Regulatory & Policy Framework
The right regulatory and policy frameworks are key to a functional food safety and quality system in Africa and across the World.
The food safety regulatory landscape in Africa is going through a transition, with several countries seeking new ways to come up with the right regulatory frameworks that shall deliver a more effective, streamlined and vibrant food and drug regulation landscape.
In this regard, debate continues in Africa as to whether to consolidate the regulation of food products with those for drugs and other medical devices; or to separate the two.
There is also a continuing debate on the role of national standards bodies, and how to streamline the market surveillance role in many African countries.
Across Africa, the food and drug regulatory systems are a patch work of legislation that lack harmony in implementation, making it quite difficult to harmonise regional efforts around the management of food safety.
The successful transformation of the Africa’s food, agro and pharma sectors require that the governments across the Continent must improve the policy coherence in the region.
Further, there is an urgent need to boost the human capital capacity, innovation, investments in infrastructure and quality assurance systems and strengthening national regulatory authority.
According to the World Health Organisation, a responsive, outcome-oriented, predictable, risk-proportionate, and independent medicine regulatory authority is a prerequisite for building a competitive pharmaceutical industry and ensuring safe, quality-assured and efficacious medicine in Africa.
The same can be said of the regulation of the food safety regulatory framework in Africa.
The regulatory environment in Africa faces a number of challenges, including:
- Limited resources impact the ability of food safety regulators to meet their mandate of ensuring a safe, well coordinated food safety system;
- Multiplicity of independent agencies under different acts of parliament and government departments makes the management and coordination of food and drug safety control measures difficult;
- Poorly or inadequately developed compliance regulations that leave regulatory vacuums that are taken advantage of by stakeholders across the value chain to cheat the system;
- Poor governance and political interference that compromises the delivery of the regulator’s mandate;
- Inadequate capacity of management and staff involved in food safety regulation, exacerbated by lack of adequate funding to the agencies.