African Chapter President's Column - March 2022
All roads are now leading to the First Aquaculture Africa Conference and Exposition in Alexandria, Egypt, rescheduled to 25-28 March 2022. It’s happening finally! I am indebted to the Conference organizing team, who have worked so hard over the past few months to get things in order. The covid situation is at present relatively manageable to warrant us having a successful event.
As of today, over 750 participants have registered for both conference and exhibition visits, which shows great interest. We expect the number to increase further as the event gets closer. Over 70 percent are Africans, coming from disciplines ranging from state actors, researchers, academics, consultants, private sector operators, farmers, exhibitors, development partners and others interested or active in African aquaculture. The largest proportion of these conference attendees is of course Egyptian. The exhibition space is now fully booked with 55 international exhibitors expected to pitch their stands in the Bibliotheca. These include 22 international companies from 24 non-African countries, 7 African countries, 10 Egyptian companies and 7 support organizations.
Several organizations from Africa and beyond have booked special technical sessions, meetings and some seminars, and most are sponsoring groups of people to attend the event. AllerAqua is the conference’s Gold Sponsor. Silver sponsors are AquaGroup and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH). The Break Sponsor is Grand Fish Feed. Of course, we have our traditional WAS Premium Sponsors on board, including Blue Aqua, Kemin, MSD, Zeigler and USSEC. Other various session sponsors will be listed in the conference program book.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina convention centre is ready for us on all fronts and has given us the green light to increase capacity, of course with covid protocols in place. I believe we are geared up for a successful event!
The Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation in Egypt is expected to grace the official opening ceremony of the conference, including the opening of the exhibition, scheduled for Saturday 26 March. Other important dignitaries expected to give opening remarks include the Governor of Alexandria, General Authority for Fish Resources Development (GAFRD), Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Agricultural Research Centre, Egypt and WorldFish. We are also delighted that WAS President Dr. Antonio Garza de Yta will be us throughout AFRAQ21. We also look forward to a special plenary speech on “Status of Aquaculture in Egypt” by our very own renowned Professor Abdel-Fatah El-Sayed from Egypt.
I believe the array of technical sessions resonates well with the conference theme “Sustainable Aquaculture – Feeding Africa.” I see sessions on aquatic animal health, feeds and nutrition and environmental management in synch with the conference theme and being among some of the hot topics on aquaculture development in Africa today. Sessions such as those on finance/investment, education/training and socio-economics are equally important to the journey of sustainable aquaculture in Africa. We are looking forward to the presentations and to learning lessons from each other out of these sessions.
This being the African Chapter’s first conference, we expect to learn many lessons from it as we get geared up to have AFRAQs annually, with the Second Aquaculture Africa Conference planned for the later part of 2023 in Zambia. Organizing AFRAQ21 in Egypt has had its own challenges, chiefly the covid outbreaks which, as many of you know, led to the postponement of the event twice. We also recently had some challenges in the planning of the much-awaited and needed pre-event aquaculture tours in Egypt. These have since been cancelled. But thanks to the hard work, dedication and diligence of the AFRAQ21 planning and organizing teams, the conference is finally happening!
This past season, the African Chapter concluded elections for Board of Directors for the term 2022-2023. From April 2022, the new Board of Directors will stand as follows:
• President – Dr. John Walakira (Uganda)
• Immediate Past-President – Dr. Sherif Sadek (Egypt)
• Secretary – Dr. Adeosun Festus Idowu (Nigeria)
• Treasurer – Dr. Bernice Mclean (South Africa)
• Regional Director: North Africa – Dr. Nevine Abou Shabana (Egypt)
• Regional Director: West Africa – Mr. Lanre Badmus (Nigeria)
• Regional Director: East Africa – Dr. Nelly Isyagi (Uganda)
• Regional Director: Central Africa – Dr. Francisca Delgado (Angola)
• Regional Director: Southern Africa – Dr. Khalid Salie (South Africa)
I am overly thankful for the advisory support we continue to receive from Dr. Kevan Main, the African Chapter ad hoc advisor) and from Blessing Mapfumo from the African Chapter Secretariat, who will continue with us for the next term. We also hope to soon appoint a student liaison to lead all student development activities in line with WAS aspirations and guidelines.
Let me express immense gratitude to Aller Aqua, our Founding Gold Sponsor and AFRAQ21 Gold Sponsor, for renewing its sponsorship of the African Chapter for another three years, until 2024. Renewing its sponsorship shows Aller Aqua’s dedication to the African market and its commitment to support strategic institutions meant to develop the aquaculture sector across the continent. More details are available here (www. aller-aqua.com/press/aller-aqua-continues-to-support-the-africanchapter-of-the-world-aquaculture-society). Kudos to Aller Aqua! I urge conference attendees to visit their exhibition stand and attend some of their organized sessions at AFRAQ21.
I can’t wait to meet many of you at the conference! I wish you safe travels to Alexandria and a memorable time in Egypt.
— Sherif Sadek, President