April 2/2022 /ENA/ East African countries have to strengthen regional integration in order to sustainably food security through implementing Blue Economy strategy, according to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
IGAD Blue Economy Strategy for 2021-2025 has been endorsed by strategy member countries ministries after a two-day high-level meeting, it was learned.
During the meeting of experts, member states presented overviews of the Blue Economy in their respective countries before the drafting of the declaration submitted to the ministers for endorsement.
At the Pre-Ministerial Meeting, IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said that IGAD member states have the potential to benefit citizens in the water-based (Blue Economy) sector.
Agriculture, the backbone of the region, is vulnerable to drought, economic crisis, food insecurity, conflict, and climate change, he noted.
The executive secretary also said that a sustainable economy centered on the sustainable use of ocean, lake and marine resources as well as ports is an option to get the regional economy out of recurrent trouble.
According to Workneh, member countries should work together to ensure food security through fisheries, transport, tourism and other water-related economies.
He further stressed that the Blue Economy has been a determining factor to accelerate regional integration among the Horn of Africa nations.
“The blue economy is a potential driver of growth, development and most importantly regional integration. Most importantly, areas like food security, transport sector and sustainable tourism will be given priority to regional integration among member states,” the executive secretary stated.
Citing the experience of Canada and other countries, Workneh pointed out that east African countries should take lessons to benefit from the Blue Economy and ensure economic growth as well as food security.
Sub-regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa (SFE) and FAO Representative to the African Union (AU), Chimimba David Phiri on his part urged governments, policymakers and stakeholders to work together for sustainable use of Blue Economy in Africa, especially East Africa.
Sustainable food security can be ensured by strengthening fisheries development, aquaculture management and strengthening cooperation between governments.
He reaffirmed that FAO will support the implementation of the Blue Economy strategy.
“FAO is an important partner in the Blue Economy activities. The organization is standing ready to contribute significantly to the process of implementing the IGAD blue economy strategy. FAO has experience in supporting the development and management of fisheries and aquaculture resources in the east African sub-region and beyond.”
Transport and Logistics Minister, Dagmawit Mogese described on her part the activities being carried out by Ethiopia to utilize the blue economic sector.
Even if Ethiopia is as a landlocked country, it is taking advantage of the blue economy as a good opportunity in line with the country’s transport and logistics policy as well as other strategies, she stated.
“Our transport and logistics policies both consider Blue Economy as one the sector’s policy issues. The national logistics strategy which has six key strategies, 22 sub-strategies and 98 interventions is envisioned to transform the logistic sector of Ethiopia to a level of global best practices and make Ethiopia competitive in the international logistics performance index.”
The minister elaborated: “For this, the sector is strengthening its implementation capacity by establishing a well-integrated institutional framework backed with a swift decision making national logistics council. Recently, my ministry has been taking the initiative to draft a national blue economy strategy which is aimed at establishing a strong Blue Economy sector that would contribute to the economic development of my country.”
Blue Economy is also among the main strategic focus areas of Ethiopia’s ten-year economic perspective plan.
The 5-year IGAD Blue Economy strategy and Implementation Plan aligned with Africa’s Blue Economy strategy is developed with the financial support of the European Union.