Stephen Karingi,

Piriye Kiyaramo

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Director for Regional Integration and Trade Division, Stephen Karingi, view that “the potential for the development of the Blue Economy in Africa is linked with the efficient implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a food for thought for African leaders and the private sector.

“There is a clear linkage and interdependence between the Blue Economy and the AfCFTA, as trade is essential to fostering the development of Africa’s economy. The Blue economy has the potential to generate wealth in key sectors, such as mining, transports, fisheries to name a few.”

Mr. Karingi who noted this at the side event of the just concluded first global sustainable blue economy conference in Nairobi, hosted by the government of Kenya and Canada in partnership with the governments of Japan and Porgugal, had stressed on enhancing visibility of the work done by ECA and its partners on Blue Economy and other related fields.

ECA has been requested to provide technical assistance by way of proposals for key policy reforms to the Kenyan Government on Blue Economy, and an issues paper on challenges for the development of the Blue Economy in Africa.

Blue Economy comprises traditional ocean industries such as fisheries, tourism, maritime transport, including new and emerging activities such as offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, seabed extractive activities, and marine biotechnology and bioprospecting.

The Commission also co-hosted a special side event with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to examine how states could leverage the blue economy in their national plans and policies to strengthen implementation of the 2030 Agenda, African Union Agenda 2063, the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy and related intergovernmental agreements, promote synergies, and address negative tradeoffs.

The event which kicked off on 26 November to November 28, with focus on the priorities and challenges of establishing a sustainable blue economy and its contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including maritime safety and security, had engaged participants to explore the role of various stakeholders, including national and local governments, private sector, civil society, regional and sub-regional groups as well as domestic and international financial institutions in investing and formulating sustainable ways of exploiting Blue Economy.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and its partners organized a number of side events on the margins of the high-level conference where over 18,000 participants from across the globe participated.

“We are co-hosting a side event to sensitize stakeholders on the importance of the Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET), and its important role on the blue economy,” said Adeyinka Adeyemi, Head of Regional Integration and Infrastructure Cluster at the ECA.

ECA and the African Union Commission (AUC) also co-organized a side event “to, among other things, enhance advocacy around the blue economy and define a clear work programme for 2019 with regard to resource mobilization and capacity building for gender-specific projects within the Blue Economy,” explained Martin Ndende, ECA Blue Economy Coordinator.

The Commission’s executive secretary, Vera Songwe, is amongst the dignitaries who made remarks at the official opening of the conference in Nairobi.

The Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference was the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy. The meeting focused on the theme, ‘The blue economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.

Participants had time to address issues relating to how to build a blue economy that will: harnesses the potential of our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the lives of all, particularly people in developing states, women, youth and Indigenous peoples; and leverage the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving our waters for future generations.