Africa.
Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom 

announces South Africa's bio-economy strategy in Pretoria. 


The science-based Bio-Economy Strategy, approved by the Cabinet in November and launched by Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom on Tuesday 14/01, positions bio-innovation as essential to the achievement of the country's industrial and social development goals. The new policy replaces the 13-year-old National Biotechnology Strategy.

In agriculture, the SA government wants to focus on locally developed, genetically modified crops and animal vaccines. In health, the push is to develop vaccines, AIDS drugs, and diagnostics and medical devices.

For industry and the environment, the strategy identifies reducing waste and using waste byproducts more effectively as areas of opportunity. It also says there is potential in manufacturing herbal products and medicines. (Ref: Proposed R2bn fund aims to boost bio-economy)

The Bioeconomy Strategy.
© Department of Science and Technology 2013.
48 pages

The Department of Science and Technology of South Africa, in consultation with other relevant stakeholders, has identified three key economic sectors – agriculture, health and industry – as being the most in need of, and likely to benefit from key levers to drive the implementation of the South African Bioeconomy Strategy.

Of the three sectors identified as crucial elements of the bioeconomy, the agricultural industry currently has the highest economic impact. With relatively little capital infrastructure required, it remains a key opportunity for poverty alleviation, job creation, economic development and household food security in South Africa, on the African continent and abroad.

The Bio-economy Strategy’s objective for agriculture is:

  • to strengthen agricultural biosciences innovation to ensure food security, enhance nutrition and improve health, as well as enable job creation through the expansion and intensification of sustainable agricultural production and processing. 
  • These interventions should be driven by strategic need as well as market demand, and will require strong private-sector involvement.
  • Biotechnology will play a crucial role in helping to improve the heat-resistance and drought-tolerance of crops and address the challenges of climate change, diminishing water and grazing, and potential loss of biodiversity. 
  • The skills and solutions that emerge from biotechnology research need to be effectively transferred to emerging, small-scale and commercial farmers.

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