n Institute for Security Studies Papers - Ship without sails : chemical and biological weapons control in Africa

Volume 2008, Issue 171
  • ISSN : 1026-0404



The African continent faces a number of security challenges, including the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and illicit trans-border activities such as drug and human trafficking. Given the enormity of these immediate challenges, should Africa be concerned about chemical and biological weapons? This paper argues that the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) and the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC), do not adequately address the specific concerns of African states, such as the prevention of the deliberate or accidental outbreak of disease. Neither the BTWC's Implementation Support Unit nor the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of the CWC are geared towards increasing awareness amongst the African scientifc and industrial communities of their obligations to actively counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The conclusion is that much work must still be done before African states can be truly incorporated into the global non-proliferation regime and that there is an urgent need to engage more frequently and systematically on issues relevant specifically to developing countries.

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