University of Zambia (UNZA) Vice-Chancellor Prof Luke Mumba says the Association for Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa (AETFAT) 2020 Conference is expected to stimulate interest in plant biology among young people and create opportunities for plant researchers.

Speaking during the launch of the AETFAT 2020 conference held at the UNZA Senate Chambers on October 17, 2019, Prof Mumba said the AETFAT is an association of scientists and hobbyists from all over the world working on African plant biology and related topics.

‘’This launch marks the beginning of the final preparations of the conference which will take place in Livingstone in March 2020 and it is meant to raise awareness among various stakeholders and members of the public,’’ he said.

The theme of the conference, which is scheduled to take place from March 23 to 27, is “Diversity and conservation of African plants: challenges and opportunities.”

Prof Mumba said the theme is relevant to the current challenges that Zambia and other African countries are facing and gives hope that solutions can be found through research, technology and innovation.

He added that Zambia is endowed with about 12,500 plants and about 6,000 flowering plants, most of which have not been fully researched to tap their socio-economic and ecological potential.

The Vice-Chancellor further said plants are not only a source of food, medicine and building materials, but that they are also a source of ecological services.

Speaking at the same event, Higher Education Minister Brian Mushimba said the theme is aligned with the African Union’s Science, Technology and Innovation strategy as well as the Zambian Government’s policy on Science, Technology and Innovation.

He said his Ministry recognises the contribution of the AETFAT Congress towards the sustainable development of Zambia in particular and Africa in general.

‘’The Government of the Republic of Zambia has prioritised the need to strengthen the role of science, technology and innovation as the key drivers of economic development as highlighted in Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan,’’ he said.

Dr Mushimba further said the African Union’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 recognises the ever-growing urgency to collectively address the global, social, economic and environmental challenges.

He expressed delight that Zambia was given the mandate to host the prestigious Pan-African plant congress that will bring out the state-of-the-art knowledge of the plants of Africa, their diversity, conservation and utilization.

He said it is important for people to have sound scientific knowledge of plant biodiversity as it will inform policy formulation, conservation and sustainable utilization of plant resources.

He called upon cooperating partners, institutions and individuals to support the AETFAT congress to ensure its successful conclusion.



Loretta Ching'andu

Loretta Ching'andu is a Media and Communication student at the University of Zambia. She is a charismatic leader, public speaker and a seasoned radio and tv presenter. She is a youth, women, good governance advocate and very passionate about the media. Loretta loves to report on community and business news stories, often highlighting on salient issues that affect her and her community. She is a modest but very hard working young lady who consistently sets firm goals for herself. Her other area of interests include the Law and Justice system, Mental health, Sexual Reproductive health, Gender equality and Climate change.