Review of mechanisms for food safety-related SPS measures within African regional Economic Communities (RECs): Paving the way for a continent-wide food safety coordination effort


  • Date de publication : 2020-09-01

Référence

Review of mechanisms for food safety-related SPS measures within African regional Economic Communities (RECs): Paving the way for a continent-wide food safety coordination effort (2020). Food Control, 115: 107206

Freely available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713520301225

Résumé

African policy makers are paying increasing attention to food safety as a key contributor to food security across the continent and as an opportunity to enhance the economic potential of additional trade in food and agrifood commodities within and outside Africa.

By default, the regional and continental economic integration framework was envisaged by way of the African Economic Community (AEC) through its eight regional pillars in the form of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in which the development of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures have emerged in the context of trade facilitation rather than for public health considerations. This may be in contradiction with the original prioritization of objectives outlined in the Codex Alimentarius Commission's Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems (CAC/GL 82–2013). Simultaneously, national and regional food control systems are at an impasse, often afflicted with inadequate institutional capacities, ineffective regulatory systems and weak SPS coordination efforts, further hindering the achievement of continental economic development objectives. For this reason, the revision of current practices, trends and needs will facilitate the prioritization of decisive actions for SPS investments at regional and continental levels and increase the likelihood that future SPS harmonization efforts are successful, including the establishment of continental risk assessment and risk management authorities and/or reference laboratories.

This desktop-review elaborates on the regional and continental SPS situation in Africa, what coordination and communication measures are in place and what investments have been made in the RECs and in the African Union. As part of the analysis, some potential obstacles contributing to slow-down of the continental SPS harmonization process will be examined. However, the article will not aim to conduct detailed mapping of existing and required SPS policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks at the regional or continental level due to the complexity of these matters. The paper will nonetheless strive to outline a set of recommendations, as a starting point, to expedite the convergence of these efforts but will not provide solutions for every challenge.


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