THISDAY reports that as a strategy to improve the economy and lift people of Africa out of poverty, African leaders have promised to support the development of the continent’s blue economy. The pledge was made in Nairobi, Kenya at the first global conference on sustainable blue economy.
Chairman of the African Union (AU), President Paul Kigame of Rwanda, who spoke at the conference, said the union was committed to the growth of the blue economy in the continent. He noted AU would continue to formulate policies that would encourage the development of Africa’s ocean economy.
Highlighting Namibia’s commitment towards the sustainable use of the ocean, Saara Kuugongelwa, the prime minister of Namibia said the country was committed to developing an integrated blue economy policy geared towards protecting the marine environment of the Southern African country.
Kuugongelwa revealed that Namibia has a special fisheries observers’ institution, which puts the country among the leaders in sustainable fisheries management. She said in the next 12 months, Namibia would be investing a minimum of $5 million towards marine research to advance economic inclusivity.
President of Seychelles Danny Faure, who was appointed to serve as the AU Champion of Blue Economy, promised to get more women to serve on the blue economy regime. He said the initiative would ensure the campaign for the blue economy remained all-inclusive. Faure also said his country will work on establishing a pan African shipping line.
In his opening remarks, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that it was high time Africans took advantage of the continent’s enormous maritime potential to develop their countries, explaining that climes without as much opportunities are making worthy use of the ocean economy and increasing the prosperity of their people.
The inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference has over 15,000 participants from around the world. They are gathered to discuss how to build a blue economy that harnesses the potentials of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the lives of people, particularly those in developing countries.
Other African leaders in attendance included the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta who is the Chief Host of the conference; President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed; President of Tanzania, John Magufuli; President of Zanzibar, Ali Mohamed Shein; President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni; and President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi. The Governments of Canada and Japan who are co-hosting the conference were represented by their top cabinet ministers.
Also in attendance was the newly re-elected Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim, the Canadian Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and several other notable world maritime stakeholders.