World Aquaculture Society


African Chapter President's Column March 2024

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Zambia (Hon. Makozo Chikote) graced the Opening of AFRAQ23. • The event was attended by nearly 1200 participants at the majestic Mulungushi International Convention Centre, Lusaka. • Dr Sherif Sadek (Egypt) receiving a token of appreciation from Hon. Makozo Chikote during the Honors and Awards ceremony. • A Zambian cultural group entertaining guests at AFRAQ23. • AFRAQ23’s exhibition featured 55 booths from 22 countries.• Her Excellency Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe (Secretary General – COMESA), giving an opening speech.

The 2nd Aquaculture Africa Conference (AFRAQ23) took place on 13-16 November 2023 at the majestic Mulungushi International Convention Centre in Lusaka, Zambia. Themed “Resilient value chains in the blue economy” AFRAQ23 attracted nearly 1200 attendees from industry, academia, government, and development partners. Delegates hailed from 73 countries around the world, but mostly African nations. The event took place as WAS-AC was celebrating five years of existence; the Chapter was formally established in November 2018.

The Conference was graced by the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Honourable Makozo Chikote and other senior state dignitaries from Zambia and other African countries. High-level guests from WAS, FAO, WorldFish, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern Africa Development Co-operation (SADC), and the African Union (AU) also featured at the Opening Ceremony of AFRAQ23.

Other highlights during the Opening Ceremony included the inaugural WAS-AC honors and awards ceremony, which saw Dr. Sherif Sadek (Egypt) being recognised for his role in serving as first Chapter President (2018-2022), as well as Chairperson of the inaugural Aquaculture Africa 2021 (AFRAQ21) Conference, held in Egypt in 2022. Dr. Sadek is a renowned aquaculture expert, supplier and shrimp production operator from Egypt.

Other special honourees during the occasion included the African Union Development Agency New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) for its role in hosting the Secretariat of WAS-AC, as well as the South African government through the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DFFE) for its role in supporting the establishment of WAS-AC since 2017. Aller Aqua, the Chapter’s founding Gold Sponsor and Gold Sponsor to AFRAQs 21 and 23 was also specially recognised for its industrious role in developing aquaculture in Africa. The government of Zambia received a special appreciation award for its contributions in hosting AFRAQ23.

The conference scientific and technical programme was well packed with multi-sessions that resonated to the conference theme of “sustainability,” balancing global and African perspectives – thanks to the efforts as led by renowned Programme Chairs Professor Peter Britz (Rhodes University, South Africa) and Professor Cyprian Katongo (University of Zambia – which was also the hosting institution). The programme featured 44 sessions, 225 abstracts and 49 posters.

What was most unique at AFRAQ23 was the presence of a number of developmental organisations who hosted a number of special side-sessions and workshops covering some various key thematic areas. These included AUDA-NEPAD, FAO, the World Bank, WorldFish, the Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF), the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Program (WISHH), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Aquaculture Without Frontiers (AwF), the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA) and others. The presence of major industry players such as Aller Aqua, Yalelo, Lake Harvest Aquaculture, Aquaspark, Grand Group for Fish Feed, Chicoa Fish Farm Mozambique and others, as well as several SMEs in aquaculture from Zambia and Africa-wide was noteworthy.

As in all WAS global events, the technical and scientific programme was complemented by a major international trade show which featured 55 booths from 22 countries, including a Zambia aquaculture pavilion which showcased the country’s aquaculture industry and a number of projects. An aquaculture tour concluded the AFRAQ23 programme with delegates having the opportunity to visit some active aquaculture sites in Siavonga/Lake Kariba and around Lusaka.

The WAS-AC Executive Board of Directors also had the opportunity to convene its Annual Board Meeting, where decisions on the way forward for the Chapter were made. This also saw Ms. Foluke Areola from Nigeria inaugurated as the new Chapter President for the 2023-2025 term, taking over from Dr. John Walakira (Uganda). WAS-AC also physically launched its Africa Student Forum following recent WAS student policy and strategy changes, and launched a platform for Portuguese speaking countries (PALOP).

No doubt, there was something for everyone at AFRAQ23 as the event catered to the broad range of interests in aquaculture — providing a learning, information-sharing and networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, businesses, scientists, technical specialists, educators, students, policy-makers and public officials. The conference was officially hosted by the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Aller Aqua was once again the Gold sponsor, and WISHH, GIZ and WorldFish were silver sponsors. The WAS-AC is thankful to all attendees, various session sponsors, exhibitors, collaborators, media partners and everyone who contributed to make the event a success. More information is available on the AFRAQ23 website and at
Foluke Omotayo Areola, President

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