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[LUSAKA] Efforts to build capacity for biological research in southern Africa were given a boost this month with the creation of the Southern African Network for Biosciences (SANBio).

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) formally launched the network in Tshwane (formerly Pretoria) on 5 August.

SANBio will bring together researchers and institutions from 12 countries across the region and encourage them to pool their knowledge and resources. It will focus on research relating to agriculture, human and animal health, the environment and industry.

The network was created as part of NEPAD's African Biosciences Initiative, which aims to build regional networks of 'centres of research excellence'.

The network's hub for southern Africa will be in South Africa. Other hubs being developed are Egypt (for north Africa), Kenya (east and central Africa) and Senegal (west Africa).

Members of SANBio will be drawn from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Namibia will chair the network's steering committee for the next year.

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