|Dr Hamady Diop (Head of NEPAD’s Natural Resources Governance Programme); Mr Obinna Anozie (AU-IBAR’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Analyst); Ambassador Haladou Salha (AU-NEPAD Senior Advisor to Rome-based African Ambassadors)
Fish is a valuable and vital renewable resource which, if managed properly, can provide huge benefits to both present and future generations. African aquatic resources contribute significantly to food and nutritional security, income generation and economic welfare.
“The sector currently contributes 1.26 percent to Africa’s GDP and 6 percent to the continent’s agricultural GDP, but it could contribute so much more,” said Jiansan Jia, Deputy Director in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at FAO. Jia made his welcome remarks at the side event organised by the African Union Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the NEPAD Agency.
The event was convened at the 32nd FAO Committee on Fisheries, on 14 July in Rome, in order to share the African Union’s agenda on sustainable development and management of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture with the global community.
With effective and sustainable management, aquatic resources have the potential to make even greater contributions to Africa’s economies and livelihoods. “To this end, priority actions with clear milestones, indicators and responsibilities of stakeholders have been identified in the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa,” Ambassador Haladou Salha, AU-NEPAD Senior Advisor to Rome-based African Ambassadors, informed meeting participants.
Ambassador Salha also pointed out the need to transform fisheries and aquaculture into a more vibrant sector as was reaffirmed by African leaders in the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. It is therefore in support of the goals of the Malabo Declaration, that the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa was developed and endorsed by the African Union Heads of State and Government.
Obinna Anozie, AU-IBAR’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Analyst, presented the continental strategy’s focus on the development and management of small-scale fisheries and the development of aquaculture. “The framework will enable African governments to develop an appropriate mechanism for rational utilisation of fisheries resources and sustainable aquaculture development, with accompanied fiscal reforms resulting in viable benefits at community level and wealth creation along its value chain,” Anozie said.
Dr Hamady Diop, Head of NEPAD’s Natural Resources Governance Programme emphasised that, “The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy acknowledges the diversity of uses of fish resources and advocates a broad, inclusive approach to fisheries management and aquaculture development. It is a blue print for fisheries and aquaculture to effectively contribute to Africa’s transformational goals.”
Africa’s priority actions for the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries include strengthening the governance of the sector; improving the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food and nutritional security, and wealth creation; as well as reducing the susceptibility of small-scale fisheries to climate change and related risks. In the case of aquaculture, priority actions among others include establishing an enabling environment; improving service delivery; capacity building; trans-boundary ecosystem management for aquaculture, and; innovation, which also entails research and development.