NIMASA: Blue Economy, Will Transform Nigeria’s Economy If Diligently Harnessed

By Stephen Ubanna

 When Gunter Pauli, a North American country of the United States of America, USA, born Professor, wrote the book Blue Economy : 10 years,100 Innovations ,100 million jobs in 2010 which was said to have been quickly followed with the second book, Blue Economy : The Marriage  of Science , Innovation and Entrepreneurship Creates a New Business Model that transform society, nobody knew that it will occupy the centre stage  between 2012 and now in maritime societies  as countries diversify their economies.

In writing the first  book, Prof. Pauli, appears to have  had  at the back of his mind that  the Blue Economy business model  will ‘’shift  society from scarcity to abundance with  what is locally available’’ by tackling issues  that causes  environmental   and related  problems in new ways. The erudite Professor had said in his book that ‘’Blue Economy transforms innovations into novel business models’’.

  Recall that barely two years after Professor Pauli had published the first book on the Blue Economy it was said to have dominated discussions at the United Nation’s, UN, Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012. The UN, had underlined sustainable management of the Blue Economy, based on the argument that marine ecosystems are more productive when they are healthy.

Acting on the content of the Professor’s first book on the Blue Economy, the UN, has come out with a definition that has to do with  ‘’ a range of economic activities related to the oceans, seas, coastal waters and whether these activities are sustainable and socially equitable ’’ for it. There is no gain saying the fact that the use of the oceans, seas and the coastal areas, has accelerated over the past years.

 Maritime experts had said that more than 3 billion people rely on the ocean, sea and coastal waters for their means of livelihood and over 80% of world merchandise trade is carried out by sea. This is an indications the oceans and seas, particular, contribute immensely ‘’to poverty eradication, sustained economic growth and food security’’.

CSC Atlantic Ocean Container Ship Carrying Merchandise Goods

This may have informed why the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, has described the ocean and sea as the next economic frontier as it hold potential for wealth and economic growth, employment and innovation because it includes existing businesses such as fisheries, coastal tourism, and shipping.

Given the importance attached to the Blue Economy, the UN and the European Union, EU, were said to have developed  a long-term strategy  that aims ‘’to facilitate  sustainable  ocean-based economic  benefits  by implementing climate  resilient  and inclusive blue economy  policies that will reduce human impact in the years ahead.

 Take for instance, countries like Denmark and Norway, Australia, China, US, Turkey, United Kingdom, UK, Indonesia including the EU, countries, were said to have taken it upon themselves to implement strategies  and policies  that support the idea of the Blue Economy  with a clear focus on  the shipping industry and development of marine resources.

 In focusing   on revitalizing the economy and the marine industrial activities, which include  construction, transportation, mineral  resources development, ship building, communication cable laying  in the oceans and seas, pharmaceutical enterprises, equipment deployment,  sustainable energy from  waves,  currents  seaside leisure tourism,  fisheries and Aquaculture, Prof. Pauli , had made it clear  that  it is the only way to sustain the Blue Economy.

 Professor Pauli had  asserted that marine development activities , marine oriented information  technology  and science sectors are gradually playing an increasingly stronger role  in boosting the Blue Economy development  in countries that have adopted it.

He was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen that  ‘’Blue Economy needs compliance  with Sustainable Development goal 14, with the attribute  focused  on conserve  and sustainability use of the oceans, , seas and marine resources.

As part of the Blue Economy Business model,  Prof. Pauli, had said that   people should imbibe the habit to maintain  a healthy  marine and land ecosystem , solve pollution problem  such as  marine transport waste , plastic and micro-plastic litter, and  mitigate global change effects as well as construct  Blue Economy Sustainable management  model based  on maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Note that  the jobs  and economic opportunities  that had emerged  from the oceans , seas , the great Lakes,  and coastal resources  , is one of the  mains tools  to the building of the US’s economy and could turn Nigeria’s economy around if diligently harnessed.

The EU, in 2017, had issued a report on’’ the Growth Strategy towards Sustainable Growth and jobs in the Blue Economy’’. The report was said to have examined what has been learnt and what has been achieved by the Union since 2012, what is ongoing and what is still missing.

The report was said to have focused in  five areas which  include pushing  for growth in the blue energy, aquaculture, which is  an emerging area to fish farming,  coastal and  maritime tourism, blue biotechnology; seabed mineral resources, the benefits  of marine data, spatial planning,  and maritime surveillance  to facilitate growth in the blue economy; promoting partnership approach; boosting investment  and making blue growth strategy  fit future challenge.     

In Nigeria, Bashir Jamoh, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety agency, NIMASA, has been at the vanguard for the introduction of the Blue Economy because of the huge opportunities it offers for the country’s economic growth and development.

 The NIMASA, Chief executive Officer, CEO, at every fora, both within and outside the country was said to have repeatedly declared that ‘’the sea business is in vogue globally because of the vast ocean, sea and coastal water resources like fishes, shrimps, prawns and other sea foods   and that Nigeria’s future lies in the Blue Economy if it can diligently harness these resources.

Ubon Essien, a Communication expert, turned maritime operator, may have alluded to this at a recent, where he has represented the NIMASA, Director General in Lagos. He has cited a restaurant at the high brown area of Victorian Island of Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre where if one places an order for a plate of seafoods, with shrimps, prawns, fish, crabs, and oysters prepared in a grand assortment  of pasta and soup,   the person pays  N20,000.00, for it.

Seafood Restaurants In Lagos,Signs Of A Blue Economy Business Model

Many see it as a growing business model in the Blue Economy.  He may have alluded to the Ocean Basket Victoria Island. But there are other seafood restaurants in the Lagos metropolis which includes the Sky restaurant, AMFOD Seafood, Wings and Grill,Fusion Restaurant, 7888 On The Sea,Artisan House,Sharkhouse 101, Talindo Steak House, Noir Coors Restaurant and Lounge, Rhapsody’s ICM, Quid by de brit, Samantha’s Bistro and Grill,Bourbon House Cafe and Moulin Rouge Rooftop Bar and Loung, among others.

He was said to have also alluded to Southampton, in UK, as a home of beaches in a thriving Blue Economy, because of the millions of tourists that visits the locations daily.  Some of the notable Southampton beaches include Ponquogue, Coopers, Shinnecock East County Park, Meschutt, Flying Point, Tiana, North Sea and Donkey Dunes  

 It was not surprising why the NIMASA, helmsman, had said that the Nigerian government need ‘’to develop an appropriate policy interventions that would focus on exploring and exploiting the huge opportunities of the Blue Economy like Denmark, Norway, China and other maritime nations.

He was emphatic that Nigeria  need ‘’to take stock of what is out there in the nation’s waters in terms of what will create ‘’the much needed jobs, build coastal communities, grow careers, enhance transportation of humans and cargoes, renew and sustain the environment and reduce poverty level’’.

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