BLUE ECONOMY: What Maritime Experts Are Saying

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Since 2015 when African Union (AU) declared decade of Africa’s Seas and Oceans starting from 2015 to 2025, the declaration did two important things: first, it drew attention to the strategic importance of proper management of marine resources for the development of the African continent in a sustainable manner.

Secondly, it brought about a shift in perspective that recognizes the fact that Africa’s oceans and seas are economic infrastructure, necessitating the need for stakeholders in the sector to work together to realize the opportunities embedded in the sector. Hence, maritime experts in Nigeria have been lending their voices in support of the blue economy Concept.

In this article, our correspondent Sylvanus Obasi chronicles the views expressed by maritime professionals on the blue economy concept. Enjoy!

Dr Dakuku Peterside, DG NIMASA
In his address to maritime stakeholders at the occasion of 2017 Day of Africa’s Seas and Oceans said:

“It is a well-known fact that Africa seas and oceans are usually overlooked when it comes to issues of sustainable development in Africa, to the extent that Africa is considered to be sea blind; sea blind because there is low level awareness of the potential for wealth creation which abounds in the seas and oceans. This event therefore tends to show that our eyes are gradually being opened to the reality that our seas and oceans possess huge source of economic resources that can take the continent to the next level”, the DG said.

Rt Hon Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Transportation
Addressing over 15,000 participants during the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2018, said:

“As a country, we are conscious of our responsibilities and international obligations which have given rise to our endorsement and domestication of key International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other important African Union continental instruments.

“We are mindful and highly committed to our responsibilities to protect our marine environment to ensure that our continent does not become dumping ground for pollutants which can prevent exploration of ocean resources”.

“The Federal Government has taken several steps to mainstream the blue economy concept into its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to include formulation of a draft National Transport Policy, which is awaiting approval of the Federal Executive Council. The policy will provide the platform to implement at the country level the framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of Africa’s maritime domain.

“The government has also constituted a high-powered committee, coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, to formulate and map out a roadmap to align the Blue Economy regime with the country’s ERGP.

“Other steps include the drafting of a dedicated anti-piracy bill, which is before the National Assembly, to provide the requisite framework for the fight, prosecution and punishment of piracy and other related crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea, and approval for the acquisition of intelligence gathering maritime domain awareness assets and military response assets to fight pirates and make Nigeria’s maritime domain safe for economic activities.

“The Federal Government is also investing heavily in the development of new infrastructure, such as deep sea ports and intermodal transport, to drive growth in the maritime sector. All of these actions underscore the importance our government has placed on the Blue Economy Concept,”.

“Will continue to cooperate with sister countries and developmental bodies to advance the prosperity of the African continent”, Amaechi stated.
Engr Greg Ogbeifun, MD Starz Marine and Engineering Services Limited
In his remarks as Chairman of 2018 Africa’s Day of the Seas and Oceans event in Lagos said:

“The world is beginning to go back to the original creation God blessed mankind with, which is the seas and the oceans. Nigeria is at a vantage position with a good geographical location with about 900 km coastline, hence the need to work harmoniously to realise the blueprint of the AIMS 2050 with the overall goal of actualising the concept of the Blue Economy in Africa for continental economic growth”.

Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, Chairman and Principal Partner, Margaret Onyema & Co.
Speaking also at the event while delivering the lead paper titled: “National Maritime Strategy and the National Maritime Transport Policy Framework: How Far is the Road Yet?” concluded by saying:

“For Nigeria to develop a robust and sustainable maritime sector, there is the need to prepare an all-inclusive framework and strategy based on the development strategies of the African Union in line with the AIMS 2050, Agenda 2063, Lome Charter and the African Maritime Transport Charter”.

Dr. Chris Asoluka, Former Chairman, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority
In his paper titled: “Developing our Blue Economy as a Critical National Economic Objective: The Partnership Model,”, said:

“The only way to fully optimize the opportunities embedded in the African seas and oceans is to work collaboratively as a continent so that we can compete favourably with our counterparts in other continents.
“Maritime domain remains a fertile ground waiting to be fully utilised for economic growth and development”.

Prof. Babajide Alo, an environmental expert.
“Beyond the annual celebration of the event, partnership strategies to ensure sustainable implementation of the resolutions must be considered so that in the long run, all set goals are achieved for the benefit of the entire African continent.

Barr Mrs Obiageli Obi, Director General, Nigerian Chambers of Shipping (NCS)
“It is important to realise that the world is getting more and more dependent on resources from the seas and oceans, because it is the engine for economic growth.

I would want all stakeholders in the maritime industry to work together for the benefit of the actualisation of the Blue Economy in Africa”.

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