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The first review mission for the West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme has arrived in Sierra Leone over the weekend and yesterday, August 1st, commenced work by paying courtesy calls to the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr. Soccoh Kabia and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Momodu Kargbo. The team is in Sierra Leone to look at the progress made so far in the program implementation and also look at the challenges it is faced with. (Photo: The World Bank Team and Officials of Fisheries Ministry)
The team, which is in Sierra Leone on a five-day mission is composed of John Virdin from the World Bank, Sr. Tim Bostock also from the World Bank, Dr. Demba Kane and Ibrahim Turay from the Sub Regional Fisheries Commission in Dakar, Stephen Akester a Fisheries Implementation Support Consultant for the WARFP and Alushe from the New Partnership for Africa Development.
During a meeting with the delegation in his office at Youyi Building yesterday, August 1st, Sierra Leone’s Fisheries Minister, Dr. Soccoh Kabia revealed that he was looking forward to having discussions with the World Bank, since the WARFP-SL is, at the moment the driving force for the ministry. He said, the fisheries sector is very relevant to the country’s economic growth and also in terms of ensuring an effective food security drive. The Ministry, the Minister went on has been facing challenges, ranging from the issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities going on in Sierra Leone ,to that of capacity and infrastructure. He also spoke of the Ministry’s effort in establishing co-management with communities in tackling some of the challenges that the fisheries sector is faced with, as well as their work in the establishment of the Marine Protected Areas.
John Virdin from the World Bank in his statement disclosed that the WARFP programme is the largest improvement of the World Bank in the fisheries sector in Africa and that the World Bank is always happy and ready to support the country. He further stated that within the next few days, they hope to sit down with the ministry and WARFP-SL to look at what has been done since the start of program implementation, highlight the challenges and also see where adjustment could be made as partners.
Virdin also disclosed that the International Finance Corporation is coming in, to see how they could help in the fisheries sector especially in the area of getting the Public Private Partnership approach. “…we are excited to look at how things are going with the program…as we consider ourselves as partners…” he said.
The NEPAD representative, Alushe, in her statement said, reforms and capacity building is crucial in ensuring more contribution of the fisheries sector to the country’s growth and as such, they are happy to be able to help in that direction. Dr. Sallieu Sankoh WARFP-SL Coordinator in Sierra Leone in his brief remarks also expressed excitement to have the review mission in town, so as to know what has been done so far in Sierra Leone. He expressed optimism that the coming few days will be fruitful for the country and the development partners. Other members of the delegation also made meaningful contribution.
In another related engagement, the Deputy Minister Finance also told the delegation, during a courtesy cal to him that as a government they appreciate the role of the project in Sierra Leone, especially as a sub regional one that also cuts across the Mano River Union. He said, attention should be paid to the governance sector of the fisheries sector in the country. The needed revenue from the sector, Minister Kargbo said has not been coming to the country and emphasized that the issue of fisheries management is a serious concern to government. He called for more capacity to ministry of fisheries staff so that the sector could generate more revenue for government.
The review mission, which will be in Sierra Leone from the 1st – 5th August, will have a review of the project implementation progress, visit the Kissy Dockyard proposed fishing harbor, and also will visit the Tombo and Goderich Fish Landing Sites and other potential Marine Protected Areas.
The West Africa Regional Fisheries Project aims to strengthen the capacity of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and Cape Verde to effectively manage their fisheries sector. The program has three interrelated components namely; (A) Good governance and sustainable management of the fisheries; (B) Reduction of Illegal Fishing and (C) ensuring an Increase Local Value Addition to fish products. The project seeks a 50% reduction of fishing vessels that are observed fishing within the 6-mile Inshore Exclusion Zone by the end of the project life cycle. It will support the strengthening of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance of the West African Sub region to reduce illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and ensure that industrial fishing operations are carried out within the provisions of the laws of Sierra Leone.
The project seeks a 10 % increase in the value of exports from the coastal demersal fisheries and from the shrimp fisheries. It seeks an improved governance indicator, which entails the legal establishment of four Territorial Use Rights Fisheries (TURFs) in targeted coastal fishing communities by the end of the project; also, it seeks and increased local value added indicator – a 10 % increase in the value/volume of exports from the coastal demersal fisheries and from the shrimp fisheries.
John Baimba Sesay, Communications Specialist, WARFP-SL
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