ANAF's Aquatic Agenda: Progress and Prospects from the 2nd ANAF General Assembly

Fri, 19-01-2024 15:00:00

The 2nd General Assembly of the Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF) took place from January 15 to 17, 2024, at Lake Naivasha Resort in Naivasha, Kenya. Organized by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya, the meeting aimed to update members on ANAF activities, discuss governance instruments, and enhance awareness of environmental management for sustainable aquaculture development. The assembly brought together 113 representatives from 49 African Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and various regional institutions and non-state actors.
Participation and Opening Session

The assembly saw participation from a diverse group of stakeholders, including AU Member States, regional institutions, non-state actors, and development partners. The opening session featured remarks from key figures, including Dr. Huyam Salih, Director of AU-IBAR, Mr. Belemane Semoli, the Chair of ANAF, and representatives from FAO and the East African Community.

Dr. Salih emphasized the progress made since ANAF's transfer to AU-IBAR in 2018, highlighting successful activities and the official endorsement of ANAF as an AU Network in November 2023. Mr. Semoli stressed the importance of aquaculture in addressing food security, economic development, and job creation, particularly in the context of the Blue Economy. Representatives from FAO expressed commitment to supporting ANAF and outlined the alignment of ANAF's objectives with FAO's mission.

Recognition of Centres of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture


An important moment during the gathering was the formal acknowledgment of the AU Centres of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture. Certificates were awarded to recognize their pivotal contributions in advancing these sectors, serving as central hubs for specialized knowledge, research, and capacity-building initiatives across the continent. The distinguished centers include:
•    National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI), Uganda
•    Agence Gabonaise D’etudes et D’observations Spatiales (AGEOS)
•    Academie Regionale des Sciences et Techniques De La Mer (ARSTM), Cote D’Ivoire
•    Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
•    Central Laboratory for Aquaculture Research (CLAR, Egypt)
•  Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management (DAFM), Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry University of Ibadan, Nigeria
•    Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS), Rhodes University, South Africa
•    Limbe Nautical Arts and Fisheries Institute (LINAFI), Cameroon
•    Faculty of Fisheries Resources (FOFR), University of Suez, Ministry of Higher Education, Egypt
•    The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (DFAS), University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Meeting Proceedings
The meeting featured background presentations, technical sessions, country presentations, and group work sessions. Key presentations covered topics such as aquaculture knowledge products, the role of ANAF in the Blue Economy, guidelines for aquaculture business planning, environmental and biosecurity management, and the development of a strategic action plan. 

Meeting Outcomes
The assembly achieved several significant outcomes, including the election of a new Bureau and Steering Committee, increased awareness of ANAF rules and procedures, and the development of a draft Strategic Action Plan. The meeting also facilitated discussions on aquaculture development, providing insights into the current status, challenges, and opportunities across African countries.

Key Recommendations
The assembly generated a set of recommendations to guide aquaculture development in Africa. These recommendations cover diverse areas, including private sector engagement, genetic improvement programs, skilled labor and youth engagement, mariculture success stories, security in aquaculture, market demand and consumption, reliable statistics, government commitment, taxation for support, research and development, access to financing, diversification of centers of excellence, blue economy advocacy, regional genetic improvement centers, information sharing, fostering equity within the sector, establishment of aquaculture extension services, climate change, aquaculture data and statistics, spatial planning, partnerships and collaboration, environmental management, clarification of ANAF's role, and visibility and contribution of ANAF in conferences and trade fairs.

Way Forward
The assembly outlined the next steps, including the finalization of a synthesis report on the status of aquaculture development in Africa, organizing a dedicated interactive ANAF session to benchmark with NACA, strengthening ANAF's visibility in upcoming aquaculture events, and the constitution of a drafting team to harmonize the Strategic Action Plan.

Closing of the Meeting
The 2nd ANAF General Assembly concluded with a focus on the way forward, emphasizing the importance of finalizing reports, enhancing visibility, and preparing for the next General Congress.

In summary, the 2nd ANAF General Assembly marked a significant step towards advancing sustainable aquaculture in Africa, fostering collaboration, and addressing key challenges in the sector. The outcomes and recommendations provide a roadmap for ANAF's continued efforts to promote responsible and inclusive aquaculture development on the continent.

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