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Bioeconomy in Action in East Africa: Moving from strategy to implementation

This workshop will enable sharing of lessons from similar countries and bioeconomy actors from tropical parts of the world such as  Latin America, Southeast Asia and East Africa and discuss scenarios and pathways for implementing bioeconomy in eastern Africa. It will allow for joint learning on regional cooperation, implementation of policies and strategies for bioeconomy, sustainable use of biodiversity, development of bioproducts, connection to  MSMEs, and their value chain business models.

16 November 2023
Sunflower plants blooming

Sunflower plants blooming

Photo by Johan Anblick on Unsplash

The workshop will be a one-day event held in Nairobi on November 16th 2023.


Over the past 20 years, the value of the sustainable and circular bioeconomy in transforming the economy across all sectors has become more recognized globally. The bioeconomy can be defined as “a knowledge-based production and utilization of biological resources, biological processes and principles to sustainably provide goods and services across all economic sectors (IACGB, 2023). It arises from different types of biological innovations and protects and regenerates renewable natural resources, providing local, regional, social and economic development opportunities. It provides essential building blocks for strategies to address value addition to bioresources including biowaste, climate change mitigation and adaptation and nature loss, more broadly. This promotes job creation, safeguards livelihoods and secures future health and food supply. It is cross-sectoral, systemic and emergent in nature, and thus has a multi-faceted impact benefiting the economy, society and environment. The bioeconomy is therefore increasingly recognized as a key concept in making the transition to a sustainable and inclusive future.

Policies and strategies

In Eastern Africa, a number of policies and strategies that support the development of an Eastern African bioeconomy have been developed at the regional level. The most important action in a policy context and in terms of supporting the bioeconomy development in the region is the East African Community (EAC) Bioeconomy Strategy which was developed and approved by the 17th Sectoral Council of Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Sports that was held on 19th -23rd April 2022 in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania. This Regional Bioeconomy Strategy, which the Secretary General of the EAC officially announced in December 2022,  provides a compelling framework for putting in place agreed goals and interventions which countries in East Africa can use to develop a vibrant, inclusive and innovative bioeconomy contributing to sustainable economic growth and development in East Africa. Moreover, the strategy is aligned with expressed commitments to environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and reversing or changing unsustainable practices. The overall mission of the strategy is to catalyse and support the innovative and sustainable use of bioresources as the major driver of inclusive economic growth and job creation in East Africa

Building on the strategy, it’s now up to regional stakeholders to use the strategy as a blueprint for action and implementation. For this reason, within the framework of its initiative Governing Bioeconomy Pathways, SEI together with BioInnvate Africa and the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) is organizing a workshop on Bioeconomy in Action in East Africa: Moving from Strategy to Implementation where lessons learnt from similar countries in other tropical parts of the world will be taken as a reference point. There will be a discussion of scenarios and pathways for implementing bioeconomy in eastern Africa. This event will also provide a favourable platform for sharing experiences amongst bioeconomy actors from Latin America, Southeast Asia and East Africa that allows for joint learning on regional cooperation, implementation of policies and strategies for the bioeconomy, sustainable use of the biodiversity, the development of bioproducts, connection to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and their value chain business models, among other things.

Workshop Objective

The workshop’s objective is to contribute to the advancement of the bioeconomy in East Africa through exchanging international experiences, stimulating the transition towards sustainable economic growth and job creation, environmental sustainability and climate change action and generating action plans for bioeconomy implementation.


This workshop will include several working segments. The first, introductory part, will consist of plenary presentations by representatives from various actors implementing bioeconomy in Eastern Africa, as well as reports from the Bioeconomy development in Latin America, Asia and Europe. The second part of the workshop will consist of roundtable discussions, where three levels of bioeconomy implementation will be analyzed:

  • Micro level: refers to the use of biological resources in the development of bioproducts, based on the value chains and management of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Meso level: refers to national and subnational bioeconomy implementation through policy and strategy design, as well as the generation of governance spaces that allow the participation of multiple actors in the territory.
  • Macro level: refers to multinational bioeconomy connections, at the level of Latin America or other larger regions of the world, including lessons learned and best practices from such large-scale collaborations.

 Target participants 

The workshop aims to bring together key national and international stakeholders for the implementation of bioeconomy, some of whom will be:

  • Government officials
  • Researchers with extensive experience in bioeconomy
  • Entrepreneurs and private sector representatives with experience in bioproduct development
  • Representatives for non-governmental organizations

The workshop will be accessible through a virtual link as well, where civil society, local communities, women business leaders, professionals, youth, academics, students, and other stakeholders are encouraged to participate.

Philip Osano
Philip Osano

Centre Director

SEI Africa

Lutta Alphayo
Alphayo Lutta

Research Fellow

SEI Africa

Ivar Virgin
Ivar Virgin

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Mónica Trujillo

Research Fellow

SEI Latin America

Kuntum Melati

Research Fellow

SEI Asia

Lawrence Nzuve

Communications Coordinator


SEI Africa

Time Agenda
08:30-09:00 AM Registration




Moderator: Dr. Philip Osano, Director of Stockholm Environment Institute, Africa


  • Fortunate Muyambi, Deputy Executive Secretary, East Africa Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), Rwanda
  • Prof. Walter O. Oyawa, Director General, National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation, (NACOSTI), Kenya
  • Amb. Caroline Vicini, Ambassador of Sweden to Kenya

Keynote Speech

  • Eng. Festus Ng’eno, Principal Secretary, State Department of Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Kenya
10:00-11:00 AM


Moderator: Shira Mukiibi

  •  The Bioeconomy in East Africa, Alphayo Lutta; (SEI-Africa)
  • The Bioeconomy in Latin America, Mónica Trujillo (SEI Latin America)
  • The Bioeconomy in Southeast Asia, Kuntum Melati (SEI Asia)
  • The Bioeconomy in the European Union, Ivar Virgin (SEI, Sweden)
11:00-11:15 AM Coffee break




Moderator: Dr. Philip Osano, Director of Stockholm Environment Institute, Africa 

  • Bioeconomy and the Biobased Industrial Development in Eastern Africa, Prof. Nthakanio Paul Njiruh, Embu University, Kenya
  • Bioeconomy and Agriculture: Perspectives from FAO. Marta Gomez San Juan
  • Bioeconomy, Forestry and the Building Industry in Eastern Africa, Gatsby Foundation
  • Bioeconomy and Sustainable Energy in Eastern Africa, ICRAF 


Moderator: Fortunate Muyambi, EASTECO 

  • The BioInnovate Africa Programme, Shira Mukiibi., International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Kenya
  •  Bioeconomy business, industrial and entrepreneurial actors
  • Dr George Wanjala. KIRDI, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Dr Charles Mwendia, CEO of Treasure Feeds Ltd
  • Ms. Dorah Momanyi, Research Fellow JKUAT
  • REAL IPM; Nairobi, Kenya
13:15-14:15 Lunch 

Group work on defining core issues for three different, and linked visions of the bioeconomy (World café style)

  1. Biotechnology and Biobased Industries vision
  2. Bioresource vision. Value addition and value chains of bioresources’
  3. Biodiversity and environment vision. Addressing biodiversity and climate change agendas

Group work on the definition of methodology and solving questions of bioeconomy (World café style)

  1. Micro: Biological resources
  2. Meso: Public policies and bioeconomy strategies
  3. Macro: Global and regional coordination
16:15-16:30 Coffee break 
16:30-17:00 SESSION 5: Cont.

  • Reports from the groups
  • Plenary Discussion
17:00-17:10 Way forward and Closing 

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