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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Dons urge African states to reduce research authorization process

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- African governments have been asked to reduce research authorization process to help attract international collaboration in conducting groundbreaking research in the continent.

Taita Taveta University Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Hamadi Boga said on Thursday that the delay in acquiring necessary permits is to blame for the slow uptake of science, technology and innovation in Africa.

"Government’s policy should be geared towards facilitating science and scientific interaction and reducing the processes that delay actual research from picking up," Professor Boga told a workshop on uptake of practical synthetic biology.

He said that the continent urgently needs to re-strategize and embrace science, technology and innovation for her economic development.

Professor Boga noted that studies has found out that research authorization process delays the issuance of permits and also reduces the number of research undertaken per year in most countries.

"As biotechnology embraces synthetic biology, Africa has to invest more in research infrastructure and international collaboration so as to become relevant in the current fast developing world," he added.

He pointed out that Kenya has the potential to be one of the research nodes in Africa given its diverse ecological zones that ranges from the Indian Ocean to the Lake Victoria shores through Mount Kenya and other highlands.

The Director of Technical Services at the Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) Professor Dorington Ogoyi challenged governments to upgrade their regulations while embracing new technologies.

He observed that it is unfortunate that in Africa, a lot of focus has been on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) yet several other new technologies are taking off in Europe and Asia.

"There is need to create awareness to facilitate the uptake of promising emerging technologies that are aimed at improving the control of pests and development of new environmentally friendly crop varieties and animal breeds," he added.

"There is need to harmonize a globally responsive and forward looking research regulatory regime," said Dr. Lalitha Sundaram of the University of Cambridge.

She called for a periodic review of regulations to help develop a globally binding standard that could easily be accepted in times of developing new technologies like synthetic biology products.

           

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