The Minister of State for Transportation, Ms Gbemisola Saraki, says that Nigeria is leading the initiative for the adoption and propagation of the Blue Economy in Africa.
Saraki made this known during the 4th Edition of the Lagos International Maritime Week with the theme, “Africa’s Blue Economy -Innovation Sustainability and Diversity” in Lagos state.
Saraki, advised that Nigerians should improve on sustainable utilisation of the ocean, sea, lakes, rivers resources.
She said that NIMASA as head of Association of African Maritime Administrations had spearheaded the drive for the adoption of the blue economy.
“It is also important to note that the United Nations (UN) prescribed the Blue Economy as a stimulus concept capable of facilitating the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, No 14 of which pertains to ” Life Below Water,” she stated.
The Chairman Ship Owners Forum, Mrs Margaret Onyema-Orakusi, said that until recently, the idea of developing Blue Economy in Africa was under-exploited.
“More than one-quarter of Africa’s population lives within 100 km of the coast and derive their livelihoods there.
“According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2020, the annual economic value of energy activities related to maritime affairs will reach 2.5 billion euros.
“Out of the 54 African countries, 34 are coastal countries and over 90 per cent of African export and import are transported by sea.
“The territorial water under Africa’s jurisdiction cover a surface of 13 million km, with a continental shelf of some 6.5 million km, comprising Exclusive Economic Zone,” she said.
Onyema-Orakusi said that aquaculture was a key driver of the Blue Economy which made it capable of providing food, nutrition and employment opportunities to the people of Africa.