African governments urged to partner with private sector on aquaculture development

The Director for the African Union’s InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) has called on African governments to engage in more partnerships with the private sector to enhance aquaculture production.

Huyam Salih made the call at the second congress of the Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANFA) held in Naivasha, Kenya, last Wednesday.

Salih said such partnerships will play a key role in feeding the continent, while lifting communities from poverty.

She said with its vast water resources, including lakes, rivers and coastal areas, the African continent’s capacity for aquaculture development has been identified as a promising solution to address food security, as well as poverty eradication.

Salih said the aquaculture sector can contribute immensely to meeting the growing need for food by providing a sustainable and efficient means of producing fish, shrimp and other aquatic species.

According to her, a lot remains to be done in the sector.

“One of the main challenges is lack of financial capital and bringing stakeholders together to collaborate and establish evolving investments to cover the requested production,” she said.

Through ANFA, however, she said the aquaculture production is set to be enhanced – in a bid to bridge the existing fish production gaps on the continent.

Representatives from African Union (AU) member states, African regional economic communities, fisheries bodies and stakeholders attended the congress to deliberate on how the aquaculture sector in Africa can be promoted and strengthened in terms of its contribution to fight poverty, enhance food security and stimulate the creation of jobs on the continent.

Namibia was represented by Rudi Cloete, the director for aquaculture in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Cloete told The Namibian the second ANFA congress was very important as it sought to promote and strengthen sustainable aquaculture in Africa.

ANFA was established with the aim to promote sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector and contribute to its recognition as an important sector in the fight against poverty, food security and job creation in Africa, through research and best management practices.

The congress was held under the AU project titled, ‘Enhancing sustainable fisheries management and aquaculture development in Africa: A programme for accelerated reform of the sector’.

AU-IBAR is supporting the actualisation of ANFA’s vision for the sustainable aquaculture development in Africa, to ensure that African nations receive essential support, tools and collaborative platforms to enhance their aquaculture sectors in ways that are inclusive, environmentally responsible and conducive to holistic socio-economic advancement.

ANFA is playing a role in promoting knowledge uptake, sustainable aquaculture and advocating policy change, which aligns with AU frameworks such as the AU Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) for fisheries and aquaculture and the Africa Blue Economy Strategy.

In 2014, African heads of state adopted a PFRS on fisheries and aquaculture, which provides strategic guidance for developing and promoting these sectors in Africa.

One of the actions that resulted from the PFRS to accelerate the fisheries and aquaculture sector was a five-year project titled, ‘Enhancing sustainable fisheries management and aquaculture development in Africa’ (better known as the Fish Gov 2 project).

Running from 2021-2025, the overall management and coordination of the project is being implemented by AU-IBAR in close collaboration with the AU Development Agency.

The overall objectives of the project are to enhance sustainable fisheries and aquaculture contribution towards achieving the AU’s Agenda 2063 objectives, notably in terms of food security, livelihoods and wealth creation.

The project is supported financially by the European Union (EU). The Fish Gov 2 project is a follow-up of the first phase of the Fisheries Governance Project, which was also supported by the EU and ran between 2014-2018.

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