The Expert Consultative Validation Workshop on establishing linkages and Inter-Connectedness between intra-regional cross-border fish trade corridors in Africa was held from the 12-14 December 2018 in Fish Eagle Inn Hotel in Naivasha, Kenya. The meeting was organized by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) with support from the European Union (EU) in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Kenya.
The workshop was attended by 21 participants, including Representatives of African Union member states (Cameroon, Mozambique, Kenya, Togo and Tunisia); 6 Experts conducting regional studies; Representatives of Regional Economic communities (RECs): IGAD; Regional fisheries bodies (RFBs) and organizations: Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF); Independent Experts and AU-IBAR staff.
The overall objective of the meeting was to review the findings of the five regional reports (West, Central, East, Southern and North) on mapping cross- border fish trade for technical validation and establish linkages between intra-regional cross-fish trade mapped corridors in Africa, trade patterns and characteristics as identified in each of the corridors from the five regions.
The meeting was officially opened by Dr Mohamed Seisay on behalf of Director AU-IBAR Prof. Ahmed El-Sawahly and the representative of the Director General of the Kenya Fisheries Service, Mr Daniel Mungai.
During his opening speech, Dr Seisay highlighted the major role fish trade plays as a creator of employment, food supplier, income generator, and contributor to economic growth and development in African countries. Domestic and intra-regional trade of fish is important with well developed, but often informal, national and regional trade networks. Many Member States still face several constraints in improving their fish trade and marketing sector. He mentioned African Union has committed to promoting equitable fish trade and marketing and identified as one of the Policy Objective of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa. This is line with the 2014 Malabo Declaration by the Summit of African Heads of States and Governments that committed on halving post-harvest loss and tripling intra-Africa trade in agriculture products by 2025 for accelerated African development.
Mr Mungai welcomed the participants in Kenya. He mentioned the effort the Government of Kenya is undertaking in supporting fish trade. Most importantly he mentioned the positive outcomes of rolling out the Electronic Fisheries Marketing Information System in Kenya. The system has brought about market information on fish prices, catches, species etc. as a result the public is well informed on the existing markets, type and price of products but this has also served as data collection mechanism by the Government. The creation of One Stop Borders is facilitating the movement of fish across borders in a simplified and efficient manner. He thanked AU-IBAR for choosing Kenya to host the meeting and welcomed participants to take some time out of their busy schedule to explore what Kenya can offer.
The workshop was facilitated by Dr Belal Emma the Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Cameroon. The rapporteurs were Mr Edward Kimakwa (WWF), Ms Hellen Moepi (Independent Expert) and Mr Adekunle Adejolu (FCWC).
Objectives of the meeting
Dr. Mohamed Seisay gave an overview of the background to and the objectives of the meeting as follows:
- Provide input on the presentation of the findings of the five regional consultants on the cross-border fish trade corridor mapping, trade characters and patterns
- Expert review the findings of the five regional consultants
- Provide input on the presentation of the methodology for linking cross-border fish trade corridors on the continent
- Adoption of policy recommendations on enhancing inter- and intra-regional fish trade corridors
Some background and technical presentations were made by the invited experts and consultants for the five corridors.
- Background presentation on the framework for linking cross-border fish trade was made by Prof. Emmanuel Kaunda
- Presentation of draft reports for the regional fish trade flows in the five corridors by the consultants;
- East Africa – Mrs Nancy Gitonga
- Central Africa- Dr Meke Soung Pierre Nolasque
- North Africa- Dr Mohamed Megahed
- West Africa- Mr Isaac Nyameke and Dr Ruby Asmah
- Southern Africa- Mr Isaac Nyameke and Dr Friday Njaya
- Background presentation on the guideline for Group Work was made by Prof Kaunda
- An overview on the progress of the development of the Electronic Fisheries Marketing Information System in Africa was made by Mr Philippe Ouedraogo of AU-IBAR
- Presentation of the draft linking continental fish trade corridors and their characteristic patterns and policy options for enhancing trade was made by Prof Emmanuel Kaunda
- Presentation of the revised Terms of reference for Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) Secretariat, functional review- structure, five year workplan and indicative budget was made by Dr. Mohamed Seisay of AU-IBAR
- Progress of implementation of African Union (AU) Ministerial Decisions was presented by Dr. Mohamed Seisay of AU-IBAR
- Presentation on the cost-effective mechanisms for monitoring AU Ministerial Decisions was made by Dr. Mohamed Seisay of AU-IBAR
Group work session
The groups were formed based on the AU regions and elaborated on the following aspects which helped enrich the regional fish trade reports:
- Defining the characteristics of the corridors
- Defining drivers of informal fish trade
- Identifying key policy recommendation
- Addressing data gaps
Intra- and Inter-Regional Fish Trade Development
The meeting came up with the following key recommendations with a view to improving regional fish trade:
- Experts seem to have experienced some challenges with the collection of data from different countries as evidenced by the low responses in providing information as requested. There is a need to strengthen linkages between the RECs and the AU Member States (AU MS) for effective communication and information sharing.
- It was observed that most of the products within the intra and inter regional fish trade are of low quality compared to the export market. There is a need to develop some quality standards for fish and fish products in the regional trade.
- Nile Perch fish maws from Africa are increasingly becoming important trade commodity especially to the Asian countries. There is a need for some study specifically on fish maws trade with a view to developing adequate legal and policy framework.
- From the reports (most of the regions) indicated that most of the products destination is Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This shows the significant role DRC plays in a regional market. There is a need to conduct a comprehensive study to understand the fish trade dynamics in the country.
- It was observed that few countries are putting in place electronic information marketing systems. The meeting recommended that AU-IBAR should reach out to Member States and request them to establish electronic fisheries marketing information system to improve data capture access, utilization and dissemination.
- The Head of States and Government in 2014 during Malabo declaration committed to reducing post-harvest losses and triple intra-regional fish trade with the main aim of ensuring food security. This commitment requires a conducive environment for the fish trade to thrive and calls for improvement in infrastructure (cold chains, road infrastructure, landing sites, packaging, specialized vehicles, communication etc.). The meeting particularly underscored adequate infrastructure in contributing to promotion of intra- and inter-regional fish trade.
On the issue of Strengthening Secretariat for Conferences of African Ministers I charge of fisheries and aquaculture
It was noted that AU-IBAR was experiencing some challenges with regards to monitoring and reporting the progress on the implementation of AU Ministerial Decisions from AU MS, RECs/RFBs/Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and other relevant partners. The meeting recommended that AU-IBAR should write to AU MS, RECs, RFBs/RFMO and regional organisations requesting nomination for the AU-IBAR Fisheries and Aquaculture Focal Point. Further AU-IBAR should schedule the reporting period where possible synchronised with Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) reporting.
Status of development of Africa Fisheries Report and the Policy Research network for fisheries and aquaculture
The meeting was informed of the on-going work of producing Africa Fisheries Report. The meeting recommended that the report should be finalised and shared with AU MS and relevant stakeholders. The meeting was informed by Dr. Mohamed Seisay a bureau meeting of the Policy Research Network for fisheries and aquaculture was held in August 2018 that developed two year workplan and mechanism for establishing a trust fund.
Outcomes of the meeting
The outcomes of the meeting were as follows:
- The meeting provided technical input and technically validated the five regional reports on the cross-border fish trade corridor mapping, trade characters and patterns.
- Outline for linking cross-border fish trade corridors on the continent was developed
- Identified key policy recommendations on enhancing inter- and intra-regional fish trade corridors
- Modalities for improving mechanisms for monitoring and reporting the progress on the implementation of AU Ministerial Decisions developed
- The consultants to finalize and submit Consultancy reports for the corridor mapping to AU-IBAR by Monday the 17th of December 2018.
- Based on the regional reports, Prof Kaunda to finalise his report on linking the intra-regional trade corridors with policy recommendations by the 24th December 2018.
- AU-IBAR to write to AU MS, RECs, RFBs/RFMO and regional organisations requesting nomination for the AU-IBAR Fisheries and Aquaculture Focal Point
- AU-IBAR to finalise and share the Africa Fisheries Report with AU MS and relevant stakeholders. The report should include updated information from the Fish Trade corridors regional reports.
Dr Belal Emma, the facilitator of the meeting thanked the participants immensely for their active participation and providing useful inputs to the regional expert’s studies. He thanked AU-IBAR for organizing this meeting and the Kenyan government for their support and hospitality.
Mrs Nancy Gitonga on behalf of the participants thanked the AU-IBAR and WorldFish for undertaking work on fish trade. The project conducted preliminary studies on fish trade and the data that has been collected has really informed the magnitude of fish trade and especially informal trade on the continent. She acknowledged the previous meeting in October 2018 which brought developed harmonized methodologies for conducting trade corridors. She appreciated gathering of information within short period of time during this meeting.
On behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Dr. Mohamed Seisay again thanked the Government of Kenya for the hospitality and enabling environment for AU-IBAR to conduct the workshop as well as the European Union for the continuing support to AU-IBAR in animal resources development on the continent, not least fisheries and aquaculture. He praised and acknowledged the dedication of the participants and their expert knowledge that contributed to a very successful outcome of the workshop.
Mr Daniel Mungai, a representative of the Director General of the Kenya Fisheries Service thanked AU-IBAR for hosting this meeting in Kenya. He noted that the fact that meeting was held within the period of Independence Day of Kenya is a sign of recognizing Kenya as one of the member states of the AU. He appreciated fruitful deliberations especially on issues of mapping fish trade flows. He reflected on the opportunities that the continent has regarding increasing demand for fish, the identification of fish trade barriers and the relevant actions for promoting intra-regional fish trade. He noted that the banning of fish importation in Kenya is an example of increasing local production. Lastly he mentioned that the Fisheries Department within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Blue Economy is taking a lead role in implementing blue economy matters. He thanked all the participants, wished them a merry Christmas and a happy new year. He officially declared the meeting closed.