Nairobi, Kenya; 19th May, 2020
The African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) has launched a rapid assessment of COVID-19 impact on the animal resources sector in Africa and Identification of Mitigation Measures. The rapid impact assessment will provide a baseline for assessing the impacts on the animal resources sector, and identify immediate, medium and longer-term mitigation measures currently in force and/or measures that are in plan by African Union Member States.
The assessment has come in the form of a consultative stakeholder consultative meeting, follow-up surveys and a stakeholder validation meeting in the coming months. A key outcome of the assessment will be a statement from all stakeholders that collectively identifies responsive mechanisms that will be established by respective national Governments and stakeholders to mitigate the impact of COVID 19 impact in countries.
On Thursday 21st May, 2020, AU-IBAR will host the first in a series of online continental consultations to introduce the assessment and obtain buy-in from all African Union member states. The meeting will involve moderated discussions and feedback on core issues on current and planned mitigation interventions in countries.
The attendees will comprise over 150 key sector players, such as: Regional Economic Communities, Chief Veterinary Officers, Directors of Animal Production, Directors of Fisheries, the Private Sector, Donors, Cooperating partners, Livestock Value Chain actors, Researchers and academia, and Chairpersons of continental and regional arms of the African youth in livestock, fisheries and aquaculture incubation network (AYL-FAIN); the African women in animal resources farming and agribusiness network (AWARFA-N), and the Africa Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF).
Through this initiative, AU-IBAR joins several other entities and leaders promoting ‘An urgent call for a coordinated approach to responding to the impact of COVID-19. The African Union/ FAO Ministerial Meeting that discussed COVID-19 implication for food security in Africa, held on 16th April 2020 identified several recommendations for promoting a collective process towards the mitigation of COVID-19 in countries. Some include:
- Opening a window of opportunity through COVID-19 to fast-track regulatory and structural reforms, and expedite the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) integration process to ensure pan-continental food security;
- Finding integrated solutions critically secure agri-food systems, tailored to the needs of both small-scale producers as well as the larger commercial producers, recognizing that they are inter-dependent even for the most remote communities.
The Livestock sector in Africa exhibits lack of integrated information management processes. This limits the provision of real-time livestock information and knowledge to facilitate decision making among livestock actors at regional and continental level. These observations led over 240 delegates from 43 African countries to publish a communique on Thursday 8th August 2019, in Cairo, Egypt, that among other common interventions identified the need for efficient Information Systems Management as a catalyst to the sustainable intensification of Regional Livestock Value Chains in Africa. The various stakeholders identified the need for more integrated information sharing across the RLVCs through the development of information modules specifically on: Poultry (meat and eggs) for Central Africa; Dairy for East Africa; Meat and live animals for IGAD; Dairy for North Africa; Meat and live animals for Southern Africa; and Poultry for West Africa.
Proceeding the Cairo meeting, AU-IBAR once again convened 160 stakeholders from 50 African countries at a Systemic Capacity Building Continental Workshop: Information Systems, Knowledge Management, and Technology. The consultative workshop was held in Nairobi, Kenya held from 3-7 February, 2020. The workshop built upon agreed intervention areas identified during the Stakeholder’s Stocktaking Workshop, to improve the information need capacity of member countries across RLVCs. The workshop attendees comprised livestock value chain actors such as extension agents, Departments of Livestock, and policy makers who were in a position to affect the resources, market orientation and competitive advantage of smallholders, consequently impacting financial performance of the value chain.
Speaking during the official opening of the workshop, AU-IBAR’s Executive Director, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy highlighted existing gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of current data on livestock. He noted that as a result, most livestock value chain actors lacked adequate quality information to support decision making at regional level. Consequently, a key intervention of the work attendees involved identifying critical data content for the selected priority Regional Livestock Value Chains.
The Systemic Capacity Building Continental Consultative Workshop was framed within the broader continental frameworks such as the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA) that takes a two-pronged approach providing a comprehensive agenda to drive livestock sector economic contribution (including intra and inter-regional trade and promotion of sustainable livelihoods). Additionally, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the 2014 Malabo Declaration, and the AU Agenda provided the justification for the consultative workshop. The Malabo Declaration precisely renewed the commitments to the CAADP made in 2003, broadened the themes of the workshop and provided targets to be achieved by 2025: Some of the targets that were relevant to the Systemic Capacity Building Continental Consultative Workshop include: The exploitation of regional complementarities and cooperation to boost growth; The use of partnerships and alliances including farmers, agribusiness and civil society; Supply of appropriate knowledge, information, and skills to users; and to promote and strengthen platforms for multi-actor interactions.
The African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is implementing a 5-year project on “Sustainable Development of Livestock for Livelihoods in Africa - Live2Africa”, The project pioneers a coherent continental programme approach to build systemic capacity in seven livestock components, that include: Investment in Value Chains, Animal Health; Animal Production, Productivity and Ecosystem Management; Resilience Building; Technology adoption in the Value Chains to inputs, services and markets; and strengthening institutional capacities.
AU-IBAR in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) conducted a consultative stakeholder meeting at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort in Victoria, Seychelles from 9th to 11th of March 2020 to refine the implementation modalities of catalytic actions for the prioritised Red meat and live animals Regional Livestock Value Chain (RLVC).
The meeting was attended by 31 participants from 14 SADC Member States- Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe; tertiary institutions (Stellenbosch University, University of Zambia, University of Zimbabwe); the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), representatives of the red meat and live animals industry – the Lesotho Abattoir and the National Emergent Red Meat Producers' Organisation (NERPO) and staff from AU-IBAR.
The overall objective of the workshop was to build consensus on modalities including, prioritised intervention and action areas, develop work plans and time-frames, budget and targets for implementation of defined catalytic actions under the SADC Priority Regional Livestock Value Chain of the red meat and live animals.