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Science and Governance of Modern Biotechnology in Sub-Saharan Africa

Wafula, D   Clark, N

Journal of International Development   17 (5) 679-694

July 2005   (First published online June 2005)

Science policy, particularly as it applies to biotechnology and biosafety, has no single correct approach to follow. An objective approach to biotechnology policy however requires three essential components: scientific advice, the engagement of a range of stakeholders in policy dialogue, and effective governance at a systemic level, in an innovation systems sense, forming closer interaction between organizations and personnel to ensure that knowledge flows are maintained at all times. The article discusses the governance of modern biotechnology in Uganda. It shows that some progress is being made on interactivity among scientific organizations - many of whom are on the threshold of a capacity to become involved in gene transfer with potential application to the national needs. Interactivity, however, does not appear to be strong amongst governance bodies. Similarly the development of national policy, while strong in inspirational terms, seems in practice to be rather ad hoc and piecemeal, with uncertainty about who makes decisions and how these are to be implemented, monitored and evaluated. So, from an innovation systems standpoint the governance of modern biotechnology in Uganda still has some way to go.