MCCHE Convergent Innovation Webinar Series with Lise Korsten

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 11:00to13:00

Challenges and Possibilities Associated with Food Safety Systems and Regional Trade: The Case of Africa

Lise Korsten

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Lise Korsten is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the African Research Initiative for Sci-entific Excellence (ARISE). ARISE is a EUR 25 million initiative supporting over 300 researchers across 38 countries in Africa, implemented by the AAS in partnership with the African Union and the European Un-ion. She is also the co-Director of the Department of Science and Innovation, Centre of Excellence in Food Security. She is also responsible for the food safety and regulatory control programmes within the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security and actively interacts with other researchers in various institutes. She holds the position of chair in the Global Task Force of Food Security for the International Society for Plant Pathology. She is also a member of the Board of the Agro-Food Safety section as an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. Prof Korsten is a fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa. She has published more than 138 peer reviewed international papers, 30 chapters in books, conference pro-ceedings or books and close to 80 invited papers. Prof Korsten has addressed the South African Parliament on Food Safety Control and has developed a national framework for government to develop a Food Control Authority. She was recently the winner of the MT Steyn prize at the South African Academy of Science and is a member of the African Academy of Science.


Access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human right. Notwithstanding that more than 420 000 people die and close to 600 million people fall ill annually due to consuming contaminated food according to the recent FAO study The Future of Food Safety. The conse-quences of this on an already fragile developing economy are huge since unsafe food affects the healthcare systems, hinders economic growth and burdens global and regional trade. Being unable to meet international food safety standards or even just some basic good practices or hy-giene guidelines that are recognised in the region, remains a challenge for producers and food manufacturers in many developing countries. In most cases, a general lack of effective governance, suitable policy and implementable regulatory systems are lacking. In these mostly develop-ing countries, voluntary self-regulatory food safety systems often exist but only in isolated cases and then mainly with major multinational or-ganisations that manage large-scale farms or processing plants that trade globally. The dichotomy of this system reflects our broken global food system that further perpetuates imbalances, poverty, and unequal society. Good food production, manufacturing and trade practices offer emerging economies a viable food pathway to address local needs and increase trade options in a rapidly changing world order. In this presenta-tion, the food reality of Africa will be unpacked and the opportunities for growth, development and trade identified. If science can meet the public-private partnerships and provide solutions for food loss and waste reduction, natural resource protection, mitigate climate change im-pacts and establish food safety systems fit-for-purpose for local and globally recognised consumers can local and global trade flourish for all.

Chair: Professor Laurette Dubé (Scientific Director of MCCHE)
Co-Chair & Moderator: John G. Keogh (Professor of Practice, MCCHE; Founder, Shantalla Inc.)

Panel Discussion: A panel with scientists, business and policy leaders will discuss how scientific and technological developments and ontologies bridging farm, food and human behavior, can accelerate the design and long-term performance of convergence platforms ecosystems targeting achievable and time-bound real-world solutions placing human and environmental health at the core. This will advance the design of integrative digital architecture and governance framework to scale up how real-world data generated by individuals and institutions within and across disciplines and sectors can contribute to a World reset on convergence economy, building upon the challenges and possibilities reviewed above. Capitalizing on digital transformation of science and society, convergence economy takes a person-centered approach to bridging organ-izations and systems across sectors and jurisdictions, fully acknowledging that developed and developing worlds share the same planet, for world-scale transformation toward sustainable prosperity and affordable nutrition and health.


The Convergent Innovation Webinar Series features cutting edge science, technology and innovation in agriculture, food, environment, education, medicine and other domains of everyday life where grand challenges lie at the convergence of health and economics. Powered by data science, artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies, this disciplinary knowledge bridges with behavioural, social, humanities, business, economics, social, engineering, and complexity sciences to accelerate real-world solution at scale, be it in digital or physical contexts. Initiated in the agri-food domain, the series is now encompassing other grand challenges facing modern and traditional economies and societies, such as ensuring lifelong wellness and resilience at both the individual and population levels.

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