The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said that development of the blue economy is a veritable strategy for advancing African economies and lifting the people out of poverty.
Dakuku stated this in Nairobi, where he led a high-powered Nigerian delegation to the opening of the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy.
Dakuku 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 many opportunities are making worthy use of the ocean economy and increasing the prosperity of their people.
According to him, “It is common knowledge that among all the continents, Africa can be termed the biggest Island, and so if countries of the region can sustainably harness the blue economy it is sure that a large percentage of the poverty level in the continent of Africa would have been tackled.”
The NIMASA DG, who is also Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), delivered a statement of commitment on behalf of the association during the three-day conference, which is co-sponsored by Nigeria.
In it, he detailed the objectives of AAMA, the coordinating body for 38 African Maritime Administrations, to include improvement of the capacities of African maritime administrations, enhancement of member-states’ compliance with international maritime treaties, and coordination of programmes aimed at synchronising the ocean economy with other economic sectors.
Dakuku stated, “All these objectives assigned to us by Africa Maritime Transport Charter put AAMA in a unique position to fully mobilise players in the maritime domain for optimisation of the potentials of Africa’s Blue Economy.
“We have already taken some steps to realize these goals as set out in our various works and activities. In our past four conferences, we focused on the preservation and protection of the Marine Environment,
and are committed to driving these beyond the Sustainable Blue Economy conference, for the simple reason that there cannot be actual sustainability irrespective of the economic benefits without consideration for the health of the Seas and Oceans.
“The Blue Economy concept is perhaps the most significant sectoral shift that has the capacity to unleash the growth potential of our Continent. It is thus imperative that our approach to tapping the potentials of this new sector is coordinated and accelerated.
“Finally, as a continental body, the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) is committed to working with African Union (AU) Commission and other institutions to deepen the attainment of the Blue Economy goals for the economic prosperity of our nations and the continent.”
Speaking also at the conference, Chairman of the African Union (AU), President Paul Kigame of Rwanda, said the union was committed to the growth of the blue economy in the continent.
Kigame said member-states had shown commitment towards sustainable use of the ocean and AU would continue to formulate policies that would engender the development of Africa’s ocean economy.