The BecA-ILRI Hub Advisory Panel comprises leaders and experts in biosciences in Africa and beyond, policy experts and representatives of key stakeholders’ organizations and has been constituted to provide strategic advice to AU/NEPAD, the ILRI Board, and the BecA–ILRI Hub management on future research directions, new technology developments, potential science and development partners and resource mobilization opportunities. The panel also provides a forum for deeper interaction amongst African stakeholders, international science and development partners and investors to seek their views of BecA’s continuing contributions towards biosciences applications in Africa. The management of the BecA-ILRI Hub provides input to the Advisory Panel with the Director of BecA serving as the secretary to the panel.
Prof Abdourahamane Sangaré is the Manager of the Biotechnology and Bio-security Program of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), a regional organization composed with the National Agricultural Systems (NARS) of 22 West and Central Africa. Through improved cooperation, active coordination and meeting the demands of the different actors, the mission of the program led by Prof Sangaré is to contribute to a sustainable improvement in agricultural biotechnology productivity, competitiveness and market in West and Central Africa. As a Program Manager, he currently supervises the implementation of eight regional projects, each involving three countries within the framework of the Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) Action Plan for the development of Biotechnology and Biosafety.
Before joining CORAF/WECARD, Prof Sangaré was the Director of the Central Biotechnology Laboratory in Côte d’Ivoire and professor of Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering at the University of Cocody-Abidjan were he supervised more than 25 PhDs. Research Director since 2008, his contribution to the development of Côte d’Ivoire was acknowledged through his nomination as Officer of the National Order of the Ministry of Education of Ivory Coast in 2009.
Prof Sangaré specialized in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, where he got his PhD in 1989. He also holds a Master degree in Genetics, obtained in 1984 at the National University of Côte d’Ivoire. He has done several Post-Doctoral trainings in the United States of America, from 1991 to 1998 where he worked mainly on the development of cassava resistance to the African Cassava Mosaic Virus. He is also specialized in Biosafety and in Managing Agricultural Research Institutions.
Professor Aggrey Ambali is the Advisor and Head of Science, Technology and Innovation Hub (NSTIH) at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, where he oversees development and implementation of programmes in education, health, and science and technology. He has also served in other positions at the NEPAD Agency, including Director of Policy Alignment and Programme Development Directorate, Coordinator of the African Biosciences Initiative, and Coordinator of Science and Technology for the Southern Africa region.
Prof. Ambali has wide experience in the operations of the African Union (AU) and its economic development programme, NEPAD as well as collaborating organisations like the UN agencies, foundations, development banks and CGIAR. He recently coordinated the work of the African Union High Level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation which was appointed in July 2012 and mandated to prepare a ten year Science, Technology and Innovation strategy for Africa (STISA 2024).
Outside the NEPAD Agency, Prof Ambali serves as an external member of Governing Council of the University of Namibia, member of the Innovation Council of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), appointed by the Heads of State and Government. He serves on several committees either as Chair or member including the Technical Advisory Committee of the Biosafety Programme of ICGEB, Chair of the Management Committee of the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), member of the Advisory Panel of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA), etc.
Prof. Ambali holds a PhD in Population Genetics from Dalhousie University (Canada), Masters of Science in Fish Breeding from Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand) and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Malawi (Malawi). He worked for the University of Malawi where he taught courses in Fisheries and Aquatic Biology and Genetics from 1991 to 2004; he rose to the rank of full Professor of Biology in 2003. He Chaired the University of Malawi Research and Publications Committee for four years and served as Head of the Department of Biological Sciences. Prof. Ambali was actively involved in research in fisheries biology and ecology and attracted research grants through which he developed research facilities for molecular biology and ecology. These continue to play an important role for postgraduate research at the University of Malawi. He was awarded the TWAS Young Scientist Award in Biological Science in 2003 based on his contribution to research and development in Malawi. Prof. Ambali has served as reviewer of several scientific journals as well as of grant proposals for major funding agencies. He was elected a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences in 2013.
Appolinaire Djikeng (Advisory Panel Secretary)
Dr Appolinaire Djikeng is the Director of the BecA-ILRI Hub. In this role, Dr Djikeng ensures key responsibilities are met including the implementation of the BecA-ILRI Hub Business Plan and realization of the Hub’s mission of improving the livelihoods of resource-poor people in Africa through the development and use of new technologies and strategies for sustaining agricultural production, improving human health, and conserving the environment.
Dr Djikeng first joined the BecA-ILRI Hub in 2009 as Senior Scientist and Technology Manager, leading various teams focused on the acquisition of high end biosciences technologies and management of state-of-the-art laboratories; the provision of research related services to scientists from across the region; and the implementation of integrated research and capacity building activities.
Prior to joining the BecA-ILRI Hub, Dr Djikeng spent over 10 years at the Yale University School of Medicine and the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI - formerly the Institute for Genomic Research, TIGR). Dr Djikeng holds BSC (Hons; Biology) and MSC from the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon and PhD (Biochemistry, Molecular Parasitology) from Brunel University, UK.
Professor Sir Edwin Southern, a molecular biologist with a PhD from Glasgow University, is known for the development of two methods for analyzing complex DNAs.
The ‘Southern Blot’, developed in Edinburgh, led to DNA fingerprinting in forensics and to the first molecular maps of the human genome; the oligonucleotide microarray developed in Oxford is widely used in research and diagnostics.
Following his retirement from the Chair of Biochemistry in the University of Oxford, he is now Chief Scientific Advisor of Oxford Gene Technology and a trustee of the Edina and Kirkhouse Trusts, which he set up using income from the invention of microarrays.
Eugene Terry (Advisory Panel Chair)
Eugene Terry is currently Senior Technical Adviser of TransFarm Africa devoted primarily to removing systemic barriers to investing in African agricultural enterprises. Eugene has held leadership positions in international institutions including that of first Director General of the West Africa Rice Development Association. He has held the position of Plant Pathologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA, Ibadan), Land and Crops Advisor in the Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) Department, of The World Bank, and Founding Director, The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Nairobi, Kenya.
Eugene Terry was born in Sierra Leone, and holds a BSc in agriculture, an MSc in plant pathology from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and a PhD in plant pathology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA,
Eugene currently serves as a Trustee on the boards of several organizations including the World Vegetable Centre (the Asian Vegetable Research Centre (AVRDC) Taiwan, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Development (SFSA), in Basel, Switzerland. He chairs the Advisory Board of the West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.
Dr. Terry was awarded the 2010 Presidential (Republic of Mali President) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Rice Research and Development in Africa, and the Medal Officier de L’Ordre, Du Merit, Ivoirien, Cote d’ Ivoire, 1993. Dr Terry was also the recipient of the McGill University, Macdonald 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dr Theresa Sengooba is the senior advisor to the Program for Biosafety system (PBS), a program hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and implemented in Uganda by the National Council for Science and Technology. This job involves policy reviews and capacity building for biosafety; facilitating the development of a functional biotech regulatory system; and communication and outreach for improved understanding of the technology and its regulation. Dr Sengooba is also involved in a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) program designed to promote regional harmonization of biosafety regulatory systems. She chairs the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for the Bio-Innovate program hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute and is a member of the Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization Governing Council.
Before joining PBS, Dr Sengooba worked for the National Agricultural Research system (NARO) from a research scientist grade to the level of Deputy Director General. She has contributed to agricultural institutional management at various levels including serving on several steering committees of regional crop based commodity programs and on boards of International Agricultural Research Centres: the International Plant Genetic Research Institute and the International Potato Centre. She chaired the Millennium Science Initiative Technical Advisory Committee between 2007and 2013 and served on a PanAfrican program, the African Biosafety Network (ANBE) as a member of TAC from 2010 to 2013.
Dr Sengooba holds a PhD in plant virology from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania. She has an MSc in plant mycology and BSc in botany and zoology from Makerere University, Uganda.
Tumusiime Rhoda Peace
Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace is the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union. Prior to assuming this portfolio, H.E Tumusiime held various senior positions in the Government of the Republic of Uganda, including Commissioner for Agriculture Planning and Commissioner for Women and Development. She is a holder a Bachelors’ Degree in Agricultural Economics, a Masters Degree in Economics, Planning and Managing Rural Development, and a Diploma in Women and Development.
Throughout her career, she has demonstrated leadership and championed causes such as women empowerment, poverty eradication, agricultural development, strategic planning and partnership building, among others.
Her portfolio as AU Commissioner covers multiple sectors ranging from crop agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, land, water, environment, climate change, climate services, disaster risk reduction to rural development. She has mobilized and closely worked with other Pan African Institutions and Development Partner Agencies in all those areas to secure and provide support to AU Member States. Her efforts have yielded increased responses in the framework of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Programme (CAADP). From one country which had signed a CAADP Compact over a period of four years to 26 within less than 2 years. She spearheaded the coordination of Africa’s preparations for global climate change negotiations and the formulation of a continent-wide climate change strategy in addition to steering Africa’s preparation of the Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan in line with the global Hugo Framework .
Her expertise and experience as well as commitment have won her a number of key positions on regional and international organizations, such as membership of the High-level Advisory Panel of UNISDR, Advisory Board of Expo 2015 dedicated to the Theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy For Life, Governing Board of the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC), Chair of the African Fertiliser Financing Mechanism (AFFM), Chair of the ALive Platform for livestock development in Africa, among others.
She continues to serve the African Union and its Member States with vigour and dedication.
Dr Vish Nene has a broad range of research interests that converge on developing improved or novel methods of disease control and in the use of DNA and ‘omics technologies to underpin biosciences research. Dr Nene has more than 20-years’ experience in tick and tick borne disease vaccine related research and 8 years in genomics research. Born in Mombasa, Kenya, Dr Nene obtained his graduate and PhD degrees and post-doctoral training in the UK. He has published extensively, participated in training workshops, presented research findings at conferences and mentored high school, graduate and post-graduate students.
Dr Nene first joined ILRAD/ILRI in 1986 and re-joined ILRI in 2009. From 2001-2007 he worked as an Investigator in the Parasite Genomics Group at The Institute for Genomic Research & J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, MD, USA. Prior to returning to Kenya he held the positions of Associate Director at the Institute for Genome Sciences and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Currently, Dr Nene holds a position of Director and leads the Vaccine Biosciences program at ILRI, Chairs the ILRI Institutional Biosafety Committee and is a member of the ILRI Institute Research Management Committee. He also holds an appointment as Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, USA.
Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo is the Executive Director of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA ). FARA is an apex organization bringing together and forming coalitions of major stakeholders in agricultural research and development in Africa.
Dr. Akinbamijo, a Nigerian national, has spent the past 28 years of his career in Africa and Europe working in the International Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development domain. He was Head of Division of the Agriculture and Food Security Division at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Director of the AU Inter-African Phytosanitary Council based in Yaoundé Cameroon; and served on the Africa-Arab Joint Action on Food Security and Agriculture, among others.
He has a Ph.D. in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (in Tropical Animal Production) from Wageningen University Research Centre, The Netherlands. Dr. Akinbamijo has published extensively and served on several international research panels.