Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi led the opening on Tuesday of a research centre in South Kivu aimed at spearheading regional efforts on biotechnology.

The state-of-the-art centre is named after Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo who was also present at the ceremony.

Obasanjo is one of the forces behind the Zero Hunger programme aimed at ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture in Africa.

Obasanjo served twice as Nigeria’s head of state: once as a military ruler in the 1970s and then again as a democratically-elected president from 1999-2007.

According to a recent United Nations report, 821 million people – one out of every nine people in the world – is undernourished. This is largely because of unproductive food systems and food waste.

The centre, formally called “The President Olusegun Obasanjo Research Campus,” offers modern research facilities and serves neighbouring countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic and Uganda.

The biotechnology laboratory is only the second of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa and will focus on developing clean and disease-free food and economic crops in Africa.