Stakeholders in the nation’s maritime industry on Thursday called for an urgent need for the country to take advantage of the growing need to harness and utilize all the potential resources of the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the socio economic emancipation of the Nigerian people.
Speaking at the 3rd Annual symposium of African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI) with the theme “African Blue Economy Which Way To Go?” the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Mr Godswill Akpabio, noted that despite the potential benefits and opportunities associated with the aquatic resources, the resources of the oceans and inland waters are under serious threats due largely to neglect as well as climate change and extreme weather situation.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Babayo Ardo, noted the impact of pollution arising mainly from effects of over exploitation, exploration and exploitation of the resources especially petroleum product including the issue of insecurity.
Akpabio further informed that the theme for the symposium is to challenge member States of the AU on their various roles and contributions to the development of the blue economy which is projected to generate about $296billion with 49 million jobs, he further informed that by 2030 the figures will be $405 billion with 57 million jobs while in 2063 estimates would be $576 billion of value created and 78 million of jobs.
He explained that 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.
He stated that the ministry will initiate the move to drive the process and work towards the development of Bio Economy strategic framework for the Niger Delta Region.
While calling on Nigerians to take urgent advantage of the growing need to harness all the potential resources of the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the socio economic emancipation of the Nigerian people.
Speaking also, the Minister of State for Transportation Mrs. Gbemisola Saraki, noted that the theme of the symposium is apt and coming at the critical moment when the continent is 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, while keeping her oceans, seas and the entire marine ecosystem safe, healthy and sustainable.
Saraki who was represented by Chief Ofie Adams, a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Transportation said the blue economy is relevant to all countries and can be applied on various scales from local, national to global levels.
She explained that countries of the Africa including Nigeria, are not only integral part of the entire world marine ecosystem, but surely an important component at that.
The Minister further informed that 38 of Africa 54 countries are coastal with six islands whose combined maritime industry is estimated to worth $1 trillion per year.
She however said to achieve the potential actionable policies formulated by African experts, governments and other stakeholders must be founded on trusted and diversified knowledge base, 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 also noted that residual negative impact of environment and ecosystems degradation for human progress, development and economic activities associated with it’s livelihood and survival must now be carried out without endangering or destroying the ecosystem of his own environment.
Speaking earlier, the President AFMESI, Dr Felicia Mogo stated that AFMESI symposium provides platforms for reevaluating the marine environment of Africa both in terms of potential and stressors, adding that AFMESI is trying to recommend best strategies to exploration for these resources for the benefit of mankind and preservation of the environment itself.
“So, while doing this we also try to see who to write all the resolutions and the appropriate implementations tools to the benefits of coastal boundaries and their landlocked neighbours across Africa, thereby pointing at growth that not just consider only economic benefits but that starts on social accountability and ensure inclusiveness in calculating Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
“Political participation is a key factor for the realization policy for marine sustainability and sustainable blue economy paradigm. This year symposium provides an opportunity for stakeholders to present and share knowledge on several environmental issues related to the future of our marine environment.
“AFMESI is seeking implementation of measures to securing Gulf of Guinea, inter-regional corporation, the role of science in governing our occean amongst others; AFMESI believes that at the end of this symposium actionable communique that would come out will spur restoration of African prosperity,” she said.
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