Africa’s vision for the “Blue Economy” got a boost from African Development Bank Group (AfDB) this week, with the announcement of US $13.2 million in financing for fisheries and aquaculture in Malawi.
The country’s government will add another $1.38 million for the Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture Development, and Watershed Management project designed to protect Malawi’s water resources while leveraging them to create jobs, improve health and strengthen climate resilience.
It will be implemented in 14 districts, all but three of them along Malawi’s lakeshores. The districts cover all of the Lake Malawi and Chilwa basins, sections of the Shire River system, and some upland areas.
“The project is expected to directly benefit 20,000 residents around the surrounding lakeshore and inland areas, as well as 250,000 fish processors, vendors, retailers, and interns, many of whom are youth and women along the value chain,” said the AfDB in announcing the financing decision.
The benefits extend beyond Malawi and into the wider region, while aligning with the African continent’s wider goal of developing ocean and water-based economies while protecting against climate change. Seventy-five percent of transboundary watersheds are in Malawi and they are critical fish breeding and nursery grounds, the AfDB said.
“The Bank is committed to supporting our regional member countries to make use of their living fisheries resources, said Dr. Ahmed Khan, the bank’s Blue Economy Flagship Coordinator. “This is crucial for building healthy diets and local consumption, facilitating regional trade and improving on the quality of life.”