Renowned fisheries scientist with the University of British Columbia, Prof Rashid Sumaila has urged African governments to explore the potential of the emerging Blue Economy to provide jobs for its unemployed youth.
The World Bank defines the blue economy as the “sustainable use of ocean resources to benefit economies, livelihoods and ocean ecosystem health.”
He said the blue economy holds great potential for development and to absorb the continent's unemployed youth.
He stated that the blue economy had the hospitality and tourism, oil and gas, fisheries and other related sectors including technological jobs held great prospects for the youth.
He called for structures to be put in place to help position the country to take advantage of the immense opportunities that would come with the Blue Economy.
Speaking on the side lines of the 3rd biennial conference of fisheries and coastal environment organized by the Centre for Coastal Management- Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience (CCM-ACECoR), of the University of Cape Coast in Accra on Tuesday, Prof Sumaila said this could positively impact the economy in Ghana and the continent.
The three-day conference was on the theme, "Inclusive Blue Economy in Africa; Towards Sustainable Transformation and Resilience on the Marine Environment."
The conference provided a platform for about 290 participants and about 200 virtual participants including researchers, academicians, students, government organisations, journalists, fisher groups and NGOs from across the continent and beyond to deliberate on topics related to the Blue Economy and how to maximize its impact on the continent.
He observed that the Blue Economy would bring with it thousands on jobs and it was critical that nations on the African continent prepared their people to take advantage to boost their economies.
He also called for policies to guide the sector as it emerges to streamline its governance.
Prof Sumaila said the blue economy holds solutions to employment, food security and enhanced socio-economic wellbeing if properly harnessed.
He said about 260 million people depend on fish for survival and could be more as the blue economy onvolved other critical sectors.
Earlier speakers in the sessions had underscored the need to safeguard the livelihoods of players especially in the fisheries.
They called for strengthened partnerships to help reap the benefits of the fast emerging economy.