KIGALI - The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, has challenged African countries to invest in animal health to ensure economic growth.
She made the call yesterday while officially opening the 19th conference of the regional commission for Africa of the World Organization for Animal Health (WHOAH).
The minister pointed out that some people on the continent have not yet realized the significance of livestock on their countries’ economy.
“We need to strengthen our capacity building in the people who deal with animal health…when we downplay this, it means we have neglected the whole sector,” she said.
Kalibata added that harmonization of policies of fighting animal diseases in Africa is required to reduce the movement of epidemic diseases that affect the animals.
“We believe that protecting against animal diseases in our countries especially trans-boundary animal diseases will not only enhance health, but animal trade in the region as well. We should therefore harmonize policies and have strategic ways of handling it,” she said.
Dr Bernard Vallat, the Director General of WHOAH, pledged more support to African countries, especially in training veterinary doctors from member countries.
The Director General of Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority (RARDA), Dr Theogene Rutagwenda, underscored the need for cooperation and working together to ensure harmonized service delivery.
“Rwanda believes that prevention and control of animal diseases depends on the quality of veterinary services. We therefore need to work together as veterinary experts to enhance our services.”
The four-day conference has attracted veterinary experts from 45 countries in African, Europe and Asia.