The bid by "FishTrade for a Better Future," a European Commission funded project, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) to tap into the continent’s enourmous fish trade potential is commendable. The bid will strengthen the fish trade value chains with a view of improving food and nutritional security and income in sub-Saharan Africa.
In spite of Africa’s plentiful fish resources in oceans, rivers, lakes, floodplains and fish farms, the continent accounts for just 4.9% of global fish trade. The fisheries sector in Africa employs 12.3 million Africans; accounting for 2% of Africa’s population between 15 and 64 years old, producing 9.9m metric tons of fish a year. This is attributable to inadequate market and trade infrastructure, poor policy implementation, high transport costs, complex and unaligned trade rules and poor market information.
Africa must be proactive and address the illegal and unregulated fishing which costs the continent an estimated $1bn a year. The continent must also tap into The Indian Ocean Rim which boasts of 2.6 billion people with ports that handle 30% of global trade and 50% of global container traffic.