Africa’s Fishing, Aquaculture and Shipping Sectors Set for Expansion as Blue Economy Forum Winds Down in Tunisia

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Africa’s lucrative fishing, aquaculture, shipping, ports, energy and finance sectors are set for expansion and development following the second Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF), a high profile event that was held in Tunis, Tunisia this June.

The industries all came under the spotlight at the 2019 edition of ABEF, an affair that drew in government ministers, business leaders, international investors, academics and environmental organisations from across the globe.

International and Pan-African organizations agreed to collaborate on initiatives as the event drew to a close.

They discussed and agreed on the prospect of a fully sustainable Blue Economy for Africa, referring to the continent’s oceanic markets.

The need for direct action to deliver the environmental, economic and social benefits for Africa, and particularly its coastal nations given 90% of Africa’s trade is conducted by sea, was stressed during the two days of insight.

Speakers at ABEF 2019 agreed on the urgent need for better cooperation between the ocean stakeholders, better governance and law enforcement. Regional, national and local strategies are required to build a long-term plan and develop partnerships that are beyond short-term projects.

“We can no longer just dip our toe in the water, we must dive in and be decisive in making and delivering change that will serve Africa for many years to come.,” Leila Ben Hassen, ABEF founder and CEO of Blue Jay Communication, which organised the forum, said.

“It is no longer business as usual. Africa must have a sustainable Blue Business plan which will have a positive impact on the environment, on the economy and on society,” she continued.

Delegates agreed that a sustainable Blue Business plan will accelerate Africa’s transformation, create jobs, sustain livelihoods and empower communities, while offering impactful climate change measures.

Key outcomes from ABEF 2019 saw industry-focused organisations such as the World Ocean Council, Tunisian Maritime Cluster and SETAP Tunisia sign a Memorandum of Understanding to create a platform to connect, share information, scientific research and technologies between the Mediterranean and the coastal African countries.

In addition, WIMA Africa (Women in Maritime Association) launched the Tunisia Chapter with the objective of empowering women and reinforcing collaborations between Tunisian and African women in the maritime industry.

The event attracted a significant number of high-level speakers, including Samir Taieb, Minister of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries for the Republic of Tunisia; Mokhtar Hammami, Minister of Environment for the Republic of Tunisia; Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, Ghana’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Minister of Transport for the Republic of Ghana.

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