African countries urged to exploit blue economy

PART of Lusaka City centre.

KALONDE NYATI, Mahé, Seychelles
THE 23rd African Export and Import Bank (Afrexim) annual general meeting has opened in the resort island with the bank’s executive vice-president George Elombi calling on African states to fully exploit the blue economy if the continent is to achieve meaningful development.
Dr Elombi said the blue economy, which involves the maximising of water resources through aquaculture, fisheries, tourism, power generation and renewable energy, if harnessed, can unlock Africa’s growth potential.
He said yesterday during the opening of the meeting being held under the theme, Africa’s new economy: intra- African trade and the blue economy as catalysts for economic transformation that Africa should learn from countries such as Japan and Iceland that have developed robust blue economies.
Zambia, which hosted the AGM last year, is being represented by Bank of Zambia governor Denny Kalyalya who is also chairman of the general meeting of shareholders.
“Besides tourism, there are several other areas with strong growth potential offered by the Blue Economy including renewable energy, power generation from waves, pharmaceutical and marine medical knowledge. No wonder a number of countries, especially in Northern Europe and Asia, have built their development around the blue economy,” he said.
Despite, Zambia being a landlocked country, it is home to about 40 percent of fresh water in the region, thus creating an opportunity for it to exploit the natural resources to develop a blue economy.
Dr Elombi said Africa needs to invest in more technology that will develop the blue economy.
“Blue growth can save as a catalyst of the continent’s developmental and diversification programmes,” he said.
Dr Elombi also said the continent needs to increase intra-trade volumes to mitigate the episodic price shocks on the global market.
At the same occasion vice president of the Republic of Seychelles Danny Faure said Africa will, however, need to ensure that water bodies and fish are conserved as the continent develops a blue economy.
“We need to strike a balance between development and conservation by ensuring that the right technology is used,” he said.

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