In Africa, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector accounts for over 90% of all enterprises of which between 70 to 80% are micro and very small enterprises, while medium enterprises account for between 5 to15%. They provide the main source of jobs and income for Africans. Significantly, African women entrepreneurs own more than half of African SMEs, and up to 70% of the vast rural population in Africa is active in the SME sector,formally and informally.
However, recent research has demonstrated that SMEs in the fisheries and aquaculture value chains face particular challenges to their establishment, success and eventual expansion. Key to these challenges are (i) the capacity of the SMEs and (ii) their ability to access the financial services that are critical for their success.
While many SMEs do overcome these challenges, many don’t. Moreover, much entrepreneurial talent is directed to other sectors, where success is perceived to be less challenging.
It is recommended that the capacity of SMEs in the fisheries and aquaculture value chains be strengthened and promoted through design and implementation of projects that support SME mentorship, incubation and development.
It is critical to offer training at tertiary level that support entrepreneurship in the fisheries and aquaculture value chains.
It is recommended that fisheries and aquaculture will be incorporated in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP) Investment Plans with a special focus on growth targets of the SME sector.