The African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in partnership with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with financial support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is implementing the regional project, the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) in a bid to address challenges posed by trade-related transboundary animal diseases (TADs). The IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) is coordinating the development of the North Eastern Africa Livestock Council (NEALCO) under Result Area four of SMP-AH project.
NEALCO is a regional livestock association constituted by national livestock traders’ associations drawn from 13 countries, namely: Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. The council is registered in Kenya as a regional association whose membership is drawn from national apex organizations and relevant affiliate associations from members from the region. It is open to anyone working within the livestock sector. Its main objective is to promote, coordinate, share information and advocate for enhanced trade in livestock and livestock products within North and Eastern Africa and outside the region.
ICPALD organized a meeting for the NEALCO executives and advisory committee in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania from 7th -9th September 2016, to review progress and guide the future development of NEALCO.
In his remarks, Dr. Taffese Mesfin, Chairperson of the Regional NEACO executive, welcomed representatives from different NEALCO Country Chapters to the meeting. Noting the status of NEALCO progress by March 2016 when the previous executives and advisory committee meeting was held in Entebbe, Uganda, and weighing achievements against set targets, He thanked Dr. Magona for working tirelessly to establish NEALCO Country Chapters in different countries. In addition, he thanked ICPALD, IGAD, USAID and AU/IBAR for the financial support. He also thanked the Tanzanian team for accepting to host the meeting.
In his remarks, Dr. Joseph Magona on behalf of the Director, AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, noted that NEALCO was designed to help boost internal and export trade of livestock and livestock products and strengthen integration among livestock associations within the region. He further stated that more efforts were needed to continue the membership drive and awareness campaigns in the remaining eight countries. He stated that registration of NEALCO Country Chapters was underway in Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. He informed the meeting that NEALCO activities would continue beyond the original deadline of end of September 2016 up to end of March 2017 because the no cost extension for the SMP-AH project had been approved. Furthermore, he stated that arrangements had been made with the VETGOV project to support a consultancy for training of NEALCO regional and national executives. Meanwhile arrangements were being made to find ways of working together with VETGOV to conduct NEALCO membership drive and awareness campaigns in countries such as Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea and Rwanda that are not directly supported by SMP-AH project but are covered by the VETGOV project that also had interest in supporting livestock associations. Finally, he thanked USAID for financial support to the development of NEALCO and ICPALD for strong collaboration.
In his remarks, Dr. Wafula Wamalwa on behalf of Dr Solomon Munyua, Acting Director for ICPALD stated that NEALCO help livestock associations access the market by overcoming barriers to trade in the livestock sector. He re-affirmed support by ICPALD to NEALCO until it becomes operational. Finally, he stated that ICPALD had contracted a consultant to assess the training needs for NEALCO executives. He encouraged members to make NEALCO Country Chapters better and intensify the awareness campaign in respective countries.
In his remarks, Dr. Samuel Wakhusama, a Deputy Regional Representative of the OIE, Eastern Africa region and a member of the advisory committee noted that NEALCO had made great progress in last six months and commended the progress. He recalled NEALCO’s humble beginning, and urged members to stay together to make NEALCO what it’s meant to be to enable accessing of more market areas including RECs such as ECCAS and ECOWAS besides Middle East. He stressed that OIE would support NEALCO whenever they needed support regarding market requirement to do with standards.
In his official opening, Dr. Joram Mghwira, the SMP-AH Focal person for Tanzania and an Assistant Director for Veterinary Services, welcomed everybody to Tanzania. He said areas of disease control and surveillance had been looked at to enable the region access lucrative market for livestock and livestock products. He said that when all standards are followed, NEALCO would lead the process of livestock trade in the region considering that it has different people on board. He further hoped that NEALCO would focus on addressing needs of every livestock associations in the region and adopt sustainable approaches in the aftermath of the SMP-AH project.
2.0 MEETING OBJECTIVES
The overall objective of the meeting was to review, guide and endorse NEALCO progress and oversee planning for future activities. Its specific objectives included:
- To update progress on past activities since March 2016
- To discuss level of performance of NEALCO against planned targets
- To review NEALCO Strategic and Governing documents
- To plan for future activities for NEALCO
3.0 Key issues Discussed
1) Operationalization of the NEALCO Secretariat
- Domicile for Regional Secretariat and National Chapter Offices within national livestock associations offices
- Progress regarding registration of National Chapters of NEALCO since establishment
- Opening NEALCO Bank account in Kenya and in other countries
- Introduction of NEALCO to relevant ministries in respective countries
2) Establishment or strenghthening of NEALCO in countries
- Identification of existing active national associations in respective countries
- Marketing of NEALCO among the identified national associations
- Training need assessments and training of members of national associations
- Training needs assessment and training of NEALCO executive committee members
- Feedback on benchmarking visit for NEALCO to South Africa and Botswana
3) NEALCO membership drive campaign
- Enlisting national association into NEALCO
- Election of Office-bearers to man NEALCO Chapters in Countries
- Registration with NEALCO
- Providing membership cards
- Raising membership fees
4) Awareness creation and NEALCO publicity
- Identification of relevant messages for NEALCO to win over national associations
- Awareness campaign
- Development of the NEALCO website
- Trade fairs on behalf of NEALCO
- Translation of the NEALCO brochure into various languages
5) Review of Strategic Governing documents and processes
- NEALCO Constitution (including ratification)
- Review of Registration process of NEALCO Chapter in countries
- Review of the Strategic plan and action plan
- Review of the NEALCO proposal
- Revision and submission of amendment on NEALCO constitution
- Strategic plan and action plan for the regional and national chapters
6) Training of regional and national NEALCO executives
- It was recommended that the amendments to the constitution be finalized by the lawyer by end of October 2016
- Strategic Plan be finalized by end of October 2016
- Translation of the NEALCO brochure to be finalized by end of September 2016
- Registration and opening of national bank accounts to be finalized by end of November 2016
- Opening of the regional account to be finalized by end of October 2016
- Finalize membership drive by end of December 2016
- Training should be organized in modules each taking a week
- Finalize first modules of training by end of November 2016
- Country activity reports to be presented in the next meeting
- ICPALD provides a budget for supporting countries to initiate and run country activities
- Country Chapters to send photos of NEALCO executives to ICPALD for the Website