MoU signed to promote China-Ethiopia genomics, biotechnology cooperation

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ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Two institutes from Ethiopia and China on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on scientific and technological cooperation in genomics and biotechnology.

The MoU inked by the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTi) and Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa mainly aims at developing critical genomics infrastructure and building human capacity in the area.

The MoU seeks to promote information and knowledge sharing on joint research and development, while promoting establishment of research facilities and laboratory infrastructure.

Stating that Ethiopia has immense ecological and biological diversity, Kassahun Tesfaye, EBTi Director General, said the MoU formalizes partnership with BGI on critical genomics research in Ethiopia and unlock the country's potential.

He noted that the partnership would also benefit other national stakeholders, including graduate students and researchers.

Lack of equipped facilities and local expertise, and poor accessibility to research infrastructures are among challenges affecting genomics research in Ethiopia, and Africa in general, said Matt Poulter, BGI's Business Development Director for Africa.

The partnership between EBTi and BGI is about local capacity building and empowering local researchers to address some of the challenges, noted Poulter.

BGI Chairman Wang Jian said on the occasion that the partnership between EBTi and BGI creates a platform for cooperation on genomics and biotechnology for agriculture and medical areas, among others.

Witnessing the signing of the MoU, Ethiopian State Minister of Science and Technology, Shumete Gizaw, reiterated that the partnership between the two sides would help addressing some of the challenges Ethiopia is facing in genomics and biotechnology.

Stating that the China-Ethiopia relations has been an excellent model for south-south cooperation, the minister said the partnership would also help his country develop infrastructure and human resource capacity in the area.

"Today's event is also injecting strong momentum into the continued development of our bilateral relations including science, technology, and innovation," said Gizaw.

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