• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Nigeria can tap coastal tourism, renewable energy to develop blue economy – Afolabi

Nigeria needs to take advantage of coastal tourism and renewable energy generation to develop its blue economy, Taiwo Afolabi, chairman of SIFAX Group, has said.

Delivering the 16th Convocation Lecture of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso on the topic ‘Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy and Marine Development in Nigeria: Trends, Challenges and Prospects,’ Afolabi said the country has many untapped opportunities in the maritime sector.

He said developing the country’s blue economy is now more imperative than ever due to the government’s policy of moving away from the one-product economy that Nigeria has been running for decades.

Read also: How to unlock blue economy potential – Akinola

“Serious attention should be devoted to developing our coastlines by the government as this could spur huge recreational and economic activities in such localities.

“Coastal tourism development has the potential to provide socio-economic benefits to Nigeria, especially during this period when the Nigerian government is trying to diversify the economy from being a predominantly crude oil-based economy to a multi-product economy, which can withstand the volatility in oil prices in the world market,” he said.

According to him, one lucrative aspect of the blue economy is the opportunity to harvest renewable energy.

“Renewable energies such as wind, solar, hydro, and tidal energy, are alternatives to fossil fuels and can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the maritime sector.

“Offshore wind energy is also a promising form of renewable energy generated by offshore wind turbines, which makes it possible to take advantage of strong ocean winds for electricity generation later exported to land where it is consumed in several economic activities. In turn, solar energy can be used in power navigation and communication ships’ systems and equipment and those of other floating structures,” Afolabi explained.

Afolabi further said the country can learn from the experience of the Philippines which has deployed more seafarers in the global shipping business than any other country.

He said Nigeria needs to develop a robust maritime educational curriculum that takes technology, trends, and the dynamic nature of the industry into cognizance.

Afolabi, however, cautioned that tapping the potential in the blue economy should be done responsibly and sustainably.

According to him, some of the sustainable measures for using the country’s ocean resources include the promotion of sustainable aquaculture practices, modern environmental waste management, monitoring, control, and surveillance of Nigeria’s territorial waters, and improvement of maritime safety and security.

Others include the preservation of marine ecosystems, addressing the challenge of pollution in coastal areas, enactment of laws that promote the blue economy, and proper regulation by relevant government agencies.

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