Coastal Fisheries Initiative
©FAO/Sia Kambou

CFI in West Africa

West Africa has long had strong social and economic ties to fisheries. Fish is a major commodity traded regionally and globally, providing thousands of jobs.

Fish is also a much-loved food and an integral part of the traditional West African diet, accounting for around two-thirds of all animal protein consumed.

Fisheries are even more important to communities that live on the coast. But most fish populations in West Africa are now fully or overexploited, putting livelihoods, food security and fish populations at risk.

The Coastal Fisheries Initiative operates in the West African nations of Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

It works with local stakeholders and authorities to strengthen fisheries governance and management and improve the seafood value chain, fish products and working conditions, with a focus on empowering women, who represent 60% of the total post-harvest sector workforce in Côte d’Ivoire, 30% in Senegal and 75% in Cabo Verde.

The CFI West Africa team also works to restore degraded mangrove forests, which are often breeding grounds for fish, but where mangrove wood is chopped down to smoke fish, a key fish product in West Africa.

CFI West Africa is led by FAO in partnership with the UN Environment Programme. It has a budget of USD 6.5 million in GEF funding and USD 45 million in co-financing for a period of five years.