Uganda hosted the eighth conference of ministers responsible for animal resources from African Union (AU) member states, the first of its kind in the country.p>Uganda hosted the eighth conference of ministers responsible for animal resources from African Union (AU) member states, the first of its kind in the country.
The conference took place between the 10 – 14th May, 2010 at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe, 40km from the capital city of Kampala. It attracted 220 delegates from 44 countries.
The conference was organised by African Union InterAfrican Bureau For Animal Resources (AU –IBAR) and Uganda’s ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries.
The theme of the conference was “improving access to markets for African animal resources to significantly contribute to economic growth and the reduction of poverty.”
Delegates at the conference discussed Transboundary animal diseases, consolidation of achievements in the eradication of rinderpest from the continent, climate change and pastoralism, investment in veterinary services, approval of AU-IBAR’s new strategic plan 2010 – 2014, livestock policies and strengthening veterinary governance in Africa among others.
Opening the conference, Uganda’s minister for Animal Industry/holding the portfolio for the minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Rwamirama K.Bright said that the “transformation of the livestock sector requires fundamental rethinking. With Globalisation getting more deep rooted, it is clear that currently and in the foreseeable future, we shall only be gap fillers but not competitors unless we aim higher. If Africa is to talk about an economic block, Intra African trade must be exemplary to support this voice.”
Rwamirama said that “primarily, Africa should focus on issues of productivity per person, productivity per livestock unit, productivity per unit of land area and access to the market.”
During the conference, EU –AU –IBAR signed three financing agreements for the support of the livestock sector worth euros 28.8 mn.
The Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Mrs Rhoda Peace Tumusiime signed on behalf of AU-IBAR while the EU head of delegation in Uganda Mr Vincent de Vissecher, signed on behalf of the EU. The signing ceremony took place May 13th, 2010 at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe.
The projects benefiting from these funds include Livestock for Livelihoods (Euros 4.8 m), the Livestock Emergency Intervention to Mitigate Food Crisis in Somalia (Euros 4 m) and Vaccines for the Control of Neglected Animal Diseases in Africa (Euros 20m).
The first project aims at strengthening climate change adaptation strategy through improved management at the livestock, wildlife, and environment interface in four trans-boundary hot spots (WAP Parks in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, Karamajog Cluster in Northern Uganda, Kenya, and Sudan, Lake Chad in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad and Fouta Djallon in Senegal, Mali and Guinea Conakry).
The second project will increase resilience of Somali livestock keepers through the provision of animal health care services and vaccination of small ruminants as well as the development and management of livestock marketing infrastructure.
The third project aims at reducing the impact of neglected animal diseases through an increased access and use of quality vaccines. It will tackle vaccine production, marketing strategies and quality control by independent laboratories on the continent as well as a few vaccination campaigns strategically selected.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Rhoda Tumusiime thanked EU for their timely assistance that would help reduce poverty and avert hunger in Africa. “I would like to register the appreciation of AU for significant intervention coming at a time when global foods security is attracting attention and Africa, in particular, is in need of help to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”
Vincent de Visscher stressed that the funding did not only illustrate the importance of the livestock sector for improved well being, but also the continuous strengthening of the privileged relationship between the AU and EU.