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Memorandum of Understanding signed between Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute and BGI on Scientific and Technological Cooperation in Genomics and Biotechnology

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 22nd, The Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTi), and BGI today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Scientific and Technology Cooperation in Genomics and Biotechnology, with the goal of developing critical genomics infrastructure in Ethiopia.

The MOU was signed by the Director General of EBTi, Dr. Kassahun Tesfaye, and BGI Group Chairman, Dr. Jian Wang, on behalf of their respective governments and company. The signing ceremony was witnessed by his Excellency Dr.  Shumete Gizaw, State Minister, at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Hon. Ambassador Tan Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, and Hon. Mr.  Getachew Melese, Chairman, Standing Committee for Science, Technology and Communication, at the House of Peoples' Representatives.

The MOU sets out a comprehensive framework to enable a mutually beneficial strategic partnership in matters relating to Genomics and Biotechnology for national, regional and continental economic development. In particular, the MOU seeks to

  • promote information and knowledge sharing about joint R&D activities; and
  • promote the establishment of research facilities and laboratory infrastructure.

Ethiopia, because of its geographical position, ranges of altitude, rainfall pattern and soil variability has immense ecological and biological diversity with many species endemic to the country. The EBTi is therefore excited to formalize its partnership with BGI in order to help facilitate critical genomics research in Ethiopia to unlock this potential’, stated Dr Kassahun Tesfaye, Director General of the EBTi.

‘There are many challenges affecting genomics research implementation in Ethiopia, and Africa more generally, including ill-equipped facilities, poor accessibility to research centers/infrastructures and lack of local expertise. Our partnership with EBTi is about local capacity building and empowering local researchers to address some of these challenges’, commented Matt Poulter, BGI’s Business Development Director for Africa.

BGI was founded in 1999 with the vision of using genomics to benefit mankind and has since become the largest genomic organization in the world. With a focus on research and applications in the healthcare, agriculture, conservation, and environmental fields, BGI has a proven track record of innovative, high profile research, which has generated over 2,137 publications, many in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science.

BGI’s achievements have made a significant contribution to the development of genomics throughout the world.  BGI’s goal is to make state-of-the-art genomics highly accessible to the global research community and clinical markets by integrating the industry’s broadest array of leading technologies, including BGI's own BGISEQ sequencing platform, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources.

BGI also offers a wide portfolio of transformative genetic testing products across major diseases, enabling medical providers and patients worldwide to realize the promise of genomics-based diagnostics and personalized healthcare. BGI’s services and solutions are available in more than 60 countries and regions around the world.

The Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTi) was established by the Ethiopian government in June 2016 with Ministerial Council Regulation No. 388/2016 with a mandate to lead and coordinated as well as conduct biotechnology R&D nationally.

EBTi’s mission is to provide world class research, innovation and community services in order to improve citizens' quality of life and to significantly contribute for the national economic development via the synergetic endeavor of biotechnology and emerging technologies.