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African Policy Dialogues on Biotechnology
Building Consensus and Strategies for Common Action
September 2004
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)


The role of modern biotechnology in the economic transformation and sustainable development of Africa is the subject of increasing debate and controversy. The debate can be traced to the late 1980s but has acquired new dimensions as a result of a variety of factors, including rapid scientific and technological advances, the increasing commercialization of genetically modified foods, increasing food insecurity in Africa, and growth in the activities and influence of environmental activists. Recent famines and hunger in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and the decisions by some African governments to reject aid in the form of genetically modified food have moved the debate from confines of scientific and environmental groups to the center of public policy and politics in the region.

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