Who’s Who at ABNE?

The ABNE initiative is being implemented by the team based at the first ABNE node established in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and supported by a group of biosafety experts based at Michigan State University (MSU). The Burkina Faso team is composed of a director, an associate director, three program officers, an administrative and finance manager, a website and documentation manager, a program assistant and a driver. The program officers are experts in specific aspects of biosafety as elaborated in the staff profile below. The ABNE team is hosted by the University of Ouagadougou.

Professor Diran Makinde is the Director of ABNE. Before joining ABNE he was the NEPAD West African Biosciences Network director based in Dakar, Senegal. He earned a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine in 1976, and a Ph.D. in veterinary physiology from the University of Ibadan, in 1986. Prior to his current appointment, he was professor of animal science at the University of Venda, South Africa. He also served a five-year term as dean of the School of Agriculture, Rural Development and Forestry at the same university. Professor Makinde also taught at the universities of Ibadan (Nigeria) and Zimbabwe. Professor Makinde’s research interests focused on gastrointestinal physiology of monogastrics, which includes such areas as digestibility and pathogenicity. He has been actively involved in biotechnology and biosafety issues all over Africa ever since he joined, from inception, AfricaBio, a non-for-profit biotechnology stakeholders’ association in 1999.

Mr Samuel E. Timpo is a senior programme officer with the NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), which supports African Union member states build functional biosafety regulatory systems. He also served as an associate director for ABNE. Mr Timpo is responsible for the socio-economic aspects of biosafety and biosafety communication. His areas of professional interest include regulating agricultural biotechnology, agricultural economics, entrepreneurship and communication. He has been involved in biosafety capacity building efforts in Africa for over a decade. Mr Timpo served as research lead for a team of researchers from the NEPAD Agency, Michigan State University and the University of Idaho who examined factors influencing the differential ability of sub-Saharan African countries to implement functional regulatory systems for biotechnology.

He also previously worked as a socio-economist with the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission for seven years. During his time with BNARI, Mr Timpo served as the Ghana team leader for the USAID Program for Biosafety Systems and also as secretary to both the Country Advisory Group on Biosafety and the Ghana National Biosafety Committee. He was instrumental in the development of Ghana’s national biosafety frameworks and directly contributed to the development of a national biotechnology policy.

Mr Timpo earned a Master of Philosophy degree in agricultural economics from the University of Ghana, Legon. He also previously taught various courses including entrepreneurship, micro-enterprise development and management, agricultural economics, and agricultural finance and marketing at the University of Ghana, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), and the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS).

Dr. Moussa Savadogo is the ABNE environmental biosafety program officer. He has degrees in agricultural engineering achieved in 1989 and a Ph.D. in plant biology and ecology earned in 1993 from the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Prior to joining NEPAD-ABNE, Dr. Savadogo worked both as a scientist at the National Center of Research and Technology (CNRST), and as a regulator at the National Agency of Biosafety(ANB) in Burkina Faso. He was a member of the ANB team and actively contributed to drafting the national biosafety bill, and played a key role within the scientific committee in evaluating field trials applications. His interests reside in the field of ecological relationships involving honeybees (Apis mellifera) and plants.

Ms. Oumy Barry is the ABNE program assistant. Ms. Barry holds a master’s degree in modern languages applied to business and tourism. Before joining ABNE, she worked with the West African Biosciences Network based in Dakar, Senegal, as personal assistant to the network director. She has additional training in office management and protocol. She is at Kampala (ABNE node 2).

Mr. Ladji Sidibe is the IT-Website and Documentation Center Manager. He has a degree in database management system, a professional license in ICT and a Masters in IT. He has attended several workshops on network security for Windows and Linux. Before joining ABNE, he was working as a Laboratory Technician and a Computer Scientist for the University of Ouagadougou and the University of Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso. He also worked as a computer consultant in various NGOs, private companies and projects.

Mr. Godwin Lemgo is the program officer for Food Safety. He holds a Master’s degree in Biosafety of Agricultural Biotechnology Technology from the Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Ghana, Legon. He is also a fellow of the International Centre for Science and High Technology (ICS-UNIDO) having conducted studies into the biosafety concerns of the use of RNA interference for the development of virus resistance in fruit trees. He has considerable international exposure having attended and actively participated in various workshops, fora and training programs on biosafety. Prior to joining the NEPAD-ABNE team, Mr. Lemgo was a Regulatory Officer at the Foods and Drugs Board (FDB) in Accra, Ghana, where he played a pioneering role in the establishment of a Biosafety Unit for handling foods/feed derived from or containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He was very active in the spreading of biosafety awareness and capacity within the organisation. His main interest is in food safety of both conventional and genetically modified foods/feed.

Dr. Woldeyesus Sinebo is the Programme Officer for Agricultural Biosafety, he is based at the ABNE Kampala node. Before joining ABNE, Dr. Sinebo was the Director of Crops Research at the Southern Agricultural Research Institute in Ethiopia. Prior to that, he was a Senior Researcher and Head of Agricultural Technology Intellectual Property Management Office at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. From November 2003 – November 2005, Dr. Sinebo was a JSPS-UNU Postdoctoral Fellow at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama, Japan. Dr. Sinebo has researched policy issues pertaining to agricultural biotech transfer to Africa, intellectual property rights, access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, biosafety, and the interplay among biosafety, trade and intellectual property rights. Sinebo has participated in national regulatory and legislative development processes pertaining to biosafety proclamation, the revised seed law, and the revision of plant breeders’ rights in Ethiopia. He has attended regional and sub-regional meetings on draft African Model Law on Biosafety and on “Regional Approach to Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy in Eastern and Southern Africa”. Sinebo has a PhD in Agronomy from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, an MSc in Crop Physiology from the University of Reading and a BSc in Plant Sciences from Addis Ababa University. Post-PhD (in 2010), he obtained a Master’s degree in Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology from Università Politecnica Delle Marche, Ancona, Italy (conducted in collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development Organization). Sinebo has short term training certificates on intellectual property and patent drafting from the World Intellectual Property Organization. Dr Sinebo is an Ethiopian, married with children.

Mr Sunday Igu Rocks Akile is the Programme Officer for Legal/Policy on Biosafety Issues. He is a seasoned legal practitioner with several successful court cases to his name in his country, Uganda.
Before joining ABNE he was a member of Uganda’s National Biosafety Committee for 5 years sitting on the committee as a legal expert. His contribution to the National Biosafety Committee was immense. This Committee is known to have handled several CFT applications making Uganda the leading country in Sub-Saharan Africa to have conducted the highest number of CFTs in Agricultural Biotechnology. Sunday has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Laws from Makerere University, Uganda and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice of his country. He has also earned numerous awards in Biosafety regulatory trainings both from his country and abroad. He is very knowledgeable in the legal and policy aspects of Biosafety regulation.

Dr. Olalekan Akinbo is the Biosafety programme officer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy (Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria), Master of Science in Plant Pathology (University of Ibadan, Nigeria) and Doctorate degree in Genetics and Plant Breeding (University of the Free State, South Africa). He was a scholar at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria) for a Master programme, a pre-doctoral fellow of Rockefeller at International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali Colombia, a post-doctoral fellow of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at Michigan State University USA on Biosafety and Biotechnology. He has attended numerous summer courses on biosafety in the USA and Europe. Prior to Joining ABNE as Biosafety Programme Officer he was ABNE’s part time Programme Officer (Nigeria Country Coordinator). He also worked as a consultant with Donald Danforth Plant Science Centre (USA) and National Root Crops Research Institute (Nigeria). He has published his research works in both international and regional peer review journals.

Mrs Mariam Seynou Ouedraogo has joined ABNE as secretary. She holds professional degrees in Business Communication and Secretarial Studies from the “Institut Supérieur d’Informatique et de Gestion (ISIG)”, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. Prior to joining ABNE, Mrs Ouedraogo worked as an Executive Secretary at the “Centre International de Recherche-Développement sur l’Elevage en Zone Subhumide (CIRDES)”, Bobo-Dioulasso. Earlier on, Mrs Ouedraogo had worked as a Secretary in charge of Information Management System in the department of Microfinance at the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She also worked as a Secretary for the “Projet de Développement Rural Integré Houet-Kossi-Mouhoun (PDRI/HKM)” (Integrated Rural Development Project) in Houet, Kossi and Mouhoun provinces of Burkina Faso.

Ms Nina Konaté is the ABNE Finance Officer. She earned a Master of Management Science degree in Accounting, Auditing & Management Control from the “Institut Supérieur d’Informatique et de Gestion – ISIG International Business School of Ouagadougou”. Before her recruitment to this position, Ms Konaté served as ABNE Finance Assistant (Intern) during a year. She brings to ABNE a wealth of experience and exposure in management, accounting and finance, having worked in several companies in Burkina Faso. Prior to joining the ABNE team, Ms Konaté was a Site Manager at “Africaine des Travaux Publics (ATP)” and provided leadership in accounting for funds and administering a road construction project. She also worked at AFRIPAGES Burkina as a Business Manager with oversight responsibilities for service delivery and customer portfolio management.

Jean Keberé is the Communications Officer of ABNE. He earned a Master’s degree in Arts and communications from the University of Ouagadougou in 1998 and benefited from vocational training in Public Relations and Multimedia from the University of Maryland, College Park. He joined ABNE in December 2013 with more than 17 years of experience in communications, having worked with several international organizations including Oxfam, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, Tree Aid West Africa and the national office for employment. Prior to joining ABNE, Mr. Keberé was in charge of Media and Communication at Oxfam in Burkina Faso. Among his achievements in this organization, he produced information materials for Oxfam regional and international publications and developed key documents including a quarterly newsletter and an annual report to increase Oxfam visibility in the country.

Mr. Lassina Drame Mr Lassina DRAME is the ABNE driver and office assistant. Mr. Drame worked before in a mining company for many years.