Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela marked International Africa Day which commemorates the 1963 launch of the Organisation of African Unity, known as the African Union, by means of a visit to AquaBioTech.
AquaBioTech is a Malta-based aquaculture company comprising 50 local and international specialist staff engaged in various projects, including a sustainable water recirculating system for the Victoria Lake Basin through integrating waste water treatment and aquaculture.
The minister learned more about the project and the rest of the company’s work from the team behind it, before touring the facilities.
The VicInAqua project has secured EU funds under the Horizon2020 programme and will assist Africa’s development agenda by providing a sustainable and cost-effective solution to provide clean water for aquaculture and fish to feed the local population.
“EU initiatives often help provide the necessary skills and resources to ensure African countries can reach their full potential. In this instance, in partnership with a Malta-based company, AquaBioTech will benefit from increased international exposure and access to market opportunity in growing economies,” Minister Abela stated.
AquaBioTech is an international aquaculture, fisheries, and marine consultancy and engineering company, which believes that English-speaking Malta is the perfect place for it to be based in, strategically between Africa and Europe. Furthermore, regardless of its humble façade in suburban Mosta, the company is home to industry-leading, high-tech research and development facilities.
Since the foreign affairs ministry took over the trade promotion portfolio last year, Malta’s presence in Africa has grown ‒ the country’s first diplomatic mission will soon open in Ghana and an ambassador to Ethiopia has also been designated.
“Maltese representation in Africa plays an important role in taking our ‘trade not aid’ strategy forward, because it provides vital assurance and support for Malta-based companies to do business there. With the help of TradeMalta, we are laying the foundations for partnerships and growth in Africa, reflecting Malta’s vision as an international hub of excellence and ensuring our trade commitments will benefit all,” the minister stated.
Minister Abela led a trade mission to Ghana last year and Ghana’s Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Elizabeth Afoley Quaye visited Malta for the EU-hosted Our Ocean conference. While here, she visited AquaBioTech, which is now looking to enter both the Ghanaian and Ethiopian markets in the near future. This all attests to the fact that the aforementioned strategy is working.
“We, the Maltese government, try to help support companies like AquaBioTech as much as possible. Through Trade Malta, we can assist with access to decision-makers in key countries and guidance on which countries in Africa to focus on. We are committed to encouraging further investment in Africa in support of the internationalisation of Maltese trade, helping the private sector in Malta to enhance its presence and prospects on the continent of Africa.”
The minister concluded by commending AquaBioTech for all the projects it is undertaking in Africa and for the international recognition it is receiving for its work in marine sciences. “I also want to commend AquaBioTech for its emphasis on partnership, environmental focus and its contribution to improving the livelihoods and enhancing capacity of scientists in Africa.”
The minister visited AquaBioTech together with Malta’s Ambassador Designate to Ethiopia Ronald Micallef and Trade Malta CEO Anton Buttigieg.