Ministerial Roundtable Discusses Blue Economy in Southern Africa
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A ministerial roundtable discussed the potential of the blue economy for southern Africa’s development, and highlighted the importance of sustainable use of coastal and marine resources for all southern African States.

Participants praised the Comoros and Mauritius for their collaboration to develop their blue economies and other development programmes.

21 September 2018: A ministerial roundtable agreed on the need for increased collaboration to pursue blue economy opportunities in southern Africa. Ministers recognized the potential for the blue economy sector to facilitate job creation, production and investments, and reduce poverty and inequality in the region.

The roundtable convened during the 24th Session of the Inter-Governmental Committee of Experts (ICE) of Southern Africa. ICE-24, held under the theme, ‘Blue Economy, Inclusive Industrialization and Economic Development in Southern Africa,’ took place from 18-21 September 2018 in Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius. According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the blue economy refers to an ocean-based economic model that employs sustainable infrastructure and technologies to secure growth and protect the oceans.

Ministers highlighted the importance of sustainable use of coastal and marine resources for all southern African States, including coastal and island States and landlocked States. They observed that climate change, overfishing and pollution are placing stress on marine ecosystems and the services they provide, including posing challenges for economic opportunities and the region’s food security. Within this context, ministers recognized the importance of political will in the region to develop laws that protect the sustainable exploitation of coastal and marine resources.

The blue economy can be the engine of economic growth, the basis of socioeconomic development and industrialization.

UNECA Southern Africa Director, Said Adejumobi, expressed the Commission’s commitment to support the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member States to realize the potential of Africa’s blue economy for fostering industrial growth and economic development. Adejumobi said the “blue economy can be the engine of economic growth, the basis of socioeconomic development and industrialization” for many African countries, if it is well utilized and managed. He highlighted opportunities in aquaculture, offshore renewable energy, marine biotechnology and bio prospecting, seabed extractive industries and tourism.

Participants praised the Comoros and Mauritius for their collaboration to develop their blue economies and other development programmes. Mauritius’s Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity, Environment and Sustainable Development, Marie Joseph Noel-Etienne Ghislain Sinatambou, called for further collaboration to improve research, development and innovation around the blue economy, improve skills training and develop infrastructure. Mauritius’s Vision 2030, which provides the country’s overall development framework, addresses the blue economy sector. Ambassador Chanfi Ismael of Comoros underscored the need for sustainable management of the blue economy, including to address challenges that place stress on marine ecosystem services. [UNECA Press Release on Cooperation on the Blue Economy in Southern Africa] [UNECA Press Release on UNECA Southern Africa Director Statement] [ICE-24 Website]

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