Insects and other arthropods are the
most diverse and abundant forms of life on earth. They are also a paradox
within the sustainable growth equation especially in tropical regions such as
Africa where, on the one hand, they contribute to developmental stagnation
because of their ability to severely reduce the output of humans, animals and
plants. On the other, because of their tremendous biodiversity, insects harbour
great potential for development.
In Africa, insects pests are a key
component among complexities of water scarcity, land degradation and poor soil
health, which continue to hinder agricultural productivity and food security.
In some instances, insects cause the loss of entire crops in the field, and in
others, they destroy significant amounts of harvested food in storage. They
also limit the potential of the continent’s emerging horticultural sector by
reducing yield quality and quantity, and by necessitating the use of harmful
pesticides, leading to the rejection of produce from Africa in lucrative export
Some insects are also disease vectors
and are responsible for the transmission of dilapidating human and livestock
diseases, exacerbating Africa’s already disproportionate share of the global
disease burden. Such diseases include malaria (transmitted by mosquitoes),
human and animal trypanosomosis, commonly known as sleeping sickness and nagana
respectively, which are transmitted by tsetse. Other vector-borne diseases are:
dengue, kala-azar, Rift Valley fever and yellow fever.
Many people in Africa, especially
those living in fragile and marginalised areas rely on insect biodiversity, for
instance beekeeping and silk rearing. However, factors related to population
growth and poverty, the inability to harness natural resources sustainably, and
indeed, the strategies that are used to control harmful insects, are bringing
about changes that are adversely affecting ecosystems, and the benefits that
people obtain from them. In addition, the impacts of climate change will most
significantly be felt in Africa, possibly pushing communities further into
poverty and placing more pressure on the environment.
Underlying all these issues is a weak
and under-resourced infrastructure for scientific research, and the lack of
adequate capacity to deal with the negative aspects of insects, and to harness
their positive attributes.
What we do
Headquartered in Nairobi,
was established in 1970, to address this very paradox
of insects and accompanying challenges. The Centre’s mission is to use insect
science for sustainable development, to ensure food security and improve the
overall health of communities in Africa by addressing the interlinked problems
of poverty, poor health, low agricultural productivity and environmental
Since its founding,
has remained committed to developing and disseminating
environmentally safe, affordable, acceptable and accessible tools and
strategies to control insect pests and disease vectors.
’s mandate further extends to the
sustainable conservation and utilisation of Africa’s rich biodiversity.
is the only international institution in Africa working
primarily on arthropods. Therefore capacity building of individual researchers
and institutions in Africa is an integral part of all the Centre’s research and
also aims to empower women, harness the youth and build
capacity to use, transfer and teach the Centre’s technologies.
How we work
prides itself as a centre of excellence, which means
adhering to the highest globally accepted standards of scientific practice,
while responding to Africa’s critical developmental. The Centre seeks to
accomplish its goals through:
4H (ealth)s paradigm
, a holistic and integrated approach that encompasses human, animal,
plant and environmental health.
Multiple discipline approaches
, which bring together entomologists and acarologists,
behavioural biologists, molecular biologists and biochemists, population and
ecosystem ecologists, biomathematics and bioinformatics specialists,
entomopathologists, biosystematics experts and social scientists and trainers.
’s research is undertaken through
close and effective partnerships with national, regional and international
organisations. Through these partnerships and collaborations,
’s ultimate goal is to strengthen the
Centre’s own capacity and that of its partners towards improving the
livelihoods of millions of people in Africa towards enabling smallholder
farmers, on whom most agricultural activity in Africa depends, access the
appropriate technologies and strategies to address existing and emerging
constraints. It is the home base for researchers and scientists from Europe,
Africa and Latin America; it creates a globalised ‘research family’.
How to Apply
Share and send to your friends !