A Consultative Think Tank Meeting on Sustainable Aquaculture Development in Africa was jointly organized by the African Union - InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), WorldFish and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, with support from the European Union, in Cairo, the Arab Republic of Egypt from 7-10 February, 2016.
The overall objective of the meeting was the formulation of a Pan African Plan of Action for sustainable aquaculture development to ensure increased contribution to food and nutritional security, poverty alleviation and economic growth consistent with the Malabo Declaration on the Africa Agriculture Transformation Agenda by 2025. The meeting was attended by over 100 participants including 42 African Union member states, 7 Regional Economic Communities, representatives of Regional Fisheries Bodies, Water Basin Commissions, Non-state actors, women’s’ groups, youth, development partners, experts and African Union staff.
The opening ceremony was marked by four statements from the representatives of WorldFish, European Union, AU-IBAR and the Arab Republic of Egypt. Dr. Michael Philips, the Director, Aquaculture and Genetic Improvement, WorldFish, Malaysia, on behalf of the Director General of WorldFish, Dr. Nigel Preston, expressed appreciation to the Government and People of the Arab Republic of Egypt and AU-IBAR for the opportunity to collaborate in the organization of this meeting. The Representative of EU Delegation in Egypt, Mr. Diego Escalona Paturel, Head of Cooperation, thanked AU-IBAR, NEPAD and WorldFish for the organization of the meeting and also the Arab Republic of Egypt for hosting this important continental event. The Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed Sawalhy, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma and the Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, expressed gratitude to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the cooperation with African Union by accepting to host this important event.
The Director of Fisheries and the Chairman of the General Authority for Fisheries Development (GAFRD) in Egypt, Dr. Mohamed Abdibaki, welcomed the participants on behalf of the Hon. Minister responsible for fisheries and aquaculture, to the capital of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Cairo. He reminded the participants of the importance of aquaculture in food security and livelihoods and its potential contribution to social stability. He informed the participants that Egypt is the cradle of aquaculture development on the continent and significant progress has been made in Egyptian aquaculture development. Aquaculture in Egypt, he noted, currently contributes 70 % to the total aquaculture production on the continent.
The main outcome of the meeting was identification of priority actions for the formulation of pan African plan of action for sustainable aquaculture development with respect to the following thematic areas:
- Creating an enabling environment that would support growth, expansion and diversification of a private sector led and market-oriented aquaculture value chain at national and regional levels
- Technological development
- Services to the sector
- Transboundary ecosystem management for aquaculture
- Capacity building
Participants expressed their appreciation to AU-IBAR for the leadership in the organization of this important event.