Promoting European-African business partnerships for biodiversity conservation

Project description

Title: BioInnovation Africa - Equitable Benefit-sharing for the Conservation of Biodiversity
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cameroon, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa
Lead executing agency: Cameroonian Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Madagascan Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD), Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) under the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), South African Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022


Africa bears nine global biodiversity hotspots and is home to over 60,000 different plants and still uncounted numbers of animals and microorganisms. They are the source of food supplements, cosmetics and medicinal applications. The demand by European users for raw biological materials and ingredients for product innovation is increasing steadily. 

At the same time, the UN Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) has committed its member states to the fair and equitable sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits, like knowledge and technology transfer. The large economic potential for the valorisation of biodiversity-based products in Africa is not yet tapped and long-term business relations under the legally binding Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) hardly exist. Value chains for the production of high-value food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products especially offer opportunities for direct investments into biodiversity conservation by providing countries with benefit-sharing mechanisms. It is therefore important that these opportunities contribute to local development and the conservation of Africa’s biodiversity and the many ecosystems under threat. 

The German Marshall Plan with Africa seeks to exploit these opportunities by focusing on the promotion of economic cooperation for sustainable development. In this context, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissioned BioInnovation Africa, which will closely collaborate with the ABS Capacity Building Initiative benefiting from its rich experience. 


The European-African partnerships for biodiversity-based innovations and products have been strengthened with equitable benefit-sharing for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Moreover, the private sector has entered into sustainable and mutually beneficial business partnerships based on high ethical, social and environmental standards. 


The BioInnovation Africa project endeavours to support four African countries in the implementation of their national ABS systems by supporting the conclusion of benefit-sharing agreements between African providers of raw biological materials and ingredients, and users from Europe. These users are predominantly enterprises from the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors as well as research institutions. Measures involve blended learning trainings, advice on contracts and the development of IT-based online systems for ABS applications, permissions and tracking. 

The agreed monetary and non-monetary benefits stipulated by the benefit-sharing agreements contribute to gender-sensitive measures for the sustainable use and protection of ecosystems in the partner countries. In this context, vulnerability assessments, cost-benefit analyses and knowledge sharing between partner countries are conducted.

These new collaboration agreements will be publicly promoted through trade fairs, round tables, meetings and business associations. Based on these agreements, BioInnovation Africa ensures that biodiversity-based raw materials and ingredients from the four African partner countries are used for developing innovations and products under equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms. In order to encourage long-term business relations between providers and users, the project facilitates various formats, such as matchmaking and exchange platforms. Likewise, BioInnovation promotes joint ventures and technology transfer to increase local value addition and job creation.