Financial exclusion is still a great need for the majority of Africa’s women in livestock keeping. This is exemplified by the focus on the assets that are far more accessible to men. As a means of contributing towards financial inclusion, AU-IBAR, under the Live2Africa Project, with funding from the European Union (EU), and in collaboration with the Africa Women Agribusiness Network (AWAN) brought together 64 continental, regional and national executives from the African Women in Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N) at a capacity building workshop. The workshop themed "The Only Measures are Profit and Growth" was held on 27th – 29th November, 2019 in Naivasha, Kenya. The focus of the workshop was on resourcing, negotiating and utilizing innovative investment finance and insurance.
Speaking during the official opening of the capacity building workshop, AU-IBAR’s Director, mentioned that the workshop provided a strengthened and continuous process of capacity building for African Women AGRIBUSINESSES that AU-IBAR and AWAN hoped to embark on. Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy stressed the importance of moving away from aid-related support to supporting agribusiness to ensure functional businesses, which as he further noted is a key focus of the Live2Africa Project.
He stated: "the most important remark came from our donor the European Union: support has moved from purely aid to supporting business. This is now the model, to ensure ownership, growth and sustainability. This is where the EU and other donors, who have had a long tradition of support to empowering women on the African continent are moving."
Ms. Beatrice Gakuba, Executive Director AWAN-Afrika reminded participants of the need to take advantage of existing continental instruments promoting agribusiness. She noted that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement provides an opportunity for women to strengthen their trade practices through a hassle-free accelerated intra-African trade through a common voice in trade discussions. She emphasised that "the Africa We Want" will not happen if Africa’s women are not empowered.
Africa Union Commission (AUC) held a two day meeting from the 2-3 December 2019 to determine the operationalization of the continent’s Blue Economy Strategy. The retreat, which was hosted by AU-IBAR aimed to provide a clear understanding of the most effective way that the African Union (AU) will implement and best coordinate its maritime and blue economy strategies. The meeting also provided a draft document outlining the coordination mechanism for the implementation of the strategy.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, the Director of the Africa Union – Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture. His opening remarks Dr. Bahiigwa emphasized the need for a strong communication and advocacy strategy; monitoring and progress reporting and better collaboration on blue economy related activities between AU departments.
Speaking during the official opening, AU Commission Deputy Chairperson H.E Thomas Kwesi noted that it is a great sense of pride that African Union has developed the Africa Blue Economy Strategy that provides strategic direction and a roadmap for the economic exploitation of the resources of oceans, lakes, rivers and other water bodies and the conservation of aquatic ecosystems.
He said there are still further opportunities for effectively tapping into the inherent potential of these aquatic resources for increased and sustainable contribution to the socio-economic transformation of the continent.
“We now know the blue economy concept is a multi-dimensional approach that integrates not only traditional activities such as fishing, shipping, trade, tourism but also considers vital components such as environmental sustainability, climate change, aquaculture, renewable energy, extractive minerals and gas, among others,” said H.E Kwesi.
He emphasized that, “In view of the diversity of the various components of the blue economy, it is of crucial importance to define a framework for effective coordination of these various components. This meeting is therefore timely as its sets out to develop an operational plan for the effective coordination of Africa blue economy strategy.”
In East Africa, the dairy value chain is considered very important and contributes significantly to the regional economies. This is further emphasized by the East African Community (EAC) and other stakeholders. Key intervention areas were identified to promote this priority livestock value chain in the region. One of the key interventions proposed is the promotion of utilization and adoption of application of the latest reproductive technologies to increase milk production in the respective member states. There is indeed room for growth and opportunities for East Africa to embrace available and novel technologies and innovations that will propel the value chain to function at the desired level. It is therefore pertinent that, the East African member states provide enabling environments for increased technology uptake, utilization and transfer.
As part of providing leadership and coordination in the sustainable development of the continent’s Animal Resources, AU-IBAR is implementing a 5-year project on “Sustainable Development of Livestock for Livelihoods in Africa - Live2Africa”. The Live2Africa project is a vehicle for the promotion of the implementation of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA) and is aligned with Agenda 2063 development goals. One of the key project’s focus areas is to enhance utilization and adoption of technologies as well as build human capacities in priority livestock value chains in the regions. In line with AU-IBAR’s mandate, the Live2Africa project is training key stakeholders on the use of various assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) to ensure optimal milk production, processing and value addition.
Robust training is pertinent as it ultimately culminates in increased ART transfer and adoption across the region. The increased awareness creation through training further draws the attention of policy makers on the benefits of ARTs and ultimately triggers increased investment in the Dairy livestock value chain.