From left: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside in a handshake with the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello shortly after a paper presentation on “Introducing the Blue Sea Economy Concept” by the NIMASA DG to the management of the council in Lagos recently.

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that Africa’s quest of tapping the potential embedded in her blue economy as part of efforts to develop the continent may remain elusive due to the lack of required framework and structure.

The blue economy in the African context covers both aquatic and marine spaces including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers and underground waters. It also encompasses a range of productive sectors; Fisheries, Aquaculture, Tourism, Transport, Ship building, energy, bio prospecting, under-water mining and related activities.

The NIMASA DG, who spoke while making a paper presentation to the management of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council NSC in Lagos, recently entitled; “Introducing the Blue Economy Concept”, therefore canvassed the development of a proper framework and structure which will enhance the coordination of the sector in order to harness the opportunities derivable therein.

According to him, achieving a desirable blue sea economic framework, participatory engagement and agenda setting, participatory policy design and implementation and multi sector partnership are key areas that must be considered.

He said: “About 70 per cent of the earth resources are underneath the sea and has been in most cases left untapped; almost all the cities in the world begin their development from the sea which shows the underlying importance of the sea to economic and social growth. We must therefore work hard and collaboratively to fully tap the blue economic potential in Africa”.

“The blue economy which stands on three pillars namely; environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social sustainability, has a lot of benefits towards the growth and development of Africa’s macro economy, thereby making her compete favourably with other counterparts across the globe”.

Dr. Peterside also highlighted fair multilateral and bilateral agreements, improved well-being, inclusive job creation, Eco-tourism, debt swaps and green ports amongst others as some of the tools and opportunities that abound in the blue economy sector in Africa. He added that the concepts it will bring to Africa ranges from sustainable business opportunities, circular economy, resource efficiency, and conservation of development.

He further argued that all these will help the African continent actualise the vast potential embedded in her blue economy.

While identifying, maritime insecurity, criminal activities at sea, climate vulnerability, poor infrastructure among others as factors militating against development of Africa’s blue economy, he however assured that NIMASA is doing all it could to curtail the issues relating to criminal activities in the nation’s territorial waterways.

It was gathered that the agency in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transport is currently working on an Anti-piracy Bill which is presently before the National Assembly and would be passed soon. It is expected that the act will enable the agency to prosecute those found in such nefarious activities that are capable of hampering the development of the maritime industry.

The DG however called for a budgetary provision for blue economy management as obtainable in other climes and also the creation of an institutional framework for the blue economy. He also urged African nations to provide investments needed to support improved governance and initiatives and assured the NSC that the agency will continue to encourage collaborations among stakeholders in the industry, as it is the only way that can guarantee the growth, development and harnessing the full potential of the blue economy within the African continent.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, commended the efforts of the Dr. Dakuku Peterside led management of NIMASA and stated that within a short time of his appointment, he has been able to transform the industry.

He also described the agency as a worthy partner and said that the need for the Council to collaborate with NIMASA to drive the blue economy cannot be over emphasised; this necessitated the invitation of the NIMASA DG to come and give the entire management team of the NCS firsthand information on the concept of the blue economy.