A sustainable business plan is key for the development of the blue economy sector in Africa

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Officials from the World Ocean Council and Tunisian Maritime Cluster after signing an  MoU to create a platform to connect, share information and scientific research. PHOTO/COURTESY

By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Africa must have a sustainable blue business plan for the development of the blue economy sector a communication expert has said.

Ms Leila Ben Hassen the chief executive officer (CEO) of Blue Jay Communication made the call during the second edition of Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF2019) held in Tunis on 25-26 June.

“Africa must have a sustainable Blue Business plan which will have a positive impact on the environment, on the economy and on society,” she said.

Ms Hassen said a sustainable Blue Business plan will accelerate Africa’s transformation, create jobs, sustain livelihoods and empower communities, while offering impactful climate change measures.

The forum was attended by among others Tunisia’s Minister of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries Samir Taieb and his Environment counterpart Mokhtar Hammami and Ghana’s Minister of Transport Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye.

Fishing, aquaculture, shipping, ports, energy and finance industries all came under the spotlight at during the blue economy conference with emphasis on the need for direct action to deliver the environmental, economic and social benefits for Africa, and particularly its coastal nations given 90 per cent of Africa’s trade is conducted by sea, was stressed during the two days of insights.

Ghana’s Minister of Transport Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, Tunisia’s Minister of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries Samir Taieb and at the ABEF2019. PHOTO/COURTESY

Participants agreed on the urgent need for better cooperation between the ocean stakeholders, better governance and law enforcement and called for regional, national and local strategies to build a long-term plan and develop partnerships that are beyond short-term projects.

Engaging with new technologies and innovative financing mechanisms were also identified as key to shaping a sustainable blue economy in Africa.

Key outcomes from ABEF2019 saw the World Ocean Council, Tunisian Maritime Cluster and SETAP Tunisia sign a Memorandum of Understanding to create a platform to connect, share information, scientific research and technologies between the Mediterranean and the coastal African countries.

In addition, WIMA Africa (Women in Maritime Association) launched the Tunisia Chapter with the objective of empowering women and reinforcing collaborations between Tunisian and African women in the maritime industry.

Discussions revolved around how governments and private sectors can collaborate; tackling ocean pollution; innovative funding solutions; enhanced food security and sustainable growth for the fishing industry; sustainable ocean energy; how to engage more women to work in the maritime value chains and the opportunities to embrace the youth generation in the Blue Economy.

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