The relationship between plant resources and traditional communities in Africa is inseparable. For centuries, indigenous communities have been depending on their cultural innovations and practices for health and food. Plant resources are part of the traditional knowledge system of indigenous communities in Africa.
Colonialism and the scramble for Africa led to plant resources being opened to bioprospecting by western scientists and multinational pharmaceutical firms. They engage in secluded locations around Africa in order to find ‘new drugs from exotic plants’ for profit-making or patent rights. The advent of technology has witnessed a lot of illegal exploitation and commercialization of plant resources (biopiracy). The traditional knowledge system is being eroded with disregard to the welfare of the owners of the knowledge to sustainably manage it. The paper looks at the challenges, the existing legal framework to appreciate if it’s adequate to ensure the sustainability of the traditional knowledge system in Africa.