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Nigeria Sets Sights On Sustainable Blue Economy Development With AU Support

Nigeria’s Blue Economy Strategy aims to unlock economic value from the sea, promoting fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, and renewable energy.

The federal government in collaboration with the African Union (AU) through the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is set to develop a national Blue Economy Strategy for Nigeria.

This was revealed by the Minister Of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola at a stakeholders consultative workshop to define priority issues for development of National Blue Economy Strategy for Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking at the event, Oyetola hinted that considering the huge potential of the national marine resources, the institutionalisation of the expanded partnership committee on sustainable blue economy in Nigeria was approved with the view to develop a strategic plan for the national blue economy.

This, he revealed, was what has eventually resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

He stressed that the event marked a significant milestone to review the draft strategy document for the Marine and Blue Economy sector.

“This workshop comes at a time when we are harmonising governance structures, developing strategies and plans of action for promoting blue economy development initiatives and this strategy document is expected to provide a comprehensive framework for harnessing the potential of our oceans while safeguarding its health for the present and future generations,” he said.

He posited that the blue economy presents significant challenges and promising opportunities for sustainable development.

“One of the greatest challenges lies in balancing economic growth with environmental conservation. Over-exploitation of marine resources, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change threaten the health and resilience of ocean ecosystems.

 “Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts to promote responsible resource management, mitigate environmental impacts, and build resilience to climate change. However, within these challenges lie significant opportunities.

“The blue economy has the potential to drive inclusive growth, create employment opportunities, and alleviate poverty, particularly in coastal and island communities,” he noted.

He added that by harnessing the vast potential of the country’s oceans sustainably, “we can unlock new sources of economic value, such as fisheries, aquaculture, marine tourism, renewable energy, and biotechnology.”

Also speaking at the event, the Director of AU-IBAR, Dr Huyam Salih, said the organisation is a specialised technical office of the African Union Commission that has the continental mandate for coordinating the development of animal resources.

Salih, represented by Obinna Anozie maintained that the institution has spearheaded the formulation of key continental frameworks, including the Livestock Development Strategy in Africa (LiDESA).

Salih listed others as the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS), the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM) and more recently the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES).

These continental frameworks and mechanisms, he explained, are officially endorsed by the African Union Heads of States and Governments, followed by recommendations to support their implementation or rollout on the continent.

Kasim Sumaina

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