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Communique - Think Tank Meeting on Sustainable Aquaculture Development in Africa

on .

7-10 February 2016
Cairo, Egypt


1. 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, Egypt, from 7-10 February, 2016.

2. 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 that called for action on transformation of agriculture by 2025. Specifically, the objectives were to (i) take stock of aquaculture strides in African Union (AU) member states (ii) reflect on the challenges and opportunities presented by the aquaculture sector (iii) share lessons, best practices and innovations relating to ecologically sustainable commercial aquaculture (iv) identify priority actions to enhance aquaculture contribution to the African Accelerated agricultural transformation agenda and (v) formulate action plans and way forward for the sector’s development to meet CAADP’s goal of 6% and the policy objectives for sustainable aquaculture development of objectives Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS).

3. 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 and development partners, experts and African Union staff.

4. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Simplice Nouala, Chief Animal Production Officer, AU-IBAR.

5. The agenda of the meeting was unanimously adopted.

6. The opening ceremony marked by four statements from the representatives of WorldFish, European Union, AU-IBAR and the Arab Republic of Egypt respectively as following:

7. Dr. Michael Philips, the Director, Aquaculture and Genetic Improvement, WorldFish, Malaysia, on behalf of the Director General of WorldFish, Dr. Nigel Preston, expressed gratitude to the Government and People of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the AU-IBAR for the opportunity to collaborate in the organization of this meeting. He outlined the interventions of WorldFish in fisheries and aquaculture development in AU member states and underscored the importance of this meeting in providing opportunity for lessons learning. He noted the critical importance of research and training in aquaculture development and that as member of the CGIAR, WorldFish is committed to reducing hunger and poverty through improving fisheries and aquaculture. He noted that the deliberations in the meeting can help significantly in orienting the program of WorldFish towards the priorities of the African region, including strengthening capacity for fish disease detection and prevention, sustainable feeds and environmental management. Dr. Philips assured the partners, particularly AU-IBAR and NEPAD of the willingness and commitment of his organization to work together to support the implementation of the priority actions that emerge from the Think tank meeting.

8. 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. He acknowledged that Africa is at a turning point as witnessed by the growth of aquaculture on the continent, He reiterated the support of the European Union to food and nutrition security as this is of high priority in Africa. He reminded the audience that the fisheries sector is increasingly becoming important as a livelihood source and food security instrument, citing that over 10 million households in Africa depend on fisheries as their livelihood source. He outlined the vision of EU for sustainable aquaculture development noting that aquaculture development needs to take into account all the components of sustainability and should therefore be economically, socially and environmentally friendly, by properly addressing the challenges and externalities linked to the sector. He informed the participants of the support of EU to AU-IBAR with funding from the Fisheries Governance and the Fish Trade projects. He underscored EU historical support to AU-IBAR since the 1960’s and that the support has significantly contributed to the development of the Livestock and Fisheries sectors. He expressed the hope that all the organizations represented in the Think tank meeting would join forces in ensuring that the fishery resources in Africa are sustainably utilised and benefit the continent as desired.

9. 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 appreciation to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the cooperation with African Union by accepting to host this important event. He gave a brief historical review of the evolution of AU-IBAR, the current expanded mandate as outlined in the 2014-2017 strategic plan, in the area of animal resources development (livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and wildlife). He informed the participants of the objectives of the meeting and the linkage with the relevant policy areas of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa and the call for action for achieving the goals of the Malabo Declaration by the Heads of States and Governments in Africa. He expressed gratitude for the support of the EU to AU-IBAR in the animal resources sector, including fisheries and aquaculture, and the excellent display of institutional collaboration by WorldFish in the joint organization of the meeting.

10. The Director of Fisheries and the Chairman of the General Authority for Fisheries Resources Development (GAFRD), Dr. Mohamed Abdibaki, whilst performing the official opening ceremony of the meeting, 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 potential contribution to social stability. He informed the participants that Egypt is the cradle of aquaculture development on the continent and has made significant advances in aquaculture development; Egyptian aquaculture currently contributes 70% to the total aquaculture production on the continent. Therefore, he noted that there is a great opportunity to learn lesson from Egypt experiences as well as share experiences from other African countries. He expressed support of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the implementation of the policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa. The Chairman extended appreciation to the partners, especially the EU, and the WorldFish for identifying themselves with the aspirations of the continent.

The Meeting

Presentations: There were presentations on:

Informing the meeting

  1. Background and objectives of the meeting by Dr. Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer, AU-IBAR
  2. Keynote presentation on sustainable aquaculture development in Africa context- Setting the scene – Dr. Nelly Isyagi, Project Officer- Aquaculture, AU-IBAR.
  3. NEPAD African aquaculture development by Prof. Emmanuel Kaunda, Bunda College, Lilongwe, Malawi and Dr. Sloans Chimatiro, Fish Trade Project Manager, WorldFish, Zambia

Public sector experiences: Aquaculture development status

Presentations were made on aquaculture development status, challenges, opportunities and lessons to share from AU member states and regional institutions by representatives from the following countries:

  • Egypt, Malawi, DR Congo, Tunisia, South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Benin, Lake Tanganyika Authority.

Private sector experiences

Presentations were made by private sectors on institutional profile, access to resources, industry and opportunities, prospects and governance experiences of aquaculture development:

  1. Private sector experience in Egypt - Prof. Ismaila Radwan
  2. Private sector experience in Ghana- Mr. Jacob Ansa

Experience from partners on lesson learnt and best practices

There were presentations on the following partners:

  1. Overview of aquaculture issues in Africa – Dr. William Leschen, University of Stirling, United Kingdom
  2. DFID aquaculture experiences in Africa – Mr. John Linton, Commercial Director, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom
  3. Status of fish trade and overview of WorldFish aquaculture activities in Africa: Dr. Sloans Chimatiro, Fish Trade Project Manager
  4. Transformation of small-holder aquaculture to market led commercial and global industry; public policy and investment strategy, example of catfish industry; issues and challenges- Dr. Karen Veverica, Auburn University, USA
  5. Aquaculture success story in North Africa – Dr. John Benzie, Principal Scientist/leader fish genetics and Dr. Malcorn, Dickson, Manager, Research programme WorldFish
  6. Aquatic animal health, diseases and seafood safety- an imperative for sustainable aquaculture development- Dr. David Scarfe, World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association, United Kingdom

DFID Video on Aquaculture in Africa – sharing a success story - Dr. Ololade Adegoke, Sustainable Environmental and Fisheries Foundation (SEFFA)

Outcomes of the Meeting

Identification of priority actions and Draft plan of actions for sustainable aquaculture development

The meeting identified issues and strategic priority actions and formulated draft pan African plan of action for sustainable aquaculture development that are consistent with the policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa with respect to:

  1. 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
  2. Technological development
  3. Services to the sector
  4. Transboundary ecosystem management for aquaculture
  5. Capacity building

The participants raised concern on the weak status of the Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF) in providing services to the people of African as a continental aquaculture organization. In the meantime, participants expressed the need for regional networks of aquaculture associations that would be owned by member states. The regional networks, which are owned by member states, would provide a platform for constituting or strengthening an overarching coordination body for the regional networks.

Participants expressed gratitude to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt, AU-IBAR, NEPAD and WorldFish for a well-organized and timely workshop and assured the African Union for their continued collaboration in the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector for the overall benefits of the continent.