Marie Blanche TingMinistry of Science and Technology, South Africa - Senior Specialist: Bio-economy
Blanche is an interdisciplinary scientist with work experience from environmental science, energy, and climate change. She is currently working as a Senior Specialist in Bio-economy at the Ministry of Science in South Africa.
She was part of the team that finalize South Africa’s Bio-economy Strategy to Cabinet. She holds a two Masters Degree, one in Bioprocess Engineering at the University of Cape Town, and one in Climate Change and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK.
South Africa’s Bioeconomy Strategy
The South African Bio-economy Strategy was approved by Cabinet and officially launched on 14 January 2014 by the Minister of Science and Technology. The Strategy provides a roadmap on how to develop South Africa’s natural biological resources into commercial products in the fields of health, agriculture and industry. It builds on the achievements and lessons learnt from the National Biotechnology of 2001. The achievements of which were the establishment of 14 technology platforms, the creation of 940 jobs, the awarding of 493 bursaries and the creation of 221 products. However, the strategy was limited in its ability to deal with a fragmented bio-based innovation system, was not able to sustain biotech companies and there was insufficient industry pull. It was a strategy primarily based on products and services.
The new Bio-economy Strategy has a stronger emphasis on socio-economic impacts and proposes stronger linkages with multiple government departments. Thus, it aims to address the entire value chain of the bio-innovation system; going beyond the mere generation of new technologies as it seeks to address the needs of the country and people, ensuring that social and economic value is generated.
Through this strategy, the country will harness the potential of its rich biological diversity, and the wealth of its indigenous knowledge. The primary aims of the strategy are to contribute to the country’s challenges on health burden, food insecurity, and environmental sustainability and the green economy.