Fana: At a Speed of Life!

AUC Chair lays cornerstone for construction of state of the art laboratory complex in Bishoftu

Addis Ababa, February 21, 2024 (FBC) – The African Union Commission (AUC) Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat has laid a cornerstone for the construction of state-of-the-art laboratory complex in Bishoftu town of Ethiopia at AU’s Pan Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC).

It was indicated during ground-breaking ceremony held today that the laboratory will be constructed for 56 million USD on 3.9 hectares of land within three years.

The event is a pivotal moment in AU-PANVAC’s journey as it embarks on the construction of a New Laboratory Complex, with the full support of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (US-DTRA), according to a statement issued by AU.

This facility will not only align with international standards on biosafety and biosecurity but will also empower the Center to fulfil its mandate more effectively.

African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Ambassador Josefa L. Sako, Ethiopia’s Minister of Agriculture, Girma Amenti, Director of U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (US-DTRA), Robert S. Pope and other invited guests have attended the ground-breaking ceremony.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat said on the occasion described the groundbreaking ceremony as an important milestone that would further strengthens the cooperation between the AU and America.
The new laboratory will enable African to employ its own way of preventing and controling various animal diseases for it serves as a facilitator of technology transfer and center of excellence, Mahamat stated.

Agriculture Minister, Girma Amenti for his part said the government of Ethiopia has given a great deal of priority to livestock sector through its national program being implemented under the ‘Bounty of the Basket’ (Ye Lemat Tirufat) initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed focusing on the improvements of dairy, poultry, egg, honey, fish and meat production.

The Minister also revealed that Ethiopia has been engaged in the production of more than 20 types of vaccines to prevent and control the various animal diseases.

The country has already commenced exporting some of these vaccines to African nations, he added pledging to provide the necessary support to the construction of the new laboratory complex.

Director of U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (US-DTRA), Robert S. Pope stated that capacity building trainings will be provided with a view to prevent and eradicate animal diseases.

The AU-PANVAC, was established as a Specialized Technical Office (STO) of the AUC based in Ethiopia, following the Headquarters Agreement signed on the 8th July 2003 between the Government of Ethiopia and the African Union, during the AU summit held in Maputo, Mozambique.

The Center is at the forefront of the fight against animal diseases as well as zoonotic diseases with its mission to “Promote the use of good quality vaccines and reagents for the control and eradication of animal diseases in Africa”.

The center was officially launched in 2004 as African Union Specialized Technical Office, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of its operationalization within African Union Commission.

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