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Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1474-2748
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0551



Using case studies on development and implementation of biotechnology governance frameworks in four African countries, we introduce and build the case for a policy kinetics (PK) approach to analysing and unpacking complex policy processes. The PK approach proposes a comprehensive approach to understanding how various ‘pieces of the policy puzzle’ interact in arenas to facilitate or constrain attainment of desired outputs. Borrowing from reaction kinetics in chemistry, which is the study of rates of chemical processes, our argument is that complex policy processes can indeed be broken down into reactants, processes, catalysts and outputs, all interacting at various levels in space and time. We also bring attention to the presence of various intermediate outputs of processes with the potential to facilitate or constrain the process, including bringing a shift to the direction, duration and pace of the overall process. The presence or potential emergence of components that mimic process catalysts is another area that this approach brings to the attention of policy actors. By engaging with what happens at the level where the various components of a policy process interface with each other, we argue that this model is a useful tool for unpacking, understanding and influencing not only the development and implementation of biotechnology governance mechanisms in Africa, but other policy arenas elsewhere.


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