AU to generate 50% of Africa’s GDP from ocean resources--Official

The African Union (AU) says it plans  to generate 50 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by harnessing its ocean resources in furtherance of its “Agenda 2063.”
The AU Coordinator for Agenda 2063, Mr Simon Mabote, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
“Under this particular theme, we are talking about the blue economy; the ocean economy – something that was always overlooked or we thought is given by nature to us.
“But now we have refocused; we are saying what can the ship owners do? What can the industry do to benefit Africans?
“We have identified specific interventions – operations of ports and all other aspects that you can get from the oceans.
“They mentioned that the size of our oceans is three times the land area that we have in Africa.
“And if it is well-channelled, the continent can be out of poverty immediately.
“So, we have specific goals and each of those, we have specific targets that are assigned to member-states.
“We are saying that one of the targets is that 50 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Products) should come from the oceans within the first 10 years of implementing Agenda 2063.
“That is from 2014 to 2023 and we are also saying the local ship owners should transport about five per cent of the tonnage in the first 10 years.
“Vessels built in Africa should account for about 20 per cent in 2023. So, these are the specific interventions.’’
NAN reports that “Agenda 2063’’ refers to the transformation agenda/plan adopted by Africa’s Heads of States in January.
Mabote said Africa would ensure that specific interventions in the maritime sector afforded African ship owners the opportunity to participate in activities that would help reduce poverty.
He said that policy makers, the private sector, and wealthy businessmen were being sensitised to tap into the “blue economy’’ so that ocean resources around Africa would be developed for the transformation of Africa.

According to him, the 50-year framework, which has been set up into five 10-year plans, will be reviewed when necessary and refocused according to the challenges on ground.