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20th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa

22 February 2013 – The 20th Conference of the Regional Commission for Africa of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was held in Lomé (Togo) from 18 to 22 February 2013. Colonel Ouro Kouro Agadazi, Togo's Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Prof. Charles Kondi Agba, Togo’s Minister of Health and Dr Marosi Molomo, President of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa, chaired the Conference. Dr Karin Schwabenbauer, President of the OIE honoured the Conference with her presence.

"The survival of tens of millions of people in Africa depends on the contribution that livestock make to protein production, animal draught and soil fertilisation, amongst others. It is imperative to safeguard and preserve this invaluable capital by means of suitably adapted animal health policies," declared Dr Vallat, Director General of the OIE.

Dr Bernard Vallat, the Delegates of the Member Countries of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa, numerous senior officials and representatives of international and regional organisations participated in the Conference.

They reviewed the situation in Africa regarding Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), a viral disease of goats and sheep that can have a substantial impact on the economy of a country and on the standard of living of poor rural populations, who are largely dependent on livestock. The OIE, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has initiated the creation of a PPR vaccine bank and is developing a pilot strategy to specify the standards and methods needed to eradicate the disease from the African continent.

A consensus was reached on the importance of maintaining investments in prevention programmes of this type for priority animal diseases, given the economic and social benefits that they would bring for the whole of the region.

Discussions also focussed on Member Countries' ownership of the OIE PVS Pathway and on the benefits of the PVS Pathway for the national Veterinary Services.

Lastly, two particularly important technical items were presented during the Conference and led to recommendations being adopted: 

  • Promoting intra-Africa trade of animal and animal products.
  • The importance of integrating animal welfare, environmental protection as well as modernisation of veterinary legislation for improving food security and contributing to agricultural domestic product in Africa.

The Conference was kindly hosted by the Government of Togo, which helped to ensure that it was a resounding success. The Conference also received support from the OIE Headquarters and the OIE Regional Representation for Africa.