• Friday, June 21, 2024
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How art showcases potential of $296bn blue economy, reduces sea blindness – Oyetola

$800m ports rehabilitation fund almost ready, says Oyetola

Adegboyega Oyetola, minister for Marine and Blue Economy, has described maritime art as a means to showcase the enormous potential in Nigeria’s $296 billion blue economy.

Speaking at the opening of the African Maritime Art Exhibition (AMAE) themed: ‘The Convergence: Maritime meets ICT,’ in Lagos at the weekend, Oyetola said the work of art can also reduce sea blindness.

Represented by Busayo Fakinlede, the minister said art connects with human emotions and can be a very effective tool in driving the agenda of the maritime industry.

“Maritime Art is another way to reach out to Nigerians about the blue economy. It can be an effective way to build the consciousness of the maritime in the minds of Nigerians. With the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, there is a greater need for this awareness to enable citizens to grasp the importance of the sector.

“For people to have that clarity and understanding about maritime and how to channel the necessary investment, we have to explore all approaches. It could be via social media, traditional media, or art. We have to explore all approaches and art can play a vital role,” he added.

He, however, assured that the Ministry is willing to collaborate with industry stakeholders to infuse the required technologies and infrastructure to optimise the huge socio-economic gains accruable from the sector.

Delivering a lecture on ‘ICT Disruptions for the Sustainability of the Blue Economy,’ Idongesit Udoh, country lead and programme adviser of the UK Government’s Digital Access Programme in Nigeria, said there is a need for human capital development and infusion of technology in the nation’s maritime space.

Udoh, who doubles as a guest speaker, identified three key areas in dire need of ICT deployment in maritime to include real-time monitoring and surveillance, climate resilience and predictive analytics, and documentation, storage, and cyber security.

Read also: Oyetola signs performance bond with CEOs under Marine, Blue Economy Ministry

“ICT is an enabler of development irrespective of the sector. For the blue economy, there are lots of areas where ICT could drive growth from marine transportation to tourism.

“However, surveillance using artificial intelligence and the internet of things; documentation and cloud computing; as well as decision making guided by big data and data analytics; not forgetting climate-related technologies. These areas in maritime can be enhanced with the deployment of ICT,” Udoh explained.

Emmanuel Iheanacho, chairperson of the event, said ICT and AI have already changed the operations of all facets of life.

Represented by Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN), principal partner of Jean-Chiazor and Partners, Iheanacho said a more proactive approach to ICT and innovations would be more beneficial to the nation as it seeks to maximise the gains inherent in the blue economy.

On his part, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said ICT has facilitated its operations.

Represented by Charles Okaga, port manager of Apapa Port, Bello-Koko said the handling of ship manifests at ports has been enhanced with ICT, adding that ICT can also be deployed to curb piracy and enhance port security.

Ezinne Azunna, convener said the objective of AMAE is to use photography, textile art, paint, sculpture, and other motifs to tell stories and support causes around the Blue Economy.

“This is a meeting point for the town and gown. AMAE 2023 comes with a new twist- the conference – to facilitate quality exchange in the industry. This forum underscores the invaluable need for up-to-date technologies across the value chain. Our 2023 audience is largely drawn from the Blue Economy, Art, and the ICT worlds,” she said.

The high point of the event was the opening of the art exhibition by the representative of the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy accompanied by maritime bigwigs.