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Experts urge optimization of Nigeria’s blue economy to spur growth

Economic experts have called for the need to optimize Nigeria’s blue economy- using ocean resources for economic growth- in order to spur growth and development especially in the investment space as this will also reduce the reliance on oil as an economic determinant.

Speaking during the Pre-#NES26 webinar themed “Investment Opportunities in Nigeria’s Blue Economy” hosted by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Rotimi Amaechi, minister for Transportation, said that the COVID-19 pandemic created a sense of urgency for new development and the blue economy represents a beacon of hope for rapid growth to Nigeria.

The minister who was represented by Paul Adaliku, Director, Ministry of Transportation revealed that $10 billion is lost annually to illegal fishing while the dumping of toxic waste and indiscriminate use of plastics is hindering the growth of Nigeria’s maritime economy.

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“the Nigerian blue economy is an emerging economy and its sustainability will need institutional support and logistics from the ministry of transport to setup implementation frameworks to attract investments and track the socio-economic impact of these investments for the benefit of the people,

The ministry is ready to mobilize players in the maritime sector and other institutions for optimization of the blue economy in order to support new growth for the coastal and sea economies” he said.

Niyi Yusuf, Vice-chairman of the NESG, in his remark, said that the Nigerian maritime sector is capable of generating as much as 7 trillion Naira annually and 4 million jobs in the next five years if properly harnessed. “We are not on track to harness the benefits of the blue economy and this is a good time to share ideas and resources to establish a unified approach towards the development of the country’s blue economy” Yusuf stated.

Similarly, Abou Bamba, executive secretary, UN Environment said the blue economy presents a lot of opportunities for Nigeria and West Africa especially in fishing, aquaculture, shipping and port-related activities adding that countries can only have control of the blue economy when they control the tools for transportation of goods and services.

“Following the Blue Economy model, West African countries can solve the problems of traffic jams and unemployment by utilizing the lagoon system and unskilled jobs through beach and ocean line cleaning respectively.” Bamba added

Taking cue from Norway, Adekola Oyenuga, chief executive officer (CEO), AO Blue Economy and Consulting Agency Oslo, Norway, mentioned in his presentation that ocean related activities including fishing and shipping contribute almost 70 percent to Norway’s GDP, with fisheries and aquaculture, donate about $11 billion in export value.

He added that proper coordination at national, regional, and international levels can help develop and fully optimize Nigeria’s blue economy just like Seychelles developed a blue economy framework in 2018 and integrated it into their national development strategy.

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