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For a Holistic View of Biotechnology in West and Central Africa: What Can Integrated Development Approaches Contribute?

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DOI: 10.4236/jep.2013.49112    4,488 Downloads   5,818 Views  

ABSTRACT

Africa, ever on the lookout for development levers that will allow its economy to take off, is turning more and more towards technology. This is one of the possible modern avenues to success, especially the use of the biotechnologies that are so touted by Western countries. However, the hope placed in these new technologies must not hide the long-proven fact that technology alone is not enough to solve development problems. Biotechnologies do not escape this rule. Biotechnologies can be the best and the worst things for the people of Africa. Beyond their technical contributions, we must be wary of their boomerang effects and collateral damage. A country’s development is actually more complex than simply implementing technology, and in the current global environmental context a holistic vision is necessary to ensure sustainable development. In the area of water, this integrated vision emerged on the international scene during the Dublin Conference in 1992, which consecrated the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). More recently, the Eco-Health concept strives to combine human health and ecosystem health while incorporating a socioeconomic dimension into the health and environmental spheres. The concern to mesh human activities better with environmental protection was materialized previously, in the 1970s already, through impact studies. After presenting this set of tools in the service of a holistic approach to the environment and development, we shall see that these approaches can inspire the players when it comes to the ways they implement biotechnologies. At the end of the day, a holistic approach to biotechnologies in Africa will be facilitated by enhanced information and communication and reliance on peasant farmers’ expertise. It will have to be rooted in broader participation of the players concerned. This integration will also concern environmental and land-owning aspects, without forgetting socio-cultural acceptance of the projects and the links with health. Ultimately, it will also mean putting the human at the heart of development by taking all the richness and particularities of African society into account.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

F. Rosillon, "For a Holistic View of Biotechnology in West and Central Africa: What Can Integrated Development Approaches Contribute?," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 9, 2013, pp. 975-983. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.49112.

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