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Aquaculture (Fish & Seafood) Business Ideas for 2024: Africa's top opportunities

Since the year 2000, aquaculture production in sub-Saharan Africa has grown at an 11% annual average—almost double the global rate. This guide shares the top 5 most lucrative opportunities in this market.

To meet growing demand for fish and seafood, Africa needs to produce an additional 5 million tonnes by 2030. (FAO). Photo by karl

In the last 50 years alone, the global supply of fish and seafood has grown by 400%, reaching 214 million tons by 2020, and the average person now eats almost twice as much fish.

Every year, the fish and seafood trade represents a $400 billion market that comprises wild captures and aquaculture production from both marine and inland waters.

According to analyst projections, global demand for fish and seafood could double by 2050.

In Africa, fish is an important component of the diet, and ranks as the fifth major source of dietary protein after cereals, pulses, milk, and starchy roots.

At about 10kg per capita, Africans consume more fish than poultry, beef, and other meats, with fish contributing up to 20% of the animal protein needs in many parts of the continent, particularly in coastal and riverine areas where fish is a traditional food staple.

Unfortunately, most fish stocks in waters within and around Africa are already severely depleted and over-exploited.

The combined effects of illegal and unregulated fishing, overfishing, climate change, pollution, and other factors mean that Africa’s marine and inland waters cannot sustainably meet the continent’s large and fast-growing demand for fish and seafood.

According to the UN's Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Africa's spending on fish and seafood imports rose by 400%; from about $1 billion in 2000 to more than $5 billion by 2017.

That’s why aquaculture, the commercial farming of fish and seafood, has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.

In just a few decades, fish farming has grown by 5,000%, producing up to 100 million tons of fish and seafood per year—exceeding the total amount of fish that’s captured from the wild by fishermen and ocean trawlers.

This guide explores the 5 biggest business opportunities that dominate Africa's fast-growing aquaculture market. The market insights you're about to read cover the top products, gaps in the fish and seafood value chain, and inspiring examples of successful aquaculture businesses in Africa.

Africa now has the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population which is projected to double in size and reach 2.4 billion by 2050.

As the most popular source of animal protein on the continent, fish is expected to play an important role in meeting the growing nutritional needs of Africa’s youthful population.

In many parts of Africa, fish still remains the most available and affordable animal protein and enjoys widespread acceptance across religious and cultural lines, and features prominently in popular cuisines across the region.

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