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  • Writer's pictureRoss Henry

#16 State of African Natural Products Sector – Challenges & Opportunities By Dr. David Katerere

In Research Aromatica sixteen, Dr. David Katerere talks with us about a broad sweep of the herbal products landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa and also talk about the rise of cannabis cultivation in Africa as a whole. Watch for more!


Africa has high plant diversity, and this, combined with its equally diverse cultures, ethnic groups and recent history, has resulted in eclectic plant use. In Africa plants remain central to food and nutrition as well as medicine. There are still many African food plants which are only consumed locally with potential for reaching wider markets and new customer segments. Many of these are climate smart and nutritious. On the medicinal side, Covid-19 has brought to the fore the reliance that Africans have in the use of herbal teas and other immune boosting natural concoctions. In addition, cannabis, which has always been the mainstay of rural community livelihoods, is finally breaking cover as governments legalize its cultivation and use.

This talk will conduct a broad sweep of the herbal products landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa and discuss opportunities which are opening up in mainstreaming the natural products industry on the continent. We will discuss various initiatives aimed at developing and commercializing products, including the regulatory landscape and export potential.


Prof David Katerere is the Research Platform Chair of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Advancement in Africa (PBA2) at Tshwane University of Technology and Chair of PharmaConnect Africa, a non-profit which is a premier convenor of the pharmaceutical industry in Africa. He is also a board member at UI-Global and the Association of African Medicinal Plant Standards (AAMPS).

Prof Katerere holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Science from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. He has worked in pharmaceutical and biotech practice and research in the past 25 years in 4 countries on 3 continents. He has several inventions to his name including the nutraceutical, Niselo and CovidConnect App for use in clinical trials and post-recovery. He has published over 50 journal articles and is co-editor of three books: Ethnoveterinary Botanical Medicines (T&F) (2010), Systems Analysis Approach for Complex Global Challenges (Springer) (2018) and Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge for the Modern Era (T&F) (2019). ​​​​​​​

He is a member of advisory committees of SAHPRA and the Global Health Supply Chain Consortium, co-founded by faculty at University of Michigan and University of Southern California. Prof Katerere teaches and researches across the pharmaceutical and biotech value chain including product development from medicinal plants (for food, nutraceuticals and medicines) and clinical testing, substandard and falsified medicines / vaccines and medicine governance.

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