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Context rules, ok! Unearthing the obstacles to cross-national convergence of biosafety systems in southern Africa

Abstract

Part of the reason why policy processes and governance mechanisms for biotechnology in Africa are not clearly understood is because of the limited analysis of the deeper contextual realities behind the various institutional and policy responses. This paper takes a close look at the organisational and technological context overarching cross-national cooperation aspirations for biotechnology governance among southern African countries. Different resources and players will be needed for a successful emergence and implementation of the envisaged cross-national governance framework, including the state command-and-control ('government') approach to regulation, taking cognisance of the deep-seated technological and policy sovereignty desires of the different countries. On the other hand, the involvement of stakeholders such as NGOs does not only bring the much needed breadth and transparency to the policy dialogues ('governance'), but also results in more flexible and efficient policies within a democratised regional policy space.