African perspectives on the need for global harmonisation of food safety regulations


  • This paper was presented at the World Congress of the International Union of Food Science and Technology, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, 5–9 August 2012.


Africa is a large continent consisting of 54 countries at different levels of development and reflecting numerous diverse cultures. Africa's agricultural potential is largely untapped, with approximately 60% of the world's non-cultivated arable land found in sub-Saharan Africa. Excluding South Africa, which is the largest economy in Africa and which has a well-established food sector with a substantial export market, economies in sub-Saharan Africa have been steadily growing at over 5% per annum. Whilst most African countries face many challenges, including weak infrastructure as well as political and economic instability, many changes are occurring, one of these being identifying specific commodities in a particular country which warrant substantial investment for growth into export opportunities. These opportunities create an immediate need for development of food standards, including food safety standards, based on scientific principles to enable regional and international trade in food, thereby assisting in ensuring Africa's role in the global food economy. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry