African Nations Urged to Invest in ‘Blue Economy’

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African nations should invest more into the blue economy – which includes fisheries, marine biotechnology, aquaculture, tourism and transport – according to African ministers.

The comments came from the finance ministers of Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda during last month’s Tokyo International Conference of African Development. While representatives from numerous African island states raised similar points at a recent UN debate.

 

Africa’s blue economy

The ocean presents a vast pool of opportunity for many African nations. Aside from providing a source of sustainable food, the blue economy also creates more jobs, improves a nation’s tourism prospects and brings a wide range of new investment opportunities.

However, the key phrase being stressed in the conversation is “sustainable growth”.

“As a champion of the blue economy initiative, which is directed at reinforcing marine related activities for sustainability purposes, Seychelles recognizes that our oceans present an abundance of untapped opportunities for sustainable growth,” Marie-Louise Potter, Seychelles’ Permanent Representative to the UN, told the Assembly during its latest debate.

“It is therefore imperative to highlight that the blue economy, are synonymous with the global action to harness the power of the oceans as a tool for transformation.”

 

Investment needed

For Africa to maximise its blue economic potential, investment is sorely needed, African ministers warn. The continent is considerably below international standards in related industries, which poses a threat to the survival of its marine resources.

“We need more investments in research capacity and conservation of marine resources,” Liberia’s minister for agriculture, Moses Zinnah, said at the Tokyo International Conference of African Development, held in Kenya last month.

Mismanagement and climate change are singled out as two of the biggest threats to blue economies around the world. Coral reefs are estimated to have declined globally by 40 percent due to illegal fishing and overfishing.

“Climate change is creating more pressure on marine resources,” World Bank’s Haleh Birdi said. “We need a strategic vision, good governance and investments to sustainably use oceans.

 

Featured image:
By Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17769532

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.