Green Shoots for the African Blue Economy?
With 38 coastal and island states, 13 million km² of collective exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and a coastline of over 47,000 km there is an enormous untapped potential for African countries, and for the African continent as a whole, to develop the sectors typically associated with the “blue economy.” For example, expanding fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transportation and maritime and inland ports can all help to reduce African poverty and enhance food and energy security, employment, economic growth and exports, ocean health and sustainable use of ocean resources. More than 12 million people are employed in fisheries alone, the largest of the African blue economy sectors, providing food security and nutrition for over 200 million Africans and generating value added estimated at more than US$24 billion or 1.26 percent of the GDP of all African countries.Most African countries have yet to undertake the first steps in visioning and prioritizing blue economy sectors and understanding the risks to ocean health. Many have also not yet developed integrated blue economy strategies and road maps. The sweeping continental vision for an African blue economy, envisaged by the 2050 AIM Strategy, remains far from realization, with the initial time frames for implementation behind schedule.