Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has revealed that economic growth, diversification and massive job creation informed his decision to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
Tinubu made this disclosure while speaking at the opening session of at the 43rd Annual Council of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) conference on Monday.
The Nigerian President, who was represented by the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola CON, urged African leaders on the need to prioritize the Blue Economy stressing that it holds the key to Africa’s prosperity.
“My administration is especially interested in the maritime industry; this was why we created the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in the first instance. I am convinced that the quick wins we urgently need to create opportunities that will turn our youth bulge into a demographic dividend lies in our marine and blue economy sectors.”
“Even though we have physical national boundaries that separate us, the waters are a natural source of connectivity and they seem like a subtle providential message that we must work together for the good of all our countries. This is why there could be no better time than now to hold this conference. The theme of the conference: The Role of Ports in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is itself a testament of the determination of the organisers to collectively seek sustainable solutions to the challenges that port operations face on the continent,” he said.
According to him, one of the resources that the participating nations can proudly speak about as a bloc is the maritime endowment, hence, littoral or island states makes the formulation of policies for the optimum utilization of waters for economic growth.
Also speaking, the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko reechoed President Tinubu’s call for regional cooperation in the maritime sector.
He noted that the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA are substantial while urging African leaders to work together to eliminate trade barriers and harness these opportunities for the collective prosperity of respective national economies.
Bello-Koko, however, praised the PMAWCA for its role in promoting ports’ cooperation and expressed the Ports Authority’s commitment to partnership and support for policies and action steps that will be discussed during the conference.
The NPA boss encouraged 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.