A consultative workshop for establishment of a continental network for women fish processors and traders organized by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with the NEPAD Agency (NPCA), WorldFish and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania was held from 20th to 22nd April 2017, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The main objective of the workshop was to establish a continental network of women fish processors and traders that would facilitate (i) collaboration and cooperation between women fish processor and trader associations in the continent, (ii) sharing of best practices, experiences, technologies and learning together, (iii) advocate for issues affecting their activities and facilitate enabling policy environment to enhance their role in the fisheries sector in the continent, (iv) attract increased public & private investment in fish post-harvest activities (fish processing and trading), (v) strengthen their role as Small Medium and Enterprises (SMEs) and hence expand their market and marketing opportunities, resulting in improved intra-regional African fish trade.
The workshop was attended by 55 participants from 28 African Union Member states namely Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R. Congo, Cote D’ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Zambia, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda; Regional institutions as Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) and Regional Commission of Fisheries of Gulf of Guinea (COREP); African Network of Women in Fisheries (RAFEP/COMHAFAT), expert from Electronic Fish Market Information Service (EFMIS-Ke) and Sierra Leone Environment Protection Agency (SLEPA), Private Sector foundation Uganda and, GIZ, as well as AU-IBAR staff members.
The opening ceremony was marked by statements from the representative of the Director AU-IBAR, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the United Republic of Tanzania on behalf of the Honourable Minister of the same ministry.
The Agenda was adopted with amendments.
The technical session was organised in the following sequence.
Setting the scene
- Background, objectives and expected outcome of the meeting by AU-IBAR.
This technical session focused on:
- Role of Women in Fisheries Management and Development in Africa - Fish Processing: Status, challenges and opportunities.
- Experience from an existing Regional African Network for Women in Fisheries (RAFEP).
- Communication and exchange of information between network members and the information types: the Kenyan experience of Electronic Fish Market Information Services (EFMIS-Ke).
Working Group Sessions
- The rules of procedure:
- A Presentation was given by Dr. Mohamed Seisay of AU-IBAR on “Developing Rule of procedures – how do they look like in general terms” following which two group were formed to develop rules and Procedure for the Network.
- Identifying sustainability options for the network.
- Development of an action plan for the network:
- The strategic actions matched with the objectives, resources, inputs and persons responsible required to achieve the Plan Actions.
Outcomes of the Meeting
- The meeting developed and adopted rules of procedures for the network of women fish processors and traders in Africa.
- The workshop developed a two year priority action plan that was adopted subject to minor amendments.
- The plenary developed a sustainability strategy for the network that was adopted subject to some amendment.
- The bureau of the network was elected as follows:
- Chairperson: : Mrs Beyene Ateba Baliaba - Cameroun
- 1st Vice chairperson: Mrs Jeriedayaro Patricia Uwheraka –Nigeria
- 2nd Vice Chairperson: Ms. Sihem Hammad- Algeria
- Secretary General: Mrs. Editrudith Lukanga - Tanzania
- 1st Deputy Secretary General: Ms. Magne Kaptue Flore - Cameroun
- 2nd Deputy Secretary general: Mrs. Gomez Ayaba Victoire - Benin
- Treasurer: Mrs. Susan Odour- Kenya
- Deputy treasurer: Ms. Marwa Mamdouh Lotfy - Egypt
- People with Disability: Mrs. Maisha Ishingwa Patricia - DRC
- Youth representative: Ms. Kasazi Lutuno Nyendwa - Zambia
The country hosting the secretariat will house the platform until the General Assembly decides otherwise.
- The continental network would function more efficiently if representation from each Member State was done through recognized national women’s networks to which individual associations were ascribed. It was therefore suggested that each country establish a national women’s network.
- Strengthen the capacity of national women’s associations/networks and encourage the formation of national women’s networks where they do not exist.
- The participating country representatives are advised to send feedback to their fisheries line ministries.
- To aid in the formation of national networks, the focal persons/association should conduct mapping of women associations in fish processing and trade in their respective countries.
- Countries with no country networks, the focal person/association should take the responsibility to facilitate formation of national networks.
The chairperson of the network read the declaration by women who established the network.
Mrs. Gomez Ayaba Victoire on behalf of the participants thanked AU-IBAR for organising this timely workshop in support of the women fish processors and traders in the continent. She expressed gratitude to the government and the people of the united Republic of Tanzania for hosting the meeting and providing the enabling environment that have allowed for establishment of the “AFRICAN WOMEN FISH PROCESSORS AND TRADERS NETWORK” (AWFishNET).
The closing ceremony was marked by remarks from the elected chairperson of the continental Network; Mrs. Beyene Ateba Baliaba, the representative of the Director AU-IBAR; Ms. Nelly Isyagi, and the workshop was officially closed by Mrs Fatma Sobo, Representative of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, United Republic of Tanzania.