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6-Regulation: African GE lobby weakened in Kenya



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TITLE:  NEW CHALLENGES FOR BIOTECH IN KENYA
SOURCE: ISAAA-AfriCenter, Kenya
        http://www.isaaa.org/kc/CBTNews/2003_Issues/Jan/CBT_Jan_31.htm#new
DATE:   Jan 31, 2003

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NEW CHALLENGES FOR BIOTECH IN KENYA

Two recent events in Kenya are predicted to affect the development of
biotechnology in Kenya and other countries in the Eastern and Central
African regions. One is the change in government leadership - from the
Kenya African National Union which held power for 40 years - to the
National Alliance Rainbow Coalition. The second event is the death of
John Stephen Wafula, the Director of the African Biotechnology
Stakeholders' Forum (ABSF).

ABSF notes that before the change of government in Kenya, ABSF and the
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications
(ISAAA) AfriCenter had established dialogue with Kenyan parliamentarians
and members of the regional East African Legislative Assembly. Several
seminars were held to sensitize and educate the legislators on
biotechnology prior to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The Kenya Government through the National Council for Science and
Technology and the Attorney General's chambers was in the process of
preparing a draft bill on the regulation of biotechnology development and
application for presentation to parliament. More than 50% of the 210
legislators in the previous parliament lost their seats in the December
elections and the majority of legislators in the current Kenyan
parliament are new. Awareness level on biotechnology among the new
legislators is perceived to be lower than that of the previous parliament.

ABSF also says that with the death of John Wafula, "the Biotech
fraternity in the region lost a strong driving force necessary to sustain
the biotechnology momentum. The challenge is for institutions and
organizations involved in biotechnology development and application to
identify a common rallying point to enhance synergy in advocacy for
sustainable biotechnology development in the region."

ABSF is a non-political and non-sectarian association providing a
platform for sharing, debating and understanding all issues pertaining to
biotechnology in agriculture, health, industry and environment. ABSF
represents all stakeholders in biotechnology in Africa currently with
individual members in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and Ghana.

More information on ABSF at http://www.isaaa-africenter.org/absf.htm