NEPAD Agency CEO about Biosafety in Africa

Africa is faced with the challenge of meeting the food needs of its ever growing population and to do so in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable. This challenge is compounded further by the decreasing acreage of arable land, dwindling water resources and the unpredictable effects of climate change. The continent therefore has to devise innovative ways of addressing its food and nutritional security challenges. Integrating science and technology into our agricultural systems and practices has been identified as a key strategy towards fully exploiting the agricultural potential of the continent. The African Union-NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) places a high priority on the safe use and management of new science and technologies, including biotechnology.

Modern biotechnology is considered to be a technology that has the potential to contribute towards increased agricultural productivity and help mitigate food security and climate change challenges the continent faces. However, to fully exploit the potential benefits of agricultural biotechnology to African farmers and the populace in general, regulatory systems that are functional in making decisions must be established. However, such decision making systems are largely absent in Africa. As a specialized centre of the AU-NPCA, African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE)’s mandate is to contribute to NPCA’s thematic program on agriculture and food security by supporting African countries in building functional biosafety systems that will ensure the responsible and safe development, adoption and utilization of agricultural biotechnology products.

This website is a rich source of science-based biosafety information specifically developed for African regulators as a capacity building tool. We hope that African regulators find this website a useful resource as they embark on building functional regulatory systems in Africa. We at AU-NPCA recognize and appreciate the support and partnerships from foundations and institutions helping us in this direction.

Dr Ibrahim Assane MAYAKI