The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed its readiness to cooperate with other countries to advance Africa’s blue economy.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made the commitment in his speech at the inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, last month. Amaechi said its growth was the most viable option for Africa’s development in the wake of declining mineral and commodity prices.
Amaechi highlighted steps taken by the Federal Government to mainstream the blue economy concept into its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to include formulation of a draft National Transport Policy, which is awaiting approval of the Federal Executive Council. The policy will provide a platform for the protection and sustainable exploitation of Africa’s maritime domain.
Other steps include the drafting of a dedicated anti-piracy bill, which is currently before the National Assembly. This will provide the requisite framework to fight piracy in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea and calls for the acquisition of military and intelligence gathering maritime assets.
Several recent pirate attacks have occurred in Nigerian waters, but the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dakuku Peterside, recently complained about what he believes were exaggerated reports that could damage the nation's repuation. He cited measures being undertaken including the anti-piracy bill and investment in a satellite surveillance system which has the capacity to view all vessels on the country’s waterways.
Amaechi said the Federal Government was also investing heavily in the development of new infrastructure, such as deep sea ports and intermodal transport to drive growth in the maritime sector.
The inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, which held from November 26 to 28 in Kenya, had over 15,000 participants from around the world. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged Kenya’s support for the sustainable blue economy and called for the world to work together to secure success in managing the global aquatic resources for sustainable global development. Other heads of state at the conference, who included, President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Abdullahi Mohamed (Somalia), Ali Mohammed Shein (Zanzibar) and Danny Faure of Seychelles, committed themselves to the preservation of the marine resources, saying if well harnessed, marine resources could contribute more than double the current global economy.