New Regulatory Affairs Manager for Africa

Posted 22nd July 2021 by Dr. Charles F. Mugoya

As a regulatory affairs expert with previous experience developing regulatory processes for genetically modified organisms and insect vectors, it is a great privilege for me to be joining Target Malaria as Regulatory Affairs Manager for Africa. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work on establishing regulatory frameworks and best practices for the safe and responsible use of genetically modified organisms, an expertise that is highly relevant to the project’s current and future work.  My professional experience has also given me the opportunity to observe first-hand the wealth of biosafety experience African regulators and policy makers have developed on the continent and I am excited to be joining the project to continue engaging with peers across the African region.

I started my career with a postdoctoral position at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, Kenya, from where I was posted to work in Zambia with the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture as ICIPE’s Resident Scientist for five years. Following this role, between 1996 and 2005, I served as Associate Executive Secretary, Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), where I led several taskforce teams to draft national biotechnology and biosafety policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures. Concurrently, I also coordinated a joint regional programme for biotechnology, biosafety and bio-policy, which was aimed at strengthening biotechnology and biosafety development and regulation in four East African countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – through the promotion of quality research, development of enabling structures and related policies. 

Between 2005-2015, I worked with ASARECA, an intergovernmental organisation embracing 11 countries in Eastern and Central Africa where I served as Program Manager for the Agrobiodiversity and Biotechnology Program. My core responsibility was the management of a competitive grant scheme to support national agricultural research organisations and some private sector players. The assignment also entailed helping national competent authorities to develop policies, laws, guidelines, and tools for making regulatory submissions while ensuring regulatory compliance for commissioned projects. 

Finally, from 2015 to May 2021, I served as the National Biosafety Committee (NBC) Chairperson in Uganda where I led and oversaw regulatory processes for biosafety. My work as a public servant was focused on furthering the interests of the general public by ensuring that novel biotechnology applications were used and assessed safely, responsibly, and fairly. 

My regulatory experience also includes facilitating biosafety and biotechnology workshops in over thirty countries in Africa. At the international level, I have attended biosafety trainings and exposure events in many European countries, in the USA, and in Canada to name a few. 

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Botany with a concurrent Diploma in Education from Makerere University, Uganda and a master’s degree in Agricultural Entomology from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. I have also obtained a Ph.D. degree in Applied Entomology from Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

 I am pleased to be joining Target Malaria as this offers the opportunity to apply my regulatory affairs expertise to guide and advise the project’s innovative work and to contribute to research towards new non-profit vector control tools intended to reduce the burden of malaria in Africa.  Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease which robs the continent of so much potential. As progress in the fight against malaria continues to stall, innovation and the development of new tools could be crucial to step-up the fight against this century-old scourge. It is key that regulators and policy makers across the continent are cognisant and well-informed   in regards to new technologies being developed so they can make well-grounded decisions. I am excited to support this process and hopeful that my experience will go a long way to ensure that Target Malaria’s research activities remain well-regulated in accordance with both national and regional guidelines and regulations.

In my spare time, particularly during weekends, I enjoy spending time on our family farm, where I supervise ongoing activities in my young coffee plantation including the pruning of fruit, vegetable, herb and spice plants growing alongside the coffee.