South African President Thabo Mbeki on Monday in Cape Town, South Africa, opened the third branch of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Reuters/Mail & Guardian reports.
The center's projects will include research and development of vaccines for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases that affect developing countries.
South Africa has committed 40 million rand, or about $5.6 million, to the ICGEB lab, which is hosted at the University of Cape Town's Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine.
Mbeki called on the international community to donate the remainder of the 120 million rand, or $17 million, needed to fund seven research programs that scientists plan to launch by 2010.
South Africa's funds are "only sufficient to establish three research groups," Mbeki said, adding that he invites "potential partners to assist and work with this component (of the center) to ensure that it realizes its objectives."
Nigeria and Tanzania lost competitive bids to host the African branch of ICGEB. The two other ICGEB sites are in Trieste, Italy, and New Delhi.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation