Enabling Environment & Financial Sustainability

Enabling Environment and Financial Sustainability

Programme focus. Establish an enabling environment for efficient operation of the network, strengthening management and operational systems, establish a results management framework and put mechanisms in place to support the network’s financial sustainability.

Strategic intent. Design and create an enabling environment and promote the network to mobilise resources to support the network activities.

Budget. A budget of $10 million is planned, with member states providing 20% of the needed resources on the activities they are participating in.

Investment priorities. This programme is involved with acquiring and employing critical support. There are five key initiatives:

   1 Actively solicit financial support from and partnerships with:

      • Member State governments

      • RECs

      • Private sector

      • International Cooperation Partners

      • Private foundations

      • Multi-donor trust funds

   2 Increase awareness of the role of biosciences

   3 Promote PPPs

   4 Strengthen management systems for the network

   5 Establish a results management system (with strong M&E)

1 Actively solicit financial support from and partnerships with the key target group

This is a critical priority for SANBio and consists of an active and concerted resource mobilisation effort and will consume much of the SANBio Network Manager’s efforts in the early stages of implementing this Business Plan. The focus of SANBio during the early stages of this business planning period will be on mounting a substantial effort to raise resources for continuing and sustained programme implementation. This effort will be undertaken by the Secretariat and hub, in collaboration with the Nodes, the Member States, SADC and the NEPAD Agency. Resources are expected to be in place by late 2013 to initiate this effort – core funding from the government of South Africa and the commencement of BioFISA Phase 2 which is expected to be targeted to supporting the SANBio’s sustainability efforts.

A set of eight key initiatives will be undertaken, with the first being the most potentially fruitful and therefore the one that the Network Manager will set as a priority:

i. Actively solicit financial support from, and partnerships with, the key target groups

This initiative consists of an active and concerted resource mobilisation effort. Key undertakings are:

First, using this Business Plan as the foundation document for consistently communicating directions and setting priorities;

Second, identifying work packages from this document that could be supported by key target groups;

Third, approaching the key target groups regarding interest and possible support;

Fourth, becoming amenable to a wide variety of support modalities as different organisations within the key target group will have differing directions and will favour different approaches; and,

Fifth, actively pursuing opportunities through developing concept notes and project proposals and following up by maintaining consistent contact. This initiative will be directed to Southern African, Pan-African and non-African sources. As noted earlier, the possibilities of being successful in raising support for SANBio will be somewhat dependent on the participation of Member States, providing voluntary contributions either directly or in kind. The clear evidence is that their support is instrumental in receiving support from offshore International Collaborating Partners. Therefore, a strong effort will be made to approach Member States and SADC concerning their participation in this important effort.

ii. Explore new ways of raising revenues

There are a number of ways that Network members could raise revenues – percentage allocations for administration, charges to participants, greater client contributions to cofounded projects. Charges could be made for use of Hub and Node facilities, full costing of overheads needs to be accounted for, and co- funding, on a sliding scale is feasible as efforts near market readiness.

However, SANBio will be sensitive to the financial capabilities of its participants and move cautiously but determinedly into this area. The target for Network-generated revenues, as set out above, is 15% of SANBio’s budget requirements.

iii. Explore the feasibility of regular Member State contributions

As SANBio becomes more successful, it will become increasingly feasible for Member States to consider a regular contribution to SANBio’s core operations. The success of this effort will depend on the clear, complete and credible reporting of results which demonstrate substantial Member State benefits.

iv. Seek more strategic partnerships

Many more partnerships will be needed to strengthen the human, infrastructure and institutional capacity of organisations in Southern Africa. SANBio’s Secretariat will look to identify several key potential partnerships, like the one currently operating between ABNE and the Michigan State University, where an African organisation can get support, when needed, from a competent and credible international organisation. In addition, there is potential to increase a wide range of other inter-institutional arrangements such as the twinning of research institutions for research cooperation.

v. Train node personnel on key areas of resource mobilisation

One of the key constraints in biosciences resource mobilisation in Southern Africa is a lack of information about, and capacity to go after, the many potential sources of funding. The SANBio Secretariat will provide such information widely throughout the Network and equip the Nodes with skills in proposal preparation, negotiations and funding procedures so that they themselves can become more active in these efforts. In fact, Bunda College in Malawi has used its experience as a SANBio node to win more than US$ 600,000 in project support.

vi. Advocate to Member States for increased investment in Biosciences R&D

As noted earlier, there is an emerging interest by African governments in S&T (over 40 have Ministries responsible for S&T) and SADC is pursuing S&T policies and initiatives. However, the level of investment is still much lower than the commitments all governments made several years ago. SANBio will mount an active campaign in Member States, with the appropriate nodes, for increased support to biosciences through their R&D institutions. As well SANBio will support and advocate for special incentives, such as tax rebates, to be given to organisations supporting R&D institutions in biosciences.

vii. Seek to establish a SANBio Investment Fund (SANFUND)

To ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the network, SANBio will seek to establish a SANBio fund (SANFUND), both through contributions of Member States as well as contributions from regional funders and international cooperation partners. The SANBio fund will be applied to co-invest in flagship RD&I programmes as well as to accelerate commercialisation and technology transfer of technology solutions developed within the network. It will also be used to strengthen the needs assessment and commercialisation capacity at the various nodes within the network.

viii. Align work programming with potential supporters

SANBio will make every effort to link its work programmes to Member State budgeting processes, International Collaborating Partner directions and requirements, as well as the directions of SADC and NEPAD. This will facilitate the development of key relationships for continuing support.

ix. Coordinate with other NEPAD Agency and SADC resource mobilisation efforts

SANBio efforts will take cognisance of and, where most efficacious, work with the NEPAD and SADC secretariats, the other hubs and regional participants to ensure there is no conflict in approaches to funding providers.

2 Increase awareness of the role of bioscience

This will be directed at key stakeholders, particularly Member State governments who are the key target of this effort. A strong advocacy effort for increasing support to biosciences research is a critical ingredient in meeting the 20% target for Member State contribution to SANBio. SANBio will also implement an awareness programme to sensitise policy makers on biosciences matters. This will include parliamentarians, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Finance and Planning Ministries, Development Committees, economic and trade missions, etc. SANBio will also improve brand visibility through strategies such as placing advertisements in local languages and multimedia. This will be clearly outlined in the Communication Plan that will be developed as part of the operational plan.

3 Promote PPPs

This signals the intent to begin the process of promoting PPPs. While the private sector in Southern Africa is dominated by small firms with little ability to actively participate in R&D, several key organisations will be approached to begin building the partnership relationship, including the African Agricultural Technology Foundation which facilitates and promotes public/private partnerships for the access and delivery of appropriate proprietary agricultural technologies for use by resource-poor smallholder farmers in Africa. This effort will also involve approaching university technology transfer offices as well as government research and development organisations. Modest success and significant learning for further future efforts is expected during this Business Plan period.

4 Strengthen management systems for the network

This involves the Secretariat establishing the necessary mechanisms for the Network along with facilitative management systems to support the hub and the nodes. This approach is in place, more or less, with some work having to be done to improve the connections with various parts of the CSIR (the hub). The Secretariat will also explore the feasibility of SANBio expansion. There are several requests for other organisations to join the Network and a method to determine whether and how to take on additional nodes is needed. The more the Network can reach all scientists and potential entrepreneurs in bioscience, the better it will be. What may have to be considered is a new category of membership to deal with non-nodal institutions and individuals.

5 Establish a results management system for SANBio

This has two components:

  • the implementation of a results management system, which will include a full life cycle approach for describing what SANBio’s efforts are designed to do, what they are doing, how they are progressing, their expected outputs and measures of potential impact; and
  • the design and implementation of analytical and reporting tools for assessing the viability and impact of SANBio projects and for reporting on them.