African businesses are being challenged to wake up to the economic, social and environmental power of the blue economy.
Momentum is gathering for companies based in Africa’s coastal nations to fully recognise and understand the benefits of backing a blue economy, which covers a wide range of productive sectors that are crucial for the continent’s sustainable development including fisheries, aquaculture, transport, energy, trade and tourism as well as extractive industries.
Research indicates that the blue economy has the potential to be a major source of wealth and prosperity for the continent and help advance the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
This year’s ABEF2019 builds on the inaugural event in London last year which explored what the blue economy was. This year’s forum aims to take it a stage further and explore how business and government can implement actions that will proactively boost the economic, social and environmental welfare of the continent.
The importance of a cohesive strategy that will protect and utilise Africa’s coastal waters cannot be overstated:
· Around 70 per cent of Africa’s nations are coastal
· Around 90 per cent of the continent’s imports and exports are done via sea transportation
· Africa’s maritime industry is estimated to be worth US$1 trillion per year
· The asset value of ocean economy eco-systems is valued at US$24 trillion
· Plastic pollution costs US$13bn per year due to damage caused to marine ecosystems
ABEF 2019 is expected to deliver a strong focus on business and government collaboration, highlight investment opportunities and reveal environmental and social impact. Discussions aim to explore the opportunities and innovations in emerging and frontier sectors of the blue economy and how they can help accelerate Africa’s transformation, create jobs, sustain livelihoods and communities and offer low cost but impactful climate change measures.
Government ministers and officials from Gabon, Ghana, Morocco, Somaliland, Tunisia and Seychelles are confirmed speakers whilst more official delegations from other African countries are also expected to be present.