Dennis N. Obonyo, Lilian M. Nfor, and Sylvia Uzochukwu
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Cape Town, South Africa
Marianela Araya-Quesada, Francesca Farolfi, Decio Ripandelli, and Wendy Craig
ICGEB, Trieste, Italy

Adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops has the potential to contribute toward alleviating the dire food security situation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, whether current or future GM crop technologies will be appropriate for countries in SSA will depend upon a number of issues, not least of which is the perceived safety of these products. Several countries in SSA however lack the necessary technical capacity to conduct or review risk assessment dossiers for GM crops and also to monitor for compliance. Biosafety regulatory capacity therefore needs to be enhanced and this requires substantial human and institutional resources. This study is an assessment of the current biosafety needs in SSA. It identifies gaps in biosafety knowledge and expertise in the region and makes proposals for possible training/support programs that could help toward addressing them.

Key words: Biosafety, biotechnology, capacity building, genetic engineering, genetically modified organism (GMO), sub- Saharan Africa (SSA), research and development (R&D), transgenic.