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20 August 2014
Author: Ivar Virgin

Background Document to the Bio-economy Expert Group

This document is the background document to the 2014-2015 expert group “Moving Africa Towards a Knowledge Based Bio-economy; How can Sweden assist?”

The rapid globalization, new technologies and trade regimes and the growing global demand, for food, feed and renewable materials, and also agricultural land is changing the conditions for the agriculture and utilisation of genetic resources worldwide. At the same time, the revolutionary achievements in the field of biosciences are contributing to a transition whereby bio-based alternatives for energy and materials are becoming more economic and more mainstream.  This has led to the concept of a “bio-economy”. This has led to the development of the term knowledge based bio-economies which increasingly is seen as a tool for creating sustainable economic growth based on renewable resources, moving away from the fossil fuel economy and responding to pressing local and global challenges, including climate change. A central feature of a knowledge based bio-economy is that scientific research and knowledge are applied to bio-resources, agricultural and agroprocessing systems not only to produce food and feed but also to an increasingly wide range of agro-industrial and value added products with potential applications in many sectors, including pharmaceutical, chemical industry, and energy among others.

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