Pesticides are the major technology used in the management of field and postharvest losses due to pests. There is growing demand for effective alternatives that present low health risks and conserve ecosystems and biological diversity. Pesticidal plants are increasingly used as alternatives where synthetic products are unaffordable, have limited availability or are ineffective. Plant materials, however, are often used inefficiently and their effective use requires optimisation. In Africa wide-scale uptake of pesticidal plants remains limited despite the success of pyrethrum in some countries and other pesticidal plant products in China and India. This is mainly due to lack of data on efficacy and safety, inconsistent efficacy of plant products, the prohibitive cost of registration, and an inadequately developed conventional pesticides sector. Globally, the demand for botanicals is poised to grow due to an increasing shift in consumer demand for safe food, increasing organic farming, lobbying by environmentalists and the increasing pressure from new regulations on internationally traded foods in Europe. These demands can only be met by formalising production, marketing and use of pesticidal plants. This has to be supported by friendly registration procedures, sustainable forest management, propagation and cultivation of pesticidal plants. This paper presents a critical review of the enabling environment required for wide-scale adoption and commercialisation of botanical pesticides in sub-Saharan Africa. We conclude that regulations and protocols for production, marketing and trade need to be reviewed to facilitate the development of the botanicals sector in Africa.