As part of efforts ensure Nigeria optimally explores the economic potentials of Blue Economy and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Nigerian teachers have been trained to participate in emerging opportunities under the new concepts.
This crucial training was organized by Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) via a one-day free seminar for teachers with boat operators, maritime regulators, academicians, entrepreneurs and officials of Lagos State Government delivering lectures and recounting their experiences in Lagos, today.
At the event themed; “Overview of Blue Economy & AfCFTA Advantages for Teachers,” the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR highlighted opportunities in the blue economy in four components “Sustainable Oceans: Fisheries, Aquaculture, Green Fins, Academia; Maritime: Boatbuilding, Global Shipping, Offshore Energy Technology; Research: Climate change & resilience, Ocean engineering, Marine affairs and Oceanography; Tourism: Cruise Ships and Sailing.”
Jamoh, who was represented by the Director of Internal Audit at NIMASA, Mrs. Olamide Odusanya observed that one of the major threats in the sector, piracy has been reduced to the barest minimum since the launch of the Deep Blue Project by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2021.
The NIMASA boss, however, encouraged teachers to stimulate young students’ interest in shipping and other ancillary services like insurance, maritime law, freight forwarding, among others.
Speaking on the benefits of the AfCFTA which opens the entire regional market, she opined that blue economy had similar objectives by expanding the ocean market and opportunities.
Also speaking, the Chief Operating Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mrs. Juliana Saka, posited that opportunities available for teachers under AFCFTA include; trade in services via research on commodities and services with competitive advantage in several nations; Training Providers/ capacity building; Joint school/ Enterprise training; among others.
Saka, who presented a paper titled, “AfCFTA – Opportunities for Teachers,” also observed that AfCFTA creates a new window for commodity merchants but she harped on the need for value-addition before exports.
“African fashion designs can also be sold to other nations within the continent under AfCFTA. There are indeed numerous opportunities and there are amazing role models to learn from like the Lelook Bags, founded by Chief (Mrs.) Chinwe Ezenwa, among others,” she said.
In his remarks, the Director, Lagos State Agricultural Training Institute, Mr. Emmanuel Audu revealed the training platforms offered by the Institute in fisheries, vegetable production and livestock rearing, highlighting the success stories of some participants.
Audu, however, expressed worry at the growing menace of waste disposal on inland waterways which pose great threats to the aquatic life and also affects the engines of small boats, opining that relevant government agencies should engage in more sensitization on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Tarzan Marine Enterprise, Mr. Ganiyu Balogun encouraged the participating teachers to organize boat rides for students, assuring that he would provide boats at very discounted rates to support their endeavours.
In her welcome remarks, the President of Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF), Hon. Violet Williams noted that the event was specifically targeted at empowering teachers to embrace the opportunities in Blue Economy and AfCFTA as additional streams of income.
Williams also argued that, after the strategic workshop, the teachers will be better placed to guide students towards careerpaths in maritime and other related services.
“When we started the Catch-them-Young initiative 7 years ago to encourage students to pick a career in shipping, these teachers have been supportive and some have asked about an opportunity to train the teachers; so this is that opportunity,” she stated.
She equally thanked Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), NIMASA, NSC, Lagos State Government, and other organizations who have contributed immensely to the activities of the foundation over the years.