Africa

10 Items

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Statement on Agricultural Biotechnology

| Sep. 30, 2015

My work on agricultural biotechnology for Africa dates to the mid-1980s. My first major publication on the subject in 1989 was entitled The Gene Hunters: Biotechnology and the Scramble for Seeds. This was nearly seven years before the first commercial release of the transgenic crops in North America. The focus of my work has been on identifying technologies that could contribute to sustainable development in Africa. I have advocated policies that seek to reduce the negative consequences of new technologies while maximizing their impacts.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Africa

| June 03, 2013

The global community is increasingly facing critical challenges in healthcare, energy, sustainability, and agriculture.  These issues are technologically complex, requiring scientific literacy among politicians, policymakers, and populations in both developed and developing nations.  Moreover, these issues demand innovative discoveries, requiring well-trained engineers to both invent creative and cost-effective solutions as well as inform decisionmakers on relevant technical considerations.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Africa's New Science and Innovation Agenda

| May 14, 2013

I am on my way back from the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. This was a remarkable meeting with an overwhelming intellectual energy. The event was unique in many respects. But foremost, it was anchored by a preliminary meeting of the Grow Africa venture where private enterprises have pledged $3.5 billion in support to African agriculture. This was a serious event that involved heads of state and government from eight African countries. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a small group of people working to connect science and technology with the larger business agenda of WEF.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Africa and Brazil at the Dawn of New Economic Diplomacy

| Feb. 26, 2013

In recent years the major focus of China’s engagement in Africa has been on economic diplomacy. Much of this debate has been influenced by concerns over China’s rise as an economic superpower and the preoccupation with viewing Africa through the jaded natural resource lens. A closer look at Africa’s growing economic diplomacy reveals a more complex picture involving other important emerging market economies as illustrated by economic relations with Brazil. Africa’s relations with Brazil highlight the emergence of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) as a new economic alliance that is reshaping international trading relations.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Developing Country Farmers Bridge the “Biotechnology Divide”

| Feb. 22, 2013

  Critics of agricultural biotechnology have long contended that it would not benefit farmers in developing countries. Their concerns were not unjustified. A large number of technologies continue to be restricted to industrialized countries despite their global relevance. Farmers in developing countries, however, are bridging the “biotechnology divide.” According to a new report by Clive James of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), “For the first time, developing countries grew more, 52% of global biotech crops in 2012 than industrialized countries at 48%.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Persecuting Biotechnology

| Jan. 11, 2013

In a widely circulated speech, UK environmental activist Mark Lynas has apologized for his past history of demonizing transgenic crops and masterminding the anti-biotechnology campaign.  Explaining at the Oxford Farming Conference in January 2013 why he changed his mind, Lynas said: “I discovered science, and in the process I hope to become a better environmentalist.” Such apologetic statements help to signal the changing times and the shift in the balance of evidence. However, much persecution of biotechnology has been done using laws that severely and unfairly restrict into development and deployment.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Biotechnology and Africa’s Strategic Interests

| Dec. 04, 2012

(Cross-posted from Global Food for Thought) Global food politics are riddled with paradoxes. While threats to global food security are becoming increasingly evident, efforts to stall the adoption of new technologies appear to intensify. There is a clear disconnect between comfort with familiar agricultural practices and the food challenges that lie ahead. Though food is recognized as a national security issue, it has yet to acquire the strategic importance it deserves, especially in African countries.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Evidence Stacking Up Against Biotechnology Critics

| Feb. 13, 2012

Critics of agricultural biotechnology have long maintained that the technology is unsuitable for small-scale farmers and harmful to the environment. But according to newly-released adoption rates, evidence is pointing in the opposite direction. In its latest report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) shows that biotechnology crops now cover 160 million hectares worldwide. Of the 16.7 million people who grew transgenic crops in 2011, 15 million or 90% were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries.

Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Seeding Agricultural Innovation in Africa: Eight Imperatives for Leaders

| Dec. 15, 2011

The on-going famine in the Horn of Africa has put in sharp focus the urgency to raise the continent’s food production through improved agricultural innovation. This cannot be done without reforming the continent’s research system by creating greater synergies between research, training, extension and commercialization. Africa’s research and higher education systems are dominated by fragmented approaches where research and teaching are carried out in separate institutions often under different ministries.