The fisheries and aquaculture industry on the continent is set to experience growth soon with a potential to unlock a further two billion dollars in revenue from the sector.
The investment potential and development impact of the aquaculture and fisheries sector has been one of the best kept secrets on the continent, said Alushe Hitula, PAF coordinator in Johannesburg, recently at the first meeting of the PAF supported Fisheries and Aquaculture Investment partnership. Speaking from the same meeting, John Linton from the Natural Resources Institute-University of Greenwich in the UK reiterated the need to create an enabling environment to realise the full potential of the sector in Africa.
Hosted by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), the meeting was attended by delegates from Africa and Europe including business people in the fisheries sector and funding experts.
According to Mr Sam Muradzikwa from DBSA, the objectives of the investments meeting were several:
- to gain an understanding of the investment and developmental opportunities of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Africa;
- to explore potential options or mechanisms that can be established and sustained to exploit these opportunities, especially for the benefit of the SME sector in Africa;
- to share experiences and facilitate a platform for ideas, initiatives, and action items to be considered in the final SMEs fisheries and aquaculture financing frameworks; and
- to develop a clear agenda for PAF, the working group, in preparation for the launch and implementation of the framework at the end of the year in Seychelles.
With these objectives in mind, delegates shared ideas on the modalities of setting up an African Fisheries Fund and unanimously agreed that the fund was long overdue. More presentations were made from the South African Department of Fisheries, Agribank-Namibia, Tri-Africa consultants, and more where a number of challenges were highlighted, especially the need to review legislation from the various jurisdictions across the continent. This was agreed to be a huge barrier to entry into the sector.