Akpabio, Saraki Task Africa On Blue Economy Development

The Minister of Niger Delta affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio and Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, have urged African countries to take advantage of the blue economy for sustainable development of their countries.

They made this known in a statement signed by the President, African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), Dr Felicia Mogo, on Thursday in Lagos.They made the call during the third Annual symposium of AFMESI with the theme:  “African Blue Economy Which Way To Go?”

Akpabio noted that despite the potential benefits and opportunities associated with the aquatic resources of the oceans and inland waters, they were still under serious threats due to neglect, climate change and extreme weather situation.

The minister represented by the Permanent Secretary Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Babayo Ardo, noted the impact of pollution arising mainly from effects of overexploitation, exploration and exploitation of the resources especially petroleum product and the issue of insecurity.

Akpabio said that the theme for the symposium was to challenge member states of the AU of their various roles and contributions to the development of the blue economy which was projected to generate about 296 billion dollars with 49 million jobs.

He further informed that by 2030 the figures would be 405 billion dollars with 57 million jobs, while 2063 estimate would be 576 billion  dollars of value created and 78 million of jobs.

“Currently the blue economy initiative is in the front burner as a result of its huge gains in the area of job creation and socio economic development.

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“The ministry will initiate the move to drive the process and work toward the development of Bio Economy strategic framework for the Niger Delta Region,” he said.

He called on Nigerians to take urgent advantage of the growing need to harness and utilise all the potential resources of the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the socio economic emancipation of the Nigerian people.

Also, Saraki, noted that the theme of the symposium was apt and coming at the critical moment when the continent was at a crossroads on the urgent need to level-up at the international stage on best trends and practices to beneficially adopt the emerging and lucrative economy.

Saraki represented by Mr Ofie Adams, a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Transportation, said the blue economy was relevant to all countries and could be applied on various scales from local, national to global levels.

She explained that countries of the African continent, including Nigeria, are not only integral part of the entire world marine ecosystem, but surely an important components at that.

“To achieve the potential actionable policies formulated by African experts, governments and other stakeholdes must be founded on trusted and diversified knowledge base.

“It must be supported and complemented with management and development of resources that help inspire and support innovation to achieve a deserved lead position in blue economy,” she said.

Saraki urged that the role of science and technology experts in the formulation of policies at lead positions must be given a place and must not be jeopardised by the perennial religious, socio-cultural and political considerations.

In her opening remarks, Mogo stated that AFMESI symposium provide a platforms for reevaluating the marine environment of Africa both in terms of potential and stressors.

“AFMESI is trying to recommend best strategies to exploration for this resources for the benefit of mankind and preservation of the environment itself.

“Political participation is a key factor for the realisation policy for marine sustainability and sustainable blue economy paradigm.

“AFMESI is seeking implementation of measures to securing Gulf of Guinea, inter-regional corporation, the role of science in governing our occean amongst others,” she said.(NAN)


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