Nompumelelo Obokoh is the Divisional Manager: Innovation Support and Protection for Companies & Intellectual Property Commission. She recently resigned as Chief Executive Officer for Africabio, where she was responsible for providing accurate information and creating awareness, understanding as well as knowledge on biotechnology and biosafety in South Africa and the African region.
Dr Obokoh has more than 12 years international and local experience in agricultural and environmental research, development, education and management. She has led a number of agricultural projects geared towards addressing food security issues in Africa – for poverty reduction and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), through small-scale farmer (especially women farmers) empowerment.
Nompumelelo is registered as a Professional Natural Scientist- Biological Science, with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions. She trained as a Plant Molecular Biologist from the University of Cambridge, Magdalene College, UK, and also worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge where she developed novel and high throughput technologies to research the mechanisms of plant growth and yield in order to improve agricultural productivity.
In South Africa, she has worked as a Senior Researcher or Programme Manager in the Biotechnology Division at the Agricultural Research Council, Roodeplaat in Pretoria. During that period, she received competitive research grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and from the NRF/Royal Society (UK) for the South Africa-UK Science Networks to establish linkages and extend the collaboration with UK project partners. She also took-up an African Fellowship Programme at the Research institute in Aberystwyth, Wales, sponsored through the Rothamstead International.
Nompumelele has worked in Abuja, Nigeria, heading the 1st satellite office in West Africa of the Nairobi-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a non-for profit international organization where she oversaw and managed its strategic public-private partnership projects, and led all AATF operations in the region. The work involved extensive collaboration with research institutions, government officials and community based organizations in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria and international partners in the US; Europe and Australia (e.g. Purdue University-US; Donald Danforth Centre-US, CSIRO-Australia; Arcadia Biosciences, UC Davis-US) to ensure successful product development and deployment to small-scale farmers.