Chapter

Genetically Modified Organisms in Africa: Regulating a Threat or an Opportunity?

Fikremarkos Merso Birhanu

in The Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms: Comparative Approaches

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542482
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594342 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542482.003.0010
Genetically Modified Organisms in Africa: Regulating a Threat or  an Opportunity?

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Modern biotechnology has promised much for agriculture, and these promises are certainly attractive in the case of Africa. Importantly, a number of countries in the continent continue to grapple with food insecurity and starvation. But it remains controversial whether modern biotechnology, in its current state, can overcome these unique challenges. For reasons such as biosafety and fear of loss of export markets, Africa has remained largely ambivalent towards GM crops, and the regulatory regimes governing biosafety in several countries largely restrict their development. While recognizing some of the hurdles which modern biotechnology must clear before it can deliver its promises, this chapter argues that the continent stands to benefit from promoting the development and safe use of GM crops. It further argues that African countries should invest heavily in research and development, with a view to owning the technology and ensuring relevance to their circumstances. This should be the guiding objective of biosafety regulation in Africa.

Keywords: genetically modified organisms; GM crops; biosafety; precautionary principle; risk assessment

Chapter.  12667 words. 

Subjects: Environment and Energy Law

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