The Africa Agri-Tech Development Forum: Financing the Future of Off-Farm Innovation in Africa

Over the course of four online events, Innovation Council member Bobab, brings together diverse groups of experts from business, academia and policy from Africa, the UK and beyond. In this third event of the Forum Boabab will be asking tough questions around exactly how an enabling environment can be created for private sector investment; one that facilitates and directs capital to the areas of the agricultural value chain that can have the greatest impact, for both short-term recovery and long-term transformation.

Read the full story and register here.

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Africa needs vaccines. What would it take to make them here?

The authors of this article show that, by their estimates, the public market for vaccines in Africa could rise from $1.3 billion today to between $2.3 billion and $5.4 billion by 2030 (depending on the scenario). While Africa’s population is growing faster than that of most other regions, significant immunization coverage gaps remain, and new products (such as vaccines for Lassa fever or malaria) could be introduced and used widely on the continent. Leaders are increasingly aware of the importance of health security, both for its own sake and as a critical tool for securing the continent’s development, and are increasingly heeding calls for investments into vaccine manufacturing to prevent African countries from being last in line for vital supplies.

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Solar Entrepreneurship Masterclass 12 May, 12pm GMT

On Wednesday, 12 May at 12pm GMT, Tony Tiyou, founder and CEO of Renewables in Africa, a clean energy engineering company and a media platform is presenting a workshop on how to become a solar developer and get funding.

Read the full story and register here. 


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Intellectual Property Meets SMART Agriculture Webinar

The purpose of this webinar was to discuss how smart agriculture can support African communities to ensure food security and how the patent system can contribute to increased knowledge and skills in agriculture in order to enable these communities to make more effective use of these advanced technologies.

Watch the webinar here.

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Why intellectual property rights matter for COVID-19

Ending the COVID-19 pandemic requires innovation. IP is part of the solution and drives competition. IP licensing allows the innovator to control which partners manufacture the product, ensuring high quality supplies, and to maximise low-cost access for low and middle-income countries. Philip Stevens and Mark Schultz show that the reality is different from what calls for the suspension of IPRs suggest in order to keep prices low and address supply shortages. A highly competitive market in COVID-19 vaccines is unfolding right now. There is no evidence that abolishing IPRs will achieve anything more than the licensing agreements currently in place between innovators and big-name vaccine manufacturers in countries like India and Brazil; and the emergence of procurement mechanisms like COVAX. The authors demonstrate how the IP system has put us in a position to end the pandemic and why we should allow it to continue doing its job.

Read full story.

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U.S. patent chief warns against ‘drastic’ actions in light of COVID

A top U.S. official on Tuesday dismissed calls for countries to waive intellectual property protections on vaccines and other products to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“Before any drastic measures are taken with respect to IP rights, evidence must be brought to bear that such measures are actually needed,” Andrei Iancu, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said during a discussion hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This has not happened.”

“To the contrary, the evidence to date shows that there is an unprecedented level of cooperation in industry, and that IP has facilitated this worldwide cooperation,” Iancu added.

Read full story [has subscriber paywall].

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E-commerce Story Pitch Contest

In this online pitch competition, three e-commerce companies from developing and least developed countries will pitch their story and will be asked a series of questions, with online participants deciding who wins.

In their pitch, finalists will have to provide practical e-commerce insights, actionable tips and innovative approaches. The aim is to share specific learnings, get inspired, and learn useful tips and tools to boost online sales. The winning e-commerce entrepreneur will receive a prize package worth 1,000 USD for digital marketing services.

The three companies are MYANiture from Myanmar, Booksie from Ghana, and Nanjala from Kenya.

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Video: World’s first Group B strep vaccine

This video describes how Biovac, in collaboration with PATH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is developing the world’s first Group B Strep vaccine.

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