Promoting Inter-Regional Fish Trade
Despite the importance of fish and fishery products for protein supply of the African people, trade in these products at intra-regional level are not well documented; and hence, not well known.
Intra-African fish trade accounts for slightly more than 10% or USD 430 million of total fish exports of the continent (USD 4 000 million). This figure is under-estimated as cross-border trade is often undertaken by informal traders, which completely escapes statistics.
Policy makers in African countries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have identified the improvement of intra-regional trade, including trade of fish products as a key to economic development and to improved food security (NEPAD 2005).
Policy makers should foster intra-regional trade and support the formalization of the present informal fish trade among African countries.
Policy makers at both national government and REC level should promote harmonization of regulations and sanitary rules and reduction or complete abolition of tariffs, which will lead to reduction of bureaucracy and less harassment at border points.
Policy makers at both national governments and RECs should strengthen of traders’ associations, especially women’s associations since women are particularly vulnerable within the sector.
Policy makers at both national governments and RECs should improve fish market information system, including Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) which strengthen market transparency and facilitate new intra-regional trade opportunities.