Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, Minister of Marine and Blue economy
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has charged African leaders on the need to prioritize the Blue Economy, nothing that it holds the key to Africa’s prosperity.
Speaking at the 43rd Annual Council of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) conference on Monday, he underlined the critical role of the Blue Economy in the collective prosperity of African nations, emphasizing that the sector holds immense potential for the entire African continent.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Marine and Blue economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, noted that Africa’s Blue Economy presented the continent with untapped opportunities for growth and development.
He said, “We must acknowledge the maritime sector as a central driver for the sustainable development of our nations,” he remarked.
He stressed the interconnectedness of African countries through their maritime endowments even as he discussed the formation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, which highlights the Nigerian government’s commitment to unlocking the potential of the Blue Economy.
He also pointed out that, despite national boundaries, the waters served as a natural source of connectivity, emphasizing that the region’s shared destiny and challenges require collaborative efforts.
In addition, he underlined the significance of technological advancement in the sector and emphasized that automation was crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of ports in the global maritime industry.
He highlighted the importance of the Port Community System, noting that it served as a precursor to the implementation of the National Single Window, as essential tools in streamlining port operations.
“As a government that believes in the necessity of infusing information technology into public management to aid transparency and ease business processes, we are giving the Nigerian Ports Authority all the backing necessary to fast track the operationalization of the Port Community System,” He declared.
Furthermore, he pointed out that full automation was the way forward if African ports are to remain competitive on the international stage, echoing the sentiment that seamless and efficient cargo handling was vital for port competitiveness in the African context.
Mohammed Bello Koko, the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigerian Ports Authority, while speaking earlier, also echoed President Tinubu’s call for regional cooperation in the maritime sector.
He noted that the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) were substantial while urging African leaders to work together to eliminate trade barriers and harness these opportunities for the collective prosperity of respective national economies.
Oyetola said “The opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are substantial. We must work together to eliminate trade barriers and harness these opportunities for the collective prosperity of our respective national economies,” Mr. Koko stated.
He praised the PMAWCA for its role in promoting ports’ cooperation and expressed the Nigerian Ports Authority’s commitment to partnership and support for policies and action steps that will be discussed during the conference.
He added that the 43rd PMAWCA conference, with its focus on the Blue Economy and the significance of regional cooperation, has set the stage for a crucial dialogue on how African nations can unlock the potential of their maritime resources.
He urged delegates from West and Central African countries, alongside international observers, to exchange ideas and insights, with the shared goal of enhancing trade facilitation and spurring economic growth in the region.