Blue economy sustainability: Nigeria to partner African countries- Minister .Pledges commitment to address issues of trade barriers

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Blue economy sustainability: Nigeria to partner African countries- Minister

.Pledges commitment to address issues of trade barriers

.Says Nigeria will prioritise integration of blue economy in growth plan.

By Udeme Clement

The Federal Government has expressed readiness to cooperate with sister countries and development bodies to advance Africa’s prosperity through safe and sustainable use of the continent’s vast sea and ocean resources.

The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, made this known in his speech at the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi.

Amaechi, who conveyed Nigeria’s statement of commitment to blue economy initiative, said its growth is the most viable option for Africa’s development in the wake of declining mineral and commodity prices. He said that high level participation in the conference demonstrated the importance African countries attached to the Blue Economy and their resolve to use the resources of the seas and oceans to accelerate economic growth, in order to reduce poverty to its barest minimum.

The Minister, who was represented by the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who is also the Chairman, Association of African Maritime Administrations ,AAMA, stated, “As a country we are conscious of our responsibilities and international obligations, which have given rise to our endorsement and domestication of key International Maritime Organisation, IMO, and other important African Union continental instruments”.

He went on, “We are mindful and highly committed to our responsibilities to protect our marine environment, to ensure that our continent does not become dumping ground for pollutants that can prevent exploration of ocean resources.”

He highlighted, “Steps taken by government to mainstream the blue economy concept into its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, include formulation of a draft National Transport Policy, which is awaiting approval of the Federal Executive Council, FEC. The policy, will provide the platform to implement at the country level, the framework for protection and sustainable exploitation of Africa’s maritime domain. The government has also constituted a high-powered committee, coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, to formulate and map out a roadmap to align Blue Economy regime with the country’s ERGP”.

He pointed out, “Other steps include the drafting of a dedicated anti-piracy bill, which is before the National Assembly, to provide the requisite framework for the fight, prosecution and punishment of piracy and other related crimes in Nigeria as well as the Gulf of Guinea.  Approval for acquisition of intelligence gathering maritime domain awareness assets and military response assets to fight pirates, to make Nigeria’s maritime domain safe for economic activities.

“Government is investing heavily in the development of new infrastructure, such as deep sea ports and intermodal transport, to drive growth in the maritime sector. All of these actions underscore the importance our government has placed on Blue Economy Concept.

“Nigeria is fully committed to Africa’s drive to harness the vast potentials of its maritime domain.  We will continue to cooperate with sister countries and developmental bodies to advance the prosperity of African continent.”

His words, “We pledge our commitment to the overarching issues of addressing poverty, corruption, trade barriers, and all issues hindering growth. More particularly, Nigeria as a country will prioritise integration of Blue Economy into our circular economic restoration and growth plan. We will leave no stone unturned in creating limitless opportunities for our people and lift them out of poverty. This is our resolve, as the most viable option we have for sustainable development is commitment to the Blue Economy.”

We hope the conference would build on previous efforts by African Heads of government to develop comprehensive and coherent strategies that address the Blue Economy, such as the African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 (AIMS 2050); African Maritime Transport Charter; 2016 African Charter on Maritime Safety, Security and Development (Lome Charter); and “Agenda 2063”, which Nigeria has signed on to.


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