Artisanal Fisheries Project Improves Livelihoods in Angola

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With a coastline stretching 1,650 km, Angola is rich in marine fisheries resources. The country’s fisheries sector is potentially one of its most economically viable industries and currently ranks third after oil and diamond mining. The sector provides about half of the animal protein consumed in the country.

However, the Angolan artisanal fisheries sector, which provider’s most of the fish consumed locally, is constrained by an unfavourable environment – the lack of fish processing space, market infrastructure and equipment. The age-old makeshift canoe along with the paddle and other labour-insensitive rudimentary tools that deliver little fish per man-hour, constitute the paraphernalia of choice for local fishermen in these climes just like in most parts of the continent.

A legacy of the country’s 27-year civil strife, this situation largely contributed to the deterioration of the food security situation as well as increased levels of poverty, prompting the government to seek the Bank’s assistance.

The Artisanal Fisheries Development Project’s US$ 10 million (UA 7 million) loan was approved by the Board of the African Development (ADF) Fund in October 2002. The loan agreement was signed in January 2003 and became effective in November 2003. The government also committed a US$ 3-million (UA 1.67 million) counterpart funding to the project.

The project is in line with the Bank Group’s interim Country Strategy Paper (CSP), which is focused on poverty reduction by financing development activities in the artisanal fisheries sub-sector, rehabilitation of social infrastructure as well as human resources development. It is also in sync with the Angolan government’s strategies on artisanal fishing, which represents 56% of the country’s fisheries sector.

With poverty reduction and food security among fishing communities as the ultimate goal, the project aims at expanding fishing activities and improving fishermen’s incomes and their standard of living by developing 10 coastal artisanal fisheries centres and providing them with basic support services to boost their production and marketing capacity. The project also helps build the sub-sector’s capacity through the provision of basic needs for fish production, processing and marketing.

The project is anchored on three key pillars:

  • Infrastructure Development, which includes the provision of community basic infrastructure and the establishment of a Local Development Fund (LDF).
  • Capacity Building, which is focusing on human capacity strengthening for beneficiaries, with the assistance of specialists and fish extension staff.
  • Rural Credit, which is entirely funded by the government and is being implemented by a Rural Credit Retail Institution, specialized in credit management through local commercial banks.

So far, the project has recorded impressive outcomes. These include the construction of 10 fisheries centres; three fish markets; fish processing facilities (including landing quays, boat ramps, and boat maintenance areas); supply of generators, office furniture/equipment; supply of cooling and freezing equipment; provision of potable water to project beneficiaries; training of project beneficiaries and provision of credit.

According to experts working on the project, it is the most successful among the eight on-going projects in the country. They attribute the success to the fact that the project is “addressing real and felt needs of the fishing communities” The project has completely transformed these communities that lacked the infrastructure to engage in artisanal fisheries.

Apart from acquiring the critical skills, they also have access to the necessary equipment—the boats equipped with outboard engines, nets and fish processing equipment such as freezers and dryers.

Furthermore, the project has enhanced the capacity of the fishing communities through various training and study tours. It has also provided a credit component through which the beneficiary communities and individuals acquire fishing gear, motorized boats as well as working capital.

The construction of responsive infrastructure at strategic locations within the project area, including landing quays, boat ramps, fish markets, fish freezing and ice-making equipment and office facilities have been a huge success.

The project is contributing significantly to sustainable livelihood, improved household incomes, improved nutrition and poverty reduction,” the Task Manager, Andy Khumbanyiwa, noted. He said the amount of fish being sold in markets and supplied to hotels and restaurants in major cities had significantly increased as a result of the project.

For its part, the project management team has suggested that the project be replicated in other fishing communities through Bank financing, since the Angolan government has indicated that the second phase of the project was a priority.