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Summit explores how fish could feed Africa

Summit explores how fish can feed Africa

Summit explores how fish can feed Africa
August 22, 2005

This week policy makers, industry leaders, and development experts are meeting in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss the future of African fisheries and aquaculture. The fisheries sector, consisting of both inland (freshwater) and marine fisheries, is a vital source of food and income to millions of Africans. Fish production, processing and trade provides employment for more than 10 million, while fish exports from Africa are worth US$ 2.7 billion annually. The following is a description of the summit from Fish for All, an initiative seeking to shape public policy on issues from issues as fish and development, fish and nutrition, health, livelihood, environment, gender, water, river basins and coasts, trade and economic growth.

Le Meridien Abuja, Plot 903 Tafawa Balewa Way, Area 11, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria.
22-25 August 2005


African fisheries and aquaculture are at a turning point. The fish sector makes a vital contribution to the food and nutritional security of 200 million Africans and it provides income for over 10 million engaged in fish production, processing and trade. Moreover, fish has become a leading export commodity for Africa, with an annual export value of US$ 2.7 billion. Yet these benefits are at risk as the exploitation of natural fish stocks is reaching its limit and aquaculture production has not yet fulfilled its potential.

Strategic investments are needed urgently to safeguard the future contribution of Africa’s fish sector to poverty alleviation and regional economic development. Broadly, investment is needed to (i) improve the management of natural fish stocks, (ii) develop aquaculture production, and (iii) enhance fish trade in domestic, regional and global markets. In support of this investment, capacity needs to be strengthened at both the regional and national level for research, technology transfer and policy development. As a first step, stakeholders in the region need to build a common and strategic understanding of the importance of fisheries and aquaculture for Africa’s development and of the challenges being faced by the sector.

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is taking the lead in developing regional priorities for future investments in fisheries and aquaculture as part of its wider agriculture program. Following an invitation from HE President Olusegun Obasanjo, the WorldFish Center and FAO are supporting NEPAD in organising a Technical Symposium and Fish for All Summit for Africa in Abuja, Nigeria from 22-25 August 2005.

The Abuja Summit will highlight how investments in fisheries development will help African countries and their international partners to achieve their commitments to the UN Millennium Development Goals and the WSSD Plan of Implementation. It will support NEPAD’s role as a catalyst and facilitator of Africa’s socio-economic transformation agenda by bringing together key stakeholders from African Union (AU) member states, Regional Economic Communities, civil society, scientific institutions and international organisations.


The objectives of the Summit are:


For further information contact the WorldFish Center at:

NEPAD Action Plan for the Development of African Fisheries and Aquaculture

NEPAD recognises the vital contributions by African inland and marine fisheries to food security and income of many millions of Africans and to poverty reduction and economic development in the continent. It further recognises the growing opportunities and emerging successes of aquaculture development
the region. Through a series of regional technical consultations the primary areas for investment to safeguard and further increase these benefits have been identified, together with a first set of priority actions in each. The NEPAD Action Plan for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in Africa describes these investment areas for inland fisheries, coastal and marine fisheries, and aquaculture:

For Inland Fisheries:

For Coastal and Marine Fisheries:

For Aquaculture:

If investments are made across these areas it is projected that the fishery production in the region can be stabilized and in some cases expanded. By improving processing and access to regional and global markets through improved policies and public-private partnership investments in quality control capacity, market information systems, and sector management, it is expected that their contributions to socio-economic development can be enhanced and diversified. In the case of aquaculture, substantial growth in sustainable production can be achieved. Underpinning these investments sector-wide strategies for fisheries and aquaculture are needed at national level combined with economic planning approaches and a comprehensive value-chain perspective. Regional capacity for research and development also needs to be strengthened.

It is proposed that implementation of this Action Plan should follow a ‘piloting’ approach with Fast-track Programs to be identified for immediate action. These should focus on areas of strategic regional importance and current growth and will provide a learning process for subsequent expansion of activities. In addition, it is essential that pertinent lessons and experiences from other regions and sector are effectively applied to accelerate the development of African fisheries and aquaculture.

More details about the summit can be found at

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