African countries that wish to export are increasingly faced with import risk
assessments from importing countries concerned about the sources of their imported
goods. Other risk analysis methodologies and approaches are also employed, which
focus on animal and human health within countries and communities.
Based on an analysis of evaluations conducted by the World Organisation for Animal
Health (OIE), using the Performance of Veterinary Services Tool, the authors attempt
to define current practice in Africa and degrees of compliance with the World Trade
Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
(‘SPS Agreement’) and OIE standards. To assist in this task, the authors also make use
of a review of selected risk assessment reports.
Results point to a lack of technical capacity and capability to conduct risk assessments
in compliance with OIE standards (except in the case of three countries), ranging from
an outright absence of any form of (documented) risk assessment and consecutive
risk management decisions (level of advancement 1) to shortcomings in one or several
aspects of the risk assessment process. This is confirmed by a number of case studies,
half of which have been produced by international consultants.
The major recommendations of this paper are i) to strengthen the human resources
pool for conducting risk assessments and ii) to establish dedicated risk assessment
units, with clear terms of reference, job descriptions and policies, procedures and