The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) is a capacity building program within the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research (BecA-ILRI) Hub. The program responds to the need for national agricultural research systems (NARS) to build a critical mass of African scientists conducting biosciences research for development in a technologically fast-changing world.
The ABCF supports the forging of effective institutional links and partnerships to share knowledge, work across disciplines, innovate and deliver results of innovations to users; and responds to the need for better equipped laboratory facilities, adequate and sustainable financial resources and expertise, as well as capabilities of NARS scientists to effectively leveraging advances in bioscience and biotechnology for agricultural development. Through the program, NARS scientists are mentored towards science leadership and towards creating strong linkages between bioscience research for development and policy.
Its key objective is to support and strengthen the capacity of national agricultural research systems in Africa to deliver on their research for development agenda, which directly contributes to Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) and Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The ABCF program provides an innovative approach to building bioscience capacity. Through the program, African bio-scientists are contributing more effectively to national, regional and international knowledge sharing forums. The program has influenced and continues to advocate increased investments in bioscience facilities; bioscience research designs that incorporate multidisciplinary teams; greater collaboration between bioscientists and development and private sector actors.
The ABCF fellows and alumni are actively participating in regional policy development and regulatory reform. It is anticipated that African NARS will be strengthened in human and technological capacity and that Africa will begin to see more science-informed policies that result in improved agricultural productivity, income, and food and nutritional security.