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The BecA-ILRI Hub celebrates 15 years of biosciences in and for Africa


Coming up next week is an event marking the 15th anniversary of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research (BecA-ILRI) Hub, located in Nairobi, Kenya, and working with partners across the continent as well as with bioscience institutions worldwide. This event brings together global, regional and local actors in agricultural biosciences research for development. It celebrates the role played by the BecA-ILRI Hub and its many national agricultural research system partners in advancing African agriculture and food and nutritional security.

Invited speakers and participants will deliberate on ways to scale the Hub’s programs and impacts, particularly by working in partnership with and further empowering African science leaders and institutions. The Hub’s technology platforms, offering vastly improved precision and efficiency in crop and livestock research, will be on display.

Celebrating BecA@15 will answer four questions.

  • Do the BecA-ILRI Hub’s platforms and services offer the region comparative advantages in agricultural science?
    What are they?
  • Has the Hub’s support through co-funding national researchers helped Africa meet its agricultural priorities?
  • Are there unexplored opportunities for the Hub to support African governments in implementing their agricultural policies?
    What are they?
  • What has enabled the Hub’s technology platforms, research projects and capacity building initiatives to thrive?
    What will do so in future?

In 2016, the BecA-ILRI Hub marks 15 years of existence as an African centre of excellence for agricultural biosciences. Celebrating BecA@15 acknowledges the dedicated efforts of its international, regional and national partners in strengthening African agricultural biosciences capacities, knowledge, innovations and leaders.

Research at the Hub is conducted in five themes serving a demand-led research agenda.

  • Improving crops (with a focus on staple crops of Africa)
  • Enhancing food safety and nutrition
  • Increasing livestock productivity
  • Mitigating climate change and sustainably using natural resources
  • Making better use of underutilized crop and livestock species, breeds and varieties

In addition, the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) is the main mechanism through which the BecA-ILRI Hub responds to research demands from, and institutional and human capacity gaps within, national agricultural research systems.


Some 150 people will participate
in Celebrating BecA@15
which will be held at the campus
of ILRI’s Nairobi headquarters
on 3 Feb 2016

The event will be officially opened by the cabinet secretary for the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF), the honourable Willy Bett. It will feature speakers and panelists from organizations such as the African Union/New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU/NEPAD), the Australian and Canadian high commissions in Kenya, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the John Innes Centre and the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).

Two high-powered panels will explore the BecA-ILRI Hub’s evolution in the agricultural biosciences space and the potential for science and technology to accelerate Africa’s agricultural development. Distinguished alumni of the Hub’s Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) will describe the impacts the Hub has had on their research work, careers and institutions. Interactive displays and exhibition stands will showcase ways the Hub and its partners are helping to transform agricultural landscapes across Africa. And a state-of-the-art ‘Integrated Genotyping Service and Support Service’ funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) will be launched.

The morning sessions will be livestreamed and can be viewed here.

Find out more about the BecA-ILRI Hub by visiting its website and blog.

For more information about the event, please contact ILRI’s Ethel Makila: e.makila [at]

For information about media engagement, please contact ILRI’s Muthoni Njiru: m.njiru [at]

Follow the event on social media with the hashtag #CelebrateBecA.

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